By Rob Ketcham
The Cullman Times
Nearly two weeks before the first day of fall practice and a month before the start of the 2013 season, A.J. Lamar has resigned as the head coach of the West Point football team.
Principal Heith Yearwood said Lamar, who was arrested for public intoxication on June 20, chose to turn in his notice early last week. Yearwood added Lamar is welcome to stay on with the Warriors as a physical education instructor.
Lamar has remained on paid administrative leave since his arrest.
“We just appreciate the years coach Lamar gave us and thought he did a good job for us,” Yearwood said.
Lamar, a former standout at Cullman High and the University of North Alabama, was 12-28 in four seasons at West Point. Including a two-year stint at Vinemont High (2007-08), his overall record is 23-38 with one playoff appearance.
Yearwood said the vacant position has already been posted with a timetable to be filled in the next two weeks. Considering the proximity to the season and a recent decrease in teaching units, Yearwood indicated he’ll have to hire from within.
That revelation bodes extremely well for Don Farley, who has jumped headfirst into the interim role since Lamar was placed on leave. Farley is entering his 16th year with the Warrior football program after spending the last few seasons as defensive coordinator.
To say the change in titles has sped up the coaching candidate’s summer is an understatement. He likened the whole ordeal to holding down the fast forward button on a VCR.
“Just from my point of view, it’s been challenging,” Farley said. “There’s so many things that a head coach takes care of that you don’t even see as an assistant. The hard part is trying to keep up with all the different hats you wear, working on the field one day and in the locker room the next.”
In wake of the summer shakeup, Farley’s been proud of the way his players have responded to the adverse situation. He said attendance has stayed at a steady 85 percent throughout the offseason and that expectations have not wavered in the slightest.
With at least one more season left in a brutally tough Class 5A, Region 8, West Point will get going Aug. 30 on the road against Brewer dead set to improve on last year’s 3-7 campaign.
“The kids are holding up great. They’ve come together and are doing everything they’re supposed to do,” Farley said. “Our attitude has been ‘Go to work.’ We’ve had a bright outlook for this season since spring training. Nobody is going to sit around feeling sorry and making excuses. There’s a lot of opportunity, and it’s their season to make what they want out of it.”
Yearwood extended his gratitude to Farley and the rest of the Warrior coaching staff for stepping up in the last month. Though he currently wields the interim title, Farley acknowledged not much could have been accomplished without everyone’s help.
“I can’t thank the coaches enough,” he said.
Regardless of whether that interim tag is eventually dropped, Farley’s main concern will continue to be on the well-being of the West Point football program.
“I hope I’m considered for it,” he said of the open position. “But my goal was to step in here and make sure we keep going as a team.”
Attempts to reach Lamar were unsuccessful by presstime. A call was made to his cell phone, but the number had been disconnected.
% Rob Ketcham can be reached at 256-734-2131, ext. 138 or at firstname.lastname@example.org.