According to Me: Farewell to the golden age

My radio show co-host Rob Pearson has long said that we are in the golden age of high school football coaches in Marengo County. For several years, an embarrassment of riches has blessed the high school football programs of Marengo County.

Stacy Luker was a staple at Sweet Water. Mose Jones was as much a part of the fabric of A.L. Johnson as the maroon jerseys and the Eagle pride.

Tom Causey had engrained himself in the Demopolis community with a state championship win and an unparalleled record of community commitment and involvement.

In Linden, Andro Williams was building his legacy at breakneck pace so rarely seen in any classification. And Robby James was at Marengo Academy adding even more hardware to a career that already shone brighter than virtually any coach in the state.

But, the truth about life is that it is perpetual transition. Good things do not last any more than bad things do. And the golden age of high school coaches in Marengo County, at least on paper, started to near its outro some 12 months ago.

In Jan. 2014, Luker announced his retirement from Sweet Water and headed to the uncharted territory of Mississippi High School football. Following a car accident, Jones had to walk away from ALJ after 30 years. That left Causey, Williams and James as the Big 3 of local coaches.

That Big 3 dwindled down to the just one when Causey resigned from Demopolis to try his hand at Pelham High and James retired from Marengo, happy to go home with 298 wins and nine state championships.

Oddly enough, all those moves left Williams as the longest-tenured football coach in the county by a long shot; a fact that is strangely humorous given that Williams’ star has been on the rise so long that many in the state are surprised he remains in Linden. And, for trivia’s sake, Demopolis High girls basketball coach Tony Pittman is the longest-tenured head coach in the county. He has helmed that program since people were becoming aware of a potential catastrophic threat known as Y2K.

As for football coaches in the county, what the future holds will be nothing short of interesting. The winds of change are still sweeping their way through the county.

Eberne Myrthil figures to be a lock to return for his second season as Marengo High as does Johnney Ford at A.L. Johnson.

Those winds have blown Luker back into his home county where he will coach his first game at the AHSAA Class 5A level next fall when Demopolis takes the field in August.

Those same winds will blow somebody into the Marengo Academy locker room where the task will include trying to win a state championship with a capable group of players and simultaneously not being overshadowed by the enormous legacy of James.

As for Williams, he has provided no indication that he is going anywhere. But with the high school football coaching changes statewide this offseason occurring at an unprecedented pace, he figures to have opportunities find him.

Time will tell if my co-host’s “golden age” has really come to a close. Still, as with most things in life, it’s virtually impossible to recognize the end of a thing until it is firmly in the rearview.

Jeremy D. Smith is managing partner of The West Alabama Watchman. He has covered news and sports in Demopolis since 2008. His column, According to Me, appears weekly on