Etheredge: Leading players by example
Keith Etheredge, head coach of the T.R. Miller Tigers, was born in Birmingham.
He grew up in the community of Leeds.
Etheredge’s father was serving this country in Vietnam as a Marine and was killed in action before Etheredge’s birth.
“I never had the chance to know my father. My mom has been my mother and father my entire life. She had to raise three boys on her own. She is a very strong person and someone I never wanted to let down. She is my rock, my hero, and the reason for who I am today,” Etheredge said.
While attending Leeds High, Etheredge’s love for sports grew as he played football, basketball, and tennis.
“I played mainly wide receiver and outside linebacker but would be put in many positions as needed. Along with my older brother, my coaches were my father figures. I really looked up to them and they helped me along through most of my life. They were huge influences and male role models. By the time I reached high school, I knew what I wanted to do with my life,” Etheredge said.
Etheredge wanted to be the same example for other kids in the same way those men had been to him.
“I knew I wanted to help teach kids the game and be that male role model. Many kids grew up like myself, without a father and I wanted to be the father figure to them and help lead them, the same as my coaches did for me,” Etheredge said.
Etheredge went on to pursue that profession with first attending college at Jacksonville State University, majoring in history and physical education.
He received his first job at Irwin High School as both a football and basketball coach and served at that facility for about five years before moving back to Leeds and working for a total of 12 years.
In 2016, Etheredge took a job as the football coach at Pell City High School and served there for two seasons before making his trek to T.R. Miller High School.
“As a coach, my philosophy is that a kid doesn’t care about what you know until they know that you care about them. You have to get to know each individual kid. You have to learn how to reach each one of them. You have to care about them and let them know that and establish a relationship with each one,” Etheredge said.
Etheredge and his players have won a total of five state titles in the past and many more accomplishments.
He looks to his teams and staff as more of a family than a team.
“I have had great kids and staff that have worked their tails off. They have accomplished so much and understood what it took to reach their goals and sacrificed to make it happen,” Etheredge said.
With the history of the two schools, the rivalry between WSN and TRM, is something that everyone talks about.
With the this being the last game of the season, Etheredge looks at this game as a challenge and excited for it.
“It doesn’t matter what kind of season that either team has had. In the past, an undefeated team has lost to the underdog. It’s well-known across the state and it is a game that I cannot wait to be a part of,” Etheredge said.
“I am blessed with a great staff at Miller and coaching here means everything. I always looked at Miller as a standard and now I am part of that standard. I have a beautiful family and I couldn’t ask for more than to be the coach here. The lord has blessed me,” Etheredge said.