Guntersville High School’s search for its next varsity basketball coaches ended Wednesday morning, when the Guntersville City Board of Education approved the hiring of Brett Self as boys head coach and Heather Mayes Powell as girls head coach during a special called board meeting.
The new coaches succeed Russell Carr (varsity boys) and Jennifer Kitchens (varsity girls), who submitted their resignations in late February.
Self comes to Guntersville from Douglas, where he spent five seasons in charge of the Eagles’ program.
Powell served as an assistant coach at her alma mater, Fyffe, in 2018-19. She was Plainview’s head coach from 2004-18. Her 2016-17 squad finished 33-1, losing only to Pisgah in the Northeast Regional finals.
Powell is one of the greatest girls basketball players in AHSAA history. She led Fyffe to three state championships and was selected Miss Basketball in 1995. Her 4,149 career points rank sixth on the girls all-time scoring list.
The Guntersville City Board of Education also hired Powell’s husband, Luke Powell, as a teacher and coach. Powell resigned as Section’s head football coach after two seasons.
GHS Assistant Principal/Athletic Director Johnny Harbison said more than 20 candidates applied for each basketball coaching job.
Harbison said Self will join the GHS faculty, with his teaching assignment to be determined.
Heather Powell can teach English, history, math and physical education. Harbison said her teaching assignment is still to be determined.
Luke Powell will teach history at Guntersville Middle School. His coaching duties will be assigned later.
“It was a family decision,” Luke Powell told The Jackson County Sentinel. “It’s hard to leave the kids [at Section], but the opportunity for us to be at the same school again was something we couldn’t pass up. The Lord just opened the door for us for that at Guntersville.”
Self takes over a Wildcat boys program that boasts one state championship, 13 state tournament appearances, 23 Marshall County championships and 27 area championships.
“Guntersville has a strong, rich history,” Self said. “That’s the exciting part to me, and I’m ready to get going and just be a part of it. Start building the team and get rolling.
“I want to thank [GHS Principal] Roseanne Mabrey, Johnny Harbison and the superintendent, Brett Stanton, for believing in me and giving me this opportunity. A lot of great coaches have coached at Guntersville, a lot of great players have come through Guntersville, and I’m honored to be a part of that moving forward.
“I’m looking forward to getting over there and making the rosters, getting going with [summer play dates in] June and putting a product on the floor the community can be proud of.”
One of the highlights of Self’s career at Douglas occurred in his first season.
His team finished 0-6 in regular season Class 5A, Area 13 play but upset host Etowah in the semifinals and Boaz in the finals to win the Area 13 tournament championship. The Eagles lost to Butler 58-54 in overtime in the subregional playoffs.
“I enjoyed my time at Douglas,” Self said. “I loved every minute of it. Five years was great.
“I appreciate Scott Bonds believing in me five years ago and Dr. Cindy Wigley and all she’s done as superintendent. But most importantly, I coached a bunch of great kids the last five years. That’s what I think about — the memories I’ve made and the great players that played for me.
“It’s definitely bittersweet. I wish Douglas nothing but the best. I think they’ve got a good thing rolling here, and they’ll get the right guy in here to continue that.”