Vinemont High principal retiring; head football coach out

W.C. Mann

Vinemont High School Principal Ferrell Runge, left and Cullman County Schools Superintendent Shane Barnette at the May 22, 2017 school board meeting.

VINEMONT – Two big changes are coming to Vinemont High School for the 2017-2018 school year. The school will have a new principal and a new head football coach.

Principal Ferrell Runge this week announced his retirement, effective June 30. Runge's notice has been received and accepted by the Cullman County Board of Education.

Runge has served as principal at Vinemont High for the last three years. He was an assistant principal prior to the latest promotion. The Vinemont alum coached the Eagles on the gridiron from 2004 to 2006 with 11 wins in 21 games. He stepped down to become involved in administration.

Runge told The Tribune he felt the time was right to make a change in his life. He says he wants to spend time with his grandchildren and plans to do that. He also plans to get his CPR license once again.

Change on the football field:

Head football coach Matt Norris' contract was not renewed. Norris has been in command of the Eagles for the past two years, with Vinemont only winning three times in 20 games. The Eagles were 2-8 in 2016 after coming up with one win the previous season.

Runge says it was not an easy decision to ask Norris to step down.

With the results registered on the scoreboard every Friday night in the fall, community support can sometimes be a little fickle. Being the head of the school, Runge, like most administrators, dealt with comments about the program being unsuccessful when many felt the squad should be performing better.

Vinemont opened last season with a come-from-behind 14-7 win in the final 30 seconds at arch rival Good Hope. The Eagles contended for victory in three other games, falling short to Hanceville 28-22, Addison 43-36 and Holly Pond 27-22.

The Eagles suffered a 53-34 loss at Mark Smothers Stadium to neighboring rival Falkville, ending the season with four consecutive defeats.

Norris was an assistant under Alan Scott when he was given the opportunity to lead Vinemont after Scott resigned to take the head job at Good Hope in 2015.

Runge says the current assistant coaches are handling summer workouts. Runge is accepting applications for the vacancy with hopes of having the position filled within two weeks.

Vinemont will open the 2017 season at home on Sept. 1 vs. Good Hope.

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