Hoover, AL – The Drew Gilmer era is officially underway at Hoover. The Bucs welcomed former Clay-Chalkville head coach Drew Gilmer as the 7A power’s 9th leader on the gridiron Thursday evening at the Hoover Met.
Gilmer departs from Clay-Chalkville, leaving behind a legacy of victories, including a pair of Class 6A state championships in the last three seasons. He steps into the shoes of former coach Wade Waldrop, who accepted the head coaching position at Orange Beach in December after a two-year stint at Hoover.
Waldrop lead the Bucs to a combined 16-9 record including a pair of playoff appearances, a region title in 2022 and an 11-3 mark in region play.
Gilmer’s impressive track record at Clay-Chalkville boasts an 81-12 win-loss record during his seven-year tenure as head coach, punctuated by unbeaten seasons in 2021 and 2023. The highlight of the Cougars’ 2023 season was a thrilling victory over top-ranked Saraland in the Class 6A title game at Bryant-Denny Stadium. Under Gilmer’s leadership, Clay-Chalkville recorded a 37-5 record in region play and a 20-5 mark in the postseason. In addition to advancing to the Super 7 twice, Gilmer’s Cougars reached the playoffs in each of his seven seasons and advanced to the semifinals on two occasions.
A few weeks ago, we were given the news that we were going to need to secure a new football coach,” Hoover AD Harley Lamey said. “We started the search, started putting our feelers out and talking to people, and we brought in people from the community – youth coaches, parents, school employees and a good cross-section of people that a had a vested interest in the program – and got their input and it surprisingly lined up with what we wanted.”
Gilmer, a former assistant at Clay-Chalkville, replaced Jerry Hood as head coach in 2017. He has also served at Pinson Valley, his alma mater, before joining the Clay-Chalkville staff. Now at the helm of Hoover’s football program, Gilmer’s task is to build on the school’s rich football history. The school captured 11 state titles under former coaches Rush Propst and Josh Niblett between 2000 and 2017, making it the most recognized high school football program in the nation.
“This is a tremendous, tremendous honor,” Gilmer said. I am extremely grateful and looking forward to this opportunity. It’s a dream come true. You just look around this place and you look at all this. It is the standard, there’s no doubt about it. We’re going to continue that and we’re going to build it. We’re going to do everything that we can, everything in my power, to make you guys proud. Don’t get me wrong, we’re going to win, but we’re here to build young men. It’s a passion of mine, man, which is why I got into it. This is for no other reason than that.”
The Bucs Closed out 2023 at 5-7, posting their first loosing season since finishing 4-6 in 1998. Since 2000 Hoover has advanced to the postseason 24 consecutive times, claimed 14 region titles and 11 state championships in the AHSAA’s highest classification.
Following the AHSAA’s recent reclassification, Hoover will be joined by traditional foes Hewitt-Trussville, Oak Mountain, Thompson, Tuscaloosa and Tuscaloosa County along with newcomers Hillcrest-Tuscaloosa and Prattville in a revamped Class 7A, Region 3.
Gilmer will lead the Bucs on the gridiron for the first time this fall, on the road, in the Broward County Football Showcase in South Florida.