George Smith: JSU coach has a DNA of winning
Dec 26, 2012 | 3671 views |  0 comments | 12 12 recommendations | email to a friend | print
WEDNESDAY’S LIST ... of beans ’n greens ’n other things:
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THE VOICE on the other end of the phone had a smile in it as wide as a six-lane interstate and belonged to an old friend of mine by the name of Ragan Clark. Jacksonville State had tapped his son Bill Clark as its next head football coach.

“I’m so proud of him I’m about the bust,” said Ragan. “He’s a really good kid.”

The heritage is there. In addition to having Ragan as a father, there was a grandfather by the name of Bill Clark who was a long-time public relations guy at the local Coca-Cola bottling company.

And when this Bill Clark won two state championships at Prattville, winning 30 straight games at one point, one of his assistant coaches was his dad Ragan.

Sure ’nuff.

So Ragan, how was it having your son as boss instead of the normal order of things?

“Those years on his staff at Prattville were the best years of my coaching life,” was a quick reply. “I wouldn’t take anything for that time.”

Ragan had some good years of his own, too, especially in the years he was head coach at Ohatchee.

“We pretty much were losers the first two years, but then won a lot of games,” says Ragan. “We had six straight winning seasons.”

A final note about a friendship that is treasured.

I was still working in sports during much of Ragan’s time at Ohatchee and a few times he rode along with me (or drove) to college games I was covering.

So, if it’s like father, like son, JSU has not only a very good coach, but also a very good person.

* * *

— A Friday trip to Wright’s Dairy for cheese brought a bonus. When the nice lady got through totaling the bill, she reached into a nearby freezer and handed me a cup of the dairy’s vanilla ice cream. The treat was the same for each and every customer.

— On the way back, I had to stop at Regions Bank in Saks. When another nice lady had finished with my requests, she handed me two pieces of candy.

It’s the little things, folks.

* * *
WHEN I have idle moments, it comes to me that I may not have normal wiring upstairs.

In a recent stay at RMC, staring at the ceiling of Room 521, it occurred to me:

We spend billions of dollars on preachers and churches to get us into heaven. On the other hand, we spend billions of dollars on doctors, hospitals and drug companies to keep us out of heaven.

Welcome to my world ...

* * *
BIRTHDAYS: Dec. 22 – Lisa Rast; Dec. 23 – Roger Burton; Dec. 24 – Dr. John Edwards, Joyce Hess and the Rev. Truman Norred (my pastor’s getting old); Dec. 25 – Kenneth Baswell, Jason Vice and John Pierson; Dec. 27 – Ada Rufola and Vivian Newsome Garner; Dec. 28 – Mark Middlebrook.

* * *
TOP TEEN: Say hello to Wilson Landers at the Donoho School where he carries a 3.6 GPA and is president of the Student Government Association He presides over the weekly assembly and is the student liaison for the school’s board of directors.

Wilson is a member of the National Honor Society and the Spanish National Honor Society. He is also a member of the National Forensics League and the Fellowship of Christian Athletes.

When he’s not busy hitting the books, he is on the Chess Club and the Academic Team. And he still finds time for basketball and soccer.

Young Mr. Landers plans to enter the University of Alabama in the fall.

“Wilson exhibits a quiet leadership style and doesn’t expect accolades for his service to the school,” says Jacqueline Gaines, school counselor. “He is an effective leader and he cares when it counts most.”

Proud parents are Chris and Alison Landers, Woodside Place, Anniston.

You may now applaud ...


George Smith may be reached at 256-239-5286 or email:

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