Excuse me for having a hard time understanding this (and this is NOT intended to disparage anyone; it’s just an observation).
First, Arab a year ago hired a head football coach, Oscar Glasscock, who had never been a head coach in his life. He goes 1-9 in an obvious rebuilding situation, at which I thought he – and his entire staff – did a great job.
So, this is not a jab at Glasscock by any means. But the fact is, his head coaching record is 1-9. Along comes Cullman to lure him away after one foundation-laying season here.
So Arab is in the hunt for another head coach. It will be the school’s fourth this decade. And so we learn this week that it’s Lee Ozmint, the former Alabama defensive back who played under Ray Perkins and Bill Curry (I covered Alabama during those years but not for the entirety of Ozmint’s time there).
Ozmint has a career head coaching record of 77-37, all of it at Glencoe, which as many around here know is where Arab native Lyle Darnell coached for 12 seasons, compiling a 97-28-2 record and winning a state championship there in 1973.
After Darnell left Glencoe after the 1979 season, the Yellow Jackets had nine winning seasons until Ozmint took over for the 2006 season.
Glencoe returned to prominence in a big way under Ozmint but since he’s left, the team has gone 3-7, 2-8 and 1-9 in 2018.
Now Ozmint (who was 9-2 in his final season) and Darnell (who was 12-1 in his final season) may have seen the writing on the wall at Glencoe when it came time to making a career decision to change jobs, but that’s not the point here.
Under good coaching, Glencoe flourished. Otherwise, their seasons mirror Arab’s seasons to some extent. And to be fair, some good coaches have come to Arab and did little or nothing. But the point is, it appears Arab has come out of this coaching transition smelling like a rose.
I hope Glasscock goes 10-1 in 2019. I really liked the guy, as I did Adam Gilbert before him.
But from my perspective, it looks like Arab grabbed a real coaching star in Lee Ozmint. And, he enters a program that appears to be set up for success, thanks in large part to Glasscock and his staff.
It looks like a win-win for Arab.
• Speaking of Glasscock, he apparently gave Arab, its players, its coaches, its administrators and its supporters very high marks when Ozmint called him before making the decision ot take the Arab job.
“He had nothing but good things to say,” said Superintendent John Mullins.
• Here’s one thing you may or may not know about Ozmint. He went to high school at T.L. Hanna in Anderson, S.C.
You may think you’ve never heard of Hanna High School, but if you’re a sports fan, you have.
Remember the movie “Radio”? The film’s lead character is based on James Robert Effinhimer Kennedy, who was born Oc. 14, 1946, in Anderson.
The movie was based on the true story of T.L. Hanna High School football coach Harold Jones and the mentally challenged “Radio” Kennedy, who was played by Cuba Gooding Jr. The two are still close, and to this day, “Radio” still attends T.L. Hanna High School and helps coach the football and basketball teams.
• Another quick hit on Ozmint. While the majority in Arab will fall in line behind him beause of his college colors, it should be noted he has two sons currently attending Auburn. In fact, younger son Pace is on the football team.
Pace, while at Glencoe playing for his dad, was a Class 3A all-state selection as a sophomore, junior and senior. He was also a baseball and basketball letterman.
Ozmint’s wife, Leigh (you can’t make this up) also is a teacher, like her husband. Lee Ozmint, in fact, received the Teacher of the Year Award while at Gadsden High in 2003. While at Glencoe, he taught English much of the day.
• When he took the job at Glencoe, Ozmint was quoted in a local newspaper as saying: “I am going to come in and build on something that is already there. Coach (William) Hill and his staff did a great job laying the groundwork. I am not going into a losing situation.
“These kids have given blood, sweat and tears.”
Sounds kinda like Arab in 2019.
• While at Bama, Ozmont led the Tide in interceptions in 1988 with six. More famously, he returned an interception, on a two-point conversion attempt, 100 yards against LSU in 1989.
Look it up online – it’s a heckuva play.
In 1988, he was named to the UPI All-SEC team.
After his collegiate career was completed, Ozmint played in the Japan Bowl, a college all-star game, in 1990.
Here are two other notes, both of them personal, though Lee Ozmint doesn’t know me from Adam.
Unless he was injured, he had to be on the field during preseason practice in 1986 when Willie Ryles went down with a serious head injury. The sports writers covering the team, including myself, watched a helicopter come in and land on the field.
Afterward, we asked coach Perkins what had happened. He replied, “Willie suffered subdural hematoma.”
Remember, we were sports writers. Also remember, Perkins had a penchant for saying just enough to suit him and not the folks he was talking to. We were all kinda laughing at Perkins giving us a diagnosis in medical terms, so one of us (Donnie Webb, in fact) asked him, “Coach, what’s a subdural hematoma?”
Without emotion, Perkins replied, “A blood clot on the brain.”
Yes, we were stunned. I spent most of the next 12 hours at a hospital in Birmingham. At some point in the evening, I sensed a change of mood among Perkins, his assistants and even hospital personnel. I even told my boss at Montgomery, Phillip Marshall, when I filed my story at just about midnight, “I think he’s dead.”
Unfortunately, I was right, though he stayed in the hospital for several days before it became official.
Then in 1989, Ozmint would have been on the field for the first Iron Bowl game played in Auburn. I was in the stands, thanks to a great ticket provided to me by Ronald Harris’ family, almost all of whom are Auburn fans.
• Breaking late: This could change but as of early Friday afternoon, it was being reported that Troy coach Neal Brown had agreed in principle to become West Virginia’s coach.
• ESPN is taking over the Bay Area for the College Football National Championship (you can read more about the actual Mega-cast on pages 4 and 5).
ESPN will be live from multiple locations this weekend including, The Quad at Plaza de Cesar Chavez, the San Jose Convention Center, the SAP Center and ESPN’s fan activation billboard – all in in San Jose, Calif., and Levi’s Stadium in Santa Clara.
Over the course of the four days, nearly every live show has and will feature coverage from the west coast, including Get Up!, NFL Countdown, and all editions of SportsCenter, along with special CFP National Championship centric editions of Championship Drive and College Football Live.
Tom Rinaldi will report on Clemson throughout the weekend and Maria Taylor on Alabama, joining multiple shows providing the latest news and information around the two participating teams. ESPN will also have various features throughout the weekend, including Chris Fowler’s sit-down interviews with Nick Saban and Dabo Sweeney and Gene Wojciechowski’s conversation with Clemson quarterback Trevor Lawrence.
SEC Network will also have an extensive presence in the Bay Area, including its signature studio show SEC Now from The Quad at Plaza de Cesar Chavez.
The coverage intensifies at 1:30 p.m. Monday with College Football Live on ESPN from Levi’s Stadium, hosted by Adnan Virk, joined by analysts Joey Galloway, Paul Finebaum, Todd McShay, Jim Mora and Jonathan Vilma.
The show synonymous with college football, College GameDay will air a special two-hour edition beginning at 2 p.m. coming from Champ Tailgate outside of Levi’s Stadium. That will be hosted by Rece Davis, joined by mainstays Kirk Herbstreit, Desmond Howard and David Pollack.
Kevin Negandhi along with Galloway, Jesse Palmer, Tim Tebow and Vilma will also be on hand to provide insight. Show Highlights include:
• Auburn head coach Gus Malzahn and Texas A&M head coach Jimbo Fisher will join the show as guests.
• Tim Tebow speaks one-on-one with Alabama quarterback Tua Tagovailoa.
Leading directly into the championship game, ESPN presents a multi-network, multi-platform countdown to kickoff.
• Championship Drive Presented by Mercedes Benz will air on ESPN from 5-7 p.m. hosted by Davis, joined by Lee Corso, Herbstreit, Howard, Pollack and Tebow. Corso will make his signature headgear pick to close the show.
• Pregame Field Pass will be available on ESPN2 at 5:30 p.m., when Adam Amin and Steve Levy bring viewers the pre-game atmosphere from field level.
• Laura Rutledge hosts SEC Nation from 5-7:15 p.m. on SEC Network, joined by regular SEC Nation deskmates and analysts Tebow, Marcus Spears, Finebaum and reporter Lauren Sisler, with SEC Network analysts Gene Chizik, Greg McElroy and Jordan Rodgers providing additional pre-game insight.
Preceding the show, The Paul Finebaum Show will air from 2 p.m.-5 p.m. on SEC Network from the Champ Tailgate location.
My prediction? Heavy fallout from watching too much TV! And Alabama wins, 34-17.