Wade Waldrop Makes Return To Madsion- Leads Hoover Versus James Clemens In First Round Of State Playoffs
MADISON- When James Clemens host Hoover this Friday night in round one of the Class 7A playoffs, the visiting Buccaneers head coach Wade Waldrop will have the distinct honor of knowing the sidelines of the Madison stadium better than the Jets’ head coach Chad McGehee. For eight years, the now 47-year old Waldrop walked the sidelines of the home of James Clemens has head coach of the Jets from 2013-2020.
“I’m excited about it as we still have lots of friends in Madison including teachers and coaches. Afterall, Madison was home for eight years,” said Waldrop, via a telephone interview in between family activities and football preparations.
Waldrop was head coach of the Jets’ program for eight seasons where he posted a 54-35 record. Prior to taking the position in Madison, he was head coach at Chelsea High for seven years with a 41-34 won-loss record. After the 2020 season, he chose to make a move to head coach at Florence where in the 2021 season his team was 5-6. Soon afterwards the position at Hoover came open and Waldrop was one of 100 applicants for the job to take over the Buccaneers and so far, he’s 15-8 during his tenure at the high school.
This season, his team has trampled through a tough season as the Bucs come into the game against the Jets with a 4-6 record and a fourth-place finish in Region 3. It was certainly a rocky start of on the 2023 campaign losing five of the first six games on the schedule.
“We’ve had our struggles and have played well the last few weeks,” added Waldrop. “We feel like we know what we’ve got to do against James Clemens. We must maintain our toughness we have showed throughout our seasons. We know it’s us and not them. We must do what we know we can do.”
For Waldrop, he last visited to Madison is vivid among his memory bank as he brought his Florence squad to Madison City Schools Stadium for a regular season game in the 2021 season. James Clemens put out the welcome mat for their former coach, but in the end, the host Jets beat Florence 45-42 on a late field goal that put Florence into fourth place in the Region standings.
This time around, Waldrop knows his opponent is explosive on offense and hardnose on defense. He said, “They have three defensive lineman who are high level players and are a big deal. Plus, they have good, active safeties that will run you down. There offense is good and are led by their receivers, especially Ty Doughty who I think is the best all-round player in their Region. They try to get the ball to him.”
Waldrop, with his wife, Kimberly, and their four children, Carsyn, Camryn, Cooper and Callyn, have made their home in Hoover and are happy, but his career was never about chasing a job. He added, “If we weren’t called by the Good Lord to leave Madison, we probably would have not left James Clemens.”
Hoover, winner of 13 state champions with the last two coming back-to-back in 2016-2017, is a work in progress. The squad graduated 37 seniors from last year’s roster and most of the players taking to the field in 2023 are inexperienced. The season schedule was tough and Waldrop said, “We weren’t ready at the first half of our schedule due to the fact we were so young. We started to play midway through the season. I feel our best quarters are out there. We’re looking for those against James Clemens (7-3, 6-1).”