by D. Mark Mitchell
Opelika Athletic Director Brian Blackmon has announced the hiring of John Wadsworth as the new head basketball coach at OHS.
John Wadsworth, the former coach who resigned last year before the season started.
There is more to the story than you think.
Coach Wadsworth resigned as head coach of the boys basketball team a week before the first game because of a very difficult reason: Wadsworth’s mother, who lives over seven hours away in North Carolina, was diagnosed with stage four Melanoma Cancer.
Mrs. Wadsworth was going to have to go through several surgeries and various treatments.
At the time, coach Wadsworth decided the best thing he could do — for the team and his mother — was to step down as head coach. This was a difficult decision.
His wife, Danielle, supported Wadsworth and wanted him to try and coach the team, but John felt he had to step down to be with his mother during that time. He felt his team would not have gotten the coaching they deserved from him if he left during the middle of the season to be with his mother.
Assistant coach Bryan Moore took over the team as interim head coach and did a great job. The school opened the position for applications a month ago and several coaches, including John Wadsworth, applied for the job. OHS principal Dr. Ferrell Seymore, Athletic Director Brian Blackmon and former head coach Tony Hoyett interviewed several applicants, including Wadsworth. The interviewers believed the best decision was to re-hire the known quality, Wadsworth, and let him continue the job he had begun five years ago.
Wadsworth won nearly 80 games in his four years as head coach, taking his teams to three straight state playoffs, including a trip to the Elite 8, where we lost in double overtime for a trip to the final four.
Coach Wadsworth wants to thank the entire Opelika City School system, Dr. Neighbors, Dr. Seymore, coach Blackmon and many others who supported him during this tough time. His mother has completed her surgeries and several follow-up treatments and is now much, much improved.
“I am stunned and happy to be named the head basketball at Opelika … again. I am blessed to have a great wife and three wonderful children along with my family at OHS. I will get to work quickly to get the program going in the same direction we were heading. I am proud to be an Opelika Bulldog,” said Wadsworth after being named head coach.
I am so proud John Wadsworth is our head basketball coach again. He was doing a great job when he had to step down. Having known John for six years, he was devastated when he resigned, but felt it was the right thing for everybody. Wadsworth is a class-act and represents what Opelika High School is all about.
Congratulations, Coach … and welcome back!