Coach Malcolm Laney founded Camp Laney in 1959. He was the head football coach at Woodlawn High School in Birmingham, AL from 1934-1943. During that time his teams won seven city championships and five state championships. He was an assistant coach at the University of Alabama from 1944 to 1957. When Coach Bryant was named head football coach, Coach Laney and the other assistants were looking for jobs.
Malcolm Laney, photographed at the University of Alabama.
It was Coach Laney’s passion to work with young people and he wanted to continue that work. He was familiar with the summer camps in the Mentone area and in the summers of ’57 and ’58 he worked with Eloise Temple at Camp Skyline and offered a two week boys’ camp session after the girls went home.
In 1958, with the backing of friends and family, Coach Laney bought 36 acres and buildings, then known as Riverdale, to start the camp. Riverdale was a summer resort located on the Little River. In 1959 he opened Camp Laney for its first ten week summer camp season.
Coach and his wife Louise directed the camp through fifteen successful seasons.
Coach Laney’s successor, Rob Hammond, has been spending his summers at Camp Laney since 1961. Rob was a camper for five years and was on staff for eight. In 1974 he bought Camp Laney and was the director for 49 years. In 2023, Rob assumed the role of Director Emeritus and remains at camp to advise and support the current directors, Whitney Chapman and Scott Russell.