Being named the head coach at West Lauderdale didn’t come without mixed emotions for Glen Sanders.

After spending six years on the Knights’ staff, Sanders was definitely saddened to see Stan McCain leave for Kosciusko. Of course, there was also excitement over moving from offensive coordinator to head coach, too.

“It’s exciting, it really is,” Sanders said, adding that he will keep the offensive coordinator title. “I hate that coach McCain left and that’s the reason, nevertheless, it is exciting. I’m looking forward to it, I really am.”

Still, Sanders is aware of the daunting task awaiting him in replacing McCain. In 11 seasons leading West, McCain went 81-50 and in his debut season guided the Knights to their first winning record in 12 years. The Knights finished runners-up in Class 3A in 2004 and followed that with a 12-1 record in 2005.

“A lot of good things have happened to us the last several years and he’s been the head of all that,” Sanders said. “But he’s left things in pretty good shape and we just have to carry it on.

“We may tweak something here or there, but for the most part the program is in pretty good shape. We don’t want to change anything that’s worked. A lot of the things that he instituted — the way that we worked — all that stays the same. Nothing changes. We’ve just got to pick it up and carry it forward. He left the program in great shape and I hope we can keep it there.”

Helping with that chore will be a familiar defensive coordinator, as Brock Clay takes over the reigns of the West defense.

Clay, who played for West in the early ’90s, leaves a job as the head coach at Kemper County to return to his alma mater.

“I’ve always wanted the opportunity to come back home,” Clay said. “This presented itself at the perfect time in my life. I’m happy to have the chance to come back and be a part of this program.”

Taking over the defense of a program with a strong history isn’t new to Clay, who served as the defensive coordinator at Meridian High for two years, including during the Wildcats’ run to the state championship game in 2005.

That work at Meridian was part of what immediately placed Clay atop Sanders’ wish list for the new defensive coordinator.

“When we realized that coach McCain was leaving and that coach (Chris) Richmond, our defensive coordinator, was probably going with him, we started looking around,” Sanders said. “And one of the first names that was mentioned to me, and to be honest, one of the first ones I though of, was Brock. I know what he did when he was at Meridian.

“He was available and he was kind of looking to come home and we were lucky to get him. We’re just excited that he’s going to be there, and add a lot to the program.”

Clay hasn’t been with the Knights long, but he is already impressed with the way the team and coaching staff is starting to come together.

“I never would have dreamed that the camaraderie and the team unity would happen as quickly as it has,” Clay said. “The kids have been working hard, and the transition has gone smoothly. I’m excited about this opportunity.”

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