EA welcomes two new football coaches

Published 7:07 pm Friday, July 19, 2013

There will be a couple new faces on the sideline this season for the Escambia Academy football team.

Coach John Gartman will take over the defensive coordinator job, while Cale Thompson will coach Cougar wide receivers.

The 34-year-old comes to Canoe after three years as Pickens Academy head coach.

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“It was time to move on,” Gartman said. “Escambia is on the upswing. I think we have a lot of talented kids.”

Gartman brings with him a wealth of coaching knowledge from 10 years on the defensive side of the ball, including three years at Morgan Academy, where he coached on the staffs of two state champion teams in 2003 and 2005.

“I know what it takes to have a good defense,” he said.

Gartman said he’s enjoyed his time in Canoe so far and looks forward to the future.

“I’ve enjoyed being here,” he said. “I’ve enjoyed working with coach (Hugh) Fountain.”

Thompson comes from Birmingham, where he was working as a youth minister and finishing up school at the University of Montevallo.

In addition to coaching receivers, Thompson will assist with the Cougar baseball team and teach history at the school.

He has previous coaching experience at St. Clair County High School, where he spent two years as a baseball and wide receivers coach.

The 24-year-old said he really enjoyed his interview at the school, sitting down with Fountain, current school headmaster David Walker and baseball coach Mickey Cannon.

“They are three really good men,” he said. “They’re building a good program, but at the same time their morals are right up there with winning.”

Cale praised the talent on the receiver core at EA; even though he acknowledged having only three to four days so far to work with them.

“They seem like a good, hardworking group of kids,” Cale said. “They were already a good group of receivers.”

The Cougars start practice on Aug. 1.

The first game for the Cougars is Friday, Aug. 30 at Fort Dale Academy in Greenville.