The new Dothan Wolves football team has its first game in two days, a neutral site 3 p.m. contest in Alabaster against Clay-Chalkville.
While most of the focus has been on the players who will play the game under new head coach Smitty Grider, another group has also been hard at work over the last few months – the Dothan Wolves coaching staff.
“I think we have put together a high-quality staff,” Grider said. “It is a good mixture of veteran coaches and young coaches. They are all good coaches, but they are even better men. I think the city of Dothan will be proud of the coaches who we have put together.”
Below is look at the Wolves’ coaching staff:
Tim Gillespie, offensive coordinator/quarterbacks coach
A 1990 graduate of Susan Moore High School in Blountsville where he played football and basketball, Gillespie played one season of football at the University of North Alabama. He has been an offensive coordinator at Hazel Green, Gadsden City and Park Crossing as well as a head coach at Lawrence County, Susan Moore, Curry, Holt and Sparkman.
Chris Cooper, running backs/head JV coach/equipment
A 1990 graduate of Paducah Tilghman High School in Paducah, Ky., Cooper competed in baseball, wrestling and track in high school. He attended Murray State, Campbellsville University (master’s degree) and University of West Alabama (leadership degree). He was offensive line, offensive coordinator and defensive coordinator at Paducah Tilghman (1991-2008) and head coach at Ballard Memorial in Barlow, Ky. (2008-11), before serving as linebackers coach at Northview (2011-13), running backs coach at Dothan (2013-15), head coach at Beverlye Middle School (2015-17) and freshman head coach at Dothan (2017-19).
J.D. Atkins, offensive line coach
Atkins is a 2012 graduate of Opelika High School. He was offensive line, linebackers and 9th grade coach at Opelika (2013-15) before becoming offensive coordinator/quarterbacks coach at Central of Coosa County (2015-17). He was the offensive line coach at Central of Phenix City (2017) and offensive coordinator/quarterbacks coach at Dadeville last season.
Chael Pridgen, offensive line coach/tight ends
Pridgen played at Hazel Green High School and at Huntingdon College (2016). He was linebackers coach at Straughn (2017) and offensive and defensive line coach at Hazel Green last season.
Barnard McGhee, wide receivers coach
A graduate of Dothan High in 2012, McGhee played at the University of West Alabama. He was a graduate assistant at the University of West Alabama.
Cory Crawford, wide receivers coach
A 2006 graduate of Slocomb High School, he played baseball at Wallace College (2008) and earned his bachelor’s degree from Troy in 2019. He was running backs/safeties coach at Abbeville (2010-12), safeties/cornerbacks coach at Rehobeth (2012-15) and receivers coach at Dothan (2015 to last year).
Jamel Harris, defensive coordinator/defensive line
A basketball-football standout at Wicksburg, Harris played linebacker at the University of Arkansas from 1996-99. He has served as linebacker/defensive coordinator at Rehobeth (2004-06), defensive ends/linebackers and defensive coordinator at Eufaula (2008-012), defensive line coach at Enterprise (2013-17) and defensive line coach at Geneva (2018).
Jonnathan Valdez, defensive line/defensive ends coach
A native of Puerto Rico, Valdez played at the Puerto Rico Baseball Academy and was a 2008 draft pick of the Toronto Blue Jays. He played college football at Troy in 2016 at tight end and defensive end. He was a baseball assistant coach at Pike Liberal Arts in Troy (2015-17) and the head baseball coach as well defensive line coach at Ariton the last two years.
Spencer Pybus, assistant coach/linebackers
A 2008 Northview graduate, Pybus played college football at Auburn (2012). He was the linebackers/special teams coordinator at Northview (2013-16) and at Early County (Ga.) (2017) before serving as co-defensive coordinator and linebackers coach last year at Dothan High.
Greg Greenwood, cornerbacks and returners
A 1993 graduate of Dothan High and Troy 2007 graduate, Greenwood coached running backs at Northview (2007-08) and wide receivers at Dothan (2008-10). He was defensive backs and defensive coordinator at Ashford (2010) and cornerbacks/linebackers coach at Dothan (2011-17).
Chuck McCall, outside linebackers/special teams
A 1983 Houston Academy graduate who played football, baseball and track, McCall was an outside linebacker at Samford University from 1984-87. He was at Dothan High (2001-04) coaching tight ends (2001), running backs (2002-03) and outside linebackers (2004). He was at Houston Academy (2005-18) coaching defensive ends/offensive line (2005-06), offensive line, running game coordinator, defensive line and linebackers (2007-16) before become defensive coordinator (2017). He was outsider linebackers and special teams coach last year at Houston Academy.
Leonard Shaughnessy, strength and conditioning coach
A 1994 Dothan High graduate, Shaughnessy played football at Troy through 1999. He was football and weightlifting coach at Cypress Creek (2001-03) in the Orlando area, Freedom (2003-04), Apopka (2004-05) and Cypress Creek (2005-14) before becoming strength and conditioning coach at Dothan High (2014 to last year).