Hood resigns as Oak Mtn. coach

Published 8:52 am Wednesday, November 5, 2008

A new face will lead the Oak Mountain Eagles football team next fall. After five seasons, Jerry Hood stepped aside as head football coach Wednesday.

“It is with a heavy heart, that today I want to announce that I am stepping aside as head coach at Oak Mountain High School. I want to express my sincere appreciation to the players, coaches, fans and administration in our community for the chance to work with the football team for the past 10 years,” Hood wrote in a letter released to the media Wednesday morning.

Hood will remain on staff as the school’s athletics director. He has worked in both roles since 2004.

“At this point, we’re just making a decision that’s best for the school, so I’m not sure where life will lead. I do know the good Lord will watch out for us,” Hood told the Reporter.

The decision was made Oct. 23, the day before Oak Mountain fell to Spain Park, 22-20, on Senior Night. Hood said he sought advice from many before deciding what his future at Oak Mountain would be and then took it to the school’s administration.

“I’m the one that generated the conversations. Some of the folks I talked to were surprised,” Hood said. “The administrators just listened to what I had to say about my plans and reasons and all that, and they expressed to me, of course that they appreciated everything that was done there and encouraged me to think about it and make sure I was making the decision that was best for me and my family.”

Hood, a new father of four adopted children from Ukraine, said he felt it was necessary to make a “change for the sake of the school and program.” In his letter Wednesday, he wrote that the AD portion of the job had become so consuming that he saw this as his best fit to serve the athletic program, school and community.

The only pressure he said he felt to make a decision was self-pressure.

“I do not care about outside pressure. I care about our kids and what’s best for our lives,” Hood said. “At the end of the day it was all about the kids when I was the coach. I hope they know that everything I did was to benefit them … I tell the kids all the time, ‘I want to leave you with a good example.’ This is just a change. It’s not the end of the world. It’ll be exciting for the community and the kids. I live in the community, I love the community we’ll just move forward and build from here.”

Hood ends his tenure with a 28-26 record as head coach. It is the second longest among active coaches in Class 6A, Region 6, which is considered by many as the toughest region in the state. He joined the school as defensive coordinator under Tony Pugh when the school opened in 1999 and became the school’s second head coach in 2004. He led the Eagles to their best season at 10-4 and a trip to the Class 6A semifinal in 2005, but Oak Mountain has missed the playoffs the past three seasons. The Eagles were 3-7 this year.

As athletic director, Hood has helped oversee the fund raising for an athletics budget of nearly $400,000 a year. During his administrative tenure, he has helped raise $3 million dollars for field development, concession stands and new athletic buildings.

No interim head coach is to be named, according to Hood. The assistant coaches will serve in their roles to lead the program until a new head coach is hired.