Riggs closing in on another 200 wins milestone
Published 1:06 pm Wednesday, September 20, 2006
By BY BRUCE HIXON – SPORTS EDITOR
Over the years T.R. Miller Tigers football coach Jamie Riggs has guided his program to several accomplishments. Among the biggest of those highlights include four state titles (1991, 1994, 2000 and 2002) and four state runner-up finishes (1990, 1995, 1996 and 1998).
As the years have passed, Riggs' team accomplishments have also turned into individual milestones. Riggs won his 200th career game last season when the Tigers ripped Dale County 42-12. It was believed at the time Riggs accomplished that task in week two when T.R. Miller beat Straughn. The 200 career wins milestone actually occurred the following week. The mix-up occurred when multiple school sources credited Riggs with one too many wins in 1999.
Some may have forgotten Riggs, who has a 199-36 record at T.R. Miller, actually started 0-3 in 1989. That start dropped Riggs' career mark to just 12-22, which included a 12-19 mark in a three-year sting at Opp. His teams have gone 199-33 since then, an .858 winning percentage.
A lot of Riggs' colleagues in the coaching profession have come and gone since Riggs arrived at T.R. Miller.
Riggs said his spirit has never waned, even this spring when he underwent double bypass heart surgery.
Riggs had the following thoughts on these accomplishments.
Four state championships: “Those teams reached the pinnacle of success. It's what you shoot for at the start of the season. We had four other teams get to the state championship game and I'm proud of what those teams did as well,” Riggs said.
Undefeated seasons in 1991 and 1994: “The 1994 team is the only team in school history that has won 15 games in a season. I wasn't very optimistic about that team going into the season because we had a horrible spring. What I recall about that team is we weren't very big, but we played so hard and with so much heart,” Riggs said. “The 1991 team ended Deshler's 28-game winning streak in the championship game. The year before they lost to Deshler by a point in overtime in the finals. For the next year, they made the commitment and played with the determination to take that final step.”
T.R. Miller's 117 wins led the state in the 1990s. “That was another nice accomplishment. I think that goes back to the consistency and people we've had within the program,” Riggs said.
A 19-1 record, which includes three playoff wins, against arch rival W.S. Neal: “I remember the one loss quite well in 1996, but we came back and beat them in the playoffs. If we had to get one, that's the one to get,” Riggs said. “The Neal game is always a huge one for us and one we really emphasize.”
While not necessarily an accomplishment in terms of records, Riggs is proud of having coached oldest son Mikel, who graduated this past spring. Riggs' second son, Wil, is an eighth grader at Brewton Middle School and will enter the T.R. Miller program next year.
While Riggs has had several dedicated workers on his staff, he mentioned those who have been with him the longest.
Assistant coach Jim Hart: “Coach Hart is the only one of my current assistants who has been with me every year. He has done a little bit of everything on both offense and defense. Coach Hart does whatever role we need him to fill,” Riggs said.
Former assistant coaches Alan Baker and Jack Whigham: “Alan was with me as defensive coordinator every year through the 2004 season when he retired. He did a terrific job. Alan and I played together in high school and he has been a great friend over the years. Coach Whigham joined my staff in 1991 and was with me until this spring when he took the Opp job. He was a fantastic offensive line coach,” Riggs said.
Manager Andrew “Zeke” Johnson: “Zeke has been with me the entire time I've been here and we celebrated his 30th year with the program a couple of seasons ago. Zeke is probably doing more now than he ever has. The older he gets, the more he does,” Riggs said.