Matthew Martin/Sports Correspondent
Longtime high school assistant coach Ron Daugherty was named
interim head football coach of Southside High School on Aug. 22.
The announcement came just one day after former Panther head
coach Marty Smith turned in his resignation just eight days prior to the start
of the 2013 regular season.
It is the first head coaching job for Daugherty, who has
been an assistant football coach for 19 seasons.
“The biggest thing for me has just been the time; there’s a
little more to do (as a head coach),” Daugherty said about the difference in
being a head coach.
While the move to head coach has changed his job, requiring
more of his time, the coach said he does not anticipate much change in the
“The kids are resilient,” Daugherty said. “They’re going to
bounce back. They have a quicker rebound rate than grown-ups, usually. They’re
so excited about the season. I don’t want to take away from what we (as
coaches) do, what our assistant coaches do, but the players are so excited
about the season that they do all the work. So I don’t foresee a big problem
with the transition.
“Of course, there’s some changes, but we’re thinking these
changes are things that are going to move us forward and give us a better
chance to succeed.”
Daugherty has been Southside’s offensive coordinator the
past two seasons and will continue to run and call plays for the offense.
Because of that situation, the team will not have as big of a change when the
Panthers have the ball.
On defense, however, it remains to be seen if there will be
any transitional pains. Smith called the team’s defensive plays during his two
seasons at the school. Daugherty had to make a few changes, including tabbing
Charles Nails to coordinate the defense.
Nails, who previously had been the defensive coordinator at
Gadsden High School, had been Southside’s linebackers coach.
Although the team will remain the same on defense, Nails
will employ different terminology in the playcalling, requiring the players and
other coaches to learn on the fly.
“I’ve never been a head football coach, but I’ve always
thought about, ‘I’d do it this way, or I’d do things that way,’” Daugherty
said. “(Having Nails) gives me the best-case scenario, because I don’t have to
worry about the defense. I’m going to look in and I’m going to see what we are
doing and all of that, but I know (the defense) is being run right. I don’t
have to worry about anything like that, because of Coach Nails’ experience.
“His pedigree as a defensive coordinator, it makes it a lot
easier on a first-year head coach, that’s for sure, and to know that I can just
think about one side of the ball, with Xs and Os, mostly, and the overall
Prior to both coming to Southside, Daugherty coached at
Gadsden High School, although he and Nails had never coached the same team at
the same time. Daugherty joined the Tigers in 2001, the following season after
Nails left. While with Gadsden High, Daugherty called plays and served as the
Tigers’ offensive coordinator.
When Gadsden High School closed its doors with the
consolidation into Gadsden City High School in 2006, Daugherty stayed on with
head coach Joe Billingsley’s staff as the Titans’ offensive coordinator.
A graduate of Hokes Bluff High School, Daugherty also
coached at Elkmont and West Morgan high schools in his almost two decades of
“This is my 19th year (coaching) and I’ve been an
offensive coordinator and a defensive coordinator in places where I probably
could’ve been a head coach by now,” Daugherty said. “But I’ve never been
somewhere where I wanted to (be a head coach), until here.
I hate the way it happened, but the main thing is doing
what’s best for these boys. We have a really good staff. All of our coaches are
very good guys, in that man-for-man, the kids’ best interest is what’s on their
(the coaches) minds. I feel real good about that.”