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Three finalists selected for RHS varsity football coach vacancy

Each of the three finalists for the vacant Russellville High School varsity football coach position would be well served to follow in his father's footsteps when it comes to building a winning program for the Golden Tigers.

Russellville City Schools Superintendent Heath Grimes announced Tuesday the three finalists from more than 75 applicants for the position that came open last month with the resignation of Mark Heaton.

Grimes said he expects to make a decision by Monday and he will formally recommend the name of the selection to the RCS board at their March 22nd meeting.

The finalists are Fayette County High School varsity football coach Lance Tucker, West Morgan High School varsity football coach John Ritter and Plainview High School varsity football coach Dustin Goodwin.

The three men share a bond of having grown up around a football field and having dads who were highly successful as high school football coaches. Tucker is the son of legendary Fayette County coach Waldon Tucker. Goodwin's father is former RHS varsity coach Doug Goodwin and Ritter's father Ronnie had a successful run as Lauderdale County head football coach. Collectively, the three fathers of the finalists amassed 514 career wins in Alabama high school football.

Tucker serves as athletic director and varsity football coach at Fayette County High School, where he starred as a quarterback who started on the varsity as a seventh grader. Tucker graduated in 1993 and attended the University of Alabama, where he was a backup quarterback for the Crimson Tide.

Tucker's head coaching career started at Sipsey Valley High School, as he coached the school in its inaugural season, going 0-10.

When he was hired to take over the Fayette County program, he picked up where his father left off. Tucker's seven year record at FCHS is 67-28, including a 40-5 record in regional games and an 18-7 playoff record. His Tiger team advanced to the 4A championship last season before falling to UMS-Wright 21-7.

Goodwin is the head coach at 3A Plainview. His team went 9-2 in 2017, including an undefeated region record. In his three years at the school, Goodwin has an overall record of 21-12, with a 15-4 region mark.

Goodwin is a graduate of Demopolis High School, where he played quarterback. He attended Itawamba Community College, Auburn and the University of North Alabama, playing quarterback at each stop before graduating from UNA in 2008.

He served as offensive coordinator/QB coach at Hueytown in 2014. Prior to that, he was the offensive coordinator at Homewood from 2011-13 and quarterbacks coach at Russellville from 2008-10.

Ritter's 4A West Morgan team went 10-2 last season, the team's best record in his three years. Ritter's composite record at West Morgan is 17-16. He also served as head football coach at Red Bay High School in 2012-13, posting a 16-7 record with two playoff appearances in two years.
Ritter's overall coaching record is 33-23.

Prior to becoming a head coach, Ritter served as defensive coordinator at Deshler in 2014, served two years as an assistant coach at Athens and was an assistant coach at Muscle Shoals from 2008-2011, including one year as offensive coordinator.

The three finalists were interviewed Tuesday in Russellville.

We are very pleased with the quality of our applicants for this position and each of the final candidates was impressive in their interviews. It won't be an easy choice,” Grimes said.


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