By ARTHUR L. MACK
Cottage Hill Christian Academy defensive coordinator Carvel Jones was promoted to head football coach Thursday less than 24 hours after Stacy Luker decided he didn’t want to continue in the job after less than a month after taking it.
“With all things, you’ve got to press forward,” CHCA head of schools Chris Brazell said. “We know the Lord is in control and we’re just excited coach Jones will be leading our football program.”
Jones, who played linebacker at Troy University, served as defensive coordinator under former Warriors head coach Bobby Parrish, who stepped down earlier this season after two years.
Jones served as defensive coordinator at Luverne and Chickasaw and was a defensive assistant at Jackson in 2017.
Jones and his brothers Phelon and Tiger Jones all played college football, Carvel at Troy, Phelon at LSU and Alabama, and Tiger at Louisville.
“I’m excited because I’m like-minded with the direction the school is headed in,” Jones said. “I’ve seen behind closed doors how hard the kids have been working and I’m really excited. This is something I’ve been praying for and there was no hesitation when they asked me if I would take the job.”
Brazell said hiring Jones was a “no-brainer.”
“We’re looking to our relationship with our whole football program now,” Brazell said. “It’s important to us to put a head coach in front of our guys. Through the interview process, coach Jones stood out. When we heard the news from coach Luker, we went ahead and promoted coach Jones.”
Brazell said Cottage Hill’s defense stood out last year under Jones.
“Our guys played an aggressive style of football and that’s our mentality,” Brazell said. “He’s also our strength and conditioning coach. The main thing is that his players respond to him really, really well.”
Luker, a member of the Alabama High School Hall of Fame, informed school officials Wednesday he decided to step down. He was hired in March to replace Parrish, who was 8-11 in two seasons.
“It was unfortunate for all of us,” CHCA athletic director Adam Thomas said. “But he’s doing the right thing for his family.”
Thomas said there were no indications early on about Luker having a change of heart.
“It seemed everything was going well,” Thomas said. “There were no indications he was going to resign. We were going through the normal procedures to get ready for football but things transpired that got us to this point. It’s just one of those things that you don’t anticipate.”
Luker won six state championships, five at Sweet Water (2004, 2006, 2007, 2008 and 2010) and another at Clarke County in 2021. Luker was 232-102 in 28 seasons at five schools in Alabama.
In 15 years in the AHSAA, Cottage Hill is 61-89 with one region title under Brazell in 2018, when the Warriors enjoyed the best season in school history with a 10-2 finish and their only playoff win.