Wayne Grant named Pike Liberal Arts athletic director, football coach

Published 11:28 pm Wednesday, June 13, 2012

The Pike Liberal Arts school board approved the hiring of Wayne Grant as athletic director and head football coach.

“Wayne Grant is one of the most qualified persons in the state to lead an athletic department,” school board chairman John Ramage said. “Looking at his past accomplishments, the decision was almost made for us.”

Grant, who has served off and on as the Patriots’ offensive coordinator over the last three seasons, has won more than 200 games as a head coach at three different schools – Lowndes Academy, Pike County High School and Talladega High School.

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“I’m excited to be back as a head coach and athletic director,” Grant said. “We plan to fill positions with good coaches and classroom teaches and get our off season workout program going.”

Grant’s famed run at Pike County began in 1982 when he took over a 3-7 football team. Three seasons later, Grant not only had Pike County in the playoffs but also won 10 games for the first time in school history.

The Bulldogs won the first of five state championships under Grant in 1988 and would take another in 1989.

Grant took over at Talladega High School from 1992-1997 where he produced below-average results with a 27-37.

It would take Grant five seasons to lead Pike County back to the state championship upon returning to the school in 1999. The Bulldogs would win titles in 2003, 2005, and 2006.

Grant also previously served as offensive coordinator during Pike’s 2008 state championship season under Steven Kilcrease. After a one-year hiatus from the football field, Grant returned to lead Pike’s offense three games into last season.

“Many of the things Coach Kilcrease was doing are similar to what I do,” Grant said. “We want to continue to try and develop our young athletes.”

Kilcrease, who departed on June 4 for Lee-Scott Academy after five seasons with the Patriots, led Pike to back-to-back AISA state football titles in 2008 and 2009 as well as a girl’s basketball championship in 2009-10.

“(Grant) understands that all sports are important and need to remain competitive,” Ramage said. “The emphasis will be on development. We need to develop our junior high programs into true feeder programs.”

Development will be a key for Grant as the Pike football program looks to rebound after losing 22 seniors. While initial participation numbers are low, Grant is confident that will change as summer rolls along.

“The baseball team played so deep into the year that we were unable to hold spring practices,” Grant said.

“We are going to have to do a good job of coaching to get the players we have ready for the season and hopefully some kids that have not played will decide to play.”

Grant went on to say that low numbers means that players will need to be in top physical condition and prepared to play both offense and defense.

“I’ve played games in the past with small numbers and been successful,” Grant said. “My experience going through that maybe will be an advantage this year.”

Pike Liberal Arts opens its football season Aug. 24 at home against Morgan Academy.