Thursday, June 7, 2012
Danley new head coach at Byhalia
By BARRY BURLESON
John Danley is filled with enthusiasm – about his promotion and his 2012 football team.
He is moving up from assistant to head coach at Byhalia High School and his roster, when the Indians kick off the season in August, will include 17 seniors.
“This is a tremendous opportunity for me,” said Danley, who will enter his fourth season working at BHS. “And I feel great about the upcoming season. This senior class is the first one I started with here as ninth graders. We have high expectations.”
Danley replaces Markeith Washington, who is moving into an administrative position at Potts Camp, another Marshall County high school.
“This is one of the best places I’ve ever coached,” Danley said. “The kids are great – well-mannered and they work hard. I would not trade them for any other kids.”
He is a native of Greenville and played middle linebacker at Mississippi Delta Community College and Prairie View A&M.
While at Prairie View, the team ended a 72-game losing streak.
“It was an experience,” Danley said. “I went from Mississippi Delta where we were accustomed to playing for state titles to the situation at Prairie View A&M.
“But it was like I was there for a reason and I made the best of it. As a team, we were able to take the program to a new level.”
Danley began his coaching career at Coleman Middle School in Greenville, working there four years. He then moved to T.L. Weston High School, his alma mater, where he served as defensive coordinator and assistant head coach. Before coming to Byhalia, he was the linebacker coach at Olive Branch.
At BHS, he has served as defensive coordinator, assistant head coach and strength and conditioning coach.
He said he has taken “bits and pieces” from the head coaches he has worked under.
From coach Scott Samsel at Olive Branch, he said he “learned how to basically run a program.”
Danley led the Indians through spring training in preparation for the season ahead.
“The spring went great,” Danley said. “Since I’ve been here, it’s the best yet. We’re putting in a new offense, which is not easy. And the jamboree gave us an opportunity to see how we have developed.
“It will be more of a pro-style offense – more balanced. We will try to take advantage of the other team’s weaknesses.”
He said one of the keys in building the Byhalia football program has been an emphasis on strength and conditioning.
“We built the weight room here from nothing – new equipment – and it is paying off tremendously,” Danley said.
He also plans to help mold the younger Indians through a junior varsity schedule and involvement with the middle school coaches.
The BHS Indians will face the same opponents in 2012 as last season, just switching the sites of each game.
“We hope to contend for the division championship,” Coach Danley said.
“We were third in the league last year, and the ones who finished ahead of us (Charleston and Winona) have to come here.”
Charleston is the defending Class 3A state champion.
The colleges are keeping an eye on the Indians.
Senior lineman Davion Johnson, who has committed to Ole Miss, senior wide receiver/safety Deandre Buchanan and junior linebacker/tight end Curtis Akins were invited last Friday to the prestigious Nike Camp held at the University of Memphis.
Starting quarterback Markeise Rodgers returns, as does talented players on offense like Andrey Collins and Devonte Norman.
“We have the tools to have a successful season,” Danley said.
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