On Tuesday night, the Albertville City Board of Education relieved Aggie head football coach Cliff Mitchell of his duties after just two seasons on the job.
The board also reassigned AHS Principal Deidra Tidwell, who is now principal of the Albertville Virtual and Success Academy. The board’s decisions are unrelated to each other.
Mitchell joined the Aggie coaching staff full-time in 2004. He served as assistant head coach to his predecessor, Dale Pruitt, from 2015-18.
His two Aggie teams posted records of 5-6 and 2-8. In 2020, Albertville competed as a Class 7A for the first time. The 2019 Aggies reached the 6A state playoffs.
Mitchell played quarterback at Douglas for his father, Rex, a 2018 inductee of the Marshall County Sports Hall of Fame.
Mitchell released a statement to The Reporter. It reads:
“Being a head football coach was something that I had always dreamed about. I wanted to follow in my dad’s footsteps and be a head coach. I am so thankful that I got to live out a dream. Most people don’t get to live out their dreams, but I had the opportunity to do so. The last 18 years have been some of the best of my life.
“I would like to thank all of the head coaches that I have worked for — Sam Graham, Tommy Tharp, Joel Poole, Dale Pruitt and Patrick Harding (coached with Coach Harding for 13 years on the hardwood) — that helped me along the way. I want to thank the numerous assistant coaches that have been by my side along the way. These folks have helped mold me into who I am today.
“After receiving the news of being let go, it wasn’t easy. A life’s work gone, felt that way, but as the following days have come, former and current players, friends, coworkers, former bosses and family have sent messages of condolences and thanks — everyone telling me to hang in there, that everything happens for a reason.
“I would like to thank Coach [Paul] McAbee, Dr. [Ric] Ayer, Dr. Tidwell, Dr. [Boyd] English and Mr. [Tyler] Reeves for giving me the opportunity to live out a childhood dream of becoming a head football coach and not just that, but the head football coach at Albertville High School, where I have worked and lived for basically my whole life.
“To my current and former players — I love you all and will always be here for you no matter the circumstance. Albertville will always be my home. No one knows what the future holds except for the good Lord.
“I would also like to thank my parents for making me into the man I am today. Without them, I wouldn’t be what I am today. I want to thank my wife for being with me every step of the way. She has been able to witness the good and the bad of the last 18 years and has never faltered. She’s my rock. There’s a special place in Heaven for coaches’ wives no doubt.
“It’s hard to sum up all the time that I have spent at the Albertville High School field house. In fact, there is no way to do that. I have had the opportunity to coach so many great players over the years. Too many to name, even though I would love to.
“I am blessed for my time at Albertville — a truly great place to work — and I will continue to support our guys in all sports and extracurricular activities as I have for the last 18 years.
“Thank you, Albertville, for the opportunity to teach and coach your children — truly a blessing!
“Once an Aggie, always an Aggie!”