New Ashville Bulldog head football coach, James Robert “Bubba” Walls and principal Jason Baker share a happy moment after Monday's St. Clair Board of Education meeting.

The Ashville Bulldogs have hired a new head football coach, James Robert “Bubba” Walls, and principal Jason Baker said he was happy to bring on board someone with a proven track record.

“I’m very excited to have coach Walls join our staff,” Baker said. He said that three attributes separated Walls from other candidates. One of those was coming from a winning program and being a coach that has taken teams to playoffs as well as championships. “That was really a key thing that we looked for,” Baker said.

The 4A Ashville Bulldogs were 0-10 last season; though they won the jamboree against the1A Ragland Purple Devils.

Baker said that secondly, Walls has the appropriate level of experience that the school has been looking for. Walls just finished his thirteenth season as an assistant football coach.

“It’s not just the number of years, but he’s also been an assistant coach on both sides of the ball,” Baker said. “That was critical for our program.”

He said that the final selling point for bringing Walls in was that he has also been an offensive and defensive coordinator.

Walls attended Hewitt-Trussville High School where he played wide receiver. After his prep years, he attended Auburn where he helped out as an assistant coach at Opelika High School.

After college he returned to his alma mater where he coached for six years as an offensive coordinator. He then spent one year under Rush Propst at Hoover, three years at Pelham and has been an assistant at Clay-Chalkville for the last three years.

When Walls was asked if defense or offense was his stronger suit, the 36-year-old said, “You’re comparing apples and oranges. I played offense in high school and I started my coaching career at Opelika and Hewitt coaching on the offensive side of the ball. I probably feel more comfortable on the offensive side if the ball. Defense takes a little more preparation.”

He said that he enjoyed coaching defense while at Pelham that he learned more about offense by coaching defense.

Walls said that his first priority will be to evaluate what players are returning and what skills they’ll bring to the field in 2009.

Walls said that he’s seen no film on his players yet; so he needs to evaluate before he makes any assessment of what strategy he will take this fall.

That being said, he does know that he wants to have a flexible offense. Defensively, he said that he wants his players to bring the pressure. “That’s coming from an offensive coach who doesn’t like to see the pressure,” Walls added with a smile.

He said that he and Mr. Baker will assess the assistant coaches as well, but added that it would be Baker who would have the final say as to who might stay or possibly leave the Bulldog program.

Though he hasn’t been notified when his first day will be, he plan is to train this spring with the Bulldogs even if he’s still teaching English during the day at Clay-Chalkville.

He said that in the weight room, he’s not trying to push heavy lifting for his players, rather, that he’s more concerned about techniques used that will condition his players to be at their best when they suit up Friday nights.

Walls and his wife, Ashley, live in Moody and have a nine year old daughter, Savannah, who attends Clay Chalkville Elementary.

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