Updated at 11:58 p.m. on Monday, May 6, 2019.
TRENTON, Ga. — From the list of more than 40 applicants one name stood above the rest, and on Monday Dade County High School officially hired Dale Pruitt as its head football coach.
Pruitt, one of the most respected coaches in Alabama prep football, has been successful at every stop he's made in compiling a 289-138 overall record.
"The opportunity to hire a legend doesn't come around very often," school principal James Fahrney said. "Many talented candidates applied, but the interview team unanimously selected Coach Pruitt without reservation."
Pruitt, the father of University of Tennessee head coach Jeremy Pruitt, takes over for Bradley Warren, who finished 47-68 at his alma mater before stepping down last month to accept an offer to become the head coach at McIntosh County.
Dale Pruitt began his head coaching career at Pisgah in 1982 and was 18-4 in two years, including 10-0 in 1983. He then took over at his alma mater, Plainview, where he compiled a 164-64 overall record in 17 seasons. He later put together an 18-13 record in three seasons at Fort Payne, which included the program's first playoff appearance in eight years, before guiding Marion County to a 14-9 two-year run.
He then returned to Plainview in 2006, reaching the playoffs in all but one of his seasons there, before taking over at Albertville in 2014.
Pruitt's teams have reached the state playoffs 25 times, won 13 region championships and made appearances in a Class 3A state championship game twice. Four times his teams finished the regular season unbeaten.
"Over the years I've played against Dade County teams and was always impressed with how tough they were," Pruitt said. "I believe we can compete here. I like the atmosphere and the excitement around the program, and I'm very humbled and thankful for the opportunity.
"I'm excited about getting started and meeting the students, parents and staff. I'll try to meet as many of the kids in the school as I can over the last few weeks we have and recruit them to come out."
Contact Stephen Hargis at email@example.com or 423-757-6293. Follow him on Twitter @StephenHargis.