The City of Carroll has hired a Florida high school football coach with Carroll ties as its new Recreation Center director.
Ben Alford, 28, the head coach at Wesley Chapel, Fla., and a former quarterback with the University of Northern Iowa and North Iowa Area Community College in Mason City, is expected to start in early January. He succeeds Marci Hinners, who retired in July as director of the Rec Center, a position she had held since 1983. Hinners started as program director in May 1980. The Rec Center opened in 1977.
Alford is a native of Dade City, Fla. His wife, Ashley (Wernimont), is a Carroll High School graduate and a UNI alum.
In a phone interview Sunday afternoon from Florida, Alford said his family’s decision to move is based largely on geography. They want to live in Iowa. Wesley Chapel is in the Tampa Bay area.
“It’s a family move,” Alford said. “I just think it’s best for our family to move up there.”
The Alfords have three children: Brayton, 5; Taylen, 3; and Emersyn, 1. Ashley’s parents are Michelle Wernimont, who works for The Graphic Edge, and Jerry Wernimont, who is in construction. Both live in Carroll. Ashley is a granddaughter of Ron and JoAnn Richardson of Carroll.
For a time after graduation from UNI Alford coached defensive backs at Iowa Western Community College in Council Bluffs.
He has been involved in sports since a youth and said he’s excited with prospects for developing programs and services at the Rec Center. Carroll City Council members are considering rates and membership strategies tonight, and discussions are continuing about ways to improve the facility.
“I thought it would be a great opportunity,” Alford said.
Tampa Bay Online reports that Alford’s team was 3-7 this season and 11-19 in his three years at the helm of the Wesley Chapel Wildcats. Alford, a former Pasco High quarterback, is just the second coach in program history after taking over for longtime coach John Castelamare, who started the program in 1999, according to Tampa Bay Online.
Alford is no relation to former Iowa Hawkeye basketball coach and Indiana icon Steve Alford, the coach at the University of New Mexico.
“But people ask me all the time,” Ben Alford said. Even in Florida, he added.
The hiring of Alford does not require council approval, but members are aware of it.
City officials could not be reached for comment this morning on Alford’s starting salary, which is public.