Paul Ellis named new head foot­ball coach at LaFayette

The Catoosa County News - - WORSHIP DIRECTORY - By Scott Herpst

LaFayette High School an­nounced Paul Ellis as the school’s new head foot­ball coach last Wed­nes­day morn­ing. Ellis, 50, is the 36th head coach of the Ram­blers, dat­ing back to 1923.

Ellis comes to south Walker County af­ter a very suc­cess­ful stint as head coach at Class 6A Fort Payne (Ala.) High School where he went 109-48 in 14 sea­sons and leaves as the all-time win­ningest coach in Wild­cat his­tory.

He has been a coach and a teacher for 28 years, most of them at Fort Payne. His Wild­cat teams made the play­offs 12 times in his 14 sea­sons as head coach and claimed six re­gions cham­pi­onships. Fort Payne won 10 games or more five times un­der Ellis, in­clud­ing a 12-1 cam­paign in 2010 that saw them ad­vance to the third round of the state play­offs.

Ellis met with his new play­ers Wed­nes­day morn­ing be­fore be­ing in­tro­duced to the me­dia.

“We feel very for­tu­nate to have a coach the cal­iber of Coach Ellis,” said LaFayette Prin­ci­pal Tracy Hub­bert. He’s a proven win­ner and comes highly rec­om­mended by ev­ery­one who worked with him at Fort Payne.

“We had 115 ap­pli­cants for this po­si­tion and he emerged over the in­ter­view process as the best fit to lead our foot­ball pro­gram into the fu­ture.”

Ellis had spent his en­tire coach­ing ca­reer in Alabama. He was the head coach at Val­ley Head for one sea­son in 1992 and was later hired

at Sec­tion in 1998 where he coached for three sea­sons.

“Through­out this process, Mr. Hub­bert and all of the com­mit­tee mem­bers have been very gra­cious to me,” Ellis said, cit­ing the ex­cite­ment sur­round­ing the Ram­blers’ re­cent Elite Eight run in bas­ket­ball. “I can see a lot of sim­i­lar­i­ties in the kids here and the kids I coached in the past and that ex­cites me.

“I think th­ese kids are very hun­gry and I think this com­mu­nity is very hun­gry to be suc­cess­ful. That was my main at­trac­tion (about LaFayette).”

The son of long­time Alabama high school coach Nel­son Ellis, he was named as a head coach in the 2011 Alabama North-South All-Star Game.

This past fall, Fort Payne fin­ished fourth in Re­gion 7 and once again ad­vanced to the state play­offs where they dropped a nar­row 28-21 de­ci­sion to Re­gion 5 cham­pion Home­wood to end the year at 6-5.

“Success, in the be­gin­ning, is not al­ways mea­sured in wins and losses,” Ellis con­tin­ued.

“We’re here to win, but it’s go­ing to be a process, start­ing this spring and go­ing on into the sum­mer. We want our brand of foot­ball to be re­spected. We want ev­ery­one in this area to say ‘those kids play as hard as they can play, they’re very well coached and they ex­e­cute what they’re taught to do’.

“We’re not go­ing to beat our­selves. We’re go­ing to try and do ev­ery­thing right, not just on the field, but off. I just want th­ese kids to have a great high school foot­ball ex­pe­ri­ence and it be a source of pride for them 25 years down the road and al­ways be proud.”

He and his wife, Kelly, have two chil­dren, a son that will grad­u­ate from Fort Payne this spring and a daugh­ter, cur­rently in eighth grade. He will be­gin teach­ing at LaFayette in ap­prox­i­mately two weeks.

Ellis re­place Chad Fisher, who stepped down fol­low­ing the 2017 sea­son. Fisher went 11-39 in five sea­sons as head coach.

Paul Ellis comes to LaFayette from Fort Payne (Ala.), where he went 109-48 in 14 sea­sons with the Wild­cats. His teams won re­gion ti­tles six dif­fer­ent times and made the play­offs 12 times. (Photo by Scott Herpst)

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