DiLorenzo takes over at CVA

After three years at Coosa Valley Academy, assistant coach and athletic director Vince DiLorenzo stepped in as head football coach when previous coach Stephen Mackin left at the end of the school year to enlist in the military.

DiLorenzo decided to take the head coaching position because “Coosa has just turned out to be a good place to coach with good kids and a great headmaster.”

He has been coaching for 25 years, first at Gadsden High School, where he won AHSAA Class 5A state titles in 1986 and 1991. After leaving Gadsden, DiLorenzo started the football program at Spain Park High School in 2001.

DiLorenzo said all head coaches have to manage problems with their players’ parents, discipline and academics, but less issues arise at a smaller, slower-paced school like CVA. DiLorenzo’s past three years as an assistant provided a welcome relief where he could focus entirely on football instead.

“If you enjoy football then it really doesn’t matter if you’re head or assistant coach, you approach it the same way,” DiLorenzo said.

The CVA football team won the state championship in 1984, but the team has experienced continuous ups and downs since then due to enrollment changes and graduating classes, DiLorenzo said.

Mackin and DiLorenzo arrived at the school three years ago, beginning their jobs the same school year. The team developed under their direction, going from a 1-9 season in 2005 to 4-6 last year.

DiLorenzo said he will make few changes because the two worked so closely together to enhance the program and agreed on the choices they made for the team.

“There’s no doubt in my mind that the program has improved each year,” DiLorenzo said. “Sometimes your record doesn’t reflect that, but the people that come out to see us play and the people we play against recognize that.”

Joining DiLorenzo’s staff as assistant football coach is former South Montgomery Academy head coach Bobby Hughes, who will take over the baseball program.

Bobby Hughes plans to cultivate the talent on a baseball team that finished the season 20-9 last year in the AISA 1A semifinals and continue a strong, competitive tradition that helped lead CVA to a state title in 2007.

“I’ve been looking for a place where I can go in year in and year out where I have a chance to win consistently,” Hughes said. “I wanted to be competitive and comfortable where I’m at.”

Hughes served as athletic director and head coaches for football, baseball and basketball at SMA.

Because CVA is a small school, Hughes will work with some of the same athletes for baseball and football, which he says is an advantage as long as he can avoid “stepping on the toes” of the other sports.

Hughes has changes in store for the baseball team, including becoming serious about weights, building the Junior Varsity team and sticking to a year-round program.

“The team’s got a high talent level with a lot of returning talent,” Hughes said. “We’ll be aggressive, and we’ll play hard. I expect to go to state and have a chance to win.”