By Melissa Meador/Monroe Journal
AMORY – Less than a month after Trent Hammond’s move to become Tupelo High School’s football coach, Amory has its next coach with Falkner’s Ben Ashley.
Ashley, who compiled an 18-6 record in two seasons as Falkner football coach, was approved on Friday to become the Panthers’ next head football coach and also to serve as athletic director.
“It was an unbelievable moment for me to get the opportunity to come back to Amory,” said Ashley, who was an assistant at Amory from 2005-06. “My wife and I love the area and the people there, and when you’re talking about Amory, you’re talking about one of the premier football programs in the state.”
Amory superintendent Tony Cook said Ashley fit all of the criteria he was looking for in the next coach.
“We wanted someone who understood the expectations here at Amory,” Cook said. “He fit the bill exactly.”
Ashley’s 15-year coaching career also includes stops as an assistant at Aberdeen, South Panola, Pontotoc, Eupora and Mississippi College. Cook said he thought Ashley’s energy and knowledge were a perfect fit for Amory’s football program.
“He’s one of the smartest guys I know. He’s got a lot of energy and enthusiasm, and best of all he wants to be here at Amory,” Cook said.
A NEW START
After coaching a Falkner team that averaged 312 yards on the ground last season, Ashley said he’s looking forward to seeing what kind of offense will fit a Panthers team that loses 16 seniors this year.
“They’ve been known for throwing the football lately, but they were pretty balanced this year,” Ashley said. “Any coach wants that level of balance because it gives you a level of unpredictability.
I know they have a good quarterback coming back (sophomore Jon David Poss), and anytime you can return experience there, it’s a big help.”
Ashley will meet with Amory players on Monday and start fulltime after being released from his contract at Falkner when its school board meets on Thursday.