Lance Archer fit the bill.
He was named the Tigers head football coach earlier this week. Archer takes over for Gary O’Gwin, who stepped down as head coach after three seasons at the Winston County school.
Archer, 31, who is also the Meek head baseball coach, served as an assistant football coach each of the last two years under O’Gwin.
“I’ve taken the job and I’ve got some other guys to help me out. Hopefully, we can turn this thing around. My intentions are to hold the fort down until a position comes open where somebody can come in and take it,” Archer said.
Meek football has struggled since advancing to the second round of the playoffs in 2003. Since then the Tigers have won 17 games in six seasons.
Archer is bringing a former Meek head coach with him. Lamar Frith, who coached the Tigers from 2000 to 2005, will be Meek’s new offensive coordinator. Frith compiled a 28-37 record with four playoff appearances.
Archer is entering his third year at Meek.
Before his time at Arley he spent six years at Walker High School (2002-2007) as the head cross country coach and an assistant baseball/football coach. He graduated from Etowah High School in 1997. At Etowah he was the centerfielder on a state championship baseball team in 1996 and was part of the school’s 10-0 football team in 1994.
Following high school, Archer attended Auburn before graduating from UAB in 2001.
Archer will get two months with his squad before the season opens at home against Tharptown on Thursday, Aug. 26. From there, the schedule gets tougher with games against three of the area frontrunners: Parrish, Lynn and Berry. The tough stretch ends in Week 5 with a game against county rival Addison.
“Realistically, I would love for this team to win all 10 games,” Archer said. “I feel like from what Meek football has been like the last couple of years that if we were to go 6-4 or 5-5, that would be a very positive season. What it’s all about is getting some things changed and getting it turned around and headed in the right direction.”
Meek, which is coming off a 2-8 record last year, played against Lynn, Winston County and Addison in its spring jamboree at Lynn High School. Though the Tigers finished 0-3, Meek gave all three teams a battle.
“One thing was that nobody got hurt and the kids we had out there played their hearts out. They were scrappy,” Archer said.
Meek played its jamboree with junior high players making up the bulk of the team.
“Before the jamboree we had five of our best athletes who weren’t going to play. We’ve got three of them back right now. Our line is bigger, stronger and more experienced than last year. We could very easily go into the season with momentum from the jamboree and beat Tharptown to start off. If everybody is still healthy after Addison and we’ve got two or three wins, we could peak and we’ve got the potential to win out right there,” Archer said.
“There are a lot of question marks, though,”
For one, injuries. With just 20 players in grades 10 to 12, the Tigers can’t afford any key players going down.
“We don’t really have any depth. Injuries are big because of our lack of numbers,” he said.
Archer said he will coach wide receivers and defensive backs to go along with his head coach duties. The remainder of the staff includes: Jamie Edwards (defensive coordinator), Richard Welch (offensive line) and Mike King (defensive line). Devin Guthrie is the junior high head coach and Tony Williams is the junior high assistant.