December kicked off with breaking news surrounding the Morgan County football program. On Tuesday, Dec. 1, Bill Malone announced that he was stepping down as head coach.
Though his resignation comes as a shock for some, Malone said it was something he decided back before the season opener against Putnam County.
“As we headed down for kickoff,” Malone said. “I shook coach (Dennis) Sitzmann’s hand and said ‘we’ve been here a long time together and I want you to know that this is my last first game.’”
Malone’s time in Morgan County began back in 1994 when he was hired as the offensive coordinator under Kenny Moore. He and his wife Lady moved here expecting to stay for a few years and then move on somewhere else to coach.
That all changed when their daughter Alex was born. Alex started in the Morgan County School System, and Lady began teaching at Morgan County Elementary School, where she teaches today. Then Key, Malone’s son, came along, and they’ve been invested ever since.
“At that point, it became a no-brainer,” Malone said. “It was here or nowhere for me.”
Alex graduated from Morgan County High School in 2014 and his son, Key, is set to graduate in 2022.
So, a move that was supposed to be temporary has lasted now for 27 years.
While Malone has been in Madison, he has served as offensive coordinator (1994-2006) and became the head coach in 2007.
Malone’s 14-year tenure at the helm is the longest in school history in which he compiled an 83-67 record. That places him third in program history in total wins. Only his predecessor, Moore (92 wins) and Wayne Bradshaw (86 wins) accumulated more wins.
Morgan County hung back-to-back region championships in 2016 and 2017, too, under Malone’s leadership. Those championships were the first the Bulldogs won since they captured the 2002 and 2003 region championships.
The Bulldogs accomplished all of that while also finishing above .500 nine of the last 14 years and qualifying for the playoffs nine years, including a current fiveyear streak.
Which begs the question: why resign now?
Just like Malone’s decision to stay in Morgan County was based on family, his decision to step down as head coach is based on the same.
“I’m looking forward to being a daddy to my son more than a coach,” Malone said. “I want to see his senior year through and that’s my main reason for stepping aside.”
Upon reflecting on his time in the Morgan County football program, Malone didn’t really focus on the wins and losses. That’s not why he got into coaching in the first place.
He’s most proud of all of the people he’s been connected with through football.
“The relationships I was able to foster through coaching football is the reason I did this for 31 years,” Malone said. “The kids have kept me relatively young, which I’m grateful for. And I hope along the way that I was able to pick a few kids up, dust them off and help them. It’s definitely worked both ways.”
For Malone, though, he just remains grateful for the experience of coaching in Morgan County.
“Thank you (to the Morgan County community) for your patience,” Malone said. “Thank you for your understanding and support. Go dogs. Win.”