Oak Mountain set to continue success with Floyd and new group of seniors – Shelby County Reporter
Oak Mountain ready to continue its success with Floyd and a new group of seniors
Posted 5:13 p.m. on Wednesday, November 2, 2022
By ALEC ETHEREDGE | Chief Editor
NORTH SHELBY – It may be a new era for the Oak Mountain Eagles heading into the 2022-23 season after longtime head coach Chris Love retired in the offseason and left nine seniors, but the expectation is to maintain the standard set the last three years.
That standard includes three consecutive trips to the Elite Eight, two Final Four appearances, and the school’s first state championship.
“We’re very excited for the future here and this season,” first-year head coach Joel Floyd said. “We have a strong senior class with seven seniors this year, including nine graduates last year, but it’s a great group of guys with lots of multi-sport kids.”
This marks Floyd’s return to the head coaching ranks after being an assistant at Spain Park for the past two years following a successful stint at Pelham High School.
“I learned as an assistant to try to think about things other than wins and losses,” Floyd said. “One of my tasks at Spain Park was to focus more on things off the pitch, character development and things like that. I will learn from this experience. Coaching volleyball has also been a huge One, coaching girls, but two coaching a sport I didn’t know as much about and coaching the mind and energy.
Floyd said he was excited to combine what he learned with the successful aspects he used as a head coach at Pelham.
Three of this year’s top leaders include Matthew Heiberger, Tre Thomas and Devan Moss, who are now hoping to create their own legacies after last year’s graduating class united three historic years.
“We have to improve every day,” Heiberger said. “Compete, compete, compete. We have to do it every day and it will lead us to our goal. We grew closer as a team. We slowly got closer to each other, which was good for the team.
Heiberger finished last season averaging nine points, seven rebounds, three assists, two steals and one block per game. This season, he will be a key leader for the Eagles in helping them achieve their goals.
Beyond him, Thomas and Moss are two returning players who featured at times last year and will also play bigger roles this season.
“There’s been a ton of success over the last few years,” Floyd said. “It’s almost unprecedented what last year’s senior class has done for the past few years. Final Four, Championship. Elite Eight. It’s a lot up to par, but this group is hungry to come out and continue this tradition. The standard is still as high as ever.
According to Thomas, this is something that motivates him and the rest of this year’s senior class to come together.
“Losing those seniors, they were good, but we can follow behind them and still make a difference,” he said. “We grew closer on and off the pitch as a senior class. It will help us.
One positive with returning seniors is the depth.
Floyd said they have 13 players they can use at any time, including Emmanuel Johnson, Kevin Jasinsky and Gray Williams who will all be juniors who are expected to have increased varsity roles after playing on the varsity team junior last year.
“I was impressed with the buy-in and the work ethic,” Floyd said. “We have worked extremely hard. Everything is new to them. We are installing a whole new system offensively and defensively and we are still working on it. I can see day by day in practice the progress we are making and the improvement. As we continue to understand this, we will become a very good team. Very good things can come out of it.