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Battles with one of O'Brien's boys, Bill Patterson

Battles new head coach

By Michael Butler

The Tallassee City School Board has approved the hiring of Mike Battles, Jr. as head football coach and athletic director at Tallassee High School. Battles was introduced last Thursday in a special meeting at the high school.

Battles has been a head coach for the last 15 years, the previous four at Clas 4A Bibb County in Centerville. His Choctaws team won 46 games in four years with only six losses. Battles overall record is 117-55 (68%).

Battles turned 41 on Monday. He began his head coaching career at Oak Grove High School at the age of 25.

Bibb County went 12-1 last year, losing to eventual state champion Jackson 49-28 in the third round. Battle's team reached the semi-finals in 2010 with a 12-2 record. That team lost to Thomasville, who also went on to win the state title.

Bibb County averaged 44 points per game last year. "We were a multiple I. We ran a lot of option, a lot of downhill sweep, (and) play action pass," Battles said. " It's not so much the formations and the schemes. It's that our kids bought in to doing everthing right and playing very physical football. That's the way we practiced. We feel like if you can get through our practices Monday through Thursday, then Friday night's a piece of cake."

Battles sees similarities in Centerville and Tallassee. "They remind me of when I went to Bibb County, the same atmosphere and excitement. People are hungry and ready to get out there and win some football games," he said.

The salary in Tallassee for Battles will be $78,000 annually. He will officially start his job at THS on Feb. 13.

"I've heard nothing but good things (about Tallassee)," Battles added. "I talked with Mark Rose. Mark obviously had a great two years in Tallassee. He talked about how great the people are in the community and how hard the kids worked. I talked to some of the opposing coaches. Everybody's said what a great place it is, and what a great time it is to be going in there."

Battles father is the head coach at Handley High School in Roanoke, last year's 3A state champions. The elder Battles coached his son at Walter Welborn High School in Anniston in the late '80s. Mike, Jr. was a two-time All-State selection. He was a linebacker but also punted and kicked.

"I was the coach's son," he said. "Coaches teach their kids everything. My dad took the time with me." Battles received a scholarship from Samford University and played for Terry Bowden and Chan Gailey.

Battles and his wife of 12 years, Tara, have two sons; Thomas (9) and Mason (5).

The Battles File
As a Player:
- 1989 ASWA 5A Player of the Year
- 1989 ASWA All-State/Super 12 Team
- 1990 Alabama-Mississippi All-Star Game
- 1994 Kenny Morgan Outstanding Senior Athlete Award (Samford University)
As a Coach: (117-55)
- Winningest Coach in Oak Grove Football History (71-49)
- 46-6 Record at Bibb County
- 1999 Birmingham News Coach of the Year
- 2000 Jefferson County Coach of the Year
- 2008, '09, '10 West Alabama 4A Coach of the Year
- 2010 North/South All-Star Game Coach
- 2010 AFCA/ASWA 4A Coach of the Year
- Made Playoffs 11 of 15 years as head coach
1995 - '96 Assistant Football Coach at Oak Grove High School
1996 - '97 Assistant Football Coach at Pascagoula High School
1997 - '2008 Athletic Director/Head Football Coach at Oak Grove High School
2008 - '11 Athletic Director/Head Football Coach at Bibb County High School
Advanced Diploma with Honors at Walter Wellborn High School in Anniston
B.S. in Science at Samford University in Birmingham
Wife - Tara for 12 years.  She is an elementary school teacher.
Sons - Thomas (9) and Mason (5)

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