Spotlight: Jason McDonald, 8/25/17
Taking over for a legend is never easy, but Jason McDonald is a man with a plan at Pine Forest.
A bold strategy helped him land the job he wanted.
McDonald jumped into coaching right after college first at his alma mater Escambia County in Atmore and then at Baldwin County.
Those early years were pretty jam packed. He coached football, softball, basketball, and baseball.
Looking for a better opportunity, he landed at Pine Forest in 2005, joining the football staff of the growing legend Jerry Pollard.
In 12 years as Pollard's assistant, McDonald proved loyal and versatile coaching receivers, the offensive line and defensive backs.
When Pollard stepped down after last season he jumped at the head coach opportunity full throttle.
McDonald landed it, they said, in large part for nailing his interview with the hiring committee. That included bold honesty about Pollard's continued role as athletic director.
McDonald's hiring is very popular with the players. The bond he built as an assistant is pretty clear. Now he's asking a lot of them as head coach.
He's also brought out more players.
Basketball star Devon Witherspoon didn't play football his first two years in high school.
There has been a lot of turnover on the staff. Seven of the 10 assistants are news and many of them are former Pine Forest players.
McDonald is also putting a lot of emphasis on creating a culture.