Curry hires Russell Funk as football coach; Carbon Hill's Dollar resigns
by Johnathan Bentley
Jan 17, 2014 | 4175 views | 0 0 comments | 35 35 recommendations | email to a friend | print
New Curry head football coach Russell Funk
New Curry head football coach Russell Funk
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Russell Funk has turned high school football programs around in the past.

Now he heads to a school that has been waiting for that turnaround for nearly two decades.

Funk has been hired as Curry High School’s head football coach. The move was approved at the Walker County Board of Education meeting on Thursday.

Funk, who started his coaching career in Mississippi, has won four state championships — three in Mississippi and one in Alabama.

He spent the last five years at Marion County, leading the Red Raiders to the 2011 Class 1A championship, the school’s first title since 1973. Marion County finished as the state runner up to Brantley in 2012 before finishing just out of the playoffs last year.

In 21 years as a head football coach — the last six in Alabama — Funk has a 149-88 record.

“His resume was so impressive, we couldn’t hardly turn him down,” Curry Principal Rod Aaron said. “What was impressive, maybe even more than the state championships, is that the he has been able to turn around programs that have struggled, like us. He’s taken teams that have gone 1-9 and had them in the playoffs within a couple of years. I don’t know if he could do that with us, but he has done that in the past.”

Funk’s first official day at the school will be Feb. 3. Aaron said the new coach won’t have any teaching duties until the next school year.

Curry is coming off a disappointing 2-8 season, which included wins over county rivals Cordova and Carbon Hill. The Yellow Jackets have lost 18 straight region games in Class 5A dating back to the 2011 season.

At Marion County, Funk inherited a team coming off a 2-8 season in 2009. His first team went 4-6 followed by records of: 8-4, 14-1, 13-2 and 6-4.

Curry has suffered through 17 straight losing seasons and hasn’t won a playoff game since making the state quarterfinals in back-to-back years (1995-96).

Funk takes over for former coach Shay Oliver, who stepped down after six years at the helm.

Before coaching at Marion County, Funk spent one year at South Lamar High School, leading the Stallions to a 9-4 record and a spot in the state quarterfinals. Funk won three state titles in Mississippi 1991-93. He coached in Mississippi from 1991 to 2005, amassing a 95-67 record.

“I think he is what we need. He’s 52 or 53. He’s someone who’s been through it. He will be able to calm the kids down and give them some encouragement,” Aaron said.

While one school has filled its position, another county head coaching job is vacant.

Rodney Dollar resigned as the Carbon Hill High School head football coach on Wednesday after just one year at the school.

Dollar suffered a stroke before Carbon Hill’s seventh game of the season and didn’t return to the field.

Carbon Hill finished 0-10 for the second straight season. The Bulldogs gave up a state-high 521 points in 2013, including 83 to Calera.