PANAMA CITY BEACH, FL (WJHG/WECP) It's official: Norris Vaughan is on board as the new head football coach at Arnold High School.
Arnold principal Britt Smith and A.D. Rick Green settled on Vaughan in recent days after going over more than 60 applicants and whittling the list to a handful. They introduced the new coach Wednesday afternoon in the school's auditorium.
Vaughan is a Georgia native who graduated from the University of Georgia. He was a head coach at four different schools in the Peach State and two more out in Arizona, including a successful nine year stint at a school in Phoenix where he won a state title in 2013.
Vaughan touts an overall record 267-103, coming in with an impressive resume.
Before the introductory press conference, Vaughan met with his new players.
"The first mission that I take to them is we're gonna really, really work hard," Vaughan said. "The secret to being good is a lot of repetitions, a lot of work in the weight room, a commitment to that work, and a commitment to the process of all that work. That's all it is, a process. We're gonna work very hard and we're gonna be a disciplined football team, and we're gonna do what we're supposed to do on the field and off the field."
Arnold A.D. Rick Green discussed the search and how Vaughan and his resume stood out.
"We were looking for a football coach with head coach experience," Green said. "We were looking for a coach with playoff experience and we were looking for a coach who could work with the community and have good community relations. We weren't necessarily looking for a coach that won state championships and coached in the Under Armour All American Game, but we got those extra boxes there with Coach Vaughan.
"What an unbelievable resume and unbelievable coach in developing young men," he continued. "Just talking to ex-players and talking to some of his references, everybody said the same thing: 'we wish we still had him.'"
Vaughan has been coaching for more than three decades, so he comes in with cache and he hopes that translates to the kids in some way. More importantly, he knows by leading by example, working hard, and working the process, the kids will be on board.
Vaughan is 71, although he's not concerned about that being an issue for the players or anyone else he says.
"That's irrelevant to me, that means nothing to me," Vaughan replied. "I'm looking at the future. I'm not looking in the rearview mirror. I'm going forward with my plans. As for how long I'm gonna coach, I don't know. Ten more years, twenty? I'm really passionate for the game, for what I do, the process. I think people are what they make it. They can have a lot more energy, it's how they train, what they eat, it's just like players."
"The other thing that I'll tell you is he's about the same age as Nick Saban," Arnold principal Britt Smith added. "If Nick Saban came on the market tomorrow, I think you'd have a lot of people that would say 'yeah this guy still has some football in him.' I was just impressed with his enthusiasm, when he came and spoke to us about his desire to be a head coach again."
For whatever it's worth, Saban is is 67--so you get his point.
Spring football begins next week.