Hathcock enjoying football helm
By By LYDIA GRIMES-Features writer
It's that time of year when the people in Brewton and East Brewton get excited about football. It is a time when everyone has an opinion about who will win the Friday night football game, whether it is well founded or not.
But some are even more excited than others. One of those is Coach Blaine Hathcock who is the head coach and athletic director at W.S. Neal. He is new to East Brewton and new to the athletic program at W.S. Neal High School, but he is focused on playing his team to the best of their abilities.
Hathcock is coming off a preseason win against Hillcrest in Evergreen on Friday, Aug. 19, where they beat the Jaguars 27-18. Friday, Aug. 26, the team faced its first regular season opponents, the Eufaula Tigers, a 5-A team that was much bigger than the Blue Eagles squad. Hathcock's team held its own against the bigger team, losing 10-7.The problem of bigger teams will face the Eagles many more times this season and Coach Hathcock is not very happy with the schedule that was decided before he even arrived in East Brewton.
Hathcock has some advantages that some other coaches may not have had. He comes from a background of working with both offensive and defensive players. He has also worked as an assistant principal so he knows the way to deal with both students and faculty. Although this is his first job as head coach, he has taken his time and worked for 11 years in other coaching and administrative positions to lead him to this point.
He arrived in East Brewton in April, in time to see what he had to work with before the fall season got here. He knew what his team looked like and what they had to work with. That, he believes, gave him a head start in getting his team going.
Hathcock grew up in the small town of Berry, in Fayette County. He graduated from Berry High School in 1990 in a class that only had 29 people. His mom is a schoolteacher and his father was a school superintendent.
He also played in the Alabama-Mississippi All-Star game and was named to the Fayette County Hall of Fame.
He received a football scholarship to Troy State, but was injured the first year. Although Hathcock doesn't dwell on the fact that he was forced to stop playing, it must have been a devastating blow.
He graduated from the University of Alabama with a degree in special education. He taught school at Handley High School in Roanoke for the next two years and he met his wife, Ali, there. He moved to Hamilton to coach and while there he completed his master's degree in school administration from the University of North Alabama.
He and Ali were married in 2000, after she finished college at Auburn University with a degree in education. She joined him in Hamilton and began teaching school at Haleyville High School.
Hathcock stayed at Hamilton for four years before moving to Pell City as assistant principal and assistant football coach. He and his wife stayed in Pell City for three years and their daughter, Abbi, was born while they were living there.
His wife is also working at W.S. Neal where she teaches math and Hathcock has nothing but praise for her.
When Hathcock speaks of his daughter, Abbi, his eyes light up. It is plain to see that she is the light of his life.
When Hathcock is not busy with school and sports he loves to play golf and, perhaps his favorite, turkey hunt. He says he has hunted turkeys all over the country and there is nothing like it.
He does have one other hobby, and although he says he can't afford to have a big collection, he does collect University of Alabama artwork.