One of the area's most successful high school football programs will have a completely new staff next season after North Jackson head coach Shawn Peek and four assistants resigned.
Peek, 45, had been with the program for 12 seasons, including the last five as head coach, compiling a 50-13 record that included two appearances in Alabama's Class 4A quarterfinals and one trip to the semifinals. North Jackson finished 7-5 this season, losing in the second round to eventual state runner-up Oneonta.
"I have a lot of good memories and got to do a lot of things most coaches won't experience," Peek said. "We've had a lot of really good players who gave great effort for me, and that's what I'll remember most about my time at North Jackson."
Peek, who coached at Dade County for one year and North Sand Mountain for eight seasons, came to North Jackson as a linebackers coach and eventually moved up to defensive coordinator before becoming head coach. During his 12 years with the program the Chiefs won 10 Region 7 championships and finished state runners-up once, averaging 12 wins per season in that time.
"It's a tough change to swallow," said North Jackson principal Sam Houston, also a former football assistant who coached with Peek. "We're pretty close and I hate that Shawn won't be here now. I wish him all the luck in the world wherever he coaches next.
"We will begin the process of finding a new coach and new staff immediately. We want to move quickly because we've got offseason workouts going, but we also want to make sure we get the best guy we can. I'm sure with our tradition there will be a lot of interest, and I would think being able to bring in a new staff would make it even more attractive."
Stephen has covered local sports in the tri-state area for more than 20 years, starting at the News-Free Press as a 19-year-old reporter. He has been with the Times Free Press since its inception and has been an assistant sports editor since 2005. Stephen is among the most decorated writers in the TFP’s newsroom, winning numerous state, regional and national writing awards. He was named one of the top 10 sports writers in the nation ...