Gregory named Georgiana’s head coach

Published 5:10 pm Friday, May 21, 2010

Shawn Gregory has been named head football coach of the Georgiana Panthers.

The Butler County Board of Education approved his hiring on Thursday night following an extensive search and interview process, said Joseph Dean, a member of the search committee.

“It’s a big day for Georgiana football and Georgiana community,” said Dean. “He’s a quality man.”

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Gregory said he was pleased to be given the opportunity.

“I know a lot of history about Georgiana, and I just felt like I could be one of the guys to get them over the hump,” said Gregory. “I played in a small town and it’s a similar situation. And we had a lot of success. To tell you the truth, Georgiana kind of felt like home.”

Dean said he actually had the pleasure of competing against Gregory, when the latter was a record-breaking quarterback at Jackson State University in 1990. Alabama State jumped out to a 28-0 halftime lead and won 42-28.

A loss had to be disappointing, but Dean said Gregory didn’t show it, sprinting across the field to shake hands with each ASU player. He then stopped by the locker room and congratulated them again, spending 30 minutes talking with the team, said Dean.

Gregory recalled the game as well.

“They put it on us,” he said, laughing. “I think we came in a little cocky.”

Mayor Mike Middleton, also a member of the search committee, was equally impressed with Gregory.

“He (Gregory) is a people person,” said Middleton. “He’s a disciplinarian and he was wanting to find a home in Georgiana. That’s what we wanted: someone that wanted to stay with us for awhile.”

Middleton said Gregory is an “offensive-minded” coach with collegiate and high school experience.

Gregory coached quarterbacks, tight ends and receivers for two years at Morris Brown, then was named receivers coach at Tuskegee University in 2000. In the two years Gregory spent at Tuskegee, the Golden Tigers posted a 23-1 record, winning the Black College National Championship in 2000. In 2002, Gregory left to coach at Mississippi Valley State, serving as the offensive coordinator and quarterbacks coach. In his first season the Delta Devil offense improved dramatically, the team improving to 5-6 after going 0-11 the year before.

Gregory spent three seasons at Samford University as an offensive assistant and also worked with NFL Hall-of-Famer James Loftin with the San Diego Chargers in the summer of 2005. He worked with Jon Gruden at Tampa Bay in the summer of 2006.

Gregory took his first high school coaching job at Jackson-Olin High School in 2008. The team went 3-7 and Gregory’s contract was not renewed in 2009.

“I just wasn’t the right person for that job,” said Gregory. “All you can do is your best and I did all I could do.”

Gregory said the principal who hired him left and the new administration wanted to bring in a coach they were familiar with.

Gregory said he wants to get Georgiana players to start thinking in a “positive light.”

“I want to let them know I have a vision for them,” he said. “We want to cater to the community and to the kids. We definitely want to have success, but I want us to understand what it takes to be successful. I want to share the ups and downs with them.”

Gregory said he wants to sit down with current assistant coaches and see if they will remain on staff.

“I know some of them have great support so I’m certainly interested in visiting with them,” he said.