Former Calera standout coaching in national all-star game

By WESLEY HALLMAN / Sports Editor

Former Calera High School football standout Byron De’Vinner has seen talented players come and go during his six-year high school coaching career.

De’Vinner, an offensive line coach at Independence High School in Thompson’s Station, Tenn., has never been part of a roster with as much talent as the East roster in the upcoming Offense-Defense All-American Bowl.

De’Vinner will coach offensive linemen in the high school all-star game in Myrtle Beach, S.C. headed to destinations including the University of Alabama, LSU and the University of South Carolina in 2011. De’Vinner will help lead the East against the West on New Year’s Eve at 3 p.m.

Byron De'Vinner

De’Vinner, who played one year at Alabama State University before finishing up his college career at UAB, said being tabbed to coach in the fifth edition of the prestigious all-star game is an incredible coaching milestone.

“It’s a blessing,” De’Vinner said. “It’s a huge honor to coach in this game.”

Alumni of the All-American Bowl include National Football League and college football standouts. Current Auburn University quarterback Cam Newton was the most valuable player in the first All-American Bowl in 2007. Other noteworthy alumni include NFL players Rolando McClain and Dez Bryant.

De’Vinner, who came to Independence after serving as a volunteer assistant coach at Riverdale High School in nearby Murfreesboro, said two coaches played a key role in helping him reach his potential as a high school coach — Danny Alverson, his high school coach at Calera, and Richard Gilliam, a former coach at Calera and Montevallo.

De’Vinner said Gilliam, who died in a car accident in April 2010, had the biggest impact on his life.

“You would have thought I was one of his kids,” De’Vinner said of Gilliam. “He was like a father figure to me. I wouldn’t have had the opportunities I have had if it wasn’t for him.”

De’Vinner has made an effort to give back to the Shelby County community after growing up in Calera. De’Vinner started the non-profit Byron De’Vinner Foundation to offer kids throughout the Southeast a better way of life.

De’Vinner has put on multiple foundation events in Shelby County, including a charity basketball game at Vincent and a charity softball game at Calera.

De’Vinner said Gilliam has been his guiding voice in his adult life.

“Outside of my grandmother,” De’Vinner said, “(Gilliam) has had the biggest influence on my life.”