At least, that’s what principal Tim Young said to students and parents in the gymnasium of the school when introducing the new head football coach Tuesday.
Damien Dorsey, who most recently coached at Sparkman High School in Huntsville, will be at a disadvantage with just a month until the season opener at Talladega.
Dorsey said he and his team can’t harp on the limited time frame.
“We know that’s what we’re facing, so all we can do now is just move forward,” Dorsey said. “We have to use the time wisely that we do have and make the most of it.”
Dorsey graduated from the University of Louisville with a degree in criminal justice administration and played under the likes of Bobby Petrino.
In high school, Dorsey shined at Anniston High and was a decorated football and basketball player.
Coming to coach the Fighting Tigers was like coming home for Dorsey.
“I liked the atmosphere, the home-town atmosphere and the small-school setting,” Dorsey said. “I felt like I could really be successful here with the kids and small-school setting.”
Young said the new coach was a top choice from his name alone.
“ I’ve been in Anniston or around Anniston all of my life,” Young said. “I know him from when he first started. He was very big in sports, aggressive-type player and very talented. His leadership qualities really made a difference for me. Our kids are going to really love him.”
They won’t have much time to fall in love with the new coach, with the opening game looming Aug. 31.
Last season, the Tigers went 3-7 and were outscored by opponents with an average of 19.3 points scored and 34.8 points scored against.
That’s a long way from the 14-win season in 2007.
Young said he is hopeful about Dorsey’s inaugural season, but remains realistic.
“I have high hopes, and the expectations are maybe not as high considering the circumstances,” Young said. “He has some good talent to work with and, given some time and opportunity, I think he can really get us going further in the right direction.”
The principal said he and the administration began an aggressive search about two weeks ago and wanted to focus on finding a high-quality coach for the program.
He said it was difficult to find someone who wasn’t taken this late in the game.
“I will say, we had a good list to look at,” Young said. “We screened the list down to 10 applicants and he came out on top. I am pleased to say that we have found our guy.”
Dorsey thanked the crowd and the people who helped him along the way.
“I’m very humbled to be in this position to lead elite young men,” Dorsey said. “I’ve done none of this on my own, there’ve always been people behind me, pushing me. I want to thank my family and my beautiful wife.”
Young told the crowd he was glad to see such support from them both for the players and the new coach.
While an excellent football program is on everyone’s minds, especially with the struggles in recent years, the principal was glad to see Dorsey focused on other things.
“Where he’s at now is because of someone taking time out to further him along, to be that guy, to be that father figure,” Young said. “I expect no less of him to do that for our guys. He’s wanting to give back. That’s one of the first things he told me when I interviewed him; he wanted to give back to the kids.”
Dorsey echoed the sentiment and said his focus will always be on the development of the children.
“I’m just going to come in and do the best I can,” Dorsey said. “I can’t make promises, but one thing I do promise is the kids are going to work hard, they’re going to be respectable and you’re going to see we run a first-class operation.”