The Elba Tiger football program lost its successful head football coach Ed Rigby to Eufaula High School last month and is looking to a former New Brockton Gamecock to pick up where Rigby left off.
Last week, Elba High School announced the hiring of Dale County coach Pate Harrison as the new Tiger head coach.
This will be Harrison’s second head coaching job as he has coached the Dale County Warriors since 2012. He compiled a 46-24 record at Dale County and in 2014 took the Warriors to the Class 3A State Championship Game before falling to Madison Academy.
Before becoming a coach, Harrison was a star fullback and linebacker at New Brockton High School, graduating in 2000.
Despite being a New Brockton alumnus, Harrison said that Elba has always felt like home.
“I felt like it was time to make a change and to be able to come closer to home,” Harrison said of his decision to take the Elba job. “I played football in Elba all my life, playing for the Elba All Stars in youth football, and my first job was at the old Elba pool. Elba has been like home to me from the get-go.”
After graduating from New Brockton, Harrison moved on to Troy University where he played fullback and long snapper for the Trojans.
Following his graduation from Troy, Harrison’s first coaching job came at nearby Samson High School in 2006 as its defensive coordinator. Harrison accepted the defensive coordinator position at Goshen High School in 2009 where he remained until becoming the head coach at Dale County.
Harrison will have the responsibility of replacing Rigby, who compiled a 53-12 record with the Tigers. Rigby took Elba to two state championship games, winning one, and is the third winningest coach in school history behind the legendary Mack Wood (150-60) and Scott Rials (70-35).
Harrison is aware of the level of recent success for the Tigers and the big shadow those recent Elba coaches, Rigby and Rials, cast.
“Those are huge shoes to try and fill,” Harrison said of the success of Rigby and Rials over the past decade. “You don’t really replace those guys. You just do your best really.
“Those guys are great coaches and had multiple winning seasons here. I just want to spin off of their success and keep it going and do my own thing.”