PELL CITY – Robert “Wayne” Lee, 52, was named the Panthers new head football coach and athletic director at a special called board meeting this morning.
“I am excited; your plans are exciting,” Superintendent Dr. Michael Barber told Lee after he recommended that the board approve Lee’s reassignment from a physical education teacher and assistant varsity football coach to the vacant head football coach and athletic director job positions. “I know you’re going to move this team forward.”
He said Lee has stepped in more than once during his tenure at Pell City High School as the interim head football coach.
The board unanimously approved Lee as the new head coach and athletic director.
“I think you will do an awesome job,” said Board Chairman Cecil Fomby. “We are behind you and will support you.”
Lee has been a Panthers coach for nine years, serving under head coaches Jay Brown, David Shores and Keith Etheredge.
Before coming to Pell City, he served 10 years as the head coach for Pinson Valley, amassing a 52-56 record. His team made six playoff appearances and was crowned the area champions during his first year as the head coach for the Indians.
His Indians advanced to the second round of the state playoffs twice during his tenure at Pinson Valley.
Lee’s best season as head coach for Pinson Valley was in 2002, where the Indians recorded a 8-3 record.
“I am excited and ready to go,” Lee said.
Spring football practice is one month away, and Barber said it was necessary for the board to move forward with naming a new head football coach.
Lee served as the defensive coach for the Panthers for the past two years and also under Brown. He served as the linebackers coach for Shores.
Before becoming the head coach for Pinson Valley, Lee served two years as the defensive coordinator for McAdory High School, and before then, he spent eight years as the secondary coach for the Jacksonville State University Gamecocks.
Lee said his appointment as the new head coach will provide stability to the program.
“The transition for the kids should be smooth,” he said. “It’s going to help them, too.”
He said his first job is finding a new offensive coordinator.
Lee said former offensive coordinator Ryan Shell is following former head coach Etheredge to T. J. Miller in Brewton.
“Obviously, I am more of a defensive guy than an offensive guy,” he said.
Lee said he would like to be able to hand off his defense to a new defensive coordinator, so he can concentrate on the head coaching duties.
“We would like to be a run-based team, but you have to pass, too,” he said. “Balance, is the word everybody uses today.”
Lee said his past experience as a head coach and athletic director helped play a part in his promotion. A head coach normally walks into a bad situation or declining program, he said, but that is not the case at Pell City.
“We want to try and keep it headed in a positive direction,” he said.
Lee’s wife, Jennifer, is the head Lady Panthers basketball coach. The couple has two sons, Trey and Adam.