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Ansley receiving the "Key to the City" by Tallassee mayor Johnny Hammock

Next step for Ansley; the NFL

By Michael Butler

Derrick Ansley continues to blossom in the coaching ranks. Tallasseeans have closely monitored Ansley's rise.

Citizens turned out to pay tribute to the former all-state standout for the purple and gold as Ansley was presented the "Key to the City" by the Tallassee City Council on Jan. 22.

At age 36, Ansley is preparing for his next move. Fresh off of Alabama's national championship win in Atlanta, the Crimson Tide defensive backs coach has accepted the same position with the Oakland Raiders and new coach John Gruden, who called Ansley the day after the title game.

"We were boarding the plane," Ansley said. "It was very flattering. He was very straight to the point. He was very complimentary of the game the night before. I was on the next flight the next day out to Oakland."

Prior to the call from Gruden, Ansley received an offer to become the defensive coordinator at Colorado State.

"It's happened fast," Ansley said. "When you do a good job and do things the right way, people take notice. I definitely want to be a defensive coordinator and head coach. That opportunity presented itself at Colorado State. It was an opportunity I looked at very closely, but when you get a chance to coach in the National Football League it's very hard to turn down. I've always wanted to coach at the highest level."

Ansley and his wife Alaea have a daughter, Selena.

Derrick, Alaea and Selena

"My wife is excited about moving out to the bay. Alaea has always liked change. It's the next step to get to our ultimate goal which is to be a head coach."

Ansley will add Gruden to the list of high profile coaches he's been associated with, none more notable than Nick Saban.

"I spent four years of my 13-year career with him. He's my biggest mentor in this profession," Ansley noted of Saban. "He's not afraid to outwork the competition. That work ethic bleeds down to the assistant coaches. He's a very detailed coach. He defines eveybody's role in the administration. He does a great job of holding everybody accountable. He has a clear vision of how he wants things done. If you're not doing your job, he doesn't have a problem confronting you. I think that's a healthy balance."

Ansley's resume includes college jobs at Huntingdon, Central Florida, Tennessee and Kentucky, in addition to Alabama. He played for Larry Blakeney at Troy. Mark Rose was the head coach during Ansley's high school days at Tallassee. The 1999 team went to the semifinals of the state playoffs, finishing with a 13-1 record. It was Ansley's senior season, a record-breaking year for the most wins by a THS squad.

Rose attended the "Key to the City" presentation to honor his pupil. "We're proud of Derrick. He's accomplished a lot and come a long way from his days here," he stated. "He was a great leader for us. He's a hard worker. The thing I'm probably proudest of is he's very humble and appreciative. We're very close. We stay in touch."

Ansley greeting visitors at City Hall

Ansley discussed the bond that is still strong with Rose.

"I talk to Coach Rose two or three times a week," said Ansley. Coaches Jared Jones and Sylvester Atkins were also at City Hall to reunite with Ansley. City councilman/coach Terrel Brown was just beginning his work with Tallassee City Schools when Ansley was a student-athlete.

"I was a manager and would go up to the football field on a Saturday and wash the clothes for next week's practice," Brown recalled. "The first person that was up there at the football field was Derrick Ansley. He was watching film all day long doing whatever he had to do to perfect his craft."

Ansley spoke about the outpouring of support from his hometown.

"It means a lot. I don't even know if I know anybody that's ever received a key to anything. It was a blast."

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