Saturday, May 10, 2014

SPORTS STORY >> Russell resigns football position

Leader sports editor

Jacksonville head football coach Rick Russell handed in his resignation on Wednesday. The fourth-year Red Devil head coach spent one season at North Pulaski before taking over for Mark Whatley in 2010. Before that, he spent 17 years as an assistant for former coach Johnny Watson and Whatley, most of those years as the defensive coordinator.

It was his tenure as the defensive coordinator that made the Red Devils known for their defense, and that didn’t change after he became head coach. But the offenses struggled all four years under Russell and three different offensive coordinators.

The team missed the playoffs this past season for the first time since 2009. Russell compiled an overall record of 22-21 and made three-straight playoff appearances before this season.

Spring football practice period began this week with most teams electing to wait until baseball season is over to begin work. Jacksonville athletic director Jerry Wilson will oversee the team through spring practice before beginning in earnest to search for a new head football coach.