Matthew Lambert will be trading clubhouses at Albertville High School’s Sheldon Elmore Park.
The Albertville City Board of Education approved Lambert as the Aggies’ new head baseball coach during a special called meeting Tuesday afternoon. Lambert has spent the past two seasons as Albertville’s head softball coach.
Lambert succeeds Jeff Simmons, who retired from coaching after spending 15 seasons as the program’s leader.
“Coach Simmons decided a while back what he wanted to do,” said AHS Assistant Principal/Athletic Director Tyler Reeves. “He let us know that with ample time.
“He wanted to make sure we had plenty of time to find his replacement, and that was another way for him to leave the program in good hands.”
A Fyffe native, Lambert and his family live in Albertville. He played junior college baseball at Central Alabama and helped Birmingham-Southern win an NAIA national championship in 2001.
“Coach Lambert played for Larry Giangrosso and he played for Brian Shoop,” Reeves said. “These guys are some of the highest-respected guys in the baseball community.
“He’s been head coach at Fyffe, Douglas and Oneonta. He had a lot of success at Oneonta and made the [state playoff] semis there.
“I coached against him when he was at Douglas. That team — if you showed up and didn’t handle your business — would flat-out beat you, and there’s a lot of guys around here that know what I’m talking about.
“Coach Lambert was also an assistant at Briarwood [Christian] for several years under Lee Hall, who is another very respected guy in the baseball community. He’s the head coach at Randolph in Huntsville now.
“I was able to see how Coach Lambert managed a program from him being our softball coach for the last two years. His organizational skills, his communication skills … the things about running a program that only experienced head coaches really know.
“We interviewed several. We wanted to handle it as a search. We feel like any major head-coaching opening we have we need to do that. Matt showed up and interviewed really, really well, so we were really pleased to choose him.”
Reeves posted the head softball coaching position Tuesday. He hopes to fill it as soon as possible in May.
Lusk rejoins basketball staff
The board also approved Labron Lusk as Albertville’s junior varsity boys basketball coach during Tuesday’s brief meeting at the central office. He succeeds Matt Nelson, who was named the school’s new varsity girls basketball coach last week.
Lusk is returning to a role he stepped away from following the 2013-14 season. He spent 10 years on the Aggie boys staff during his first tenure.
“Coach Lusk has three children, and he was in a situation where all three of them were playing Little League sports at the same time,” Reeves said.
“In a coach’s life you’re going to spend more time with other peoples’ kids than your own kids, and I think he did want to take some time to coach his kids and he’s been able to do that.
“Coach Nelson stepped in, and now that Coach Nelson has taken our varsity girls job, I can’t think of a better scenario than Labron coming back.
“I was very excited and pleased when [AHS varsity boys] Coach [Patrick] Harding contacted me and said I think Labron wants to come back, because Labron is a fantastic basketball coach.
“I don’t know that they’ll skip a beat. He’ll step right back in, and he was really good his first time around and he’ll be really good again.
“It’s always nice when you have somebody in-house that you know is going to step in and do a good job, and we know that Labron will do that.”