Hayles takes over as Rebel head coach

Published 11:25 am Thursday, March 29, 2007

Adams Christian didn’t have to look too far to find the next man to lead its football program.

Wilkinson County Christian Academy head coach Paul Hayles, an ACCS graduate and former assistant coach, accepted the job this week.

The former Rebel, who played for retiring coach Bobby Marks while a student at the school, said his decision to take the job could be compared to former Alabama head coach Paul “Bear” Bryant’s reasoning for taking that job — “Mama called.”

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“That is the statement that I mentioned to the school board,” Hayles said. “When they asked why I would be interested, that’s what I compared it to.”

Hayles has spent the past six seasons coaching the WCCA Rams, and before that served three years as defensive coordinator at ACCS. He was also the head coach for two seasons at Trinity Episcopal, one season at Deer Creek and a graduate assistant at Delta State.

Hayles said he would be sad to leave Woodville, however.

“My opportunity comes at a cost,” he said. “I’m leaving a wonderful situation, a great staff and a good group of kids at WCCA. The school has given me as much as I’ve given it. I’ll always hold a special place in my heart for WCCA.”

Hayles will assume the role of athletic director, as well as head track coach along with his football coaching duties.

He said one of the main factors in his return was the advice of his old coach and mentor, Marks.

“When I talked to (Coach Marks), after talking with him, and the board members, I hunt up the phone and talked to my wife and I told her about the conversations,” he said. “The way they talked is the way at my core I’ve always felt about ACCS. When you’re around people that think like you do, it makes things easy.

“…Coach Marks asked me, ‘If this works out, and you decide to take this position, can I introduce you to the football team?’ All I could think of is what an honor, to have someone of his accomplishments to introduce me to the team. It will always be special to me.”

Marks said he was happy the school was able to get Hayles.

“We were very lucky to get him,” Marks said. “We were very fortunate to get him. I think he’ll do a good job out there.

“Paul and I have always been close. He’s always said he wanted to come back home. He loves that silver and blue. We just thought he’d do a real good job. Thank goodness we got him.”

Hayles said he was ready to take on the challenge of finally coming back home.

“I’m excited about the opportunity God’s provided for me at ACCS,” he said. “As an alumnus, you’re always a part of ACCS. (The school) has two of the finest men in the MPSA in principal Buddy Wade and (headmaster) John Gray. They’re bringing me in to learn from them and move me to administration in the future. We’re working to make Adams Christian what it’s supposed to be and maintain that.”

And part of building and maintaining the school is providing stability, Hayles said.

“That’s what the school board has worked to achieve,” he said. “That was the whole point of solidifying the athletic director position. When you tie that in with administration, you’re setting a platform for a foundation to be built. If every year it’s a question mark of who’s doing what, no one wants their child in that. If you say they’ve been doing that year in, year out, more people want to get involved in that. That’s the way it has been and that’s the way it will be again.”

He also mentioned his children as big factors in building stability.

“As far as consistency and building for the future, I’m the father of an 8-, a 7- and a 4-year-old, so it’s pretty obvious how important it is to me.”

Hayles said he plans to meet with the team Monday.