Rebels name new football coach

Rebels name new football coach

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Rebels name new football coach

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CLARKSVILLE, Tenn.

This one has to stick.

But then again, Stewart County principal Mike Craig is certain this one will.

Less than a month removed from being blindsided with the news that his newly hired football coach was resigning, Craig and the Stewart County High School administration has nailed down another head coach to guide the program into the 2012 season.

The Rebels hired Tim Taylor Sunday to take over the program that was last coached by Myles Holliday the previous eight years.

“Despite short notice we feel like we’ve made a great hire,” Craig said about the experienced Taylor. “He’s a small town guy from a small town and he understands the kind of community like Dover and I think we found someone who we can rely on to provide our kids that sense of integrity and character.”

Of course, Craig thought he had that in Kenny Haggard.

Haggard was hired as the Rebels’ coach in late June after a two-month coaching search following the departure of Holliday. But Haggard lasted only a few weeks on the job when he was arrested and charged with DUI on July 4. He resigned two days later, leaving Craig and Stewart County scrambling to find a new man.

Craig said he wanted to take his time with the new search but admitted time was of the essence. The school administration settled on Taylor less than a week before full contact practice begins.

“It wasn’t the ideal situation,” Craig said. “But we were surprised at the stature of the applicants we originally had when we first went through this search last April. We basically interviewed about six people, got it down to about two coaches and went from there.”

Craig said he and the administration were impressed with Taylor’s commitment to a smaller program in a small town and was swayed with Taylor’s previous coaching experience. Taylor previously coached at Smyrna where he was named offensive coordinator this past spring for the 6A program. He also was a head coach at Marion County for four seasons and at Whitwell High School for a season.

Taylor said he wasn’t actively searching for a head coaching job when Craig called him three weeks ago about the opening. He had originally applied last April but when Stewart County decided on Haggard, Taylor shifted his focus on the upcoming season at Smyrna. When Craig contacted him, Taylor was torn.

“I took the weekend to think about it,” he said. “This opportunity was enticing to me but to be honest, it was a difficult decision because I’m not the kind of guy that just takes off on a program. The Smyrna administration and coaching staff were great to me but I’m sure they were disappointed, the team was disappointed when I left. But I just felt like this was just too good an opportunity to pass up.”

Key to Taylor’s decision to leave Smyrna was the chance to get closer to his family. Taylor’s mother and sister live just across the border in Cadiz, Ky.

“I knew I was going to put Smyrna in a bind in terms of the timing of this,” Taylor said. “And that’s also what made this decision hard. But I think it was the right decision for me.”

Taylor is originally from Paducah, Ky., but his family moved to Jasper when he was a child and Taylor was raised in that community. He served as the assistant coach at Marion in 1994 just in time to help that team capture back-to-back state championships (’94 and ’95). He took over the program in 2000 and lasted four seasons.

He comes to a program that has been to the playoffs four times in the past five years as Holliday turned around a program that hadn’t had a winning season since the late 1970s. But because of Tyalor’s late arrival, he won’t be able to implement his entire offensive scheme before the start of the season in about six weeks.

“I’m not going to be able to go in and make wholesale changes,” he said. “I’ve got to take steps to meet them, not them taking steps to meet me. So we’ll put in a few things offensively that are similar to what they’re running now and we’ll slowly build from there during the season.”

Taylor said he was schooled on the split-back veer offense during his years as an assistant at Marion County and brings that philosophy to Dover. The Rebels are familiar with an option attack but Taylor’s offense will add some nuances.

“I may not get everything I want put in this season but we’ll be OK,” he said. “We’ll be effective at moving the football and the next few weeks move along I’ll learn what we can and can’t do.”

Craig said that since Haggard’s departure, the team has been spending the early practice time conditioning and weight lifting. The Rebels had a chance to participate in a football team camp this past weekend while the administration put the finishing touches on the Taylor hire.

Taylor said he was officially offered the position last Friday and accepted Sunday.

“I’m tickled to death to be here,” he said. “And what I told the team Monday was that we’re going to be a team this city continues to be proud of. My job is to continue the success that Holliday started and build on that. And my job is to make sure that we play with class, integrity and with high character.”

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