Glover returns to his coaching roots to lead Autauga Academy
By Tim Gayle
Kyle Glover had never coached football when he set foot upon Autauga Academy’s football field in 1994.
Four years later, he was named the head coach and took the Generals to the Class AA championship game in the Alabama Independent School Association state playoffs.
Nearly two decades later, Glover is returning to Autauga as its new football coach, replacing Mike Sims while admitting the Generals’ league has changed somewhat since his departure after the 1998 season.
“The AISA and its brand of football has changed,” Glover said. “I’ve seen that first hand. There are athletes and you don’t have to go any further than Edgewood to see that. You’ve got good, smart kids who are athletes at every school and that’s what has changed, the level of play across the board.”
Glover had gotten out of the coaching business after a controversial firing at Marbury High in 2009, content to build his billboard advertising business until Autauga officials approached him in late April with an offer that allowed him to continue his business during the day and serve as the head football coach in the afternoon at the school.
“My wife and I have been very blessed with our business and we’ve gotten it to a point where I’ve got a little time in the afternoon,” Glover said. “I just thought that, given the opportunity, that I could give back to the kids.”
After playing as a tight end with the Prattville Lions under John Glasscock in the mid-1980s, Glover served as a salesman at Jenkins Brick until Glasscock, now the head coach at Autauga, approached him with a job offer.
“From the day I probably left high school, I felt that was God’s will for me to be a coach,” he said. “But to be honest, I knew reality and looked at it and said I could never raise a family the way I wanted to on a coach’s salary. Two or three years after volunteering, I left Jenkins Brick and took a full-time job out there.”
Glasscock had reached the semifinals of the football playoffs in 1996 and 1997 with Glover as his defensive coordinator, but left after the 1997 season and went to Catholic. He offered Glover a similar position, but Autauga headmaster Don Hand had a better offer: to serve as the head coach of the Generals.
Glover coached the Generals to an 11-2 record, losing at Shelby Academy 21-19 in the Class AA championship game.
“I had 16 juniors on that team,” Glover recalled. “But that’s when Bill Clark came to town (as the head coach at Prattville High) and I had the opportunity to get into public school coaching and I did that. Of course, Donnie Burnett took that (Autauga) team the next year (in 1999) and finished the job.”
Glover spent one year at Autauga, then went to Autaugaville as the head coach in 2000, coaching the Eagles to a 3-7 record. In 2001, a new opportunity arose and he went to Wetumpka High, where he coached the Indians to 8-3 and 6-5 records in 2002 and 2003 that included trips to the Class 5A state playoffs.
In 2004, Larry Butler, his former position coach at Prattville High and now the Autauga County superintendent of education, called him with an offer to take over a downtrodden program at Marbury.
“He told me I’m building a new school up in Marbury,” Glover said. “I’ve got to have somebody build up that program before I open the new school.”
Another former Prattville High offensive line coach and Marbury alumnus, Steve McCord, had built the Bulldogs’ fortunes in the late 1980s, but after his final trip to the playoffs at Marbury ended in the 1A quarterfinals with a loss to county rival Billingsley, there were only three winning seasons among five different coaches over the next 11 years.
Glover would guide the Bulldogs to a 9-2 record and a first-round playoff berth in his first season in 2004. Three years later, the Bulldogs earned their last win in the state playoffs before Glover’s team lost to Pike County in the second round of the Class 3A playoffs in 2007.
Two years later, he was forced out in a bizarre controversy. He spoke out against alleged zoning discrepancies that allowed Marbury-zoned students to attend Prattville High. He was fired in January, 2010, after allegations over missing money from the Marbury Touchdown Club that was later attributed to other individuals.
“For whatever reason, God gave me that obstacle,” Glover said. “We made it through it and came through the other side with our head held high. But I missed the relationships with the kids, I missed the competitive nature of Friday nights, I missed the preparation on Monday through Thursday. Luckily for me, I found a business that gave me a sense of competition, but nothing ever quite matched up. It couldn’t take its place.”
He hopes a new beginning at Autauga Academy will offer him that opportunity.
“Autauga will always have a special place in my heart because it gave me my start and we were successful,” Glover said. “John Glasscock taught me a lot about coaching.”