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Photo courtesy of LA Chargers

Ansley talks about latest promotion in NFL

By Michael Butler

In February, the Los Angeles Chargers promoted Derrick Ansley from secondary coach to defensive coordinator. Ansley, a Tallassee High School graduate, has spent the last two seasons in L.A.

"It's huge," Ansley said of the promotion. "Head Coach (Brandon) Staley and I worked together in college ball. We got a chance to regroup here."

The pair were at Tennessee in 2012. Ansley, who played defensive back at Troy is now 41. He has coaching experience with three SEC schools (Alabama, Kentucky, Tennessee). This is his second NFL team. He was the defensive backs coach with the former Oakland Raiders in 2018.

"The schedules are very similar in terms of workload for the coaches. Football is football. The SEC and NFL are similar in competitiveness. The biggest thing is NFL players don't have any homework, classes or tests. It's their job. They're pro guys. They're grown men. They go home to a family. "

Things are quite different in a big city than Ansley's roots.

"It's definitely different - a lot faster pace. The biggest difference is the taxes out here. We live about 15 minutes from Disneyland. There's a lot to do and see. A lot of restaurants. The only downside is being so far away from Alabama.

"You see a lot of people that come to SoFi (Stadium) like Jay-Z and Lebron (James). Occasionally you'll run into people. I've run into Jaleel White (TV's Steve Urkel) a couple of times out here. You go through Hollywood, you'll see people spontaneously popping up."

Ansley and his wife Alaea have a nine-year-old daughter Selena.

"She's playing softball out here," he said. "We get to go out in the spring and watch her. She's developing nicely."

Ansley will always be regarded as one of the best athletes to don the THS uniform as a former football and basketball star, but he has one pick for Tallassee's best ever.

"I think it's Jonathan Rivers, and I don't even think it's close. When you talk about height, weight, speed and three-sport athlete. I'm sure he would've been one of the best track runners too."

Although time does not permit many visits back to Tallassee for Ansley, he hopes to start a camp for youth in his hometown.

"We finally got our foundation up and running. We plan on doing something there this summer and try to make this thing an annual event depending on how it goes. Maybe we can make this a two- or three-day event trying to give back to the kids. We're in the early stages of putting it all together, but it's going to be something we're going to try."

More details to come.

*WTLS Full Interview