Luther Tiggs, left, JCHS's head boys' basketball coach shakes hands with the girls' coach, Jeff Dunnavant. Both men were announced has head coaches during a press conference Monday.

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Basketball coaches introduced for JCHS

Published 9:14am Tuesday, March 27, 2012

Madison- James Clemens High School now has the two coaches in place who will lead the boys and girls basketball teams and they are familiar faces to county basketball fans. Luther Tiggs, who has been a teacher and varsity men’s basketball coach at Sparkman for the last 10 years will take that same position at JCHS.

Jeff Dunnavant, who has been a teacher and assistant men’s basketball coach at Hazel Green for the last 4 years, will be the new girl’s coach at JCHS.

Dr. Dee Fowler spoke highly of both new coaches in his remarks introducing them at the Monday March 26 press conference.

“We are very excited to welcome these two men into the athletic program in the City of Madison,” said the Superintendent of Madison City Schools. “One thing we were most impressed with as we researched these two guys, looked into their past, and talked to their references is their strong moral character. We think they will be great role models for our kids.”

Tiggs, who now lives in Harvest, has been a head basketball coach in the state of Alabama for 24 years. He was coach at Austin High School in Decatur before coming to Sparkman. Tiggs has coached teams to 7 area titles, 4 regional finals, and one final four.

“Having coached for over 20 years I understand exactly what it will take to get James Clemens to become one of the premiere programs in all of Alabama,” said Tiggs who leaves behind a Sparkman team that would return 10 players from last years team that finished with 20 wins and was a runner up in the area tournament and advanced to the Northwest regionals where they lost to Austin.

“Being a new program we are going to have opportunities for young men to come in and play some exciting basketball,” Tiggs said. The school board announced last week that James Clemens would have a junior and senior class and any current upcoming juniors and seniors who live in the James Clemens attendance zone may attend JCCHS.

“I am looking forward to establishing this basketball program from scratch, I’ve never done that before,” Tiggs said. “We will create an identity and image of doing things the right way on and off the court. That will be expected of all our young men. We are going to compete at a very high level. We will compete right away, both locally and regionally.”

Tryouts for the boy’s team have already been scheduled. April 2nd and 3rd will be for players that will be juniors and seniors. April 9th and 10th will be for players that will be freshmen and sophomores next year.

Tiggs said that he will put the best talent on the floor and is looking for hustle, attitude, athletic ability, height, and team players.

“My coaching philosophy is not going to change a lot. We’re going to press and run and play fast so put your seat belts on.”

Dunnavant has taken an unusual path to reaching his goal of becoming a head coach. He graduated from the University of Alabama with a degree in journalism and worked in the University of Alabama Sports Information Department overseeing primarily the men’s basketball team. During that time he travelled with the team then coached by Mark Gottfried including a trip to the NCAA Tournament in 2005.

He was then an Assistant SID for 2 years at Jacksonville State University where he worked with the women’s basketball team and the then head coach Becky Geyer. There he learned how to put together scouting reports and deliver them to the team and how to prepare for an opponent. He also was responsible for marketing the team and community involvement.

“I did all the media guides, publications, and press releases. I also worked closely with the coaches on the statistics and other material that they needed so they could be successful in preparing the players.”

“In those experiences, while I wasn’t coaching on the floor, I took that opportunity to learn from those coaches in those situations what I want to apply here,” Dunnavant said.

While Dunavant did not play college basketball he has been around basketball all of his life as the son of a coach. “I’ve been in a lot of locker rooms and it’s those experiences that have shaped me and I build on those and bring those with me.”

Most recently, as assistant head coach, Dunnavant helped guide Hazel Green men’s team on a late season run that included the Area 16 championship, Northwest Regional championship, and a berth in the 6A Championship game in which they led at halftime only to lose in a close game to Carver-Montgomery.

Dunnavant said that the newness of the program at James Clemens prompted him to drop his resume in for the job.

“Having the success we had at Hazel Green this year made it a tough decision to leave but to be able to take over a 6A program in the city of Madison and build it from the ground up was an opportunity I couldn’t say no to,” Dunnavant said.

“This year I decided I was ready to make that jump and was going to start looking around. I’m ready to run the show and be my own boss and have my name on the program. I’m excited about that,” Dunnavant said.


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