Jordan Cantrell wants to change lives through football and looks forward to his new role at Florala as the new head coach of the Wildcats.
“My family and I were looking for a school, community and sports program in which to work and grow. We looked at what we thought would work for the entire state and found Florala on the TeachinAlabama website. We researched the school, community and Florala football past and thought it would be great to pursue. We’re glad it worked out that way and happy to be here,” Cantrell said.
He is most looking forward to working with the school athletes.
“I want to win football games, but it’s not about me. It’s about the kids, and developing those relationships is the cool thing about coaching. We want to build that trust and those relationships and in make a family type atmosphere. Even though I arrive late, I have met most of the coaches and there are great men here. The kids really respect these men, so you want to keep them with you. The kids I met told me how much they respect these coaches.
Its philosophy is to change the lives of children through sport.
“Football changed my life at a time in my life when I had no friends. I was the son of a missionary and lived abroad before returning in eighth grade. I wasn’t interested in playing football, but my dad got me to play. It changed my life and helped me make friends. It teaches you the work ethic and allows you to bond. The X’s and the O’s will come, but the philosophy is to change lives through football,” he said.
The 2022 season will be Cantrell’s ninth year as a football manager. He comes to Florala from Elmore County High School in Eclectic, Alabama, where he served as head coach from 2018 to 2021. Prior to his tenure at ECHS, he was head coach at West Limestone High School in Lester, Alabama from 2014. to 2017.
“We have more assistant coaches here than in Elmore County. A lot of our kids had to play both ways, offensively and defensively. I don’t think it will be a big change from the big schools, and we love the small town vibe of Florala.
He added that it’s wonderful to have the opportunity to lead the Wildcats. “We’re really excited, and when I was offered the job, my wife and I prayed together. We felt guided by the fact that this is where God wanted us to be, and it’s an honor to be here. We’re the kind of people who want to be somewhere for a long time. It means a lot to us.”
Cantrell graduated from East Limestone High School in 2002 and earned his bachelor’s degree in physical education from Athens State University in 2007.
“I’m a player coach and I think you really have to have discipline in today’s era. I want to develop relationships with these kids and show that we care about them. We will care of those kids and train them hard, but we’ll love them even more. Building relationships and having an open door, communicating with them and letting them communicate with us, that’s good,” he said.
His vision for the FHS program is to see athletes continue to work hard, care about each other, and leave a legacy for the future.
“We want to win football games, and you have to win, but we also want to create a family-like atmosphere. Everyone cares about everyone. All sports work together, and we all have this vision of making Florala better and to make these children better.
Cantrell said he wanted to lead by example by keeping his players motivated and encouraged. “I’m a guy full of energy, and if you have a lot of energy they will have it too. There will definitely be tough times, but we have to have that energy and show them by example. I don’t I’m not afraid to get in there and train with them. It all comes down to having that high energy even during the lows and knowing that you care.
Having the support of the community is essential for success.
“Our program needs to create excitement and be excited about our school’s sports. This excitement will inspire children to participate. There are so many things that keep kids busy these days. They need their community to support them and ignite them. I’m not just talking about football, but there are sports or extracurricular activities that these children can participate in. Community support is important, and it will be our job to motivate the community about these sports and extracurricular activities,” Cantrell said.
He is married to his wife of 15 years, Jaimee Cantrell. They have three children: Kaden, 13; Holden, 10; and Evee Jaimes, 6 years old.
Their first match is scheduled for Friday, August 26 at home against county rivals Red Level.