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AHSFHS Article Series

   The best of the best in Alabama High   
  School Football over the past 100 seasons.

Active Winning Coaches

          In this day and age of "what have you done for me lately" high school football coaches are most often judged on wins and loses when in reality they accomplish much more during their careers.

          We receive emails weekly from former players that more often than not look upon their former coaches as mentors, teachers and father figures. Many of the most successful coaches in Alabama teach much more than football to their players.

Coach Josh Niblett
          Yet when it comes to the fans they are quick to jump on any bandwagon when their team falls short of expectations during the season. In the end all that seems to matter are the wins and losses.

          To that end we have put together a list of the football coaches in the state with the highest winning percentages during their head coaching careers. The criteria is simple. A coach must be active in 2014 and have at least 100 wins. All these football coaches on our list have one thing in common. All have been to a state championship game in the past few seasons.

        10.   Randy Ragsdale
  High School: Rockdale GA
  College: Jacksonville State
  Record: 226-69  76.6%
           Coach Ragsdale became the head coach of the Trinity Presbyterian Academy Wildcats in 1989. Since that first season his teams have compiled a record of 226-69, won eleven region championships and a state championship in 2003. His 2003 team also completed the season 15-0 and remains the only undefeated team in Trinity history. For four seasons from 2000-05 his teams won forty-five consecutive regular season games.

          The Wildcats have qualified for the football playoffs in all but two of his twenty-four seasons. The Wildcats will enter the 2013 season with a record thirty-two consecutive winning seasons streak.

         9.   Jack Hankins Jr.
  High School:  
  College: West Alabama
  Record: 119-33  78.3%
          Coach Hankins is a second generation coach following in his father's footsteps. Jack Sr. won two consecutive state championships at Millport in 1983 and 1984. Junior would take over at Thomasville in 2002 and continue the success the Tigers had come to expect over the years.

          Since that time each of his teams have qualified for the playoffs with the 2010 team winning the Super Six Championship in Auburn. His overall region record is 70-14 in a region that has proven to be one of the toughest not only in 4A but the entire state the past few years.

         8.   Jamie Riggs
  High School: T.R. Miller
  College: Alabama
  Record: 285-76  78.9%
          Following three seasons at Opp, Coach Riggs came home to T.R. Miller in 1989. During the 1990s his Tigers won 117 games, more than any other team in the state. His team won 27 consecutive games from 1994-95. Every team during his tenure at Miller have qualified for the playoffs.

          The Tigers have reached the semi-finals of the playoffs in fourteen of his seasons winning four state championships along the way. During his tenure at Miller his teams have never been shutout and hold the state record for consecutive games scoring at 342. Eighteen of his twenty-five teams have won at least ten games.

         7.   John Mothershed
  High School: Sheffield
  College: North Alabama (1982-85)
  Record: 201-53  79.1%
          Coach Mothershed served as an assistant coach at Deshler for eight seasons before taking over the helm for the Tigers in 1995. In the past eighteen years his teams have amassed a record of 201-53 winning back to back state championships in 1998 and 1999. The Tigers have reached the Super Six Championship game on five other occasions only to come up a little short in their quest for a title.

          Since 1997 his teams have reached the third round of the playoffs in every season except two. Deshler has also won fourteen region championships and compiled a 102-13 region record during his term as the head football coach. The Tigers qualified for the playoffs in every season and scored in every game since 2000.

         6.   Danny Horn
  High School: Clay County
  College: Jacksonville State
  Record: 255-67  79.2%
          Coach Danny Horn became the head coach at Clay County in 1989 where he would remain for the next twenty seasons. His record at Clay County was 225-40. All but one of his teams qualified for the playoffs and won a total of six state championships. Between 1994-97 the Panthers won fifty-five consecutive games which is the longest streak in state history.

          His 1996 team produced a state record eleven shutouts while the 1994 team came up with ten shutouts on defense. Prior to his arrival at Clay County, the Panthers had won ten games in only two seasons during their long history. During his tenure they would win ten games a total of thirteen seasons.

          Following the 2008 season Coach Horn would move up to 6A Benjamin Russell where he found the going a little tougher. His first two seasons with the Wildcats produced identical 1-9 records before improving to 7-5 in 2011, 11-2 in 2012 and 10-2 last year.

         5.   Josh Niblett
  High School: Demopolis Academy
  College: Alabama (1993-95)
  Record: 149-38  79.7%
          Coach Niblett began his high school football coaching career in 2000 when he was named the head coach at Oneonta. Each of his teams at Oneonta won more games than the previous season culminating in a 3A state championship following the 2004 season. Prior to the 2005 season he would take his talents to Oxford where he was the coach for three seasons.

          Following the resignation of Rush Propst at Hoover in 2008, Josh was named the head coach at perennial football power Hoover. During the past six seasons his Bucs have gone 84-6 while playing in the Super Six Championship game each season winning three of them. 

         4.   Paul Benefield
  High School: Fyffe
  College: Jacksonville State
  Record: 212-50  80.9%
          Coach Benefield won his 200th game as a head coach in 2012 at Fyffe and Sylvania. He took over the head coaching job at Sylvania in 1992 and proceeded to lead the Rams to back to back 12-1 seasons in 1994 and 1995. The twelve wins were the most in school history and were also the first 10-0 regular seasons since Sylvania began playing football in 1947.

          After five season at Sylvania and a 45-11 record Coach Benefield returned home to Fyffe as their head coach in 1997. Since then his teams have qualified for the playoffs in every season except 2000, won ten region championships and won at least ten games in ten of those years. He also has the distinction of never coaching a team with a losing record during his twenty-two seasons.

         3.   Mark Freeman
  High School: Bessemer Academy
  College: Alabama Birmingham
  Record: 152-35  81.3%
          Coach Freeman became the head coach at Bessemer Academy in 1998 at set out immediately in building a dominate program in AISA. During his ten years with the Rebels his teams qualified for the playoffs every season and won four state championships. Between 2001 and 2007 his teams went 40-1 in region play and 17-3 in the playoffs.

          After serving as the quarterbacks coach at Minor during the 2008 season he would take over the reins at 5A Gulf Shores and take the Dolphins to their best record in school history (9-3). In 2011 Coach Freeman moved up the road to Spanish Fort where the Toros won the last two Class 5A state titles.

         2.   Bobby Carr
  High School:
  Record: 142-29  83.0%
          Coach Carr, the head coach at Edgewood Academy is a close second on our list. Since becoming the head coach of the Wildcats in 2001 he has reeled off a record of 136-25 including 76-4 in the past six seasons. His Wildcats have also won five of the past six AISA-AA state championships with a playoff record of 17-1.

          The Wildcats will enter the 2014 season riding a forty-five game winning streak, the longest in the state. The Wildcats also set an AISA state record by scoring a total of 657 last season.  He also coaches the Edgewood baseball team in his spare time. His baseball teams have won four state championships.

         1.  Laron White
  High School: Courtland
  College: Alabama (1993-96)
  Record: 118-22  84.3%
          Coach White of Tanner leads the way with a winning percentage of 84.3% in his short eleven year career at Tanner high school. Coach White, the son of long time Courtland coach Louis White, led his team to the 2A state championship in 2012 and pulled off the repeat last year. His teams have qualified for the playoffs in each season and won a minimum of seven games.

          Tanner will begin the 2013 season with a 35 game region winning streak and a thirty-two game home winning streak. They will also be in search of the magical three-peat.

Coaches Team Games Won Lost Pct.
Laron White Tanner 140 118 22 84.3%
Bobby Carr Edgewood Academy 171 142 29 83.0%
Mark Freeman Spanish Fort 187 152 35 81.3%
Paul Benefield Fyffe 262 212 50 80.9%
Josh Niblett Hoover 187 149 38 79.9%
Danny Horn Benjamin Russell 322 255 67 79.2%
John Mothershed Deshler 254 201 53 79.1%
Jamie Riggs T.R. Miller 361 285 76 78.9%
Jack Hankins Jr. Thomasville 152 119 33 78.3%
Randy Ragsdale Trinity 295 226 69 76.6%

David Parker

Great Moments in Alabama High School Football History

The Prattville Lions won 56 consecutive regular season games between 2001 and 2007.