News from the Tennessee Valley Opinion


Coach Earl Webb was a special coach, man

If you knew Coach Earl Webb, you have a story about him. If you only knew of the man who lead the Decatur Red Raiders to the state football championship in 1971, you've heard some of those stories.

Most of them, if not all, are worth repeating. They are funny, warm, insightful and inspirational.

The young men who played for Coach Webb had a special bond with him and among themselves. He was the glue that held these bonds tight.

Coach Webb was buried Wednesday but not before a service at his Central United Methodist Church honored the man, the husband, the father, the coach, the leader, the friend.

Coach Webb died Monday morning at age 77. He coached at Decatur from 1967 to 1980. He also coached at Falkville, Arab, and Lanett. In all, he won 203 games, lost 80 and had 14 ties. He also lead Lanett to a state championship in 1963.

One of those Coach Webb stories people like to tell came from Ronnie Thomas, a member of THE DAILY staff. Mr. Thomas was a sports writer in Florence years ago and remembered the teams that Coach Webb brought to the Shoals.

"After I moved to Decatur I called Coach Webb, not for a story, but I just wanted to say hello," Mr. Thomas said.

That didn't matter to Coach Webb, and he may not have remembered the former sports writer, but he had time to chat.

Coach made time because he liked people and respected them.

Illness collared Coach Webb a few years ago but that same determination he instilled in his players kept him in the game almost until the end.

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