Bowden named new Jemison football coach

Published 5:22 pm Wednesday, June 22, 2011

Merritt Bowden has made many coaching stops. But his next one is to lead the school he graduated from.

Bowden will be Jemison’s next football coach, replacing Brad Abbott, who gave up the position after seven seasons.

Bowden, a 1987 JHS graduate, comes to Jemison from Oak Mountain, where he has coached the past two years, most recently serving as assistant head coach, defensive coordinator and strength and conditioning coach.

“Jemison has been on my mind for a long time,” Bowden said. “I think anytime you go to a school where it helped lay a foundation for you, it sticks with you. It has stuck with me for a long time.”

Bowden’s hiring as a physical education teacher at Jemison High School was approved at Tuesday’s meeting of the Chilton County Board of Education.

Before his position at Oak Mountain, Bowden was assistant strength and conditioning coach at Jacksonville State University for two years and a defensive graduate assistant at Auburn University for two years.

He has many ties to the county, having coached Thorsby’s football team from 1998-2000 and again in 2003. Bowden has served as an assistant coach at both Jemison and Isabella.

Bowden said he plans to meet with the team Thursday and then begin evaluating film from games last season.

Bowden’s background comes more from the defensive side of the ball. He said he likes to run a 4-3 defense that attacks.

“I believe in bringing a lot of pressure and creating turnovers,” he said. “But I’m smart enough to know we are going to make this defense fit our players.

“There’s definitely some quality players there. We want to start every game fast and finish every game strong.”