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Changing of the guard

Athens won a girls basketball state championship in 1999, the year after Amy Springer graduated.

“I’m still chasing mine, I guess,” said Springer, who will try to accomplish the task as the new girls basketball coach at Isabella.

Springer replaces athletic director Lanny Jones as the girls coach.

“She’s real enthusiastic about being at Isabella, and she gets along with the girls,” Jones said.

Springer comes to Isabella after two years as the head coach at Class 5A Cullman, where she helped a team made up of mostly freshmen improve from a 4-22 record in her first year to 14-18 last year.

The junior varsity squad went 17-6.

Springer spent four years as an assistant coach in Richland, Tenn., before coming back to Alabama. She received degrees from both Athens State University and the University of North Alabama.

Springer is teaching elementary physical education at Isabella and said she has enjoyed being at the school.

“Everybody has been friendly,” Springer said. “It’s kind of hard to know what to expect from these players, but they seem like they’re really good kids and they are working hard.”

The boys program will have a new coach also, though one has yet to be named. Glen Graham decided to give up the job after nine years as the Isabella boys varsity coach and 23 years as a basketball coach in general.

“It’s something I’ve been doing almost half of my life, but it just came time to spend more time with my family,” Graham said.

Graham has a daughter, Sarah, who is a 7th-grader at Isabella, and a son, Isaac, who is in the 4th grade. Graham and his wife, Leah, have also had to deal with the death of Leah’s father, local chiropractic William Chadwick, in July.

Graham will still coach the Isabella volleyball team.

Jones said the process of finding a replacement for Graham is ongoing.