By Gene Stanley/Sports Correspondent
After years of coaching in the college football ranks, a former Etowah High and Auburn University player is now a high school coach.
Patrick Nix was hired last week as head coach at Scottsboro, replacing Swane Morris.
Morris headed up the Wildcats for three seasons, winning five games out of 30.
Morris is known around Etowah County for his days at his alma mater, Gaston, where he compiled a 70-37 mark in nine years from 2001-09. Under his tutelage, the Bulldogs made the state playoffs in eight of those seasons.
Other coaches have also had trouble winning at Scottsboro of late, so Nix has to find the key to turning the once-famed Jackson County program around. The Wildcats are 6-34 over the past four seasons.
“They’ve definitely had a winning tradition here in the past,” Nix said. “I know it’s there – we’ve just got to find it and get it back on track. The kids are hungry and the community is supportive, so the ingredients are there.”
Nix reported to work last week, so he is still new to the football program. But he said he couldn’t be happier with what he’s seen so far from the community, the school administration and the kids.
“It’s a community effort,” Nix said. “It’s about us. It’s our town. It’s our school. If we want to be successful, we all have to buy in. It’s that simple. The response has been wonderful.”
Nix must take a couple of classes to get his teaching certificate back. His certificate to teach social sciences expired in 2004.
Nix started as the Blue Devil’s quarterback from 1987-90. At Auburn, he wound up starting in 1994-95. As a Tiger, Nix passed for more than 4,900 yards.
After graduation, Nix started coaching in college. He was offensive coordinator at Georgia Tech from 2004-06 and at Miami in ‘07 and ‘08. He actually coached the Yellow Jackets from ‘02 to ‘06, coaching running backs the other two seasons.
Nix also coached at Jacksonville State, Samford University and Henderson State. He was head coach at Henderson for two seasons.
Nix spent the last three years as offensive coordinator at Charleston Southern.
“I’ve been looking for a few years now to make a move to the high school level,” Nix said. “I was looking at schools in either the Atlanta area, the Birmingham area or North Alabama.”
The growth of his four children – Emma Grace, age 14; Bo, age 12; Caleb, age 9; and Sara, age 5 – is what drew him to high school.
“I wanted to be more involved in their lives,” he said. “And I wanted a chance to coach my sons and be in the same school as my daughters.”
Scottsboro fits his family needs almost perfectly, Nix explained. His family is from Oneonta, while his wife Krista (Chapman) is from Dalton, Ga. but has family in Chattanooga, Tenn.
“Scottsboro is almost as central to all three of those places as anywhere can be,” Nix said.
Jason Bowen of the Daily Sentinel contributed to this article.