The interim tag is no longer in Desmond Lett’s job description.
The former Geneva County three-sport athlete was officially named Daleville’s head football coach Wednesday night by the Daleville Board of Education.
Lett was interim head coach for the last week of spring practice and early summer after the mid-May departure of Trey Woolf, who took the head coaching job at Seminole County (Ga.).
In addition to the football job, Daleville also hired new baseball and softball coaches Wednesday. Justin Hendrix, who has been at five Wiregrass programs, including Carroll last year, was tabbed in baseball. Scott Parker, who has directed four Wiregrass programs in recent years, including Cottonwood this past year, was chosen in softball.
Lett becomes the fourth head football coach in as many seasons and the 10 th in the last 16 years for the Warhawks. He was an assistant coach at Daleville the last four seasons, including one as an intern after graduating from Troy University. He was offensive coordinator last year and defensive backs coach the previous years.
“ This is very exciting for us,” Daleville principal Josh Robertson said. “He is one of our own as he has worked for us the last few years. He led the softball program last year and got it going in the direction we needed.
“ He has a good relationship with the kids, who have rallied around him. The numbers and excitement are both up. We feel he is the right guy at the right time.”
Despite the rash of coaching changes, the Warhawks are coming off four straight winning seasons and five straight playoff appearances, though the last two teams finished 6-5. Last year’s team won an opening-round Class 2A state playoff game before losing in the second round to Leroy 27-26.
Lett, who served two years under Josh Parrish and one each under Rob Armstrong and Woolf, will make his head coaching debut Aug. 23 when Daleville hosts Elba at Warhawk Stadium in the 2019 season opener.
“ I am excited about taking over the program,” Lett said. “I feel I can relate to the boys. I feel the spring went well after I was named interim coach and that the boys reacted well to the coaching staff.
“ I know they have had a different coach for the last four years, but I feel they have handled this coaching staff change well. We haven’t skipped a beat. We got the numbers up and got more people interested in playing football. I feel we are moving in the right direction.”
The new Warhawk coach said discipline and finishing are his two main themes for this upcoming season.
“ First, I want to preach discipline,” Lett said. “If we are disciplined on the field, we will be disciplined off the field and that will make us better in the classroom and on the field.
“ Even before I took over as the interim coach, we preached finishing. Against Leroy, we had a big lead and we didn’t finish, so that is something all the coaches on staff have preached all summer and the kids have bought in to finishing.”
He also feels having hard practices are important.
“ The first thing is we have to practice hard,” Lett said. “The last couple of years we have practiced, but we hadn’t really bought in at practice. If we buy in at practice, you play like you practice. So if we go out there and hit it hard in practice then on Friday nights it will translate over to the game. If you train hard then in the fourth quarter, you won’t be too tired and you will be able to put people away.”
As he did last year, Lett plans to deal mostly with the offense at Daleville. Hendrix will serve as defensive coordinator. The two will consult together to come up with specific schemes, but Lett feels a simple approach might fit best.
“ Yes, we have had a lot of success, but it has been complicated too (for the kids), so we will work on simplifying and perfecting the things we do,” Lett said.
Lett played varsity football four seasons at Geneva County, earning all-state defensive back honors in his junior and senior seasons. He also played basketball four seasons and was on the Bulldog baseball team as a senior.
In addition to his football role, he will move from P.E. teacher at Windham Elementary to teaching weight training classes at the high school.
Hendrix to direct baseball: Hendrix, a former baseball standout under Rex Bynum at Enterprise High School and later at Enterprise State and Faulkner University, has been hired to lead the Warhawk baseball program.
He has seven years of coaching experience, but will be leading a program for the first time. He has served as assistant baseball and football coach at Dale County (one year), Kinston (two seasons), Northview (two seasons), Rehobeth (one year) and Carroll (one year).
A member of the 2000 Faulkner World Series championship team and 2001 national runner-up team, he also served in the Army for four years as a compact engineer, spending time in Baghdad after 9/11.
“Coach Hendrix is young on experience in teaching and coaching, but he comes from a strong baseball background playing in college and he is a military veteran,” Robertson said. “He is a good individual and quality leader who will help lead our kids.”
Robertson added his “military background fits in” at Daleville, which is located less than a mile from the gates to Fort Rucker.
Hendrix, who earned Dothan Eagle Super 12 honors in baseball at Enterprise High in 1999, knows he has a challenge with a program that has won little lately, but recalls Daleville as a strong program when he was playing high school.
“ It is going to be a lot work, but I feel I am up to the challenge,” Hendrix said. “It will take time to build it back up. We are not building from the bottom per say, but we have a lot of building to do. I want to return Daleville to a highly competitive team and to instill a sense of pride in the program.”
Hendrix will also be a P.E. teacher at Daleville.
Parker to guide softball: Daleville has turned to a Wiregrass veteran for the softball position in Parker.
He has guided four programs a total of 10 seasons, most notably Headland during a strong three-year stretch. He guided the Rams from 2012-14, leading the program to a 75-32 record with two state tournament appearances.
Prior to his Headland post, he was head coach at Carroll for three seasons. Following his days at Headland, he has been head coach at New Brockton and at Cottonwood.
In addition to his softball duties, he will be an assistant football coach and a history teacher.
“ Coach Parker comes with a lot of experience here in the Wiregrass, both as a football coach and a softball coach,” Robertson said. “We are thankful to have had an opportunity to interview him and get him on board with us. He comes highly recommended as a teacher. He is good package of coach and teacher.”