It’s been about a month now since James Moore resigned as the head football coach of the East Lawrence Eagles.
Moore departed the Eagles after two seasons compiling a 7-13 record in those two years. Most importantly this past season Moore led the Eagles to a 5-5 record, which broke a streak of 21 straight losing seasons. At the time the streak was the third longest in Alabama.
“We will always be grateful for the turnaround that he brought,” said Ron Rikard, Principal of East Lawrence High School. “He instilled an excitement in this program that has not been seen in years. We wish him best of luck in his future endeavors.”
But while Moore did a lot of great things at East Lawrence, there wasn’t time to dwell. The Eagles have been working diligently on finding a new man to lead the football program.
This will be Rikard’s second search for a football coach since he took over as Principal prior to the 2017-18 school year. However, he says the process has been much different this time around.
“I’ve received about the same number of resumes as before, but the overall quality has just been much better,” Rikard said. “Coaches that have had plenty of success at other places. Coaches that have experience coaching in state championship games.”
Defensive coordinator Sean Holt has served as interim coach since Moore departed, but East Lawrence hopes to have an official coach before spring, meaning a decision could come sometime in the near future.
Rikard stated that they will recommend a new coach to the Lawrence County Board of Education at their monthly meeting on March 9. That gives the Eagles roughly a week and half to two weeks to finalize their decision.
As for what Rikard has been looking for in his new coach, there are some similarities to Moore that he would like to see.
“We need someone who can continue the excitement that has been built around our program. Our numbers the past two years, as far as kids that have come out for football, have been great,” he said. “We also want someone that will continue to push kids in the weight room and in summer workouts. That wasn’t something we really had prior to a couple years ago.”
Still, Rikard knows the program isn’t the same as it was two years ago.
As stated before, the Eagles are coming off their best season in over two decades. They’re also returning close to 30 seniors and thanks to the new reclassifications will be the largest 3A school in the state.
During the 2019 season, East Lawrence fielded a strong defense, but the offense sometimes lacked consistency. The ground game was strong thanks to a breakout year from Senior Dylan Hunter and a stacked offensive line, but the Eagles struggled to move the ball through the air effectively at times.
Rikard would like to see that change under the new coach.
“I felt that our offense was a little too one-dimensional at times last year,” he said. “I would like to see it evolve under our new coach. We need someone that can really take it to the next level.”