Shelby County native makes Arena Football League history with win

By DREW GRANTHUM/Sports Editor

About this time last year, I was fortunate enough to catch up with Columbiana native and former Shelby County High School standout Kevin Guy as his Arizona Rattlers squared off with the Philadelphia Soul in ArenaBowl XXVI.

A former wide receiver at Livingston University (now the University of West Alabama) Guy became the head coach of the Rattlers in 2007, and immediately began to turn the team around. In our conversation, Guy gave me a interesting way of looking at player-coach interactions. Instead of focusing on X’s and O’s and maintaining a dominant personality Guy said he had a different take.

“It’s all people skills,” he said. “I’m just coaching people who play football. My philosophy is I treat all my guys as individuals. I treat them as their own person. I’m pretty straight with them the first day of camp.”

His philosophy seems to have translated over well. The Rattlers won the game and in the process, captured their second-straight AFL championship, knocking off the Soul 48-39 to take the win. Obviously, the philosophy is still working, as Guy and the Rattlers captured their third-straight ArenaBowl win by crushing the Cleveland Gladiators in ArenaBowl XXVII 72-32. According Arenafootball.com, Guy became the first coach in league history to appear in four straight ArenaBowls and win three-straight championships.

It’s always good to see a native of the county go follow their dreams, and its even better to see their dreams bring such a great return.

Granted, I only spoke to Coach Guy that one time, and I haven’t had a chance to catch up with him after the team’s recent accomplishment, but I find myself pulling for the Rattlers whenever I can catch them because of the connection to Shelby County. Guy was quick to point out that the coaches he had at SCHS had an impact on his life, including his decision to get into coaching.

“My coaches at Shelby County had a big influence on me,” he said. “Coming out of college, I thought I’d go into sales. My heart (told me) go into coaching.”

I’d say he made the right call. Congrats to you and yours, Coach.