Bart Lockhart takes over rebuilding project at Dora

By W. BRIAN HALE, Eagle Sports Writer
Posted 2/4/17

It took just two seasons for Bart Lockhart to turn the Sumiton Christian Eagles from a perennial three-win team into a second-round playoff contender.

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Bart Lockhart takes over rebuilding project at Dora

Posted

It took just two seasons for Bart Lockhart to turn the Sumiton Christian Eagles from a perennial three-win team into a second-round playoff contender.

Now Lockhart has a new challenge — accomplishing the same rebuilding feat with the Dora Bulldogs.

Since 2000, Dora’s football program has experienced staggering highs and dreadful lows — ranging from the Bulldogs’ 12-2 semifinal playoff team in 2012 to a winless campaign in 2015.

Lockhart saw a great opportunity to restore the proud football tradition of Dora and bring stability and leadership to a program eager to return to playoff contention.

“I think that all the elements for our team and overall program to be successful are in place and I strongly believe that Dora High School is moving in the right direction,” Lockhart said. “The way the opportunity presented itself led me to believe that would be able to accomplish goals that we will set with pride and in a way the community and our school can get behind.”

Along with a developing standout players on the field, Lockhart took a strong approach into developing character of the young men he coached at Sumiton Christian.

He expressed those same ideals of great play and character to his new team during their first meeting after being appointed to the post.

“What we talked about is that champions behave like champions before they become one. You don’t wait until you’ve won a title to act like a champion, you take the approach head-on from the onset,” Lockhart said. “Our program standard is to be the best — that’s in the way we talk, the way we sit in class, in the way we keep our locker room and in the way we practice and prepare. If we do all of that, Friday night will take care of itself. What I’ve been really excited about is that these young men are ready. They’re ready for a change and do what it takes to get what they want — in turn, it gets me motivated to get everything rolling in the direction we all want it to be.”

Support for Lockhart’s hiring has been extremely strong, with many members of the Bulldog fanbase — already familiar with Lockhart’s successful work at Sumiton Christian — voicing their sentiments and excitement to the new head coach.

“Everything has been so positive and energetic about the future of our team and that’s what I want our program to be about,” Lockhart said. “The reception that I have received from the community and the team has been very refreshing.”

Competition in a strong area is one aspect of his new posting that Lockhart is vastly familiar with.

Last season at Sumiton Christian, Lockhart battled programs such as Addison and Decatur Heritage — two third-round playoff teams and playoff program Lynn.

Dora’s Class 4A, Region 6 features a gauntlet of strong teams, including Haleyville, Fayette County, Winfield, Hamilton and archrival Cordova — all of whom will be vying for the coveted four playoff spots.

“We’re just going to focus on us — getting our team to be the best it can possibly be, what ever that is. If you start looking at the opponents that you’re going to play and the destination, you miss the steps it takes to get there,” Lockhart said. “We’re going to be our best and on Friday night, play as hard as we can. At the end of the fourth quarter, we’ll look up and see what the score is. That’s our approach.”