By Jake Winfrey
The Cullman Times
After 21 seasons at the helm of the Cold Springs boys basketball program, Tim Burleson is turning in his whistle and playbook for some brand new office space.
Pending approval by the Cullman County Board of Education, Burleson will be selected as the new principal at Cold Springs High on Thursday, succeeding Tommy Youngblood, who retired in June. Burleson previously served as the school’s assistant principal for the past three years.
Cullman County Superintendent Billy Coleman said Burleson’s love for Cold Springs and his efforts as an administrator convinced the committee he was the right person for the job.
“He’s done a great job for them,” Coleman said. “He loves the students and the community, and he just really wants to make a difference for everybody.”
Burleson’s new administrative role, however, will officially mark the end of his very successful career as the Eagles’ basketball coach.
“It’s going to be different for me,” Burleson said. “I was talking to my wife about it the other day, and we were wondering what it’s going to be like during the Thanksgiving and Christmas holidays when we aren’t at some kind of basketball tournament. My family and I will miss it. It’s very bittersweet.”
Burleson took his one and only head coaching job back in 1992 after spending one year with the school.
In the 21 seasons that followed, he accumulated 13 area championships, three Cullman County Tournament titles, two regional final appearances and one state tournament berth.
He led last year’s Eagle squad to a 18-11overall record and a regional tournament appearance, capturing the last of his area titles in the process.
“The Cold Springs community accepted me as a young 23-year-old coach when I got the job,” Burleson said. “During my time as coach, I’ve shared and had some great memories. My family and I love Cold Springs and this community.”
Becoming the school’s principal was something Burleson had always planned on pursuing at some point during his education career. In fact, it was the only job he said could ever take him away from coaching basketball.
“It was a position I desired at the place I desired,” he said. “I told the interview committee it was the only job I’d ever leave basketball for. I wasn’t interested in anywhere else. It just happened to come open when it did.”
Although Cold Springs’ fans won’t see Burleson in his usual spot on the bench this season, that doesn’t mean he won’t have a hand in finding a suitable replacement for a program that hasn’t had to make a change in over two decades.
According to Burleson, the coaching search is still in its infancy, as he and others plan to look at options both in-house and outside of the school.
Like many coaches who have come and gone before him, Burleson left no doubt he’d miss the moments that he has come to relish over his illustrious coaching career.
But more than anything, he’ll miss the kids.
“Building the relationships with them and maintaining those relationships over the years is something I’ll truly miss about basketball,” he said. “But I’ll still be in contact with them. It’ll just be in a different role.”
% Jake Winfrey can be reached at 256-734-2131, ext. 136 or at firstname.lastname@example.org.