Geohagan returns to DHS

Published 11:04 pm Friday, June 11, 2010

Demopolis High has a new defensive coordinator after the board of education approved the hiring of Russellville’s Matt Geohagan earlier this week.

Geohagan, who will step into a math teaching slot, got his start in Demopolis in 2005 and 2006 under Doug Goodwin before following the coach to Russellville.

“When Coach Goodwin hired us on, I loved the town. The people of Demopolis are really great people. They were really good to us,” Geohagan, a Florala native, said of his new job’s appeal. “This is closer to home for one thing. It cuts our travel time significantly. Three of the guys that are on staff (at Demopolis High) were there when I was there. So I thought that would make it easier for me.”

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At Demopolis, Geohagan joins a staff that includes Joey Browder, James Moody and Kyle Williams, a trio with whom he coached during his first go-round with the Tigers.

“He is a high quality, high character man who is going to be good for our kids not only on the field, but in the classroom,” Demopolis head coach Tom Causey said of the hire. “Everybody we talked to about him was extremely high on Coach Geohagan. We were looking for somebody who can come in and be a part of our program and know what was expected of our program. That was a big bonus that he had been here before.”

Geohagan, who has spent time coaching defensive line, linebackers and defensive backs, will assume coordinator duties for the first time in his career.

“It is a big step,” Geohagan said. “But at the same time, knowing the defensive guys are already in place, they know their stuff. I think we are going to work well together.”

Geohagan replaces Rudy Griffin, who turned in his resignation nearly a month ago after accepting a graduate assistant position at Washington State University. In so doing, Geohagan inherits a defense that lost eight starters off the unit that defeated Russellville to win the 2009 Class 5A state title.

The new coordinator said his philosophy will differ in nature from Griffin’s as his defense will rely more on speed and athleticism.

“I think it is a defense that is suited for Demopolis kids. It allows them to be athletic and be playmakers,” Geohagan said. “We’re doing a lot more moving around. We’re trying to utilize our strengths on defense. Last year they had big guys that were very strong and could just push against the line. This defense is going to utilize our quickness and allows us to get to the ball.”

As much as Causey is high on Geohagan’s football coaching prowess, he reports the math department is equally as high on the returning coach’s classroom skills.

“I believe if you’re going to be a good coach, you’ve got to be a good teacher,” Geohagan, a graduate of the University of West Alabama, said. “You’ve got to be a good teacher in the classroom and out of the classroom.”

Geohagan’s arrival leaves the Tigers with six full-time coaches. Causey is hopeful the program will be able to hire one more assistant in the coming weeks, bringing the team back to the number of coaches it had in 2009.

“We’re looking for the best coach we can get,” Causey said. “We’re looking for a guy with a great resume and great character.”