White Plains High School still needs a football coach.
The Calhoun County Board of Education did not approve the hiring of Talladega’s Ted Darby at Tuesday’s meeting. With board members Jeff Winn and Julie Hood absent, Mike Almaroad and Michael Webb voted no, making it impossible for Darby to receive four yes votes.
Lisa Amerson voted yes, and Board vice president Debbie Hess abstained. Board president Tobi Burt’s tiebreaker wasn’t needed.
The board voted for an executive session after the Darby vote. When members returned, they announced two hirings then adjourned.
Darby, who attended the meeting, wasn’t called to stand up, which typically occurs with high-profile hirings.
Darby and White Plains principal Andy Ward, who recommended Darby to Superintendent Donald Turner, declined comment. Asked if Darby was discussed in executive session, Turner declined to comment.
Burt said it’s feasible that Ward could re-recommend Darby for the July 24 meeting, but Turner would have to re-recommend him to the board.
“I’m pretty sure there’s not four votes for that individual,” Turner said.
Turner declined to discuss what issue board members might have with Darby.
Ward had a tight time frame to find a replacement for Chris White, who resigned June 26 to join former White Plains coach Larry Strain’s staff at Handley. Practice begins in Alabama on Aug. 5.
“In retrospect, because we’re in such a short time frame here, this was on the addendum, and the board didn’t have it but two days,” Turner said. “The job closed, and the principal had to interview and send through the recommendation, so it a short notice.
“That was part of what the issue was.”
Darby produced playoff football teams at Talladega in 2017 and 2018, marking the first time the Tigers made the playoffs back-to-back years since going four years in a row, from 1992-95.
White Plains has made the playoffs once in its 48-year football history, in 1994. Its last winning season was 2003.
A 24-year coach and former Oxford quarterback, Darby went 11-11 in two seasons at Talladega. The Tigers went 6-5 in 2017, marking their first winning season since 1994.
Darby graduated from Oxford in 1987, just ahead of former Oxford coach Robert Herring’s run of three state titles between 1988 and 1993.
Darby’s coaching career includes an 0-9 season in one year as Fayetteville’s head coach, in 2000, but he’s helped to coach successful teams in several stops as an assistant. Darby coached at Hueytown, Weaver, Fayetteville, Benjamin Russell, Handley, Ashville and Shades Valley before Talladega. He’s was offensive and defensive coordinator in different stretches at Shades Valley but served as offensive coordinator or head coach everywhere else.
He was part of Benjamin Russell’s staff during the Wildcats’ 2001 run to the 5A state title.