Daleville High School hired Charles Henderson defensive coordinator Will Garner last week to lead the Warhawk football program and the Auburn native plans to hit the ground running.
Garner said that his immediate goals at Daleville will be reigniting excitement around the football program and getting his players to hit the weight room as hard as possible.
“Getting in and getting the school and the players and everyone excited about what we have coming up this fall is the main thing for me,” Garner said. “Raising the excitement level and the enthusiasm to get the kids out to play, too. Once we do that then the work will start in the weight room.
“We have to make sure that we’re building as big and strong of athletes as we can to put a product on the field on Friday nights that will help us compete in a tough region.”
Garner comes to Daleville after spending the past two years at Charles Henderson, where he served as cornerbacks coach in 2019 and defensive coordinator in 2020. He also was the strength and conditioning coach at Charles Henderson during that time.
Before coming to Charles Henderson, Garner was the defensive line coach at Northview in Dothan from 2017 until 2019. Before that, he was the head middle school coach from 2015 until 2017 at Charles Henderson.
Garner also has a Daleville connection as he was an assistant under former Warhawk coaches Josh Parrish – at Northview – and Brad McCoy – at Charles Henderson – and said that their experiences at DHS helped spark his interest in the job.
“Daleville has always been a school that I’ve admired from the past when I’ve been able to work with coaches that have been associated with Daleville in the past,” Garner said. “It was always a spot that I heard positive things about, whether it be the kids or the administration.
“It was always one of those things that I was jealous that I never got to be a part of that program with them. The situation opened up where I could possibly be the guy to lead the program and it was a situation I couldn’t pass up and I can’t get wait to get started.”
Garner said that both McCoy and Parrish had nothing but positivity to express to him about the job when he began pursuing it, as well.
“Coach McCoy – he and I have been working together the past few years – and Coach Parrish are still very close and I asked them questions about Daleville throughout the process,” Garner said. “They both only had positive things to say about it. So, that just led me even more to try and pursue the job. Once I got it both of them have been extremely excited for me and what the future holds here at Daleville.”
A question that Garner will look to answer soon will be what the Warhawk coaching staff will look like.
“I know there are some really good guys on the staff here at Daleville right now that I can’t wait to get a chance to meet and talk with,” Garner said. “Hopefully there will be some other guys that will be interested in joining our program and the direction we’re going in, too. Hopefully we’ll be able to put a staff together that the kids will be excited about and can help us win games.”
While Garner has spent the majority of his coaching career as a defensive coach, he was a star running back at Lee-Scott Academy in Auburn. Garner said that the offensive and defensive schemes the Warhawks implement will be whatever is best suited for the team’s personnel but his philosophy on the game centers on the line of scrimmage.
“I believe you have to win on the line of scrimmage on both offense and defense,” Garner emphasized. “You have to be able to block, you have to be able to tackle and you have to win on the line. If we do those things we’ll have a chance to win some games.
“Scheme wise will really depend on the coaches and players and what we feel comfortable with our players being able to do. We want to put our players in the best situation to win so I don’t want to lock myself into a scheme of any sort. It will be the basics. We have to control the line of scrimmage on offense and defense and if we do that we’ll win some games.”
As spring practices draw closer, Garner said he wants the Warhawk family to know that the energy level at DHS is about to go up.
“The main thing I want everyone to know is that the energy level is about to go through the roof. We’re going to come in with our hair on fire and ready to work,” Garner said. “We’re going to put the work in and the relationships are the main thing. We want to make sure the kids know we aren’t here just for ourselves; we’re there for the kids and for the school system.
“We want them to know we’re here to do whatever they need to be successful in the classroom, on the field and at home. I’m excited to be a part of the Warhawk family and I can’t wait for the Warhawk family to be a part of mine. We’re going to come in with an energy level that hopefully they haven’t seen in a long time.”