By Fred Guarino
The Selma Sun
Morgan Academy has a new head football coach and athletic director with a proven record of winning.
On Saturday, April 11, Morgan Academy Headmaster Mark Knight announced the hiring of Daniel (Danny) Willis Raines to the position.
“I am excited to announce Danny Raines has accepted the position as Morgan Academy’s head football coach and athletic director, “ Knight said. “Coach Raines served 14 years at Berry High School accumulating over 100 victories and becoming the winningest coach in school history.”
He said, “Coach Raines comes to Morgan from Headland High School, where he served as head football coach for three years. His team made the playoffs in 2018, and he was also awarded the 4A Coach of the Year for Alabama in 2018.”
Knight said that 1A Berry High School in the Alabama High School Athletic Association was a school “similar to Morgan in size and resources.”
He also said at Headland High School near Dothan, in his second year, Raines turned a 1-9 program around to a 10-2 regional championship team for the first time in 34 years and earned the honor of 4A Coach of the Year.
Knight said of Raines, who retired from the public school system, “We are fortunate to get Coach Raines. He is a strong Christian man who works hard with the boys on and off the field. I believe his character, knowledge and leadership will be a great addition to the Morgan family.” He added, “We are looking forward to having Coach Raines and his wife (Mary) as members of our Morgan Family.”
Raines said he saw the position was open at Morgan Academy and “just thought it was a great opportunity.” He said most of his family lives in North Alabama about two hours away from Selma.
Raines said of his plans for Morgan football, “We are just going to do the best we can. Morgan is a very impressive place.” He said he looks forward to meeting everyone and the players. And he said, “We’ll prepare. We’ll work hard. We’ll have a good time, as well, work diligently.”
Raines said, “Offensively we will do lots of things. We’re multiple based on both sides of the ball. But offensively we want to try to run and throw. I think you are more effective if you can do both. We’ll try to put a lot of formations in. We’ll be aggressive on both sides of the ball.”
Raines’ father, Jim Raines, was an All-American quarterback and both college and high school football coach. He said of his father’s coaching influence on him, “Most of what we do, came from my dad. He was every successful in football and basketball on both the high school and collegiate level.”
Raines played basketball at Auburn University under coach Sonny Smith as a point guard from 1987-89 and walked on to Auburn’s football team under coach Pat Dye from 1990-91, serving as a scout team quarterback.
From 1992-1995 Raines was an administrative assistant football coach for Auburn University Defensive Coordinator Wayne Hall. From 1995-1998 he was the video coordinator for the Auburn University Football Team. And from 1998-1999 he served as assistant to Auburn University Associate Athletic Director Jay Jacobs.
He graduated from high school in Woodbridge, Va. In 1987 and earned his bachelor of science in 1991 and masters of education in 1992 from Auburn University.
Raines said he was fortunate to play for Coach Sonny Smith in basketball at Auburn for two years. And when Smith went to VCU, he said he walked onto the football team “just for the fun of it.”
He said, “That was a blessing. The Lord works everything out. I actually loved my two years of football and was a scout team quarterback for coach Dye. Coach Dye was just a great man. He was great to me. I actually got play in one game against Louisiana Lafayette (used to be Southwest Louisiana). Those were special times at Auburn.”
Raines served as head basketball coach, assistant football coach – defensive coordinator for Lyman Ward Military Academy at Camp Hill from 1999-2000 and assistant football coach Russell County High School in Seale, Ala. from 2000-2001.
He served as head basketball coach and assistant football coach at Highland Home in Crenshaw County from 2001-2003 and assistant baseball coach there in 2003.
At Berry High School in Fayette County (Berry, Ala.) he served as head football coach, head basketball coach and assistant athletic director from 2003-2017. He served as junior high football coach there from 2004-2017, junior high basketball coach there from 2003-2014 and as head baseball coach there in 2008.
He served as head football coach and athletic director at Headland High School in Henry County (Headland, Ala.) from 2017-2019.
Raines has an 117-76 overall football record. His teams advanced to the AHSAA Playoffs 13 out of 17 seasons, advanced to the second round of the AHSAA playoffs seven out of 17 seasons, advanced to the quarterfinals of the AHSAA Playoffs three times, won three region championships in 2018, 2015 and 2011. His teams won 10 games four times in 2018, 2015, 2011 and 2009.
Raines was named by the Alabama Football Coaches Association 2018 4A Coach of the Year, Dothan Eagle 2018 Football Coach of the Year, Wiregrass All Conference 2018 Football Coach of the Year, Northwest Alabama Conference 2015 Football Coach of the Year, 2005 Football Coach of the Year and 2004 Football Coach of the Year.
He was an Alabama North/South All-Star Game 2019 Assistant Football Coach and was Southeastern Athletic Conference 2002-2003 Basketball Coach of the Year.
Raines and his wife, Mary, have been married 13 years and she is Assistant Superintendent at Fayette County Schools.
He has a daughter, Sara, and two stepdaughters, Heather and Lindsey, and four grandchildren.