Calera looking for new head football coach as fall practice nears

Published 1:49 pm Tuesday, July 25, 2023

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By ALEC ETHEREDGE | Managing Editor

CALERA – With fall practice two weeks away, the Calera Eagles will be looking for a new head football coach after head coach Jason Hamlin shared with his team on Tuesday, July 25 that he was stepping down for another coaching job.

Hamlin is expected to be board approved at a new school on Thursday, leaving Calera with a vacancy a month before the Eagles open the season at home against Spain Park on Friday, Aug. 25.

Following the departure of former head coach Trey Simpson, Hamlin took over in a similar situation back in 2021. Albeit a month earlier, Hamlin was named the Calera head coach in June of 2021, leaving little time for preparation ahead of the season.

However, he quickly got his team prepared and led the Eagles to a 7-4 season in year one.

That was a special mark for a team that had won just one head-to-head game each of the three previous seasons before he stepped in.

Not only did he win seven games in year one, he led the Eagles to their first win over Demopolis in school history, led them to their first home win since 2017 and helped them earn a spot in the playoffs for the first time ever in the 6A classification.

They eventually fell by 10 points to a good Spanish Fort team, 41-31, in the opening round of the playoffs. Hamlin’s effort during the season earned him a share of the Shelby County Coach of the Year award alongside state championship coach Mark Freeman at Thompson.

Last year, the Eagles jumped into a slightly more challenging region, and while they didn’t match the success of the year before, they made it back to the playoffs thanks to a double-overtime win against Briarwood and a quadruple-overtime win against Helena in back-to-back weeks.

Calera ultimately finished 4-7 after falling to Hillcrest-Tuscaloosa in the opening round of the Class 6A postseason.

Hamlin finished his two-year stretch as the coach of the Eagles with a combined record of 11-11 in his first stop as a head coach.

His two years marks the third consecutive head coach at Calera High School that has coached three years or less with Simpson coaching the 2019 and 2020 seasons and Andrew Zow coaching from 2016 until 2018 for three seasons.

The last coach to last more than three years was Wiley McKeller for five seasons, but six of the last seven have been head coaches at the school for three years or less.

Ken Adams was the last long-term head coach from 1996-2004, as the Eagles have gone through seven head coaches since and will soon name their eighth since 2005.

Calera High School has been reached out to for comment. It is unclear at this time if the school will search for a new head coach or if they will promote an assistant into an interim or full-time head coaching role.