Oak Mountain names California coach Shane McComb next head football coach

Published 6:11 pm Thursday, January 26, 2023

By ALEC ETHEREDGE | Managing Editor

NORTH SHELBY – They went all the way across the country to do it, but the Oak Mountain Eagles have found their next head football coach.

On Thursday, Jan. 26, Shane McComb was board approved at the Shelby County BOE meeting to become the next leader of the OMHS football program.

McComb has spent the last seven years leading Palm Desert High School in Southern California.

“We’re stoked as a family. It’s a big change,” McComb said. “The ability to go and raise our family where we want to. I’m stoked from that standpoint. I want to go somewhere where football means everything. I think it’s pretty obvious in that part of the country, a lot of the money goes into the kids, the coaches, the schools, education. It’s a little different than California. I’m excited to see that environment and community.”

McComb has led Palm Desert to six consecutive district championships with a 33-2 record in district play over their last 35 games.

The Aztecs, who have competed against some of the toughest teams in California as the school has grown, have won at least eight games each of the last five full seasons with a playoff berth each season as well.

McComb took over the job at 27 years old with a rebuild ahead of him, but it was a challenge he flourished in and one he thinks has prepared him for this new journey.

“There was a lot of turnover every year, consistently third place, one outright championship in 24 years before I got here,” he said. “I got here late in June that first year. It was a struggle. A lot of ups and downs. We ended up going 3-7. The next offseason, we put full focus in the strength program 12 months out of the year and put together a great coaching staff. I kept those same coaches for the last six years and it’s led to our success. I want good loyal people who want to do right by the program, and I expect that at Oak Mountain.”

McComb said he started getting interest from schools over the last couple of years, but he turned down a few jobs because it wasn’t the right time or move.

Alabama, however, stuck out as a destination he wanted to be because of the deep football roots in the state.

“There in Alabama, it will be bigger football in the trenches and a higher level of coaching,” he said. “It’s a matter of getting there and putting together a good challenge. Battling in the trenches will be key. You look at the top recruits in the SEC, it’s up front that makes the difference for those teams because of how physical the players are in the trenches.”

In addition to the success the state of Alabama sees in football, McComb said he was drawn to the community of Oak Mountain and the Birmingham-metro area.

“When Oak Mountain opened up, a lot of pieces had to fit still on a professional level and family level,” he said. “We went out to Oak Mountain for five days and absolutely fell in love with it. It’s the type of community we want to raise a family in.”

He said Oak Mountain Principal Andrew Gunn was forthcoming with him and amazing throughout the entire process, adding that Gunn wanted a good communicator and someone who could run a solid program at the highest level.

Gunn said that after extensive research, everything pointed toward hiring McComb as the school’s next football coach.

“Initially, I was skeptical with someone reaching out from that far away, so that’s why we had a step-by-step process,” he said. “I did an extensive background check talking with current and former administrators, talking with parents of current and former players, talking with his local media outlet. I struggled to find anyone who had anything negative to say about him from a football or person standpoint. He loves football and is absolutely passionate about football. He wants to be in our competitive region and face the challenges we face.”

McComb said he knows the challenges will be there jumping into one of the most difficult regions in the country, but it’s a challenge he is ready to face head on as the team’s new leader.

“We’ve moved up several divisions in California since I’ve been here and have flown to other states to play some of the best teams around,” he said. “We’re a school of close to 2,200 students and we’re playing against teams with 4,500 students.”

He said that his players can expect a clear communicator who makes his expectations well known.

“That’s with my coaches, players and the community,” he said. “Everybody will always know where I stand and what’s expected of the team and program. I think kids want to be held accountable so they can become better football players. That helps create buy-in, it’s what we’ve done here and what we’ll do at Oak Mountain.”

McComb will be introduced to the community and team on Monday, Jan. 30 at a special introduction.