'Keys to a Cadillac': Priceville taps Childress as new girls basketball coach

May 21—PRICEVILLE — The long wait to decide who will replace Terrie Nelson as girls basketball coach at Priceville has concluded and the hire brings in a coach with state-level success.

Shane Childress was selected to replace Nelson, who retired earlier this year after 13 seasons and a 252-151 record with the Bulldogs. Childress comes to Priceville after two seasons at Clements, where he led the girls basketball team there to back-to-back Final Four appearances in Class 3A, leading the Colts to the state finals in 2023.

The move was made official Tuesday in a meeting of the Morgan County Board of Education.

"Our community loves basketball, and we wanted to open the search to look for the best candidate to come and replace Coach Nelson who did such a fantastic job with our program," Priceville Principal Shane Hopkins said. "I told (Nelson) that it was going to be like handing over the keys to a Cadillac."

After a thorough search, Hopkins landed on Childress.

"Coach Childress set himself apart from the very beginning," Hopkins said. "He's an extreme competitor, loves to win and I'm really excited to see how he's going to build on our program."

That excitement is shared by the Childress and his family as they know they will be joining one of the best programs in north Alabama.

"Terrie made this one of the best jobs in this state," Childress said. "Our whole family is excited for this new chapter. We're excited because this is a great program, a great community and somewhere that we can see ourselves at for a long time."

At Priceville, Nelson led the Bulldogs to 13 playoff appearances, seven area championships, three Morgan County championships, five Sweet 16 appearances, three Elite Eight appearances, a regional championship and a state runner-up finish in Class 4A in 2023, which was the program's first and only trip to the state tournament. She was named The Decatur Daily's coach of the year in 2013 and 2023, and named Class 4A coach of the year in Alabama in 2023.

Despite his recent success as a coach, Childress, who was named The Daily's Coach of the Year in 2024, acknowledged that he still has big shoes to fill as he replaces Nelson

"What she did here is simply amazing. When she decided to hang it up, north Alabama lost one of its staples of coaching," Childress said. "She had it going. I think they had like five or six straight 20 or more win seasons. That's tough to follow."

While he was a coach at Clements, the Colts were known for their in-your-face style of basketball, constantly applying pressure with relentless full court defense. Childress said he's looking forward to seeing how he can mesh that style with what has worked well at Priceville.

"I'm going to do my best to dig deep to find what, if anything needs improvement, and then we'll work on that," Childress said. "We're going to keep all the good stuff and add my own flavor and hopefully that will help us be successful."

Joining him at Priceville to play for the Bulldogs will be two of his daughters, Leah and Josie Childress. Leah is coming off a big junior season in which she averaged 14 points and six assists per game last season while also earning the Class 3A Northwest Regional MVP for the second year in a row and being selected to the Class 3A first team All-State.

Childress believes pairing his daughters with returning Priceville stars, such as soon-to-be junior Abby Langlois (18 points, 10 rebounds per game), will be just what the team needs to succeed as the school moves up to Class 5A.

"I'm going to be honest, with what's returning and what we'll be adding, I think we're an immediate contender in 5A," Childress said. "I think it will be a pretty good marriage."

Also coming with Childress will be his unique fashion style. At Clements Childress became known for his flamboyant shirts that usually featured horses to honor the school's mascot. He said he was unsure what he would do now being coach of the Bulldogs.

"I don't know what it will be, but we'll do something good," Childress said. "It's going to be hard to top Terrie's fashion style." or 256-340-2395. Twitter @CalebSuggs2