New head football coach Robi Coker is excited about his first coaching staff at Crossville High School.
It’s a group that includes a pair of veteran coordinators as well as three former Lions players.
Longtime Crossville assistant Danny Smith will serve as Coker’s defensive coordinator, while Bubba Walls will be offensive coordinator.
Walls resigned as head coach at Ashville in the spring. He spent three seasons there.
He and Coker became acquainted at Clay-Chalkville when Walls served as a football assistant while Coker was varsity boys basketball coach.
“He was offensive coordinator at Clay-Chalkville for three or four years, was defensive coordinator at Pelham, won a state championship [as an assistant coach] at Hoover and worked for Coach [Jack] Wood at Trussville, who’s a living legend,” Coker said.
“It’s been real fun working with Bubba and Coach Smith. Both of those guys bring a lot of experience to the table. They’ve been really good for a first-year guy like myself.”
Phillip Johnson, who played at Plainview under Tim Cochran and Clay McCall, is another new hire for Coker.
“Coach Johnson is a great young assistant coach, very mature for his age,” Coker said.
“He knows football, the kids love him and he’s just a good guy to have around. He’s going to help us at the junior high level as well.”
Crossville assistants Rodney White and Miles Holcomb both played college football following their Lion careers. White played for West Alabama, while Holcomb played for Shorter.
“Coach White helps us as a volunteer. He loses money coaching,” Coker said. “Unbelievable player, unbelievable man, unbelievable coach.
“We’re very fortunate at Crossville High School to have Rodney White to be a part of our program.
“Coach Holcomb brings a unique perspective coming right back from college football. Coach Holcomb is a valuable asset to our program on offense and defense.” Coker said White and Holcomb are “living proof” that good things can happen for Crossville players who work hard and do things right.
The third former Lion player on Coker’s staff is Will Brock. Coker and Brock were teammates.
“Will Brock and William Chandler will also be a part of the program. They’re two quality men,” Coker said.
7-on-7s: Coker and his staff guided the team through some 7-on-7 passing competitions in July, including the Albertville Aggie Passing Camp on July 24.
“It’s been fun,” he said. “It’s a unique deal for me, my first time to do this.
“I’m a firm believer in hiring good coaches and letting them coach. We’ve got a great staff, and I’ve told those guys you guys coach. If I see a problem I’ll let you know, but I want your input, because this is your team just as much as it is my team.”
Coker was pleased with how his team competed. He told his players not to worry about their opponents, but to focus on Crossville.
“It’s good to play against other people,” he said. “It gives you a better picture. We know it’s not 100 percent accurate, but it’s as good as you can get in the summer.
“The kids have done real well, and we’re just trying to get better each and every day.”