By Rubin E. Grant
Sean Calhoun wasn’t thinking about replacing a legend when he began the process of becoming Vestavia Hills’ next head football coach.
“My wife, Kellie, and I follow the Lord, and the Lord put Vestavia Hills in our lap,” Calhoun said. “It was not something on our radar.”
Two weeks ago, Calhoun was hired as the Rebels’ new coach, taking the reins from legendary coach Buddy Anderson. Anderson had been at the school for 49 years, including the past 43 as head coach, before retiring following the 2020 season as the winningest high school coach in state history. He left with a 346-160 record and two state championships.
“The foundation that has already been laid in Vestavia Hills is great, and I look forward to building upon that foundation and impacting lives through the football program,” Calhoun said. “It’s exciting and a little nerve wracking taking over a program that has been in such good hands.
“Coach Anderson had an amazing career and is an amazing man. I hope we can form a good relationship and I want to use him as a resource. I want to continue the journey and take us to better heights.”
Calhoun, 39, comes to Vestavia Hills from Carrollton High School in Georgia, where he had been the school’s head football coach since 2016. He had a 51-12 record over five seasons, winning three region championships and making five quarterfinal playoff appearances. He was named Region Coach of the Year at the end of the 2019 and 2020 seasons.
Before Carrollton, Calhoun was offensive coordinator for two seasons at Colquitt County High School in south Georgia under former Hoover coach Rush Propst. The team was undefeated both seasons and won back-to-back state championships. The team was named national champion by two publications in 2015.
Calhoun also served for four seasons as quarterbacks coach at Collins Hill High School in the Atlanta area, where he coached current Washington Football Team quarterback Taylor Heinicke.
Calhoun played defensive back and quarterback for Valdosta State University from 2000 to 2004 and later joined the team’s coaching staff. Valdosta State won the NCAA Division II national championship in 2007 while Calhoun served as running backs coach.
Calhoun was recommended to the Vestavia Hills Board of Education by a search committee that included Vestavia Hills City Schools Superintendent Todd Freeman, Vestavia Hills Principal Tonya Rozell, athletic director Jeff Segars, and Assistant Superintendent Patrick Martin.
Freeman described Calhoun as “a dedicated family man and professional with impeccable character.“
“Coach Calhoun has dedicated his career to investing in the lives of young men through the sport of football,” Freeman said. “His values and commitment to excellence are aligned with those of our school system and community. His successful experiences have prepared him to lead our football program and build on the legacy established by Coach Anderson and his teams. Coach Calhoun and his family will be a wonderful addition to Vestavia Hills.”
Calhoun said he’s ready to take on the challenge of competing in Class 7A, Region 3, which includes Hoover and Thompson, which have combined to win four of the past five 7A state titles.
“That’s something this team’s not going to shy away from,” Calhoun said. “Only four teams from the region can make the playoffs and we think we can be right there with them.
”We’re going to bring in an exciting brand of football. Of course, it’s going to be a new system, but the kids are very highly motivated and ready to learn. I’m looking forward to building a good relationship with them.”