Cannon County will be searching for a new head football coach for the 2012 season.
Joel Schrenk, who had served as the Lions’ head coach for the last three seasons, resigned his position during a team meeting Friday (Jan. 27) to accept a position in his home state of Alabama.
Schrenk, the 2009 District 8-AA Coach of the Year, will become the head football coach at Falkville High School in Falkville, Ala.
“I am thankful for having the opportunity to serve as the head football coach at Cannon County,” Schrenk said. “We won a district title, we hosted a playoff game, and we have memories that can never be taken away. We have always acted with class and put the kids first. I believe the future is bright for Cannon County football. God isn’t taking us away from Cannon County. He is just taking us home.”
Cannon County Athletic Director Michael Dodgen said Cannon County will begin the process for laying out the search for the Lions’ next head football coach Monday (Jan. 30).
"It's a process and a (search) committee will be formed," Dodgen said. "That committee will be formed by (Director of Schools) Barbara Parker, (CCHS Principal) Tim Knox and myself. We will try to find the best possible teacher and coach for the position. We want to make sure we get the best person to benefit the football program at Cannon County High School and take it to the next step.
"We want to continue on the right path and be competitive in our region and in the Midstate."
Schrenk said a phone call from his daughter in Alabama began the process that ended up landing him with the position at Falkville.
“My daughter called and told me the position was open and I said, ‘OK’,” Schrenk said. “The following Tuesday (Jan. 17) I called the AD and we set up an interview. I wasn’t expecting to go there but when I got there, I was really impressed. Great people, great facilities.”
Schrenk said he watched Falkville’s High School basketball teams play Friday (Jan. 20) before returning to Tennessee. He received a call to return for a second interview Thursday (Jan. 26).
“(Wife) Donna and I had been praying hard for God’s direction in our lives and felt at peace if they offered me the position, and they did in that interview,” Schrenk said. “I accepted and here we are.”
Schrenk inherited a Cannon County football program that had fallen on hard times and was without a postseason appearance since 1995 when he took the head coaching position in 2009.
Schrenk coached the Lions for three seasons, posting a 7-24 record. His 2009 Lions won the Region 4-AA championship and earned a spot in the TSSAA Class AA playoffs for the first time since 1995.
“I remember meeting the players that first day and telling them our immediate goal was to get in the playoffs, and they audibly laughed at me,” Schrenk said. “We know the story. They started to believe in themselves and magic happened. What a great year that was.”
Cannon County was 1-9 campaign in 2010 and a vastly young and inexperienced squad was winless in 10 games in 2011. The Lions had only four seniors and started as many as 15 freshmen and sophomores during the 2011 season. Schrenk believed that experience would parlay into success for the team in 2012.
“The building blocks were solidly put in place this year for the future,” Schrenk said. “I see next year’s team winning five or six games and returning to the playoffs. They are hungry and will work to get it done, and I have great faith in the boys to stay the course and continue to work hard.”
The next coach will inherit a much better situation, Schrenk said.
“The program is in much better shape than when we arrived,” Schrenk said. “My first practice here we had 18 players. We dressed 32 the first year, 42 the second and 47 this year. We have 46 on the roster now. Add next year’s freshmen and the roster will be over 60. I’ve been told that would be the biggest team ever by numbers. That’s quantity and quality growth, and I am proud of that.”
Schrenk said the district title, playoff berth and numbers, in general, don’t tell the whole story of the success he realized during his tenure as Cannon County’s head football coach. The real successes are inside the numbers.
“I think the most important things we have done have been off of the field,” Schrenk said. “We have helped boys become young men. We have taught character and integrity. I have seen the players grow into leaders, to have accountability among them. I have seen our kids in church. I have seen them baptized, and for these things I am most proud. Our young men are good sons and brothers, and they will become good husbands, good fathers, and good men. That is what it is all about.”
Shrenk also said he is thankful for relationships developed through the years.
“The best thing about my time here has been building relationships with people,” Schrenk said. “Tim Knox is a fabulous principal and a good man. He is a great friend. Outside of the players, I will miss him the most. Tim has always supported us, always supported his teachers, and he loves CCHS. If there is a better principal, I haven’t met him yet. I hope the stakeholders at CCHS realize how fortunate they are to have Tim Knox as their principal.
“(Director of Schools) Barbara Parker has been supportive as well. I know, at times, I had ideas that she probably didn’t agree with, but she gave me the freedom to run the program (and supported me after that). For that, I am grateful.
“Bruce Steelman served as our booster club president for three years and my right-hand man,” Schrenk continued. “He sacrificed time away from his job, his family and his cattle (babycakes) to better our program. I can never repay the Steelmans for all they did to make our time here great.
“I also am indebted to our football staff. One thing I know is that a football team can not be coached by one or two guys, and we had coaches that put the kids first and taught them the game. Talent is born, but football is taught and our kids here were taught football, and that is why they will be successful here in the future.”