Kingwood announces football head coaching change

By WESLEY HALLMAN / Sports Editor

ALABASTER — Kingwood Christian School simultaneously announced the resignation of head football coach Vince Elliott and the promotion of assistant coach Bob Spurgeon as the Lions’ new head coach Feb. 15.

Elliott, who is a district sales manager with Kraft Foods North America, said he is giving up the position due to recent job responsibility and schedule changes that will conflict with practices and games during the upcoming football season.

“I’m not going to be available,” Elliott said. “I wanted to make sure before spring training that the school felt secure about the coaching position.”

Spurgeon, who has served as Elliott’s offensive coordinator the past two seasons, is in his ninth season as a football coach at the school and also served on the staff of former Kingwood Christian coach Jerry Stearns.

Bob Spurgeon

Kingwood Christian Athletic Director Johna Smith said she pinpointed Spurgeon as a replacement for Elliott as soon as he told her he was stepping down. Smith said the position attracted several resumes with impressive credentials, but recommendations and ties to the Kingwood Christian community put Spurgeon at the top of the list.

“I’m a real firm believer in promoting from within if there is a qualified person,” Smith said. “Vince’s first recommendation to me was Bob. I knew what direction I wanted to go in. Bob was our number one choice. He’s another great man to take it from here.”

Smith praised Elliott for helping build the football program and the on-field success the Lions achieved under his direction. After a winless 0-9 mark in his first season in 2009, Elliott led Kingwood Christian to a 7-4 record in his second season as head coach in 2010. The Lions fell just short of an Alabama Independent Schools Association Class 3A playoff appearance last year.

“Coach Elliott had a positive impact on the program,” Smith said. “New uniforms and equipment were secured for all levels of the program and weight training facilities were moved and expanded within the KCS fieldhouse. In addition to this, lockers were built within the facility and a termite program was started for third and fourth graders. The football program made a profit in 2010 with player and student participation in all programs increasing significantly during the 2010 season.”

Elliott, who told his players he was stepping down during a team meeting Tuesday afternoon, called the scene “emotional” and said it was “something he never wants to do again.”

“It is circumstances beyond my control that have rendered me unavailable,” Elliott said.

Elliott said the program is in good hands with Spurgeon. Defensive coordinator Jon Kress plans to remain on Spurgeon’s staff next season.

“This is a real positive for Kingwood,” Elliott said.

Spurgeon, who is currently the dean of students at Kingwood Christian, teaches ninth grade English and psychology. Spurgeon is married to Betsy and the couple has one daughter, Sarah, who is in kindergarten at Kingwood Christian.

Spurgeon said Elliott and Stearns were valuable mentors during the early part of his coaching career.

“I’ve had great people to learn Xs and Os from and to learn leadership and management from,” Spurgeon said.

Smith said Kingwood Christian was fortunate to have someone ready to step in as head coach before spring training.

“We were blessed to have another man on staff that can pick it up and take it from here,” Smith said.