By: Jim Steele
Just days after the surprising resignation of Brad Chappell as McKenzie Middle School football coach, former McKenzie High School standout Paul Carroll was named to the post.
Carroll, who had spent the last four years as Huntingdon Middle School head coach, said he, too, was stunned upon learning of Chappell's departure for the assistant athletic director's job at Bethel.
"Yeah, it was kind of a shock to me, but I'm extremely excited to have this opportunity," Carroll said. "We were about to get kick-started over here (at Huntingdon) when I was offered the job. I thought it was a great opportunity to over to my old school and coach."
Carroll said he played on that field, dressed and worked out in that locker room and is now thrilled to take it to another level for McKenzie.
"I love the support there," he said. "I've seen it across the sideline. The support is great and as a football coach, you love to see that."
Carroll was an assistant at HMS before taking over as head coach four years ago. While at Huntingdon, he captured a share of the county title in 2010. He was an assistant at Union City High School for four years, working with Randy Barnes and Jimmy Fishel and was on the staff when the Tornadoes reached the Class A state championship game.
The new coach knows that McKenzie's middle school program has done pretty well since 2005, reaching post-season play six straight years and earning county titles each of those seasons as well.
"McKenzie has done extremely well," Carroll said. "I want to step in and keep it going and add to it if I can. It's not like I have to come in there and rebuild a program. My goal is to keep it going."
Carroll said he's been scrambling to get things done in the MMS camp.
"I'm eager to get started and to meet the kids; I wish we were getting started today," he said. "It's not like taking a job in May and taking the whole summer to get acclimated, so there is a lot to do in a short amount of time."
The Rebels begin work on Aug. 3. and will host a three-way scrimmage with Harrelson and Martin Middle School on Aug. 5. On Aug. 9, McKenzie will visit Paris-Inman.