OMS, OHS make coaching changes


By D. Mark Mitchell

sports columnist

Opelika Middle School basketball coach Blake Smalley was hired by Handley High School of Roanoke as head basketball coach last Friday. Smalley was the head eighth grade coach and assistant football coach.
OHS volleyball coach Melissa Bennett took the head girls basketball job at Chelsea High School near Birmingham. Robin Roberts will leave the softball staff and take over as head volleyball coach.
Allison Gregory has been hired by OHS as assistant basketball and softball coach.
Dr. Farrell Seymore and A.D. Brian Blackmon are continuing the search for a new baseball coach at OHS. Dr. Seymore and Coach Blackmon know the importance of every hire. The baseball team needs stability. The program has seen two head coaches and one Interim since Barry Hightower stepped down in 2010.
I expect the announcement of the new baseball coach in the coming days.
Dr. Mark Neighbors announced the OCS Board of Education approved the plan for a new track and new lights for Bulldog Park. The two are expected to cost around $1.5 million. Dr. Neighbors said the track will be top notch. “If we are going to construct a new track, we will build it the right way. The track will have every feature needed to hold state and sectional meets.
The Opelika High track team has won three state championships in the past two years, one indoor championship and two outdoor track and field championships.
Dr. Neighbors expects construction to begin before July 1. I expect the track to be completed by the beginning of the 2017 season.
The Opelika All-Sports Booster Club is in the process of seeking corporate sponsors. The Booster Club offers four levels of sponsorship.
Corporate Sponsorship plans are available at $500, $700, $1,250 and $3,000 levels. Each package includes a program ad, reserved home football tickets, game passes for all sports at OHS and OMS, reserved parking space for home football games and recognition on the jumbo scoreboard.
For more information or to purchase a corporate sponsorship, email D.Mark Mitchell at
The All-Sports Booster Club is the only Booster Club for Opelika School athletics, The club disperses money to every sport at OMS and OHS. The money is kept in a school system account at OHS.
The All-Sports Booster Club disperses thousands of dollars each school year. The Opelika school system depends on the money from the All-Sports Booster Club to help with extras that are needed to make Opelika school sports special.
The annual “Back to the Dawg House” football camp will be held June 25. The one-day camp, conducted by former OHS players now playing college or professional football, is a free event for children entering  4th-7th grades. Registration is 8-9 a.m. and the camp runs from 9 a.m.-1 p.m.
D.Mark Mitchell is sports director for iHeart Media, Alabama Dixie Boys State director and vice president of the  A-O Sports Council.


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