Raiders hire Autauga head coach

Alabaster native Chris Honeycutt is the new head football coach and athletic director at Shelby Academy.

Honeycutt, who was 6-6 at Autauga Academy in 2008, takes over the Raiders program after two-year coach Shannon Jones was told April 17 he would not be retained for next year. Shelby headmaster Steve Zaslofsky was pleased with a short search.

“On Wednesday, our brief, but heartfelt prayers to find (Jones’) replacement were answered,” Zaslofsky said.

Honeycutt, who has lived in Alabaster since 1986, resigned at Autauga Thursday night after one season. He said a large reason for the move was to get closer to home.

“I’ve been driving to Prattville every day. I will always owe (Autauga) a lot in my career. They were the first people to believe enough in me to be a head coach, and for that I owe them a lot of thanks,” Honeycutt said. “They were very gracious, understanding and accepting to my reasons as why I’d want to leave after only a year.”

Having lived near Shelby Academy most of his life, Honeycutt, 36, is familiar with the school and it’s tradition.

“I knew of their rich tradition and what Coach (DeWayne) Kervin meant to that school when he was there. That made the decision somewhat easier, because the people there are used to being successful in athletics and the kids somewhat already have it instilled in them for what it takes,” Honeycutt said.

He planned to meet with the Raiders football team for the first time Friday afternoon and will join the staff full-time on Monday, taking over Jones’ schedule. He said he and Zaslofsky will discuss his classroom duties for the fall over the summer. He taught history and physical education at Autauga.

Honeycutt acknowledged that he knew a number of starting players left the school before the spring semester and that numbers were low for the spring. But he said that’s just part of being at a private school.

“I’ve been assured by all the powers to be that everything is fine and obviously we’re going to have to get those numbers back,” Honeycutt said. “We’ve just got to do a good job of coming in and selling our product, just like everywhere else. Hopefully everybody that’s there will buy into what I want and the direction I want football to go.”

Honeycutt said Raider fans can expect a mixture of the spread and option offenses next season, working both from the shotgun and under center.

Prior to Autauga, Honeycutt served as Coosa Central’s offensive coordinator in 2007, Chelsea High’s offensive and defensive line coach in 2005 and 2006 and he began his career with a three-year stint at his alma mater Thompson High School, where he served as head coach of the freshman team and helped coach the offensive line on varsity. In high school, he played four seasons for Thompson coach Ricky Seale and graduated in 1991. He received his bachelor’s degree and master’s from the University of Montevallo in 1995 and 2001, respectively.

Honeycutt and his wife, Emily, live in Alabaster with their son Ben, 4, and are expecting a second son in August.