With Wadley going through its second search for a head football coach in as many years, principal Lori Carlisle wanted to find someone who would be a long-term presence in the position.
She believes she has found that man in Shenan Motley.
Motley was announced last week as the new Wadley head coach, taking over for Jonathan Farr. Farr stepped down for family reasons after he led Wadley to an 8-3 record and a second-round exit in the playoffs in his only season as head coach.
“We’re hoping with [Motley] that we’ve hired somebody that wants to stay a long time,” Carlisle said. “His children are young. I’m hoping that he’ll see them through high school and be somebody that’s going to be one of those long-time coaches here at Wadley High School.”
Motley is the son of former Handley head coach Tony Motley, and his connections to Randolph County – he grew up in Woodland and graduated from Handley – have put his name in heavy circulation in the rumor mill any time a head coaching job has opened up here the last few years.
“His name has come up both last year and this year,” Carlisle said. “But it has been way more aggressive this year with people coming up to me asking me about it, speaking to me about it, seeing me out and about and bringing his name up. A lot of people were advocating for him to be our next football coach.”
As it turns out, one of those people was Farr. Farr and Motley spent time on the same coaching staff at Sweet Water under head coach Pat Thompson. That time together made Farr one of Motley’s biggest advocates as his possible replacement.
And in a unique turn of events, Farr will stay on the coaching staff as an assistant to Motley, although the details of Farr’s role have not been finalized.
Motley has been an assistant coach at Sweet Water since 2014, and his only head coaching experience in Alabama came in a one-year stint at Chambers Academy in 2012.
But as the Wadley search progressed it became more and more evident that Motley was the man for the job.
“The community wants him. My coaching staff wants him. I want him,” Carlisle said. “It was across the board a unanimous decision of the direction that we wanted to move into.”
She said that unanimity included Motley.
“He wants to be here. It was very clear he wanted to move back to this area, and it was very clear that he had a very strong desire to be the head football coach here at Wadley.”
Motley has to complete his teaching contract with Sweet Water for this school year, but he will have a limited role in Wadley’s spring practice next month. In the meantime, Farr and fellow assistants Logan Cofield and Terrell Zachery will fill in the gaps until Motley can come on in a full-time capacity in the summer.