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Gardendale names new head football coach

Gardendale, AL – The Gardendale Rockets have their new leader on the gridiron.  The Jefferson County School Board officially approved longtime assistant and current Hoover Bucs offensive line coach Chad Eads to the Rockets top job Thursday afternoon. 

Eads will take over for former Gardendale head coach Matt Plunkett who resigned in early January to accept the same job at Cullman High School.  Plunkett lead the Rockets to a 37-22 record and four consecutive post season appearances over five seasons on the sidelines at Driver Stadium. 

Gardendale is coming off a 6-5 2017 campaign.

A Samford University graduate, Eads has spent the past 11 seasons on Josh Niblett’s staff at Hoover High School.  During his tenure as the Bucs offensive line coach Eads has helped lead the gridiron powerhouse to a 135-22 record including six state championships, six region titles and a pair of undefeated seasons.  

Earlier in his coaching career Eads served as the offensive coordinator at Huffman for two seasons.  During his tenure at the Birmingham City school he helping lead the Vikings to a 25-2 record, a pair of region titles and a trip to the 6A semifinals.  

Eads hiring marks the third consecutive first time head coach that the Rockets have hired.  Both Matt Punkett (37-22) and Chris Fancher (27-25) left the program with winning records and multiple post season appearances.  

Gardendale released the following statement following Eads hiring: 

Gardendale High School names Chad Eads as the head football coach and athletic director at today’s board meeting.  Coach Eads is a graduate of Samford University where he played for coach Terry Bowden.  He has coached at Samford, two years, and West Alabama, one year.  He began his teaching career at Huffman High School, five years, then Clinton High School, five years, in Clinton, Mississippi.  He has spent the last 11 years as the offensive line coach at Hoover HS.  During his time he as been part of six state championships and three state runner-ups.  

Coach Eads brings a wealth of success, knowledge and experience to the Rockets!  We are excited to have he and his wife Jamie as part of the Rocket family. 

This will be Eads first stop as a head coach.  He served as the offensive coordinator at Huffman High School, winning back-to-back region championships in 2000 and 2001.  

Before making his move to Hoover in 2007, Eads worked as the assistant head coach/offensive coordinator at Clinton High School in Mississippi.  The Arrows climbed to the state semifinals in 2004 and the quarterfinals in 2006. 

Eads joins former Hoover defensive line coach Adrian Abrams as the second Bucs assistant to land a head coaching job since the end of the 2017 season.  Abrams was officially named the Minor Tigers head coach Thursday. 

2018 Coaching Changes

SchoolFormer CoachNew Coach
ArdmoreAndrew SmithP.J. Wright
Benjamin RussellDanny HornOpen
Bessemer CityQuintin JacksonOpen
ChickasawJohn BeverlyJason Rowell
Central-Clay Co.Kris HerronDanny Horn
Cottage Hill ChristianDavid PeoplesOpen
CornerZac WillisJohn Clements
CullmanMark BrittonMatt Plunkett
DanvilleJosh LouAllenShannon McGregory
DothanKevin JacksonOpen
East LawrenceJarrod HelmsMatthew Pettus
ElbaEd RigbyOpen
Ellwood ChristianMike StokesOpen
Elmore Co.Norman DeanJordan Cantrell
EufaulaBryan MooreEd Rigby
Faith AcademyJeff EstesJack French
FlorenceJ.B. WallaceWill Hester
FultondaleRichie BusbyOpen
GardendaleMatt PlunkettChad Eads
GlencoeRusty DavisBrian Alred
HelenaWatt ParkerRichie Busby
Houston AcademyJimmy AddisonJamie Riggs
JasperHeath BrunnerBryan Moore
Lakeside SchoolJimmy KingDan Klages
Mary MontgomeryChris WilsonStan McCain
MinorCurtis GravesAdrian Abrams
New HopeKenny ChadwickBart Stephenson
OneontaBrandon HerringPhil Phillips
OpelikaCaleb RossOpen
Pell CityKeith EtheredgeOpen
PrattvilleChad AndersonCaleb Ross
PricevilleDirk StrunkJason Simmons
RaglandBrian AlredDerrick Sewell
RobertsdaleBrian CampbellOpen
Smiths StationAdam FossettMike Glisson
T.R. MillerAndrew ThomasKeith Etheredge
West LimestoneJordan CantrellOpen
Winston Co.Bart Stephenson Mark Mitchell