For the fourth consecutive season, the Daleville High School football team will be playing under new leadership as one-year coach Trey Woolf’s resignation was officially accepted by the Daleville School Board on May 15.
According to DHS principal Josh Robertson, Woolf has decided to return to his home state of Georgia to seek employment after just one season at the helm at Daleville.
Woolf’s departure came as a surprise to most, following the first week of spring practices. Daleville offensive coordinator Desmond Lett was named interim coach in Woolf’s place to finish out spring practices.
“We were caught off guard,” Lett said of Woolf’s departure. “Like we told the kids, though, we can’t dwell on the past. We have to work on the present and look to the future.”
Woolf came to Daleville last July after the departure of former coach Rob Armstrong just before the 2018 school year was to begin. Woolf had been a long time high school coach in Georgia before coming to Daleville.
Woolf’s departure from Daleville means the next permanent head coach will be the school’s fourth in the past four seasons and ninth in the past 13 years, which is a staggering amount of turnover even in the wild world of high school football.
“This is my 13th year at Daleville – between teaching and administration and even coaching myself – and this next coach will be the ninth coach in those 13 years,” Robertson reiterated. “That’s a huge situation for us. We’re looking for the person that is going to put down roots here and be the right person for the kids.”
That level of turnovers is not lost on Daleville’s players either as sophomore quarterback Peanut Bloodsaw said that his teammates want someone that is going to guide the Warhawks for the long haul.
“We want someone that’s going to be here for the ups and downs,” Bloodsaw emphasized. “Someone that is going to stick through with us.”
While Robertson said that there isn’t currently a timetable for hiring a permanent new coach, DHS is going to search out someone that can relate to the players as well as continue to reach more students to join the team. Daleville had less than 30 players last season and has had more than 40 come out for spring practices this year.
“We want someone that is going to relate to the boys and get them hungry to play football,” Robertson said. “Some of the discussion we’ve had is that having all the knowledge of X’s and O’s doesn’t do you any good if you don’t have boys out there playing.
“If you don’t have a team to coach it doesn’t matter how good of a coach you are. We’re really looking for someone that can motivate our players and get (more students) out there playing on the team, too.”
A number of Warhawk players have publicly lent their support for Lett to be named permanent head coach, including Elite 11 senior running back Jalen White, one of Daleville’s leaders.
“I think he would be a great coach for us,” White said. “He knows how to handle a team and discipline a team. I feel like he knows what he’s doing out there and would be really good for us.”
White said that players could already see a change in the team in just the few days that Lett led practices.
“If you cuss out there you have to do 10 pushups right there on the spot,” White said. “He tries to drill in us that this isn’t the first time we’ve been through this and if we just keep working then we’ll be where we need to be.”
Bloodsaw said the change at practice was immediate.
“On the field you can see the changes out there,” Bloodsaw said. “You see everyone wants to do better and be out there on the football field with him. We’ve really grown as a team a lot in just the few days he’s been the coach.”
Bloodsaw said that Lett’s discipline and organizational skills are just part of his advantage, as he simply makes it fun at practices, too.
“It’s been way more organized and a lot more structured out there, but it’s also been fun, too,” Bloodsaw said. “He makes it really fun out there.”
Lett said that the discipline his players talked about is very important to him.
“I feel like if we’re disciplined on the field then it teaches us to be disciplined off the field and that translates into the classroom,” Lett said. “If you’re discipline in the classroom then you’re getting your work done and you’re eligible and that makes you a better young man in the future.
“I don’t want to just teach them to be better football players but also be better young men so that they can succeed in life.”
Lett said that the support his players have shown him in person and on social media has meant a lot to him.
“It makes me feel like they can tell that I care and that they know we, as a staff, care about them,” Lett said. “It makes me feel really good.”
The player’s support for Lett is not lost on Robertson either.
“He is definitely being considered (for the permanent position),” Robertson said of Lett. “There is no doubt about that. Coach Lett is well thought of by a lot of people around here, the players especially.
“He had a lot of success with the core of this current football team when he was the junior high head coach a few years ago, so there is a lot of familiarity there and he’s a quality individual.”
Lett has been an assistant coach on the varsity team for the past five years, spending time as a defensive backs coach and as the offensive coordinator. He was also the junior high head coach previously.
Lett said that he would love to be named the permanent head coach to Daleville and he believes he will bring the stability to the position that has been lacking in recent years.
“I would love to be the next head coach of Daleville football,” Lett emphasized. “What I think this program needs is stability. I’ve been here the past five years as an assistant and I’ve been around the kids and I know these kids. I just really want what’s best for these kids ultimately.”
Repeated attempts to contact Woolf for comment on his resignation were unsuccessful.