Finley loving life as Shaw head coach
by Donell Maxie
Aug 16, 2014 | 2052 views | 0 0 comments | 14 14 recommendations | email to a friend | print
Montrelli Finley observes his players do some running during football practice. Finley is in his first year as head coach of the Shaw High School Hawks.
Montrelli Finley observes his players do some running during football practice. Finley is in his first year as head coach of the Shaw High School Hawks.
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The Shaw Hawks Football program has quickly become one of 1A's most fearsome teams.

In the past three seasons, the Hawks have put together a stellar resume going 29-11 overall and compiling a 20-3 mark against region opponents.

Much of that success was due to the work of head coach Kendrick Smith, but the loud voice yelling behind Smith was defensive coordinator Montrelli Finley who is now the loud voice yelling from the front as the new head coach of the Hawks football team.

The 38 year-old Mound Bayou native was a star player at John F. Kennedy High School and went on to be a standout safety at Coahoma Community College and standout linebacker at Mississippi Valley State University.

He will be the first to tell you that he eats football and having the opportunity to be a head coach is a dream come true.

"I am just grateful for the opportunity to be the head coach here at Shaw High,” Finley said. “The kids are great kids and the teachers and coaches here are great. For four years under Coach Smith's tutelage really prepared me for this opportunity.”

Finley started coaching in 2000, but stopped before coming back as a linebacker coach at Indianola-Gentry, before Smith gave him a chance as defensive coordinator in Shaw in 2010.

"Coach Smith helped me a lot and I'm grateful for that,” Finley said. “He let me do more than my fair share. He allowed me to run special teams and coach running backs and receivers at different times. He also let me put my hands on the QB situation and taught me a lot and I just took it and ran with it.”

When it comes to Shaw, Finley believes that some of the best athletes in the state come from the, " Small Town with the Big Welcome."

"There have always been good athletes here, but a lot of them may not have had the discipline or that father figure that was in their life to guide them and stir them in the right direction,” Finley said. “For us, it's not only about football. It's about life and helping some parents any way we can. We talk to them about having good character, being respectful students and going to college.”

As the head coach at Shaw, Finley says it's important to be firm, but fair with the players and always encourage them to be the best.

"We want them to be the best human begins possible and that's how we gain their trust and they go out and perform and play hard for us and that's where the success comes from," Finley said.

The coaching staff will consist of Damius Robinson (offensive coordinator), Colin Ward (quarterbacks), Monte Coleman (defensive back) and Lenell King (receivers and passing game coordinator).

"These guys have been really working hard and together. We have a family atmosphere, and we love to have fun," he added.

Finley said getting to this point didn't come without the support of many special people.

"I am very thankful to my mom and dad Dennis and Florence Coleman for always supporting me and being there for me,” Finley said. “Coach Anthony and Nora Davis have been a big help to me over the past couple of months and have been by me every step of the way. Coach Smith has been like a brother to me and everything he has done for me has been incredible. My good friend Toslinet Pitts has always prayed for me and I'm blessed to have good people around me.”