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Steve Normand retires as Baker High football coach

Baker coach Steve Normand, who announced his retirement Friday, was only the second football coach in school history to have a winning record. (John O’Dell/Call News)

 

 

By ARTHUR L. MACK

MOBILE — Baker head football coach Steve Normand said Friday he is retiring to teach and coach in Mississippi.

Normand was 29-24 in five full seasons as the Hornets’ coach with four playoff appearances. The only other coach in Baker history to have a winning record over a five-year stretch was Billy Odom, who was 27-26 from 1981-1985.

The Hornets finished 8-3 in 2023, losing to Auburn in the first round of the Class 7A playoffs.

“It was a good time to get out,” said Normand, who spent 20 years at Baker and 25 in Alabama public schools. “I’ve got my years in. I didn’t know how many years I had until I started figuring them up.”

Normand started his education career in Mississippi and still has a few years to go before he is eligible to retire there. He plans to drive from Alabama to teach in Mississippi.

“I won’t look at getting a head coaching job but maybe an assistant coach’s job,” Normand said.

Normand took over at Baker as the interim coach in 2018 after Danny Smith was fired after week three. Normand is only the second coach in school history to have an overall winning record; the other is Jack French, who was 27-15 in four seasons with the Hornets from 2011-14.

“We had a great run at Baker,” Normand said. “I was fortunate to have some good coaches to help me with the process, as well as some good players. Sometimes, the head coaches get more credit than they deserve. It’s the assistant coaches that do the work. We were also fortunate to have some really good players to come from here.”

Normand said his players were surprised by his retirement but said it was even tougher telling the assistant coaches.

“They were surprised but kids are resilient and they take something like that in stride,” he said. “They respond to things like that a little bit differently. It was tougher telling my coaches because of the amount of time we spent together.”

Normand has emotional ties to Baker as well. His son, first-team All-State linebacker Leland Normand, is graduating this year, his daughter cheered there and his wife teaches there.

“Baker is really special to us,” Normand said. “We put our whole heart and soul into the place and it’s been a great place to be.”

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