Photo of the Day

Taylor Polk and Spence Overstreet, both members of the 2009 state championship team, are coaching at Charles Henderson in Troy. Polk is the special teams coordinator and the head JV baseball coach. Overstreet is an offensive line and defensive line coach and is the head JV soccer coach. (Submitted by Stephanie Polk)

Barham out at Marengo Academy

8-28-15 - Linden, Ala. - MA head football coach David Barham talks with his team in a timeout during Friday's AISA match-up in Linden, Ala. Bessemer Academy beat Marengo Academy, 28-6. MA parted ways with Barham on Thursday. (WAW | Stewart Gwin)

8-28-15 – Linden, Ala. – MA head football coach David Barham talks with his team in a timeout during Friday’s AISA match-up in Linden, Ala. Bessemer Academy beat Marengo Academy, 28-6. MA parted ways with Barham on Thursday. (WAW | Stewart Gwin)

Marengo Academy parted ways with first-year headmaster and football coach David Barham Thursday according to a call issued by its Parent Reach system.

The Watchman spoke with MA Board President Mike Emmons by phone Thursday night.

“He is no longer headmaster,” said Emmons. Emmons offered no further comment.

The move comes a little more than a month after Marengo Academy hired Barham to replace Gary Caldwell, who stepped down two weeks earlier.

Caldwell accepted the same positions in February and stepped down as headmaster after being relieved from football coaching duties. At the time of the move, the board cited its desire for Caldwell to focus primarily on administrative duties.

The board named Webb Tutt head football coach for the remainder of the season in the wake of Barham’s departure and will now enter into the search for a new headmaster.

“We are going to look forward and not behind,” Tutt said of his team’s focus for the remainder of the 2015 campaign. “I told our kids the only things we can control are what happens in the classroom and the football field.”

The tumultuous run for MA began with the retirement of Robby James as headmaster and football coach following the 2014 season. The Linden-based private school has officially made four coaching changes since that time and is in search of its third headmaster.

Barham leaves with a 1-1 record as the Longhorns head coach. The Longhorns are idle this week and host South Choctaw Academy next Thursday.


Coaches’ biggest fans also their MVPs

High school football kicks off this week for most teams in Marengo County. All eyes will focus on the field and on the coaches pacing the sidelines, calling plays, giving instruction.

To be successful, however, head coaches must have support at home. Three spouses of successful coaches in Marengo County shared what it’s like to be the wife of a coach.

Tom and Tammy Causey

Tom and Tammy Causey

Tammy Causey, wife of Demopolis High School head coach Tom Causey, knew going into her marriage 15 years ago that she would be a coach’s wife. The two met at UWA when he was an assistant coach and she was a trainer.

“In the beginning I worked more hours than he did,” she laughed.

Tammy has been with him through three coaching positions, including his eight years at DHS, which have included trips to the playoffs each year and the 5A state championship in 2009.

Her biggest job? Serving as a sounding board.

Andro Williams, who has amassed a remarkable 80-15 record at Linden High School, was already coaching at LHS when he and Telena married four years ago. A science teacher at G.P. Austin Middle School, she didn’t have any idea what she was in for.

Donna Luker, the wife of former Sweet Water High coach Stacy Luker, clued her in and told her it would seem like she was single again. “It didn’t prepare me!” Telena said.

It was no surprise to June James that her husband, Robby, had his career planned when they married 42 years ago. “I had a pretty good idea” he wanted to be a coach.

They met while students at UWA and have traveled throughout Alabama to follow coaching stints and, for two years, serving as houseparents at a Boys Ranch.

Along the way Coach James has led his teams to nine state titles, include the championship last year at the end of Marengo Academy’s perfect season.

All three women said one of the main challenges to overcome is that they are single moms during football season. Their husbands have demanding jobs from July through December.

“I try to take as much outside of football during the season off his plate,” said Tammy.

The biggest challenge June faced was “becoming accustomed to the number of hours they have to put into their jobs.” Now that their two children are grown and on their own, the demands aren’t so bad.

They have a daughter, Dana, in Foley, and son David is in Tuscaloosa.

The Williamses have a four-year-old son, Andro Jr., and Telena makes sure he gets to see his father by taking him by the field after practice. Her husband usually gets home well after their son is in bed. She often leaves his dinner in the microwave.

Andro and Telena Williams

Andro and Telena Williams

The first year was the hardest, said Telena. “I try to embrace that my husband’s not going to be home much (during football season).”

When she was pregnant, “I was praying that I wouldn’t go into labor during football season.” She didn’t want her husband to have to make the decision between her and the team. Little Andro came two days after the state playoffs.

Causey aspired to be a college coach, said his wife, but the couple decided that if they wanted a family, he should go into high school coaching.

They have two daughters, Anna, 13, and Kelsey, 11. “It’s gotten easier as the girls have gotten older.”

Tammy also makes sure the girls have time with their father. “I take them wherever he is.”

The Causeys try to keep the DHS football staff family-oriented and get the families together as often as possible during the season.

All the women also agreed the best part of being the wife of a coach is getting close to the players and their families.

The group almost becomes an extended family, said June. She gets to “see them grow up and become more confident.”

Williams agreed. “I try to make myself available” to them. She is motivated “by the love I have for my husband, the game of football and the compassion to care and provide for others. It’s not perfect, but it’s my life and I wouldn’t want it any other way.”

The wives do more than sit in the stands and take care of the home and family. Each one has a tangible part in the success of the team.

Tammy organizes the weekly team church suppers the nights before games, sets up the Adopt-A-Football Player with classes at Westside and U.S. Jones elementary schools and arranges with team moms to prepare sandwiches for the team to enjoy after away games.

Robby and June James

Robby and June James

Since June teaches computers at MA, she has become the go-to person when Robby needs to post games film for other coaches to access. In the past she was cheerleader sponsor during the couple’s 14 years at Catherine Academy. “We won our little division” at cheerleader camp, she proudly shared.

Since Robby also is MA headmaster, June is called on to help wherever she can.

Andro never asks Telena to do anything, she said, but that doesn’t stop her from pitching in.

“If I see that it needs to be done, I’ll do it.” That includes helping wash uniforms, cleaning the field house and even baking goodies for the players.

“There’s an adjustment period” once the season is over, said Tammy. She and her husband have gotten involved with Coaches Outreach.

“This is our ministry,” she said. They take a summer marriage retreat with several other couples from coaching staff. “I really love it,” she added.

The Causeys try to travel to see family, but the coach also is athletic director, and spring sports can “get crazy too.” She teaches physical education at U.S. Jones and their daughters are well into athletics. Life, she said, is “definitely not boring.”

June agrees. “It keeps you young and active.”

“It keeps me on my toes,” echoed Telena.

“We spend as much time together as possible” after the season, added Telena. The family tries to travel or at least go out to dinner.

The worst part of being the wife of a coach, continued Telena, is sitting in the stands and listening to negative comments from the fans. New wives must have a thick skin, she stressed.

He’s out there working for the kids, she explained, and “I’m burning up inside.”

“There are a lot of sacrifices but a lot of rewards, too,” said Tammy.

Her husband praises everything that wives of coaches do for them. “There’s no way we could do what we do without them,” said Tom Causey. “They’re truly the backbone of what we do.”

Demopolis, American Christian game a family affair for head coaches

Demopolis head football coach Tom Causey typically talks to his brother about once a week. With football in their blood and a lifetime of memories together, conversation is not hard to come by.

This week, however, the talking points are a little different for the Causey brothers.

“You’ve got to do the normal head coach things. You’ve got to talk to each other about the way you’re dressing and which end of the field you’re on and all of that,” Tom Causey, whose Demopolis Tigers will travel to face little brother John Causey’s American Christian Academy team Friday night, said. “We normally only talk to each other once a week, but it has been more than that this week.”

The meeting marks the first time the brothers have competed against one another as head coaches and just the latest in a long line of competitions for two men who were raised winners.

“She didn’t really like it to start with. She didn’t know where she was going to sit and all that,” Tom said of his mother’s feelings regarding the game. “My mother has been watching youth league and high school football since the 60s. So she understands what’s going on Friday night. I’m sure she’d rather us not play. But it will all be over with soon.”

While there will be bragging rights on the line and neither brother wants to lose to the other Friday night, the possibility of having such a game began to take shape out of convenience rather than competition.

“He and I were talking last fall during the season. We wanted to play somebody without having to drive to Birmingham. He was looking to change the schedule,” Tom said.

Given that Demopolis and American Christian frequently play one another in soccer, softball and baseball and have recently added a volleyball matchup to their slates, the game made sense for both coaches.

“I think it will be good for both communities to do it. It’s a great opportunity for us to play a great opponent,” Causey said. “They’re going to play hard and give us a tremendous challenge and we don’t have to ride two and a half hours to play a football game.”

Tom Causey talks about American Christian like he does every other opponent. He points out its strengths, compliments its coaching staff and praises its program. The professionalism is a signature of both Causey brothers. And while Friday night will be about the business of football and well-being of the young men between the lines, Tom admits there is pride on the line.

“I don’t have Christmas dinner with any of the other nine coaches I play,” he said.



ESPN 104.9 names Huckabee Player of the Week

It is one thing for a freshman to play in a varsity game. It is another entirely for him to score an offensive and a defensive touchdown in the fourth quarter to leave his team to a much needed victory.

Marengo Academy’s Hayden Huckabee with ESPN 104.9 Coaches Show host Rob Pearson at Batter Up Sports Bar and Grill.

But that is how Hayden Huckabee started his varsity career last Friday night for the Marengo Academy Longhorns.

Huckabee rolled off a 78-yard touchdown run on the first play of the fourth quarter to erase a 6-0 deficit against South Choctaw Acadamy. Later, with only 7 seconds remaining in the game, he intercepted a pass and returned it 55 yards for a touchdown to ice the contest.

His efforts gave the Longhorns a good start to a new season that follows a very rough 2011 campaign. His exploits also made him the very first Player of the Week for the ESPN 104.9 Coaches Show. Show host Rob Pearson along with Sean Parker of ESPN 104.9 honored Huckabee with a commemorative t-shirt and a free meal at Batter Up in Demopolis during the show Tuesday evening.

The Coaches Show will name one local athlete as its top performer each week. The show takes place from 7 to 8 p.m. at Batter Up in the marvelous every Tuesday evening.