In his time and place, E.D. "Chink" Lott fit that bill. He was an oversized force in the lives of Anniston and its football players in the 1930s and 1940s. His success is recognized by athletic halls of fame representing the Alabama high schools, Birmingham-Southern College and Calhoun County. His exploits are compiled in a locally produced book available at the public library.
Lott is famous for the thing that stirs up many Southern towns. It drives passions. It concentrates populations on Friday nights to one small patch of grass. It brands small children and old people around a set of colors, a fight song, a cheer, a varsity sweater passed down over generations. It fosters community. It enforces the Southern oral tradition as stories of glory are passed down.
And, as DeFord correctly noted, it makes legends out of men who can distill success out of a recipe of hard work, force of personality, talent and inspiration.
E.D. Lott did that for Anniston.
In 1930, he accepted the head coaching job at Anniston, a program accustomed to success. His first season was marked by three losses, including a seven-touchdown rout at the hands of rival Gadsden High. The 1931 AHS yearbook, The Hourglass, generously sums up the year, "Coach Lott had many unfortunate breaks with his team, but he met them with a smile."
According to local legend, Lott did anything but smile when contemplating the Gadsden defeat.