“We were pleasantly surprised to have 24 applicants for the position,” Talladega principal Darren Anglin said. “While it is nice to have 24 applicants, it takes a significant amount of effort to go through all the applicants to make sure you are choosing the right people for the interview process. There is no way that we would have time to talk to all 24 applicants. So, myself and coach Chucky Miller, our Athletic Director, reviewed the applicants for years of experience. We had several local folks come to us and say we would really like for you to look at this individual or that particular coach. If we have their application materials, we moved them to the top of the stack. We also looked at people with head coaching experience, so not everybody that had the most years of experience being a head coach may not necessarily make it all the way through, because we really we felt like community input mattered also, not just how long you have been coaching. We do have some that we are interviewing—younger guys—that don’t have a head coaching slot under their belt.”
Anglin hopes that THS will have a new head coach within the next few weeks. Former head coach Chris Mahand, who went 6-34 in three seasons at the helm was relieved of his coaching duties on February 12th.
“April 8 is the next scheduled board meeting and I want to be able to recommend an individual for that position,” Anglin said. “I also want to be able to do that with the band director slot too. April 8, we are shooting for that date.”
One of the most important qualities that Anglin and the coaching committee is looking for: coaches that have a sense of what the situation is at Talladega and not a coach just looking for a job. He believes the three finalists of last season’s staff know what it is going to take to try to get Talladega back into a respectable football program. Chad Cochran coached at Ohatchee and went 4-16 in two seasons. Jeff Harris coached at Oak Mountain and he had an 8-22 record in three seasons.
“Three of the top candidates that are being interviewed are on staff here,” Anglin said. “They have been varsity assistant coaches, but they have been head coaches before they came to Talladega High School. That’s coach John Williamson, coach Jeff Harris who joined us last year and coach Chad Cochran who also joined us last year as our defensive coordinator. All three of those guys have been head coaches in other Alabama High Schools at some point in time. One of our candidates was a teacher here and a football coach here in the past, Rocky White. As he applied for the position, he described it as his dream position for him and an opportunity to do something that he wanted to do-be a head coach in Talladega County. He wants to demonstrate to people that he worked with for years and year that he could do the job.”
He said that other local coaches were finalists for the job, which includes Robert Herring and Paul Farlow. Farlow coached at Lincoln in 2003 and from 2004-2009 he was the head coach at Weaver. He has a 40-37 record.
“We have got one that’s at B.B.Comer now—his name is Robert Herring,” Anglin said. “He comes from a family of successful football coaches that knows exactly what Talladega County is about. He has been around enough to know the struggles we had here at Talladega High School. He has had a fair amount of support in the community. He was one that community members came to me and said we would like Robert Herring be looked at for the position. Another candidate is Paul Farlow who was the head coach at Lincoln for years. He went to Weaver as a head coach and he has been an assistant coach for a while. We feel like Coach Farlow has been around long enough to know what he is getting into, knows what his challenge is and knows it is going to be a significant job to get Talladega to the place where the community expects it to be.”
The other two candidates have experienced success as assistant coaches on the prep and collegiate level.
“Another young man is coach at Prattville Obed Ellis,” Anglin said. “He heard about the position and became interested because his wife is an alumni of Talladega High School. When he heard about the position, he came up and looked at the facilities. I haven’t personally talked to him, but I have received a number of emails and there was significant community support requesting that we look at him. Todd Bates, he was here with us for one year. He was a pretty well recognized alumnus of the University of Alabama. He is currently coaching on the collegiate level in the state of Idaho. We have eight good, solid applicants ranging from 27 years of experience coaching to short-term coaching experience. We are excited about our applicants and we are looking forward to talking to all of them.”
Anglin said that Mahand has been a professional during this coaching search.
“He is a model guy when it comes to handling his situation through this whole thing,” Anglin said. “He hasn’t missed a beat and he has continued to do what is best for his players. You could not ask for a guy to handle a difficult situation any better than what Coach Mahand has been doing. He is a top notch guy.”