Nettles no stranger to area football

Published 4:18 pm Tuesday, July 20, 2010

While he’s the new football coach at Billingsley, Joe Nettles certainly isn’t new to the region.

“I’ve always loved this area,” Nettles said.

Nettles coached Chilton County from 1993-96, leading the Tigers to a school-record 11 wins in 1996. CCHS suffered its first loss of the year in the second round of the state playoffs, 19-14 to Demopolis.

Nettles had ties to the area even before he was named coach at CCHS. He knew long-time CCHS coach Don Hand from coaching circles and had coached the sons of a local pastor, the Rev. Tony Hughes, at Morgan Academy in the early 1980s.

And this is perhaps the connection that played the biggest part in bringing Nettles back to the area. Nettles said he was anxious to reconnect with the church—Walnut Creek United Methodist Church, where Hughes is pastor—that he had begun to call home during his time at CCHS.

Nettles and Hughes are so close that Nettles is living with the pastor while the new Billingsley coach searches for a new home.

Having only seen his players work out and go through some conditioning exercises, Nettles said it’s early to know what to expect from the upcoming season.

“The first thing is, I think we have some pretty good athletes,” Nettles said. “What we hope to see is a really, really aggressive team on both sides of the football.

“For 38 years, I’ve always felt like blocking and tackling will win ball games. It doesn’t matter what offense and defense you run if you can’t block and tackle.”

Nettles said the fall will be an important time period both for the season and for the foundation the new coach wants to set for the program’s future.

“The biggest thing right now is getting them to understand what we want, and that’s a tough, disciplined football team. If we get that accomplished this year, we’ll be OK.”

Nettles comes to Billingsley at an exciting time. A 6,600 square feet locker room and weight room adjacent to the school is scheduled to be completed before the season begins, and work is underway on a new field and stadium, also adjacent to the school (the current game facility, Mims Field, is down the street and next to the old school).

Nettles’ assistants will be Shunn Bailey, Chris Baker (who played for Nettles at CCHS), J.T. Lawrence, Tyson McLean, Todd Reece and Nathan Thompson.

Nettles asked fans and parents to get involved with the program.

“Let’s put Billingsley where it should be,” he said. “And that’s back at the top.”