HUNTSVILLE — Huntsville has a new head football coach and boys athletic director.
The school district's board members approved Rodney Southern during a special called meeting Thursday afternoon at the Hawkins Administration Building. Southern told the Temple Daily Telegram on Wednesday that he would be resigning from Class-5A Belton High School to accept the job at Huntsville.
HISD Superintendent Dr. Steve Johnson said it had been a long hiring process, going through 126 candidates since posting the job vacancy in November. But district administrators and board members said the hire seemed to be the fresh start Hornet supporters can be excited about.
"Listening to the type of questions the committee asked me, it was directed toward structure, organization and discipline, which any program that's going to be successful is going to have to have those three things," Southern said. "I can't tell you today what the first step may be as far as all of that. But obviously if those are questions from them and things that have been discussed, I think those steps will happen. They just need to happen in the right order."
Southern coached at Class 5A Belton since 2007, when he left the same position at Marshall High School after five seasons. Southern also worked at Copperas Cove before McMahan’s stint, serving as an assistant coach from 1994-2001.
In his time at Marshall, Southern led the Mavericks to back-to-back Class 4A Division I state championship games in 2004 and ’05.
"It's a small town, but it's also a college town which intrigues me," Southern said. "It's a lot like Ruston, Louisiana where I graduated from (college at Louisiana Tech). So Marshall and Huntsville and Ruston are all very similar. The one high school town has always been to me the places I feel like I have felt as a coach and a parent more comfortable.
"This one was intriguing to me because of the region it's in and the tradition, when you have a community that usually regenerates itself with people who graduated from here that played in 1980 and did all of those things. Obviously, the reputation I heard about Huntsville from Day One is they always had a tremendous group of athletes. Obviously, you need athletes to be successful."