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Ansley
Courtesy of the Green Bay Packers

Ansley settling in at Green Bay

By Michael Butler

The life of a coach usually has a number of different paths. Derrick Ansley is no exception to that truism.

Ansley has been many places in his football career since his upbringing as a high school player in Tallassee and collegiately at Troy. He has coached in the SEC with Nick Saban at Alabama. He has also been on staffs with Derek Dooley and Jeremy Pruitt at Tennessee and Mark Stoops at Kentucky.

Ansley also has stints in the NFL at Oakland, Los Angeles and now Green Bay where he will be the new passing game coordinator. That recent transition from L.A. to Green Bay, may be the biggest transition of all.

Los Angeles is second in size only to New York among major markets in the U.S. Green Bay is by far the smallest.

"There's not as much to do," said Ansley. "Climate change is the biggest thing. The winter is colder here."

Ansley will feel those climate changes in the upcoming season in the "Frozen Tundra" where temperatures drop below freezing regularly. It is where the coldest game known as the "Ice Bowl" was played in 1967 between the Packers and Dallas Cowboys. It was 13 below zero with a wind chill of 48 below that day - quite the contrast from Southern California.

"It's been seamless. Green Bay did a really good job of helping us with the move. We've been here since February and hit the ground running."

The Packers football team is the only non-profit, community-owned team in professional sports. It is reminiscent of Ansley's home town where everybody pulls for the same team.

"(It's) definitely small town with a historic franchise," Ansley said. "It's all Green Bay here. It's really slow paced. The community supports its team and love its team. It's been good that way. We've enjoyed our experience so far."

Ansley continues to give back to his roots as he prepares for his second youth camp in Tallassee scheduled for June 29 at J. E. "Hot" O'Brien Stadium. He also just awarded the first Riley Henderson Legacy Scholarship last month to Tallassee High School senior India Allen. The $5,000 gift is named for his father.

"Unfortunately, my father passed last September," he said. "We wanted to give back to the community and leave a legacy for my father, who I had a ton of respect for. He was a hard-working man. He worked at Community Hospital for 40 years and never missed a day."

Ansley will make the trip back to Tallassee soon. He has a short respite before having to return for camp in Green Bay.

"We finished up mini camp. We had nine good weeks of practice. We're on vacation from now until July 16. I'm excited to get home for a couple of weeks. I'll be moving around and getting settled into Green Bay."