This week in Marshall County produced an unusual flurry of coaching news.

The Albertville City Board of Education launched it Tuesday night by naming Lydia O’Donnell as Albertville High School’s new varsity volleyball coach.

Lydia, who spent the last two seasons as the Aggies’ freshman coach and a varsity assistant, succeeds the retiring Cristy West.

I saw Coach West on Thursday, and she’s excited about Coach O’Donnell taking over the program. She’s confident Lydia will do an excellent job.

Coach O’Donnell inherits a veteran squad that lost only one senior, middle hitter Makayla Phillips. The Aggies finished 39-25, won their fourth straight area tournament championship and reached the Class 6A Elite Eight in 2018.

Savannah Rutledge, a rising senior, is verbally committed to ACCC/Region XXII powerhouse Wallace State-Hanceville.

The Guntersville City Board of Education got in on the act Wednesday morning when they hired Brett Self (boys) and Heather Mayes Powell (girls) as their new varsity basketball coaches.

The board also hired Heather’s husband, Luke Powell, as a teacher and coach. Luke served the last two years as Section’s head football coach.

Becky Walker, Coach Self’s co-worker at Douglas High School, tweeted that Douglas’ loss is Guntersville’s gain.

“My heart breaks. Guntersville, you are getting an amazing young man and role model for your young men,” the lady affectionately known as “BWOK” posted on Twitter.

Danny Anderson, a former Guntersville assistant coach, also tweeted his support of Coach Self’s hiring. Anderson also has head-coaching stops at Fort Payne and Hazel Green.

“Congrats to my good friend @CoachBSelf,” Anderson posted. “Guntersville just hired the best guy for the job!”

I’m happy to be able to continue working with Coach Self, and I look forward to working with Heather, who was an assistant coach at Fyffe last season. She served as head coach at Plainview from 2004-18.

I covered Heather’s incredible playing career at Fyffe in the 1990s, but I haven’t had the opportunity to cover her coaching career until now.

Heather is a member of the DeKalb County Sports Hall of Fame.

Thursday afternoon, the Marshall County Board of Education approved Chris Williams as the new head football coach at Asbury. He becomes the second head coach in Rams’ history behind Jeff Powell, who started the program.

Chris has been serving as middle school head football coach and varsity head baseball coach at Douglas.

“I am honored to have been named the Head Football Coach of Asbury HS today,” Coach Williams wrote on his Facebook page Thursday night. “This has been a lifelong dream of mine. I look forward to meeting the coaching staff and players. I am excited to get started soon for spring training and summer.

“Thank you to Mr. Webber, Coach Pelham and Cindy Saye Wigley for this opportunity. I want to say thank you to Douglas for an amazing 3 years. The administration, students, athletes and parents have been great.”

Clay Webber is Asbury’s principal while Coach Pelham serves as the school’s athletic director. Dr. Wigley is superintendent of the Marshall County School System.

I’ve known Coach Williams for more than 20 years, and I’m excited for him and his family. I believe he can build a solid program at Asbury from the foundation laid by Coach Powell.

Shannon J. Allen is sports editor for The Reporter. He can be reached at

(0) comments

Welcome to the discussion.

Keep it Clean. Please avoid obscene, vulgar, lewd, racist or sexually-oriented language.
Don't Threaten. Threats of harming another person will not be tolerated.
Be Truthful. Don't knowingly lie about anyone or anything.
Be Nice. No racism, sexism or any sort of -ism that is degrading to another person.
Be Proactive. Use the 'Report' link on each comment to let us know of abusive posts.
Share with Us. We'd love to hear eyewitness accounts, the history behind an article.