Tuesday, August 24, 2010

Rocket Blast from the Past

In the inaugural edition of this feature we take a look back at the hiring of our esteemed head coach, Al Starnes. This article first appeared in The Crittenden Press on July 11, 1991 and now 20 seasons and 135 wins later we feel lucky to be able to say that Al Starnes is still our coach. So, take a second and read this reprint to remind yourself just how unusual it is for a coach to be this successful and yet stand true to one school for so long. Here’s to the next 20!

Starnes named new football coach at CCHS

It took the Crittenden County Board of Education approximately one month to find a replacement for former Head Football coach Steve Pardue, who resigned in early June to take a coaching job in Georgia.
Al Starnes, a 1984 Murray State graduate, has been named to replace Pardue.

Starnes, originally from Wesson, Miss., is leaving his job as head coach at Clarksville (Tenn.) High School to take over for the Rockets.

“I think this is the perfect situation for me and my family,” explained Starnes. “My wife (Angela) and I both come from relatively small towns, and we were looking for a community that we felt we could become a part of and hopefully become settled.”

The 29-year-old former Racer football captain has traveled around a great deal since his graduation from college. His first coaching job came at Bruceton (Tenn.) High School in January of 1985. He then went to Lone Oak and served as assistant football and baseball coach for the Purple Flash.

In 1986 Starnes went back to Murray as a graduate assistant for the Racers and completed his masters. He stayed with MSU for three seasons, before moving on to Austin Peay State University for the 1989 campaign with the Governors. IN 1990 he received his first head coaching job at Clarksville and complied a 2-8 mark at the 3A school.

The Starnes’ recently celebrated the birth of a daughter Lonna – now three months old.
“A lot of things changed when you have a child. I think I needed to find a good place to settle down and establish myself, and I feel like Crittenden County is that place,” said Starnes.

The task ahead for the new coach will prove to be a tough one, but he seems ready.

“I realize there is a lot of work to be done. It is going to take some time for the three of us (himself, assistant coaches and players) to get to know each other, so it is going to take a lot of hard work from everyone.
“I’m the type of coach that will be very demanding, but at the same time I feel like I’m very fair. The one thing that I will not tolerate is laziness. I expect every kid to work hard,” Starnes said.

According to Starnes the way to be successful is through hard work, aggressive play and knowing the fundamentals of the game.

“The main thing that I’m going to try to do is keep things simple and gradually install my style of play to these kids. I don’t want to complicate things.

“Personnel dictates on what style of football you play and right now I don’t know what would be best for us. The next couple of weeks will prove to be very important for us because once the ball starts rolling it is going to be going down hill. We have a lot of work to do and I’m excited about getting started,” said a determined Starnes.

According to Crittenden County High School Principal, Robert Steen, Starnes should prove to be an excellent addition to not only the football team and school system, but also to the community.

“Coach Starnes is very personable. He has great credentials, with experience on both the high school and college levels. His knowledge of the game is excellent and he seems to have a great rapport with the kids.

“I think we have found the best man for the job. He will be an excellent addition to the school system,” Steen said.

The Rockets will open their season on August 30 when they host the Caldwell County Tigers.