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Sulligent hires Robbins as football coach


Dennis Robbins, who retired in Mississippi, will continue his coaching career with a new job at Sulligent High School.

Robbins, 57, has been hired to lead the Sulligent football program. A 35-year coaching veteran with 21 years worth of experience as a head coach, Robbins was the offensive coordinator last season at Lafayette High School in Oxford, Miss.

“It’s about 70 miles from where I live,” Robbins said. “I’m retiring in Mississippi, and I wanted to continue to coach. I’ve been trying to get in this part of Alabama for a couple of years, and Sulligent gave me the opportunity. The people here have been fantastic. The administration and the assistant coaches have been great. They made me feel right at home. I’m excited about the opportunity to be here.”

Robbins conducted his first summer workout Monday with about 30 players. 

“I’m still learning names and things like that,” he said. “I think the kids are wanting to be successful, and they’re willing to do what it takes.”

Sulligent had a 2-8 record last season under the direction of Scott Marchant, who resigned after heading the program for three years. Jarrod Helms was hired to take over the program, but he stayed only a few days before returning to Brilliant, where he was the head coach.

Robbins said his priorities for the summer are installing a new offense and defense and concentrating on strength training.

“A lot of it is working hard and doing the right things, doing the things it takes to win,” he said. “I think strength training is a big part of it.

“We’re going to spread the field and try to make people defend it from sideline to sideline and goal line to goal line, both vertically and horizontally. The zone option will be a big part of our offense.”

Robbins wants his quarterbacks to run and throw, and he expects Nathan Gardner and Cordarius Metcalfe to compete for the job. Gardner will be a senior. Metcalfe, who will be a junior, could play at wide receiver.

“They don’t have to be a great thrower but just an adequate thrower,” Robbins said. “Both of those guys are pretty athletic, and both of them can do the things that I would like them to do on offense at quarterback, so I feel good about that.”

Robbins, who grew up in Southhaven, Miss., played football and baseball in high school. He was a wide receiver in college, first at Northwest Community College and then at Delta State.

He was the head coach at Bruce High School, which finished as the Class 2A runner-up in Mississippi. With Robbins on the staff, Lafayette played for state championships in four of the last five years and won Class 4A titles in 2010 and 2011. Lafayette had two straight 16-0 seasons and a 35-game winning streak.

Marchant said he expects to be teaching and coaching, possibly as a defensive coordinator, at a Tuscaloosa-area school. Marchant had a 19-7 record and led Pickens County to two straight playoff appearances in 2009-2010 before moving to Sulligent. His Sulligent teams went 9-21 in three seasons.

“I learned a lot,” Marchant said. “It was a good experience for me. We didn’t win a lot of ballgames, but I met a lot of great people and a lot of great kids. I just wish them the best of luck in Sulligent.

“God has blessed me. He’s going to continue to bless me, and I’m excited about the future.”

 

Reach Andrew Carroll at andrew.carroll@tuscaloosanews.com or at 205-722-0223.