SARDIS CITY — New Sardis head football coach B.J. Brooks will face one of his mentors during the 2023 season, when he leads the Lions against Arab and head coach Lee Ozmint on Sept. 8.
Brooks played for Ozmint at Glencoe, where he served as head coach from 2006-15.
“Me and him go way back,” Brooks said. “I actually went to Gadsden High School and played varsity as an eighth-grader. Coach Ozmint was my defensive coordinator.
“Then when he got the Glencoe job, he knew I lived in Glencoe already, so he was kind of making little stops by my house and talking to my parents. He talked me into finishing at Glencoe. I had Coach Ozmint for five years.”
Brooks played a year of college football at Jacksonville State before ending his playing career and jumping into the coaching ranks.
“College football is a hard, hard job, and I just said, ‘man, I know I want to coach, I still want to be around the game,’” Brooks said.
His first job was on Thomas “Tripp” Curry’s staff at Cherokee County.
“I got spoiled my first year in it ,” Brooks said. “We went 15-0 and won the [4A] state championship. I coached linebackers for Cherokee County. That’s what I played at Jacksonville.
“After that, I started helping at Gadsden City and I was there for three years. I had safeties my first year, and then went over and coached receivers, and that’s how I met Gene Hill. He came to Gadsden [after being head coach at Etowah] and he coached safeties, so we kind of got to see each other and be around each other a little bit.”
Hill served as Sardis’ head coach from 2011-21.
Brooks worked for head coach Joe Billingsley at Gadsden City. He played for Billingsley at Gadsden before transferring to Glencoe.
After Brooks completed his degree and became a teacher, his first job was at Oneonta.
“I worked at Oneonta for Don Jacobs and won a state championship [4A title in 2013],” he said. “I’ve been a part of two state championships, just awesome coaches, awesome players and awesome communities.”
He left Oneonta to accept a position as offensive coordinator on Drew Noles’ staff at Etowah, where he spent four years.
“Coach Noles has been with me through a lot of stuff, and he just means the world to me and his family does,” Brooks said. “I coached his sons.
“Andy Noles is still to this day one of the only kids that I would say I never, ever saw him take a play off. Not a sprint, not anything. He always did exactly what he was supposed to do. He was just a privilege and joy to coach.
“We had a lot of success when we were at Etowah, deep runs in the playoffs.”
From Etowah, Brooks moved to Gadsden City for his second stint with the Titans. He served a year under Bart Sessions and a year under Ali Smith, their current head coach.
“I got a call from Josh Niblett to go work at Hoover High School, and when you get those calls, you typically don’t turn them down,” Brooks said. “So, I’ve been there for three years coaching receivers.
“Coach Andy Urban, their athletic director, I can’t enough good things about him as well.”
Urban is the son-in-law of Moe Smith, a Boaz native and a member of the Marshall County Sports Hall of Fame.
“Moe Smith was my principal [at Glencoe],” Brooks said. “I worked in the office with Moe Smith my senior year. He’s still a great friend.”
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