Heaton takes job at Haleyville High School

Published 9:33 pm Tuesday, April 24, 2012

In a stunning turn of events Tuesday night, Escambia County Head Football Coach and Athletic Director Mark Heaton was approved for the same position at Haleyville High School.

Heaton, the head coach at ECHS for two seasons, received approval from the Haleyville City Board of Education led by Interim Superintendent Linda Godsey and officially takes his new job May 1.

The job offer came early in the week with approval from the school’s board of education, Heaton said in a phone interview Tuesday night.

Mark Heaton was approved for the head coach and athletic director position at Haleyville High School Tuesday night.

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“They offered me the job Monday night, and it was approved Tuesday,” Heaton said. “Haleyville has a tremendous vision for what they want to do with their athletic program,” he said. “

In moving to Haleyville, Heaton replaces Blaine Hathcock, a former coach at W.S. Neal High School in East Brewton. He takes over a Lions team that went 4-6 the previous two seasons under Hathcock.

During his time with ECHS, Heaton was 14-9 and took the Blue Devils to the quarterfinals of the AHSAA playoffs in 2010. That season he picked up two upsets beating rival T.R. Miller 35-34 in overtime and then overcame a 21-0 deficit to beat the then No. 2-ranked Jackson Aggies 22-21 in the second round of the playoffs.

In speaking of his time at Escambia County High School, Heaton said he was happy that he was presented the chance to coach the Blue Devils.

“I’m grateful for the opportunity that I had at Escambia County High School and the relationships that I built there,” he said. “It’s kind of a bittersweet moment because I lived in Atmore for eight years, but ultimately, this is the best decision for my family. It’ll allow me to be a better husband and father because I will get to be in the same school as my wife and children.”

With Heaton’s departure, eyes will turn to ECHS Principal Zickeyous Byrd to find Heaton’s replacement.

Heaton is coach that will be beneficial to the students and athletes at Haleyville, Byrd said.

“We are sad to see him go,” he said. “He will definitely be an asset to that school. We all know about his great character and the character he tries to instill in the students. I know this is a great opportunity for him and his family and we just wish him the best.”