By D. Mark Mitchell
Opelika Observer

After a coaching career that has spanned two decades, head coach Brian Blackmon has resigned as the Opelika High School athletic director and football coach to take a job with the Auburn University football program. Blackmon will be working under longtime friend and Auburn’s new offensive coordinator Chip Lindsey.
Blackmon began his coaching career 22 years ago at Opelika as a young assistant under then head coach Spence McCracken. Blackmon was named head coach and athletic director in 2009 after McCracken’s retirement.
In eight seasons, Blackmon has compiled a 69-25 overall record including a 40-11 region record. He guided Opelika to three region championships, seven-straight playoff appearances and two state championship appearances, the only two in school history. Last year’s  team finished with a school-record 13-2 season.
This is not the first time Auburn University has courted Blackmon. The Tigers offered him an analyst position several years ago and discussed another position last spring.
Blackmon said he is grateful for his career at Opelika, but has always wanted to coach on the collegiate level.
“I want to thank the Opelika City School Board of Education, Dr. Mark Neighbors, Dr. Farrell Seymore and Opelika City Schools for allowing me the opportunity to coach and be the athletic director at Opelika High School,” Blackmon said. “I also want to thank all my coaches and their families, not only football staff but all the coaches at Opelika High School. Without a doubt, this is the best high school coaching job in Alabama. The only reason I am leaving is the chance to pursue my dream of coaching in college. I may not have another chance.”
Blackmon said he has been praying about the situations and feels good about his decision.
“My family won’t have to move which is huge for us … I am blessed to have had 22 years in the Opelika School System including the last eight as head football coach and athletic director. Look at the coaches I followed: Coach McCracken, Doug Barfield, Joe Wilson, Larry Gore … that’s a Hall-of-Fame group right there. To be a part of this group makes me smile.”
According to an Opelika City Schools press release, the job position will be posted soon and the search for Blackmon’s replacement will begin immediately.
“We are very proud of the tradition of excellent head coaches at Opelika High School.  Over the past 21 years, Coach Blackmon has been a major factor in the success of our football program,” said Superintendent Dr. Mark Neighbors. “His focus on building character among his players has been a priority and has had an extremely positive impact on our program.  We wish Coach Blackmon the best in his new position.”