IDER – The Ider Hornets will have a new face roaming the sidelines at Wayne C. Hardiman Stadium this fall for the first time since 2003.
Earlier this summer, the Hornets tabbed Miles Keith as their new head football coach after Brent Tinker stepped down after 16 years at the helm.
Keith is a Tallassee native who served as a coordinator previously at Crossville and North Jackson. He said he could not have been more excited to hear the news that he had landed his first head coaching job with the Hornets.
“You couldn’t measure how excited I was,” Keith said Friday at Ider’s team photo day. “To finally get here and get to know everybody and meet the kids, it just amped up my excitement. There are so many people here ready to work and the kids are willing to do what it takes to be successful.”
Keith’s hiring only marks Ider’s fourth coaching change in the last 40 years. He said that the way the community rallies behind their coaches was appealing to him.
“That was one of the most attractive things about the job is the fact that you can build some longevity here,” Keith said. “The people here are willing to get behind you and support you even when things aren’t going the way you want them to go.”
Keith has already built a relationship with Tinker in his time at Ider and said he has been a great help.
“I’ve met with coach Tinker and we’ve become really good friends,” Keith said. “He’s been so helpful to me during this process and has just been awesome. I don’t want to erase anything he did here, I want to build on the foundation he laid. We don’t have to coach effort or class here, and that’s all because of him. He did it the right way and I just want to continue that.”
Ider’s Wing-T offense under Tinker may be going through a makeover under Keith’s leadership. He said he didn’t want to reveal too much a month before their season opener, but that fans and supporters of the Hornets can expect something different.
“It’s going to be a lot different,” Keith said. “We’re going to be a downhill running team with spread tendencies. We’ll have all sorts of different sets and will throw the ball around a little bit.”
Keith has preached the importance of conditioning to his new team throughout the summer break. He said that being able to finish as strong as they start each game will be a key factor in how the Hornets do this year.
“You’ve got to be in better shape than the teams you play,” Keith said. “So I’m running them and you can ask them. They’re probably running more than they ever have in their entire life. When I took the job, we started preaching two things all summer and those were conditioning and execution. We’re going to lift weights and get stronger along the way, but conditioning and execution will both go a long way.”
Keith added that he has seen how a well-conditioned team can outperform a more talented team in previous positions.
“I worked for Mike Battles Sr. and Mike Battles Jr. and they were the best at getting the most out of their kids,” Keith said. “We would win our first three games of the year because we were in better shape than everybody. Not that we were better or faster than them, but muscle fades and strength fades. It’s good to be strong, but it’s the guy that’s going to be strongest the longest that’s going to win. That’s what we’re focusing on here. We’re going to sprint everywhere we go.”
Battles Sr. has won over 200 games as a head coach in Alabama. Battles Jr. has gone 172-81 in 23 years as a head coach and is entering his eighth year coaching the Class 5A Tallassee Tigers, where he has posted a 55-26 overall record so far.
Keith takes over a Hornets’ squad that went 3-7 overall and 2-5 in 2A, Region 8 play last season. Ider will host Pisgah in a jamboree game on Aug. 23 at 7 p.m. and their 2019 season opener kicks off on Aug. 30 at Holly Pond.