Coach thanks school, community

Published 1:25 am Tuesday, March 30, 2010

By Staff
I want to thank Adam Robinson and the Brewton Standard for the great article on my recent induction into the Alabama High School Sports Hall of Fame. It was a great night and I was honored by the strong show of support by my family and friends.  I take great pride that although we are a small school and community I am the fourth T.R. Miller coach to be included into the Hall of Fame.
I grew up on Lynbrook Drive where the field by the side of my house became the neighborhood playground. I had two great friends in David Holt and Mike Ryland who played everything with me.  I have spent most of my career trying to teach my players the simple lessons of hard work and respect that my parents taught me in those early years. I had great respect for my high school teachers.  When I first started teaching I tried to run my classroom like Beth Bain and Barbara Page had done for all of those years at Miller. I had three great head coaches in my high school days.  Mack Wood taught me that football was a tough game and it was meant to be played by tough people.  From Larry Rampey I learned that hard work builds confidence in players. I still use Coach Rampey’s running program from 1972  and it has been an important part of our success.  Frank Cotten was my coach my senior year and from him I learned the importance of motivating players. No one has ever done it better.
When I graduated from high school I went to JD for two years and worked part time at T.R. Miller Mill Company at the treating plant.  Mr. Tom Neal treated me as though I was the most important worker there.  I worked for Mr. Bert Hawk, Mr. Malcolm Kennedy, and Mr. Frank Smith who taught me about dealing with people.  Mr. Charlie Ballard encouraged me greatly and taught me about organizing my work.  When I started coaching I had some terrific men who taught me to be a coach.  Kenny Goggans at Winston County gave me a place to live when I didn’t have one.  I worked for Larry Mickwee at McGill Toolen who had been one of my high school coaches. Larry taught me about the importance of enthusiasm.  At Opp Hinton Johns showed me that what you did on offense or defense was not as important as your ability to convince the players it would work. In 1983 I came back to Miller to be defensive coordinator for Mike Sasser.  He taught me how to organize practice and games.  He believed in me and gave me freedom to work. 
I owe a debt of gratitude to all of the great coaches who have worked with me since I became a head coach.  Their dedication still amazes me to this day.  Thanks to all of the administrators, office staff and maintenance workers who have made my job so much easier.  The teachers at T.R. Miller have always been first class.  I have always found them to be very dedicated yet very unappreciated.  The athletes at T.R. Miller are very special. They understand hard work, tradition and play with great courage. I would like to thank all of the parents and Quarterback Club members who have supported and worked to make our program first class. Some in particular have inspired me the last few years during some discouraging times. My church family at First Baptist Church has been a great source of strength and encouragement for me down through the years.  We have great fans and supporters through out the city of Brewton and it has made this community a great place to live and coach.
My wife Becky has allowed me to spend countless hours coaching while she handled many of the everyday tasks of our family.  My two sons Mikel and Wil have done a little bit of everything for T.R. Miller football down through the years.  It has been a way of life for them and their spirit and enthusiasm has amazed me these last few years.
I owe a special thanks to Mr. Dale Garner.  He was superintendent of the Brewton City Schools in 1989. I was head coach at Opp and had won only 12 games in three years.  He had no reason to hire me except that he believed in me.
I have been greatly blessed by God to be able to coach all of these years and to be able to receive this honor.
Jamie Riggs
T.R. Miller football coach

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