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franklin county times

RCS BOE announces new RHS head football coach, interim RCS athletic director 

During a special called meeting Friday afternoon, the Russellville City School board officially named Dustin Goodwin as the new head coach of the Russellville High School Golden Tigers football team. 

“Russellville City Schools is full of tradition, and a lot of it is a football tradition,” said RCS superintendent Dr. Heath Grimes. “We’re happy to have you on board, excited about what you’re going to do here. I’ve gotten to meet your family and know a little bit about you and think you’re going to be a great fit for Russellville City Schools, and we’re excited that you’re here.” 

Board president Greg Trapp said hiring a coach is something the board “doesn’t take lightly,” adding “there’s always difference of opinion no matter what you do.”

“There’s lots of components that go into hiring a coach, and I say this about Dr. Grimes – before he was Dr. Grimes, he was Coach Grimes, and before he was Coach Grimes, he was a two-time national champion at UNA, and we’ve been blessed in this system to have people that have played, people that have a lot of knowledge, and when you look back over the years, we’ve always been able to have the best candidates and pick from the best people,” Trapp added.

“Dustin comes from Birmingham, probably one of the toughest areas you ever play football. He’s been at Thompson for the last couple years. I think Dustin will do a great job, and I’m glad to have him.” 

Goodwin comes to Russellville from 7A Thompson High School, where he has been the offensive assistant coach since 2022. During his time there, Thompson went to the state championship game both seasons and won the 7A state title in 2022. They were the 7A runners-up this past year. 

“When we were going through the candidates that applied for this position, Coach Goodwin continued to stand out to us because of the experience he’s had coaching in different environments, at different levels, and with different types of talent,” Grimes said. “We have some unique challenges here that we think Coach Goodwin will be able to handle with his varied experience. He is a very respected offensive mind who brings a lot to the table, and we’re excited about the future of Russellville football.” 

Before coaching at Thompson, Goodwin served as head football coach at 6A Chelsea High School from 2018-2022, and head football coach at 3A Plainview High School from 2015-2017. While at Plainview, Goodwin was chosen as the AHSAA 3A Coach of the Year. 

Prior to his head coaching responsibilities, Goodwin gained experience as an offensive coordinator for Hueytown High School and Homewood High School and has also served as a quarterbacks coach, strength and conditioning coordinator and punters coach. 

RHS principal Dr. Jeremy Madden said, beyond Goodwin’s experience, they were excited about Goodwin already having previous experience coaching at Russellville. Goodwin served as an assistant coach from 2008-2010 at RHS under his father and hall of fame coach Doug Goodwin, who helped lead the Golden Tigers to the state championship game in 2008 and 2009, both resulting in a 5A State Runner-up finish. 

“Russellville is a place that is very steeped in tradition,” Madden said. “As a Russellville grad myself, I understand the importance of having someone in the position of head football coach who is dedicated to those traditions that are important here in Russellville and who is passionate about making this program great.”

Goodwin will begin his job at RHS March 1. Joining him will be his wife, Sara, and four sons. 

“Today is an exciting day for Russellville football, Russellville High School and Russellville City Schools,” said RCS interim athletic director Brett Voss. “With the hiring of Dustin Goodwin as our new head football coach, he becomes the 25th head coach of our program’s tradition-rich history. I know he has learned many things from great leaders like his father, Doug, and current Thompson head coach Mark Freeman, but I am excited to see him write his own story in our great history book like so many others before him have. On behalf of Russellville Athletics, I would like to welcome him, his wife Sara and four boys, Whit, Colt, Grant and Jett to Russellville City Schools.” 

LOOKING TO THE FUTURE 

At Friday’s meeting, Goodwin said he was ready and excited for the chance to lead the Golden Tiger football team. 

“Honestly, it feels like coming home,” Goodwin said of the hire. “We still have many of the relationships we were able to establish when we were here before, and we’re excited to be coming back. Russellville is a special place, and I’m ready to get to work.” 

Grimes said that, ahead of Friday’s board meeting, information about the hire surfaced on social media, noting as with most decisions, there have been positive and negative comments, but he’s “confident in the decision made today” because he knows “what all went into making it.” 

“It’s easy to make assumptions and to think you know all about a situation based on statistics or hearsay, but it’s a whole different thing when you’re making decisions based on factors that no one else knows about and that no one else can know about because it wouldn’t be professional to disclose all that goes into the process of making personnel decisions,” Grimes said. 

“A friend sent me something earlier today and said it made them think of me when they read it,” he continued, “and it’s actually very applicable to this situation and many others where tough decisions have to be made. It was an excerpt from a book on leadership, and it said, ‘Being a leader (and in my mind, every single one of us has an obligation to show leadership daily-regardless of title or position) isn’t about being liked. It’s about doing what’s right. Great leaders… fearlessly make tough calls,” he continued. “They speak their truth. They run their own race, making the right decisions and worrying little about public opinion. They are courage in action.’ 

“Many people want to lead, but when it comes to making the tough decisions that might not be popular or might get you dragged on social media, they shy away from it and make the easy, popular, or more obvious call,” Grimes continued. “The board and I have worked together on this hire and have done our due diligence in considering a myriad of factors that the general public is most likely unaware of. I appreciate their willingness to do the research and trust the process. Coach Goodwin is a great fit for RHS, and I hope he will be embraced with open arms.” 

INTERIM ATHLETIC DIRECTOR 

The position of athletic director, currently held by Voss, has not been posted at this time. The RCS BOE announced his selection as interim athletic director for Russellville City Schools during its regular meeting on Tuesday. As part of that announcement, he was also announced as the interim head football coach for RHS.



“I’m looking forward to getting to work with every athletic program,” Voss explained. “I have a passion for every single program in our system, and I want to see every program thrive.”

As interim athletic director, he’ll be responsible for making sure the current protocols, procedures and policies are enforced, while, as he put it, “working to be the biggest resource for each program” that he can be. 
 
“The kids know me, they know what I expect,” he added. “It’s just been business as usual here.” 


Originally from Speake, Ala., he’s been working in the Russellville system for 13 years, 12 of which have been with the high school football team. Last year, he was the head middle school football coach and athletic director. Before that, he was the associate head coach and offensive coordinator for varsity for five years.   

Prior to that, he was an offensive coordinator and quarterbacks coach at RHS for three of the four years Mark Heaton was there. Heaton served in the role before John Ritter had the position. Ritter left earlier this month to take on the position of head football coach at Decatur High School.   

“He’s filled in before when this has happened,” explained Madden regarding the selection of Voss. “He does a great job. We’re lucky to have him be willing to step in and help us. He’s a great guy.” 

 

 

 

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