McKenzie School’s Tony Norris was recently named the Alabama Football Coaches Association Class 1A Assistant Coach of the Year. Pictured are, from left to right, McKenzie Athletics Director Miles Brown, Norris, McKenzie head football coach Josh McLendon and McKenzie principal Mike Gunter. (Courtesy Photo)
McKenzie School’s Tony Norris was recently named the Alabama Football Coaches Association Class 1A Assistant Coach of the Year. Pictured are, from left to right, McKenzie Athletics Director Miles Brown, Norris, McKenzie head football coach Josh McLendon and McKenzie principal Mike Gunter. (Courtesy Photo)

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Norris named 1A’s top assistant

Published 1:56pm Tuesday, February 4, 2014

Tony Norris’ name is on the award.

But the McKenzie School coach, who was recently named the Alabama Football Coaches Association Class 1A Assistant Coach of the Year, is quick to point out that the award does not belong to him alone.

“I tell people when they ask me about the award that it was just a testament to our kids’ work ethic,” Norris said. “They worked very hard in the weight room, on the practice field, and on the game field.”

Norris served as first-year head coach Josh McLendon’s defensive coordinator in 2013, and helped guide the Tigers to a 9-3 record and an appearance in the second round of the playoffs.

McKenzie’s defense allowed 22.1 points per game this season, and held their opponents under 20 points five times, including a shutout against Red Level High School on Sept. 13.

“We are real proud for Tony,” said McLendon.  “He’s a person we can always count on.  He did a great job leading our defense this year. We couldn’t have been successful without him. I have always believed you are only as good as the people around you.

“Tony is a great person to have on my side, and with him being here several years, he was somebody I could go to with anything.  He’s a great coach and a good leader for the kids and community.”

Norris said he was humbled by the recognition.

“When I came to the McKenzie I didn’t have any experience in coaching football,” Norris said. “I knew I loved the game as a player in high school, but never had the opportunity to be around it after high school. I am very appreciative of (former McKenzie School principal) Mr. (Randy) Williams for giving me a job and (former McKenzie School) Coach (Miles) Brown for taking a chance on me with no football experience other than playing in high school. I talk to the kids all the time about setting goals, and to be honest, after I started coaching football this was one of my goals.”

Norris credited the other coaches and the administration at McKenzie for helping him achieve his goal.

“I am very thankful for several different people that have helped me and taught me different things,” Norris said. “I have already mentioned Coach Brown and Mr. Williams. (Former McKenzie defensive coordinator Ezell) Powell taught me a lot about the defensive side of the ball. I am really thankful for the support and help from (McKenzie principal) Mr. Mike Gunter during this year. I appreciate the hard work and help from Coach McLendon, Coach Bass, and Coach Wall. I also want to thank the Alabama Football Coaches Association for the award.”

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