Photo courtesy of al.com
By Chris McCarthy
Gadsden City High will have its third football coach in school history on the Titan Stadium sideline this fall.
At a meeting last Tuesday (Apr. 4), the Gadsden City Board of Education approved the hiring of Bart Sessions as GCHS head coach.
Sessions, whose overall record as head coach is 36-12, coached Tuscaloosa County last season. The Wildcats went 2-8. From 2011-13, however, Sessions went 34-5 at McGill-Toolen Catholic in Moblie. Under his tenure, the Yellow Jackets won two region titles, went 20-1 in region play and qualified for the Class 6A state playoffs all three years, including a berth in the state semifinals in 2013. Sessions was defensive coordinator at Spain Park from 2014-15, helping the Jaguars go18-6 and finish as the Class 7A runners-up in 2015. Sessions also was a part of three state championships as an assistant coach – in 2010 at Daphne and 2007 and 2008 at Prattville.
“Obviously [Gadsden City] is a city school system with a lot of resources and the people are great,” said Sessions. “There’s a lot of excitement about where the program can go, and it is easy to see why. They’ve been in the state semifinals two of the last three years, so they’ve already had some good highs. They’ve been knocking on the door. As a competitor, you always want to go somewhere that has the ability to play for championships on a consistent basis. That fits with our passions to compete at the highest level. I can’t wait to get entrenched in and be a part of the community. I can already tell it’s a special place.”
GCHS principal Jeff Colgrove noted that Sessions fitted the bill in terms of success both on and off the field.
“First of all, [Sessions] is a winner. He’s been in five or six state championship games and has been on the winning side in three of those games. Second of all, I was impressed with his plans to help our student-athletes grow and to become involved in our community. Those things stuck out for us in the interview process. We also had a lot of quality references on his behalf. Coach Sessions has won at the highest level, so this won’t be new to him. We think he’ll be a tremendous asset to our school and our community. We talked about getting our kids to the next level, and he already has a plan in place. Our kids deserve a coach in place as soon as possible, so we’re excited to get him to town and get ready to go.”
Colgrove said that Sessions plans on meeting with the GCHS football players on Thursday (Apr. 6) and the school will host a community meet and greet session later this week.
Sessions replaces Matt Scott, who resigned last month. Scott was named the Alabama Sports Writers Association’s 2016 Class 7A Coach of the Year after the Titans made the state semifinals following a 1-5 start. In four years and 47 games at GCHS, Scott guided the Titans to a 27-20 overall record and a 20-8 mark in region play. Gadsden City qualified for the state playoffs three out of four seasons under Scott, including a state semifinal berth in 2014.
“I think that Coach Sessions brings a wealth of experience,” said GCHS athletic director Todd Lamberth, who noted that there were about 40 applicants for the position. “He’s been there and done that, so to speak, and I think we got a really good person as well and a really good football coach, not only for our school but for our community. That was our priority as we went through the interview process. I know that our community wants a coach that will be visible and supportive, and we felt that filled both of those voids with [Sessions]. I think that’s also a testament to what Coach Scott did while he was here in wanting to keep the winning tradition going and keep our program at the highest level.”
Lamberth also expects Sessions to give the Titans’ youth feeder programs a shot in the arm.
“I think he’ll get involved with our elementary schools and our middle schools, which is very important. We’re already late with spring [football practice], so we want to get him in here as quickly as possible.”
This article was supplemented by al.com