After one year, Vincent leaves Tigers for job at Spanish Fort HS

Published 12:00 am Thursday, June 14, 2007

Greenville High School athletic director and head football coach Bryant Vincent is leaving.

After &#8220bringing it back” during the 2006 season, Vincent will now attempt to &#8220bring it on” as he has accepted a position as the athletic director and head football coach at Class 5A Spanish Fort High School in Baldwin County.

Vincent, who directed the Tigers to a 10-3 record in just his first season, informed Butler County Schools Superintendent Mike Looney and Greenville Principal Kathy Murphy Sunday of his intentions to leave.

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&#8220This is the hardest decision I have ever had to make,” Vincent said. &#8220It's hard because of how far these kids and how far we've come and because of the special relationships I have with these kids, the administration and this community.”

Murphy, who said she was contacted by Vincent and made aware he was being pursued by Spanish Fort last week, said the timing of the decision is the most difficult factor of the situation.

&#8220I am disappointed for our students,” Murphy said. &#8220The timing is difficult and really poor for us.”

&#8220This is a hurdle, but we're used to jumping hurdles,” she added.

Looney also said the timing of Vincent's decision has made it difficult on everyone, considering kickoff for the 2007 season is less than three months away.

&#8220This was a personal decision (Vincent) made and I respect that,” Looney said. &#8220I think it is an opportunity for us to work with our boys to ensure we continue the success we've had.”

&#8220We're confident we will be able to continue to have a productive season,” he added.

Vincent said he has had three other offers to leave Greenville since the Tigers ended the 2006 season, but had no intentions of leaving until Spanish Fort came calling a few weeks ago.

Former Spanish Fort athletic director and head football coach Barry Gibson was relieved of his duties by Spanish Fort Principal Michael Lucci in mid-May after the Toros went 0-10 in just the first season of varsity football and Vincent said the school relentlessly pursued him with an offer, and opportunity, he couldn't refuse following Gibson's dismissal.

&#8220They have not won a football game yet,” Vincent said of Spanish Fort. &#8220This gives me a chance to build a program from the ground up and be able to start from the very beginning.”

Vincent is no stranger to building a program from the ground up as the coach served as the offensive coordinator at Spain Park during the school's first years of varsity football.

Greenville Defensive coordinator Ernest Hill and offensive assistant Matthew Wells will also join Vincent at Spanish Fort as the two informed Looney of their decision Sunday night.

While he admitted he is excited about the upcoming opportunity, Vincent said it has been grueling thinking about leaving the team he helped turn around from a back-to-back 1-9 team to a 10-3 team.

&#8220When it comes down to it, I didn't make a tackle, throw a touchdown pass or make a touchdown run,” Vincent said. &#8220I just showed them their potential and showed them that they can be something.”

&#8220They know what you have to do to win now and they've always realized winning isn't easy,” he added.

Vincent also pointed out that the results on the football field are not the only advancements made during the last year.

New weight room equipment, film towers, cameras and uniforms were purchased and a booster club was even started.

In the fall, ground breaking will begin for a new, state-of-the-art indoor practice facility/fieldhouse.

&#8220When we first got here, we didn't have any money and we hardly had any weight room equipment,” Vincent said. &#8220I think the program is alive and well now.”

&#8220We've restored pride and excitement in this town,” he added.

And Vincent is hoping to install that same enthusiasm at Spanish Fort.

&#8220At this point in time, I feel for my kids, my players, but I am looking forward to the challenge that lies ahead and I know it's going to be a long journey,” Vincent said.

The search to replace Vincent has already begun and the job vacancy was posted Monday at 7 a.m.

Although no time frame has been set to replace Vincent, Murphy said Greenville High School and the Butler County Board of Education would move expeditiously to find the right person.