But Bivens told The Star on Saturday night that he couldn’t see himself and four assistants he wanted getting certified or re-certified as teachers in the year required by law, so Anniston is down to two finalists.
Bivens credited Anniston schools officials with “doing everything within their power to try to make it possible for us to come back, but the timing of it and the certifications of it eliminated every possibility of us trying to come back.”
Anniston’s search began with the May 26 firing of Alex Wilson.
School officials conducted interviews June 10-11 and narrowed the search to Bivens, Anniston assistant Eddie Bullock and former West Alabama assistant Jason Bates.
Bivens, the wide receivers coach at Tuskegee University, was the lone finalist with head coaching experience. He was Anniston’s head coach from 1992-99 and an assistant before that, having played a role in the Bulldogs’ Class 6A title runs of 1989 and 1994.
He wanted to bring four assistants with him, including ex-Anniston head coach Berry Halladay, ex-Alabama assistant Ivy Williams and Larry Coachman, who worked with Bivens in a previous stop at UAB. Bivens also wanted to bring his son, Rodney Jr.
The elder Bivens said the No Child Left Behind Act required that all get certified or recertified within a year, or the Anniston school system would have faced fines. He said achieving the certifications would have been difficult.
“Those guys are pretty secure where they are to have to come back and get a certification,” he said.
“It could have been possible, but with football coming up and everything, we just would have had a lot to focus on to try to get that done in a year’s time.”
Bivens said he does not know which way the Anniston search will go.
Superintendent Joan Frazier told The Star a week ago that she will recommend a coach at Tuesday’s school board meeting. Attempts to reach her Saturday were unsuccessful.
Joe Medley is The Star’s sports columnist. He can be reached at 235-3576 or email@example.com.