• 88°

UPDATED: Heaton named new ECHS head football coach

By By Adam Prestridge
The Escambia County School Board unanimously voted to hire Atmore resident Mark Heaton as the next coach to lead the Escambia County Blue Devils' football program.
"I'm excited," Heaton said via cell phone, only 10 minutes after being hired. "It's been a blessing to be at J.U. Blacksher. I've met a lot of great people and been apart of a lot kids lives that have helped shape and mold me even today. I'm excited about the chance to be at Atmore and to work with the county. Anytime there is an opportunity that is brought before me, I put it in the Lord's hands."
Heaton, 31, has served as head coach at J.U. Blacksher High School in Uriah for the past two seasons where he has compiled a 13-9 record including a second round appearance in the Alabama High School Athletic Association's Class 1A state playoffs.
Prior to J.U. Blacksher, Heaton was the offensive coordinator under his high school football coach Cody Keene at Northview for four seasons. He came to NHS with Keene who he also coached with at Oglethorpe County High School in Lexington, Ga. as offensive coordinator for two seasons and as an assistant at Muscle Shoals High School for one year.
Heaton was the quarterback at Demopolis High School and earned a scholarship to play quarterback and punter at the University of West Alabama in Livingston. Following graduation in 2001, Heaton immediately began his coaching career.
Heaton is married to the former Betty Bosley, who teaches reading at Northview and is volleyball and track coach. The couple has two girls, ages four and two.
The recommendation to hire Heaton was held out for discussion in executive session for a brief discussion prior to approval.
For more on this story including an in-depth interview with Heaton, see Saturday's Atmore Advance.