School board appoints new leadership

Published 5:32 pm Wednesday, June 12, 2024

By Haley Mitchell Godwin

Several significant personnel recommendations were approved, including the naming of a new principal,  assistant principal and two head football coaches at the June 10 Crenshaw County Board of Education meeting.

Among the notable appointments, Edward Dykes was named the new principal at Luverne and Stefanii Grayson named the new assistant principal of Luverne School. The board also appointed Bobby Hudson as the new head football coach at Luverne and Justin Bragg was selected as the new head football coach at Highland Home School.

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Hudson shared his enthusiasm for leading the team. He emphasized the importance of maintaining the strong traditions of Luverne football while striving for continued success.

“I’m extremely grateful for the opportunity to lead the Luverne Football team,” Hudson said. “There’s such tradition tied to Luverne Football. The respect that the past generations have established is nothing to take lightly and we will continue to do the things it takes to win big. The support the community shows to the athletic programs here is second to none and a big reason all sports at Luverne have had continued success…I absolutely love the game of football and all the transformational aspects it brings to someone’s life including work ethic, discipline, teamwork and adversity, just to name a few. I’ve always considered myself in ‘coaching college’, learning the critical factors that equate to wins and losses and about the psychological approach to take to maximize student-athletes’ potential. Now I have the opportunity to be the Head Coach and luckily two of my greatest mentor coached at Luverne-Ed Rigby and Scott Rials; both extremely successful football coaches that have made a tremendous impact on my life . From day one on the job I’ve stated to the team that I have extremely high expectations for the future, and it’s all about the team. I promise to lead them with a servant’s heart and never waiver on holding them accountable. Work wins, and that is exactly what we are going to do.”

Bragg, a 2000 graduate of Highland Home, brings a wealth of experience to his new role as head football coach. He worked at Luverne School from 2008 to 2014, serving as both an assistant football coach and assistant baseball coach. Bragg later moved to Highland Home, where his wife teaches, and their two sons attend school. 

Despite having previously served as head basketball coach at Highland Home, this marks Bragg’s first tenure as a head football coach.

The coach expressed confidence in his ability to transition smoothly into his new role. He has been involved with the football program in an unofficial capacity for the past two years, experience which he believes has prepared him well. The continuity of assistant coaches and coordinators is expected to aid in this transition.

“It is a unique feeling in a way because I played on the field where I will now be coaching as head coach,” Bragg said. “I am honored and it really means a lot that I was even considered for the position of head football coach. The relationships I have built with these kids have shown me that it is time to step up. I helped some of these players learn how to tie their shoes and now I am teaching them how to tackle. That is a unique part of Highland Home and something you only see in K-5 through 12th grade schools.”

Bragg said he aims to foster a more unified team and build on the foundations laid by his predecessor, Coach Will Pouncey. He envisions a team that not only appreciates each other but also the game itself.

Superintendent of Crenshaw County Schools Dodd Hawthorne expressed his gratitude for the contributions of outgoing coaches. “We are very appreciative of Coach Will Pouncey and Coach Ed Rigby for their leadership and hard work at Highland Home and Luverne. We are excited about the direction of our football programs under the leadership of Coach Hudson and Coach Bragg,” Hawthorne said.

Long-time head football coach at Highland Home, Will Pouncey, recently announced his decision to step down after much contemplation and discussion with his family.

“This decision has not been an easy one,” Pouncey said. “During my time at HHS, I have had the privilege of working with a dedicated group of athletes, coaches, and support staff. Together, we have celebrated victories, learned from defeats, and created lasting memories. I am proud of what we have accomplished and the progress we have made as a team. We have broken school records, had record shutouts, many college commits, and much more success to come. However, after careful consideration and discussions with my family, I believe it is time for me to step down and pursue new opportunities.”

Pouncey expressed his heartfelt thanks to the school administration, athletic department, fellow coaches, players, booster club, and the entire community for their unwavering support.

“Your encouragement and commitment have been instrumental in our success, and I am grateful for the trust you placed in me as your head coach,” Pouncey said. “I am committed to ensuring a smooth transition, and I will always cherish the time spent with Highland Home School and will remain a loyal supporter of the program. Thank you once again for the incredible opportunity to lead this team. I look forward to witnessing its continued growth and success in the future.”

At press time, former Luverne coach Ed Rigby, now head football coach for the Opp Bobcats had not responded to requests for comments.