Caldwell resigns from Marengo Academy, Tutt in as head football coach

Webb Tutt will take over as Marengo Academy head coach after two seasons as defensive coordinator.

Webb Tutt will take over as Marengo Academy head coach after two seasons as defensive coordinator.

Less than a month until kickoff, Marengo Academy is undergoing its second coaching change of the offseason. The Linden private school parted ways with Gary Caldwell, who tendered his resignation Thursday just five months after accepting the head football coach and headmaster positions.

Gary Caldwell resigned from Marengo Academy Thursday, five months after accepting the positions of headmaster and head football coach.

Gary Caldwell resigned from Marengo Academy Thursday, five months after accepting the positions of headmaster and head football coach.

The board asked Caldwell to step away as football coach and focus on his duties as headmaster and athletic director, an offer that was declined in earnest Thursday.

“Today, Gary Caldwell resigned from his position as our headmaster,” Marengo Academy informed faculty, parents and staff through its Parent Reach system Thursday evening. ” Last week the Board of Directors removed Coach Caldwell as head coach at Marengo Academy and asked that he focus his time as headmaster and athletic director while assisting with athletics as his schedule allowed. The board named Webb Tutt as head coach. The board felt that Coach Caldwell had much work to do administratively as headmaster/athletic director and it was unfair to ask him to be in the dual role as headmaster/athletic director and head coach.  Coach Caldwell, after much careful consideration, decided today that he and his family would not remain at Marengo Academy.

“The Board is working to identify an individual to fill the role as Headmaster/Athletic Director. We have outstanding faculty and staff employed for the upcoming school year and expect to have a successful year both academically and athletically. The board regrets Coach Caldwell’s resignation but wishes he and his family well in his future endeavors.”

Caldwell came to Marengo Academy from Faith Academy and was set to replace the now retired Robby James for the second time. Caldwell also replaced James for three seasons at Faith Academy from 2009-2011, where he went 7-23 at the AHSAA Class 5A level.

Caldwell had found success in the AISA previously at Monroe Academy where he led the team to a 41-8 record in four seasons that included a 13-0 campaign with a state championship in 2001. Caldwell led Monroe back to the title game a season later, losing to Bessemer to cap a 10-3 campaign that saw all three losses come by a total of seven points.

Caldwell’s first head coaching job came at Wilcox Academy, where he served from 1994-1996.

With the season rapidly approaching, Marengo will turn to Webb Tutt as its new head coach. Tutt, who served as the defensive coordinator for the Longhorns the last two seasons, is 47-32 in his head coaching career according to AHSFHS.org.
Tutt was last a head coach at West Alabama Prep in 2003 but previously served as the coach of Sumter Academy from 1996-1998 and at Marengo Academy from 1993-1995.

His task for 2015 will begin with rallying the Longhorns around a new system and a new staff that includes former South Choctraw Academy coach Woodie Beck.

Webb Tutt, pictured here during the 2013 state championship win over Restoration Academy, will take over as Marengo head coach.

Webb Tutt, pictured here during the 2013 state championship win over Restoration Academy, will take over as Marengo head coach.

“Defensively, nothing is new. Offensively, we’ve got to install everything that’s new from the terminology to the plays, everything. We’ve got to hit the ground running. There’s nothing to do about the timing. It is what it is. We’ve just got to get the kids to buy in and I think they will,” Tutt said of the task at hand. “Our passing tree will be different. Our numbering will be different. But it’s not complicated.”

Beck will handle the offensive responsibilities while Tutt focuses primarily on the defense.

“He’s going to be primarily working with the offense. And he can probably coach the defensive backs on defense. He’s going to be in charge of running the offense and I’ll do the defense,” Tutt said before noting that the Longhorns will likely be entirely done with the Wing-T system that James used for 299 wins and a 2013 Marengo Academy state title. “It’s going to be good. I don’t know how much Wing-T we’re going to run. Probably none. It’s a learning curve, but he’s got a grasp of it. We’ve got one returning offensive lineman. Our skill people right now are a little better than our offensive lineman.”

The key element in Tutt’s favor is his familiarity with the players, a rapport he believes will help the team adjust quickly.

“That’s the whole key. I know them. I know each one of them. Being with them and knowing what they can and can’t do is a plus. And they know me,” Tutt said. “We’ve got to take it, especially right now, one practice, one rep, one game at a time. Nothing is going to be new to them except that we’re going to change the way we practice some. We’ve got to get in shape because we don’t have the depth we’ve had in the past. But I think all our varsity kids will have a chance to get on the field. That’s a good thing.”

Check back with WestAlabamaWatchman.com for more updates as they become available.