McWhorter moves from Pike Road to Macon East Academy

Duane McWhorter, who had head coaching stints at Hooper Academy and Jeff Davis, will become the assistant head coach at Macon East Academy.

By Friday afternoon, Macon East Academy headmaster and head football coach Glynn Lott was wondering whether he would find a coach to replace Chad Michael, never thinking about all the other duties Michael handled.

A day later, all Lott’s needs were met with a simple telephone call.

Duane McWhorter will leave his job as an assistant coach at Pike Road High and move a few miles down the road to become the director of football operations and a defensive assistant at Macon East Academy.

“He did a good sales job,” McWhorter said. “He offered me a teaching position and that was a big part of it. It lets me get back in the classroom. The position that I had at Pike Road was an in-school suspension teacher.”

Pike Road co-athletic director and head football coach Patrick Browning understood McWhorter’s decision, but admitted he was sorry to see his former linebackers coach leave.

“He’s a great person and a great football coach,” Browning said. “I’ll say this about Coach McWhorter and I don’t think I’ve ever told him because I didn’t want him to take it the wrong way, but coming from where he’s come as a college coach, a high school head coach, a defensive coordinator down to an assistant coach level, I know that can’t be easy but he’s one of the best assistant coaches I’ve ever had or been on a staff with. He knows how to do what his role is. He’s just a good asset to have.

“There’s only so much money he can make in public school and I knew the right private school opportunity would pull him away. He basically gets to run the program at Macon East without being the head coach.”

Because McWhorter has a retirement package from the state based on previous employment as a coach and teacher, he had to be careful in accepting jobs from the public-school sector. That’s not a problem at Macon East, a private school in the Alabama Independent School Association.

“Coach Lott and I have not been able to get in a room and talk about everything that he wants me to do, but I think he kind of wants me to run the day-to-day operations of it,” McWhorter said.

Interestingly enough, McWhorter was an assistant under Michael at Hooper in 2016 before Michael left and McWhorter assumed his position. Four years later, history will repeat itself as Michael, the director of football operations and an assistant under Lott, was hired two weeks ago to take the head coaching position at Edgewood Academy.

“Chad and I have talked before about trying to hire him, we just never had a position that would have what he teaches,” Lott said. “I was looking and everything I came to was a dead end and I finally just called.

“We’ve known each other from being in Montgomery and coaching forever. I still remember when he coached at Jeff Davis and at Faulkner and know how knowledgeable he is and who he’s worked with. The part I’m excited about as much as anything is not the coaching part, but the other part you get of how good a guy he is. He seems to get along with everybody and everybody just speaks so highly of him and his character.”

And there’s an added bonus as Lott was fairly certain he would have to find a young coach to handle on-the-field duties only before making a phone call and landing a former head coach that can handle scheduling, practice assignments and anything else that might arise.

“That was the best part of all,” Lott said. “We were able to find that person as late (in the summer) as it was. I didn’t even think that would be an option.”

A 1979 graduate of Robert E. Lee, McWhorter started his coaching career at Capitol Heights Jr. High, spending eight years with the Bulldogs and one at St. James before starting a 20-year career at Jeff Davis.

He became the Volunteers’ head coach in 2004 and coached for five years before stepping down and becoming the defensive coordinator at Faulkner University in 2009-11. He went to Wetumpka in 2012, was a defensive coordinator at Catholic in 2013 and 2014 and stepped away from coaching to serve simply as a teacher at Selma’s Ellwood Christian in 2015.

He returned to coaching as the offensive and defensive line coach under Chad Michael at Hooper Academy in 2016 and took over as the Colts’ head coach after Michael left, coaching Hooper to an 11-11 record in 2017 and 2018 before his firing. He then landed at Pike Road as the Patriots’ linebackers coach in 2019.