Flying together: Calera introduces new football coach Scott Rials at event

Published 1:45 pm Thursday, December 14, 2023

By ANDREW SIMONSON | Sports Editor

CALERA – One day after Calera High School named former Baldwin County coach Scott Rials as its new head football coach and athletic director, the school held a meet-and-greet with Rials on Wednesday, Dec. 13.

Families and community members filled the Calera High School cafeteria throughout the evening to introduce themselves to the man who will lead the Eagles on the gridiron going forward.

The meet-and-greet capped a whirlwind 10 days for Rials and Calera where they went from meeting each other over the phone to naming him as the future coach.

Rials and Calera developed a mutual interest in one another, and it quickly became clear that now was the right time and the right place for Rials to join the program.

“I think they were ready to get a coach and get somebody in there to start handling things, and I know I was ready for a job,” Rials said. “I told my principal here at Baldwin County that as soon as I could get a job, I was going to take it because I feel like I still had a lot of good years left and my calling’s to coach and teach. I just felt like as soon as something really piqued my interest, I was going get out there and go for it. So that’s what I did and what we did, and we just had a mutual interest.”

Rials is no stranger to Calera, having competed against each other when the Eagles were in Class 2A and he coached for Elba in the same classification and helped the school go undefeated and win a state championship.

Over the years, he and Calera both moved up to Class 6A, and he marveled at the growth and potential that the program has shown over the last two decades.

“I had coached against Calera back when I was at Elba in 2004, and I know Calera was 2A, so in less than 20 years, they’ve gone from 2A to 6A,” Rials said. “That’s a pretty large jump, so I knew there was potential there.

That potential was echoed throughout the coaches that Rials spoke to despite the Eagles’ 0-10 season in 2023, which excited him and got the wheels turning in his head when Calera’s head coaching job was posted.

“I knew they had kind of had a down year, had a few struggles, but everybody I talked to around that area, they were like, ‘Hey, this place is great. It’s growing, we’ve got good athletes. We’ve got a chance to do some things,’ so that kind of piqued my interest,” Rials said. “And then I got to calling around, talked to some other coaches in the area and they were very upbeat about what was going on there and what potential that was available there at Calera, so I said, ‘Man, I need to start calling.’”

From there, he called David Hogue, Shelby County Schools’ Supervisor of Athletics, and Christopher Myles, Calera High School’s principal and current athletic director, and there was an immediate connection.

“Mr. Hogue and Mr. Myles, you’re talking about some great men,” Rials said. “I called them on the phone, I got talking with them and it’s just like somehow when you feel like you’ve been knowing people all your life, but you never really met them. That’s the kind of impression I got from those guys, that they were excited, they wanted to get things going and they weren’t going to waste time.

They did not waste time at all, as Myles and Hogue told Rials that they had a goal of hiring a coach by December 12. Sure enough, Rials was confirmed by the Shelby County Board of Education on December 12 exactly.

By Rials’ own admission, it was a quick timeline, as from his experience it typically takes at least two weeks to hire a coach, and other vacancies like Hoover weren’t posted until a couple of days before he was hired.

However, that urgency to get Rials in at the start of the calendar year was something that stuck out to him. He knows how important it is to start early and maximize the spring while preparing for football season to achieve the best results.

“I was excited about their commitment to excellence and just trying to get things going and not waiting around and hanging on and hoping maybe for another coach or somebody to show up later,” Rials said. “I was excited about their moving quickly because, to me, you’ve got to get somebody in there in January. If you wait until February, March and April, you’re so far behind the 8-ball that it’s hard to catch up.”

Since Rials will also take over as the athletic director come January 16, he has a vision of using football and fall sports to generate momentum for everything else.

He evoked Calera’s mission statement, “Fly as One,” as he hopes to help the school and community operate closely together, using his work ethic to inspire others to work hard to help everyone succeed.

“We’ve got to all get together,” Rials said. “If we don’t truly, as we say, ‘Fly as One,’ we’re going to crash separately. So, the biggest thing right now is to get everybody on board and pulling the same direction, because if we’re not flying in the same direction, this is never going to work.”