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Shane Clay (second from left) is joined by his family, Canaan, Judah and Corrie at Phil Campbell High School, where Clay has been named the new boys basketball coach.

School board names Bobcat basketball coach

The Franklin County Board of Education hired Shane Clay to take over the Phil Campbell High School boys basketball program at its meeting May 28.

Clay comes to Phil Campbell from Hewitt-Trussville Middle School, where he was the head basketball coach. At Hewitt-Trussville, Clay was a three-time conference coach of the year, boasting a record of 161-54 at the middle school level.

“I’m excited,” said Clay, who is married to Corrie Taylor, a Phil Campbell graduate. “I know this is a close-knit community that loves sports. My wife is from here and has deep roots in the community, and I know Phil Campbell likes to win.”

Clay met Corrie at Northwest-Shoals Community College in the late 1990s, where he received a baseball scholarship out of Hayden High School after lettering in baseball, basketball and football.

“I remember coming to Phil Campbell basketball games in the late 1990s when I was playing baseball at Northwest, and the gym was packed, and there was a lot of excitement,” Clay explained. “That’s where I want this program. I want the community to get excited about basketball.”

Clay said he also saw some of his current prospective basketball players in action in March at the beach, when Class 7A Hewitt-Trussville played Phil Campbell in a baseball game.

“I did a lot of research before I took the job. I watched some game film and looked at some past performances. Phil Campbell has some great athletes,” Clay said. “I was coaching baseball at Hewitt-Trussville, and we played Phil Campbell in a baseball game at the beach a few months ago. We won the game, but all I could remember was how hard that team competed and never gave up.

“When I told our head baseball coach I was going to take this job a couple of weeks ago, the first thing he remembered was those kids and how they played,” Clay added. “Phil Campbell basketball has been winning, just not consistently. We need to get these kids to understand they can compete and win every game.”

Clay said he also saw some of the commitment some of the Bobcats have to basketball when he came to look at the gym last week in the middle of the day and saw a student shooting.

“I come to the gym in the middle of the day, and I see this kid shooting on his own without any guidance or being made to and thought, ‘This is great; this is what we need more of,’” said Clay. The player was the Bobcats best shooter and one of the county’s leading scorers – rising junior Luke Garrison.

Clay said he wants that level of discipline and work ethic in his program.

“I am big on structure and discipline. I believe you have to develop the culture first and worry about X&Os later,” he said. “I want to establish a positive culture. We want to set goals: win the county, win the area, win the subregion, and so on. To do that, we need kids that love the game of basketball.”

As he gets ready for tryouts and summer workouts, it will be a little different for Clay, who is used to having a large number of student-athletes to choose from at Hewitt-Trussville.

“It will be a big difference going from a school of 1,200 in three grades to less than 300. At Hewitt-Trussville, we would have 80 kids go out for middle school basketball – but, in the end, basketball is a five-on-five game,” said Clay.

Clay said he is ready to get his feet on the ground and get started. Most of all, he is ready to become a member of the community.

“I feel like our family is coming full circle. I met my wife, Corrie, at Northwest almost 20 years ago. God opened this door for us, and it feels like we are coming home. I just can’t wait to get going.”

The Clays have two children: Canaan, 14, and Judah, 7.