Emma Sansom grad steps in as Coosa Christian football coach


By Chris McCarthy, Publisher/Editor

Mark O’Bryant is ready for some home cooking in South Gadsden.
The 1991 Emma Sansom High School graduate was named interim head football coach at Coosa Christian earlier this week after Rod Cates took a leave of absence.
O’Bryant (pictured at right) already has a connection to the school.
“My 13-year old twins go here, so I’ve been involved as a parent,” he said. “Our team is very young, so I just want our kids to go out there and compete. I want them to play hard and learn not to quit.”
Regardless of how the Conquerors’ won/loss record turns out this fall, O’Bryant sees a bright future on the banks of Big Wills Creek.
“If we can do those things, we’ll be successful. “Our demands in the weight room and on the practice field our incredibly high, but we have kids here who want to work, and that’s half the battle right there.”
O’Bryant served as head coach at Cleveland in 2009 and 2010, posting a 14-9 record. He then served as offensive coordinator for Oxford High School in 2011 when the Yellow Jackets finished 12-2 and made it to the Class 6A state semifinals. He spent one year at Ashville before going into private business.
O’Bryant spent five years in the United States Navy, including completion of Navy Seal training.
At Emma Sansom, O’Bryant played under Etowah County Sports Hall of Fame coach Buster Gross. O’Bryant said Gross’ hard-nosed coaching style had a major impact on his life.
“I played on the line of scrimmage. I wasn’t the most athletic guy on the team, but I had guts. He was a tough guy to play for, but I learned a lot about life from Coach Gross.”
O’Bryant graduated from Jacksonville State University in 2001. His first coaching stint was at Disque Middle School.
Portions of this article were printed in the June 1, 2012 edition of The Messenger

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