John Danley shouts instructions during a spring game in 2012.
Danley chief of Indians, again
John Danley is dusting off his whistle.
The former Byhalia head football coach was hired Thursday by the Marshall County School Board to once again lead the Indians, with the season starting in just a few weeks. The school had been without a head coach since Kendrick Smith left in March.
Danley said Lela Hale, superintendent of education, gave him a call early last week. He met with her and accepted the job.
He was the head coach of the Indians in 2012 and 2013 before going into administration with the district at Byhalia High School and most recently Byhalia Middle School.
“I’m looking forward to getting out my whistle again,” Danley said.
“I know how important football is to these kids, so I had to take it on. I put so much time and effort into building the program before, and I just want to see it succeed again.
“It’s all about doing what’s best for the kids, the school and the community.”
The Indians made the state playoffs in both seasons under Danley. In 2012, they were second in the district and won first- and second-round games versus Mooreville and Booneville before falling to Cleveland to finish 9-5. In 2013, they shocked second-ranked Corinth in the first round before losing in round two to Cleveland and finishing 4-7.
“I’m excited,” Danley said. “Even though I’ve been out of the game a few years, I’ve still followed the game and I still have a love for the game. It’s another opportunity to continue to mold young people.”
Practice starts next Monday, July 31. The Indians kick off the season Friday, Aug. 18, at county rival Holly Springs.
On Friday morning of last week, he began working toward a meeting with the team and letting the players know what he expects.
“A lot of them, I coached their brothers or cousins,” Danley said. “They know me. Plus, I had some of them at the middle school (as an administrator).”
The Indians have won a total of four games the past three seasons, going 0-10, 2-8 and 2-8.
“The program is moving in the wrong direction, and it’s time to right the ship,” Danley said. “I can’t tell you how long I am going to coach. But I know I want to get it going in the right direction.
“We have to build confidence and team spirit.
“And I know we will have to focus on technique and the fundamentals of football.”
Danley was the defensive coordinator at Byhalia before stepping up to head coach in 2012.
He is a native of Greenville and played middle linebacker at Mississippi Delta Community College and Prairie View A&M.
He 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 coach and also served as the linebacker coach at Olive Branch.
No doubt, he is hitting the ground running after taking on the task of leading the Indians right before school starts.
“I have a lot on my plate right now, but I’m ready to go to work,” Danley said.
Superintendent Hale said Danley will also serve as the district’s director of coaches of athletics.
“His experience precedes him as a successful football coach,” she said. “And I feel he will provide the leadership and direction we need as the district’s director of coaches. We are proud to have him serving the district.”