Dubose left mark on Tigers#039; football, Luverne school

Published 12:00 am Friday, April 29, 2005

Mike Dubose brought the same passion for football to the high school gridiron as he did to the game played in the national spotlight, said Luverne Principal Earl Franks.

"The loss I feel as a principal and as a person is unbelievable," said Franks, who accepted Dubose's resignation last Wednesday. Dubose has accepted the job as defensive coordinator at Millsaps College, a Division III college in Jackson, Miss.

Franks said he met with Dubose last week and he told him that 'no words' existed to describe what the former University of Alabama head football coach meant to Luverne.

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"His work ethic, his passion…I don't know if we can replace him," he said. "In fact I know we can't replace him, but we're going to try."

Dubose met with his team on Thursday to inform them of the news. Franks said the team understood Dubose's reasons for leaving, which was largely financial. After two years at Luverne, Dubose had completed 25 years of service in the Alabama school system.

Still, that didn't suppress the mood.

"It's an overall sad feeling (on campus)," said Franks. "He was more than a coach. He was a friend and a father to a bunch of those kids on the team."

Dubose returned to high school football in 2002, coaching at Northview High School in Dothan. After a winless season there, he jumped to Luverne where he went 20-7 over two years, including 2003's trip to the Class 2A state championship game.

Coaching football at Luverne was somewhat of a rebirth for Dubose, following four turbulent years as head coach at his alma mater, Alabama. While there he experienced the highs of a 1999 SEC Championship and the lows of a sexual harassment scandal and a 3-8 season in 2000 that culminated in his firing. Recruiting violations under Dubose also eventually landed the Crimson Tide on NCAA probation.

Because of that, some felt trepidation towards hiring Dubose at Luverne, said Franks.

"There were a couple of people who didn't like that idea," he said. "But the majority of students, faculty and the community were very receptive towards Coach Dubose."

His name also brought recognition to Luverne, especially during football season.

"We're delighted to have a coach of Mike DuBose's caliber at Millsaps College," said Director of Athletics Ron Jurney. "He will be a welcome addition to our great group of assistant coaches."

Franks said applications are currently being accepted for the head-coaching job and will be until May 10. He said the school hopes to recommend someone to the county board of education by May 12.

"We've made the football team aware that we are going to find the best possible candidate for the job," he said.

Franks said he had not been made aware of any interest in the position by Dubose's assistant coaches.

"I haven't had any conversation yet with any of the assistants," he said. "But they are more than welcome to apply."