Shay Oliver resigned from his post recently after wrapping up his sixth year with the Yellow Jackets and 20th year overall at the high school level.
The resignation came less than two weeks after Curry wrapped up a 2-8 season; its 17th straight losing campaign.
“It’s just time to step down,” said Oliver, a 1986 Curry High School graduate. “There was no pressure on me, I’ve just been doing it long enough. It’s time for somebody else to step in to give them another start. It was a decision I made with my wife and kids.
“You can look at it this way, I started playing football in the fourth grade. I played five years of college football. I coached two years of college ball, and I coached 20 years of high school football. I’ve put in my time.”
Oliver’s six-year term at Curry was the longest since Danny Gambrell coached the Yellow Jackets from 1980-85. Oliver was an All-State running back on Gambrell’s 1985 team.
Oliver said he hopes to stay at Curry High School as a teacher and assistant baseball coach.
“That’s my plan. If they need to put me somewhere else, in another position, that’s fine. I won’t ever be a head football coach again. The every day grind it takes to run a program, I don’t have the fire to do it anymore. I can’t see myself doing that again,” Oliver added. “I’m going to help coach [Grant] Nichols in baseball and do whatever [Curry Principal] Rod Aaron wants me to do. I appreciate Mr. Aaron. He’s always supported me and understood the situation.”
The highlight of Oliver’s stint at Curry came in 2011, when the Yellow Jackets started the season 4-0 and advanced to the Class 5A state playoffs for the first time in school history. The postseason trip also ended a nine-year playoff drought.
Curry finished 5-6 in 2011, but followed with 1-9 and 2-8 records the last two seasons.
Curry defeated county rivals Carbon Hill and Cordova in 2013, but the team continued to struggle against Class 5A competition. The Yellow Jackets have lost 18 straight region games dating back to 2011. Oliver fielded one of his youngest teams in 2013. He feels that will bode well for the future.
“I love the kids. We have a good group of young kids who got initiated into 5A football. A lot of those young kids got thrown into the fire. That could help them out down the road. They will be juniors and seniors one day,” Oliver said.
Aaron said the head coaching job will be posted in January, and the search for the Yellow Jackets’ next head coach will begin from there.
Curry has gone through five coaches since its last winning season in 1996 under coach David Williams.
“We are hoping to get plenty of applications and get the right person,” Aaron said.
Mike Cain, who has served as the offensive coordinator under Oliver and has been a head coach at Oakman High School, is the interim coach, and he is also a candidate to be the next full-time head coach.
“He’s one of the top ones in my opinion,” said Aaron.