Alton Shell, who won 169 games at Americus High over two decades and coached one of the state's legendary teams in 1975, died Thursday at Southeast Alabama Medical Center in Dothan, Ala., after suffering a stroke last week at his home in Americus.
Shell was Americus' coach from 1971 to 1990 and compiled a record of 169-66-1. His teams won nine region titles and two state championships, in 1974 and 1975. Americus-Sumter's Alton Clive Shell Stadium is named for him.
Both state champions finished 14-0. The 1975 team is widely recognized as having the best defense in state history. Boosted by stars such as Mackel Harris, Matt Braswell and Albert Cooper, the team shut out 13 of 14 opponents and allowed only eight points in the season. Those came in a game at Dothan, Ala., that Americus won 14-8. Dothan scored after a long drive aided by several Americus penalties. Americus won the Class AA championship with a 34-0 victory over Dalton.
Funeral arrangements will be announced later by Greg Hancock Funeral Chapel in Americus. Shell was 86.
Irwin County star Lundy has knee injury
Irwin County senior D.J. Lundy, featured among GHSF Daily's 10 best running backs this season, has a knee injury, and his status this season is unknown. Irwin County coach Buddy Nobles confirmed the injury this week and said it occurred during a small wrestling meet in June. The knee will be re-evaluated next week. He is not practicing with the team. Lundy rushed for 1,636 yards and 28 touchdowns on 158 carries last season, when Irwin was the Class A public-school runner-up to Clinch County. A three-star recruit, Lundy has several SEC offers.
Coaching changes top 100 in 2019 offseason
There are 101 new head coaches in the GHSA this season, nearly a record. According to the Georgia High School Football Historians Association, the most occurred in 2017, when 109 head coaches were hired. The 2019 turnover rate is 23.9 percent. That's high for this decade, but the turnover rate for this decade is actually lower than it was from the 1960s through the 1980s, according to GHSFHA data first reported in GHSF Daily in 2017 (below).
What are schools looking for? Head-coaching experience helps. The 101 new hires include 40 head coaches, 20 offensive coordinators, 19 defensive coordinators, 15 position coaches and two middle school head coaches. Five were not coaching football last season. Fourteen came from out of state.
New GHSA coaches by year:
2019 - 101
2018 - 82
2017 - 109
2016 - 82
2015 - 84
2014 - 92
2013 - 95
2012 - 92
2011 - 71
2010 - 87
Turnover rate by decade:
2011-17 - 21.0
2000-10 - 20.9
1990-99 - 19.3
1980-89 - 20.5
1970-79 - 25.3
1960-69 - 24.4
1950-59 - 24.5
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