AUBURN, AL (WTVM) - On Friday, Auburn City School introduced Adam Winegarden as the new ACS Director of Football Operations and new varsity head coach at Auburn High School.
"We're here to compete at a high level, but at the end of the day our goal is to build young men and we want to develop the whole person athletically, academically, so when they leave Auburn High School not only will they be productive, but better people in society," explained Winegarden.
Winegarden's hire comes one month after former coach Tim Carter resigned.
He comes from Fairhope High School where he has served as head coach since 2012.
"I was very taken by the work he has done in the communities he worked in before and how he gets the whole community involved," explained ACS Superintendent, Dr. Karen DeLano.
In his new position Winegarden will now be the state's highest-paid high school coach.
According to reports, he will receive a $91,000 salary as the director of football operations and an additional $32,000 for coaching.
"I know people say he is the highest paid coach, but he is more than a coach for us. No doubt, the salary is what it is, but we feel like the community and athletic program deserves the best we can get at this point," says DeLano.
Many are surprised by the district's decision after trying to find funding for a new high school and existing facilities to aid overcrowding.
"I think what the citizens of Auburn are thinking the biggest question is, how is this possible when less than two years ago, we weren't able to operate and things weren't going to well," explains resident John Rice.
Rice was one who spoke out against the referendum to increase property taxes in Auburn in an effort to fund a new high school in 2013.
He says it's ironic how now the school board has found a way to fund the school without raising taxes while hiring a new coach with a six digit salary.
"We liked Coach Carter a lot and I think the citizens deserve the whole story, but the story today is the highest paid coach in a systems that swore to tax payers it couldn't afford much more," says Rice.
DeLano says Winegarden will be receiving the same coaching supplement as Carter.
She says he will serve as a director at the district level working with multiple schools and their athletic programs.
"I know we've been trying to get projects done, but I will say I really and truly believe Coach Winegarden will bring community support, improve the financing of athletic programs so I see it as an investment," explains DeLano.
Winegarden says he is ready to get to work.
"What drove me here is this school system," he explains. "The opportunity to be in this school system and the leadership of Dr. DeLano, her mission and the mission of our school."