TALLADEGA -- The Talladega City Board of Education on Tuesday approved the hiring of Shannon Felder as Talladega High School’s head football coach.
Felder was approved by a 3-1 vote, with Board Chairwoman Mary McGhee voting no. Board member Shirley Simmons-Sims was not present. McGhee voted no on all personnel actions Tuesday.
“I am excited about the opportunity to be the head coach here,” Felder said. “Coach (Ted) Darby did a good job with the program. He got the program moving in the right direction. My goal is to come in and build off the success that he has already had and take that program to that next level.”
Darby went 11-11 in two seasons at the helm and led the Tigers to the playoffs in back-to-back years. Darby was relieved of his coaching duties Wednesday, July 17, during a meeting with Talladega City Schools Superintendent Tony Ball.
Darby had pursued the head coaching position at White Plains, but the veteran coach did not receive enough votes from the Calhoun County Board of Education to be approved.
With the expectation of Darby moving to White Plains, Ball began the search for the Tigers’ next head coach. The search didn't last long as Felder was rumored by Tuesday, July 16, to be Talladega’s next head coach. Ball said he is excited to bring in someone of Felder’s quality.
“Anybody that you talk to that knows Shannon, the things that you hear over and over is that he is a good man (and that) he is a good role model,” Ball said.
“I called Jan Hurd, who is the former president at Donoho, and she was my former superintendent when I was a coach at Anniston High School. The things she said about him echoed what everyone said, but she put such an emphasis on it. She is so highly respected, and that really drove it home for me.
“I also spoke with (Executive Director of the Alabama High School Athletic Association) Coach (Steve) Savarese, and he said great things about him … Everybody says that Shannon Felder is a good guy.”
Felder spent 11 of his 13-year head coaching career at Donoho, where he compiled a 67-54 record with eight postseason appearances and region titles in 2006 and 2014. Felder has a 5-8 record in the postseason. He led the Falcons to the third round of the playoffs in 2006 and 2011.
The past two seasons, he went at 3-17 at Sumter Central.
Felder takes over at Talladega with just over a month before the season starts Aug.30. The veteran coach said he plans to hit the ground running because he knows the product he puts out on the field is the only thing that is going to matter to the Talladega faithful.
“Whatever happens one way or another, the results of the season, I won't make any excuses,” Felder said. “I got the job and I am happy about the job.
“I am ready to go to work. Whatever time we have to get ready, we are going to utilize it to the max.”
Last season, Talladega finished 5-6 and fell to Headland 13-12 in the first round of the Class 4A playoffs.
“Coach Darby did a wonderful job of changing the mindset of the players and the community,” Felder said. “The guys understand that it is going to take hard work, dedication and sacrifice to take the program to the next level.
“They have the right focus. I just want to come in and add to it and to continue to add to it.
“We want to be a team that consistently makes the playoffs, a team that makes a run for a state championship and a team that believes that we can do it. … I think the possibilities are endless.”
Felder said he is looking forward to meeting with the team and “getting busy.”
The Felder file
Felder was an all-state running back in Texas. He graduated from Willis High School (Willis, Texas) in 1984 and played football/baseball at the University of Alabama. Felder’s position at Alabama was defensive back/left cornerback, and he lettered one season. His football coach at Alabama was Ray Perkins. Felder graduated from Alabama in 1989.
- Offensively, Felder said he likes to run multiple sets, but his
offense would primarily operate out of a spread formation.
- Defensively, Felder said he likes to show teams different looks
that include 3-4, 4-3 and 4-4 sets.
- Felder started his high school coaching career at Central
Tuscaloosa in 1993. He said he has coached at every level in Alabama except 3A and 7A.
-Felder was an assistant on Central Tuscaloosa’s team that won a 6A state championship in 1995.
-While at Donoho, Felder and the Falcons averaged 30 points or more four times. Donoho averaged 41 points per game in his final season at the helm.
-- Sports writer Shane Dunaway contributed to this story.