By Will Nations
Daniel Merchant could be considered a football program architect.
His first football assistant coaching job helped revitalize Immanuel Christian Schoolâ€™s football team from 2010-12. Starting in the spring of 2012, Merchant was the epicenter of a gridiron renaissance with his first career head coaching position at Oak Hill Academy.
After back-to-back playoff berths and 11 wins in two seasons at OHA, Merchant has moved on to another construction site. The Sulligent, Ala., native was approved by the Lowndes County School Board for a teaching position at West Lowndes Alternative School and the defensive coordinator coaching role for the Panther football team Friday in Columbus. Former Columbus head coach Tony Stanford was named the OHAâ€™s new head coach.
Merchant said his departure from OHA and return to public schools and the MHSAA was a family-centered decision.
On Wednesday, Merchant reflected on his past two years as the Raidersâ€™ head coach. He said the experience in West Point was a good experience.
â€śOak Hill was a blessing to be the head coach of the past two years,â€ť Merchant said. â€śIt was nice to get that program headed in the right direction. I love coaching for the sole purpose of helping kids win. I did that at Oak Hill. I hope I will be able to continue that at West Lowndes.â€ť
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