CECIL -- It’s not often a school has to replace both its boys’ and girls’ basketball coaches at the same time but Macon East Academy headmaster Glynn Lott has spent the last six months looking for replacements and will introduce Reginald Sprouse and Davis Lamb to the Knights’ basketball squads today.
“It’ll be interesting,” Lott said. “Coach Lamb is young. We’ve had a chance to work together during football season and before I threw him out there I wanted to see his work ethic and how he does things. I think he’ll be fine in that.
“They’ll be a learning curve. Everybody has to change with what your talent level is. From talking with Coach Sprouse, I don’t see there being a ton of difference from what we’ve done in the past and what they’re going to do.”
The boys' program won their third state championship over the last five years with a win over Escambia in February, but Lott had taken over the program after replacing head coach Lincoln Glass in January and began looking for a replacement immediately. After facing several setbacks in personally selecting his replacement, Lott was rewarded when Sprouse applied for the job
“I was probably very selective in what I was looking for,” Lott said. “That may have had a lot to do with filling the position, but I did offer it to several different people who either got better offers where they were or had programs they were building and didn’t want to leave. I’m a loyal guy and like to see that, which is why I went after the people I went after.”
Sprouse, a 1999 graduate of Sidney Lanier, played for Floyd Mathews on some very talented teams in the late 1990s that included Marco Killingsworth and Ronell and Donell Taylor. Sprouse played at Bevill State Community College and finished at Huntingdon College, graduating in 2010. He began his coaching career as an assistant under Tara Osborne at Prattville Christian Academy in 2011, then under Jason Roberson in 2012 with the Panthers on both the boys’ and girls’ programs.
He moved on to Prattville in 2013 and with Buzz Phillips at Huntingdon in 2014 before helping coach Kira Lewis with the Alabama Challenge AAU team in 2015 and 2016. That team became the Alabama Fusion in 2017 and Sprouse coached one more year of AAU ball, then started coaching a team at Maxwell Air Force Base. He also served as an assistant at Sidney Lanier in 2019 and George W. Carver in 2021.
“When I started calling references, I was calling a lot of people I knew and they all spoke very highly of him,” Lott said. “I got nothing negative from people I respect. I always like to hire people I know and I don’t know him but the people I talked to do. Everybody has been super high on him and his basketball knowledge and how he handles himself and coaches his kids.”
Sprouse said he applied for the Macon East job because “I always wanted my own basketball program. I’ve been a head coach at a military base team at Maxwell for the last four or five years, but I wanted my own high school program. Macon East became available and I applied for it and Coach Lott gave me an opportunity.”
As Lott pointed out, Macon East’s style closely resembles Sprouse’s coaching philosophy.
“It’s going to be more of an up-tempo kind of game,” Sprouse said. “You’ve got to have shooters because that’s the way the game is going, then you’ve got to have guys who can penetrate and create for other guys. My goal is to play north and south as fast as possible with an in-your-face defense.
“From what I’ve heard, they already do a pretty good job of playing man-to-man defense because of Coach (Larry) Chapman, Coach Glass and Coach Lott, so I think I’m going to fit right in with what they’re doing defensively.”
Lamb will be a first-time head coach as well, breaking in as a football assistant with the Knights this fall before taking over the girls’ basketball program. He will succeed Wendell Barr, who coached the Knights to the state quarterfinals this past year before moving on to St. James as a volunteer assistant.
“I do know we lost a lot of seniors, so it will be a young team,” Lamb said. “There are a lot of incoming freshmen that will get a lot of playing time this year. It’s a fresh start and an exciting start.”
Lamb played for his father Jeff, a longtime coach at Beulah, then went on to play football at Point University before transferring to Auburn. He, too, has a background in AAU ball, where he coached three boys’ teams and one girls’ team, but this will be his first job in high school basketball.
“I plan to implement a more up-tempo, fast-paced game,” Lamb said. “That’s the fun part for coaches is you get to watch that transition and I’m excited to see that. It’s just going to take us getting to work as quickly as we can and get going. I believe we’ve got the talent in the school to do it, no matter what.”
Lamb is employed at the school as a science teacher in addition to a media and marketing class he teaches, while Sprouse is employed at Gunter Annex/Maxwell and will serve the school as a community coach.
Just seven months ago, Lott was coaching the boys’ team to a state championship, but he said he plans to offer no advice to Sprouse unless he is asked.
“He won’t hear a word from me,” Lott said. “I’m going to sit in the bleachers and support him and Coach Lamb, both. I don’t want anybody telling me how to coach and I’ve hired them to coach. It’s their team and their program.”