July 24, 2021

Successful Braves Coach Enters 10th Season

At the conclusion of the 2001 football season things were very bleak for the Heard County Braves football program. That season concluded a six-year run of some of the poorest results in the 40-year history of Braves varsity football which culminated with an 0-11 record while playing in the smallest classification in the state of Georgia.

Indeed, these were the worst of times for the Braves and they began the search for a new head coach. Just over an hour away at Alexander High School in Douglas County the head coach Tim Barron was not faring much better in the win column either and had decided to resign from his post after three years with the Cougars following a disappointing 3-7 season.

He had been at Alexander since 1994 and had taken the head job with the team in 1999. Barron today very humbly admits that he may not have been ready for that first head coaching job and after his resignation he decided not to seek another coaching position right away.

During that winter, however, one of his assistant coaches D.J. Curbow got wind of the head coaching vacancy here at Heard County and thought it might be worth a look. Barron and Curbow were lifelong friends who had been together practically all their lives from elementary school all the way through their respective coaching careers.

So at the prodding of Curbow, Barron decided they would drive down to the Heard High school gym one night to check out a varsity basketball game and hopefully to try to speak with the school principal Mr. Carlisle about the open football position.

Both coaches were extremely impressed by some of the talent they saw on the basketball court that evening for the Braves including some very gifted athletes such as Thomas Keith, T.J. Watkins, Josh Cooley, and Renaldo Reid.

Unfortunately for them, while they were able to talk with Mr. Carlisle briefly, they were not able to really make any headway during that particular conversation which lasted only about three minutes. So it seemed as if it just might not be “in the cards” for them to be employed at Heard County.

What happened next some would consider  just a simple twist of fate but Coach Barron, a very religious man, believes was God’s way of sending a message to all involved that he indeed had a plan that night.

While inside the gym watching the game, somebody rear ended the coach’s truck in the parking lot outside. Of course the Franklin Police Department had to be called in and during this time Principal Carlisle and the two coaches got another opportunity for a much longer, more in-depth conversation which lasted about 45 minutes as the police filled out their reports.

Surprisingly, after this much longer conversation, Barron received a call the very next day for an interview for the head coaching job at Heard High School. Coach Barron told me he actually laid in bed praying for a few nights about whether he even wanted to be a head coach anymore, but after receiving the offer officially several days later, he decided to put it in God’s hands and accepted the position.

This was indeed the real turning point for our football program which had suffered from a total lack of success in the late 1990’s. Coach Barron grew up in the Mableton, GA area and attended Pebblebrook high school where he played football.

He was a really good athlete, albeit on the small side, and after high school he decided to walk on at West Georgia College as a quarterback, strong safety, and special teams player. Despite his smaller stature he worked hard everyday and gained enough size that he was able to eventually move to the linebacker position where he eventually excelled.

As a junior he was named as the special teams player of the year and then during his senior season he earned a starting position on defense and  a 2nd-team All Gulf-South Conference defensive player award.

Following his college football career he spent some time as a student assistant at West Georgia under head coach Charlie Fisher before heading to Alexander High School as an assistant coach.

Barron credits D.J.’s dad, the late Mr. John Curbow (a long time coach and mentor), with being the biggest influence in his life not just on the field but even more so off of the field.

After Barron’s arrival at Heard County in 2001 it would be an understatement to say things changed dramatically for the Braves football program. Barron’s list of accomplishments here on the field are vast including a 68-33 overall record with only one losing season, eight playoff appearances including a current streak of six consecutive years, the Braves first Region championship in 2005, and the first ever undefeated regular season in 2006.

Even more impressive is that most of his success was achieved after the Braves were moved up to the AA classification in 2004 which is a much more competitive environment. Additionally, he has also provided many of our athletes over the last decade with the foundation and skills to move on to play successfully at the college level.

Perhaps even more outstanding than these on the field football accomplishments, has been the new winning attitude that he has instilled here in our small community as a whole.

One of the best ways to measure a coaches success at the high school level is by the number of games that he has won when his team was overmatched athletically, and in Coach Barron’s case, there have been many of these wins including most notably two monster upsets over arch rival Callaway in 2006 and 2010.

Barron and his wife of 15 years Laura, along with his 13-year old son Austin (an outstanding middle school football player in his own right), have made such a positive impact on so many here in our community. They are basically loved by everyone.

While Barron’s on the field accomplishments have been tremendous, it is his off the field leadership, mentorship, and fatherly guidance that have made the biggest impact in the lives of our local children and teens. It is nearly an impossible task to locate a student athlete that has passed through our high school athletic program in the last ten years that hasn’t benefited in some way from their contact with Coach Barron.

Coach Barron with his wife Laura and son Austin

This is what makes us very lucky to have him here. Wins and trophies are great, but having such a strong moral and ethical influence on the kids of our county like he does is truly priceless. His humbleness is also unmatched in his profession. It is impossible to talk with him about his success here without the mention of his great coaching staff.

Barron proclaims that the most important thing a coach can do is surround himself with a great staff and he certainly has done that. If you ask anyone associated with high school football in this area they will tell you that our entire coaching staff is phenomenal and very committed to developing our kids not just athletically but with a large focus on character building as well.

In a relatively short time period our football program, as well as our athletic programs in general, have went through a major metamorphosis and a very large part of that credit should go directly to Coach Tim Barron. This fact is indisputable. We are truly blessed to have him and his family as a part of our community.

This Friday night the Braves open the season in Roanoke versus the Handley Tigers. This team is very young with only four seniors so they will face many challenges this year, but they also carry a very large and talented group of underclassmen that should be exciting to watch and easy to root for during the next few seasons. We hope to see the entire Brave Nation in Alabama this week to support them. Let’s Go Braves !!!

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