Garrett retires Longtime Vincent coach, AD honored

Published 12:00 am Tuesday, November 5, 2002

at final VHS football game

By Fred Guarino/Reporter Staff Writer

&uot;I don’t know what to say. It is a great honor. I’m very thankful. I guess it’s a testament to being able to hang around a long time. I just always tried to do what I was supposed to do.&uot;

Those were the words of Vincent High School’s retiring athletic director

Harold Garrett after he was honored last Friday night with the naming of the VHS football field in his honor. From here on, the field will be known as &uot;Garrett Field.&uot;

Last Friday was actually Garrett’s last official day as an employee of the school and marked the end of a 28-year career at VHS.

Vincent Principal Gary Minnick said, &uot;While we are happy for Harold and Sue (Garrett’s wife) as an exciting new chapter in their life together begins, we are sad for ourselves and for our students that an honorable man, an excellent coach and teacher and a role model of the first order will be absent from our ranks.&uot;

Minnick surprised Garrett in a pregame ceremony in which he said, &uot;Coach, on behalf of the alumni committee, the Shelby County Board of Education, and the people of Vincent, I would like to invite you to watch tonight the first game on what will now be called Garrett field. Also, I would like to present you with this plaque to commemorate your service to VHS.&uot;

Garrett said he would have liked for Vincent to have won the football game last Friday night, but it just didn’t work out. The Jackets fought West Blocton through three overtimes finally falling 38-35 on an 18-yard field goal.

Garrett said he was reminded of the movie Brian’s Song in which Gale Sayers wanted to give the game ball to Brian Piccolo, who was dying of cancer. He said Piccolo told Sayers that when you give someone a game ball &uot;you are supposed to win the game.&uot;

Garrett, a 1970 graduate of VHS, came to the school in 1974 as assistant football coach and assistant basketball coach. His brother Gary Garrett was head football coach.

The next year, he became head baseball coach

and served in that capacity from 1975-80.

In 1980 when Gary moved to Florida, Harold coached his first football as the head man. At that time Kenny Wright was head baseball coach and Richard Crumpton was head basketball coach. Dwight Spradley, who presently serves as head football coach for VHS was a senior on that same football team.

Spradley was a

fullback and defensive end for Garrett.

The Yellow Jackets went 9-1 that season and made it to the playoffs.

Garrett continued to serve as head football coach until 1987 when his father was diagnosed with Lou Gehrig’s disease. His father, Mancle, died in 1989.

Garrett coached girls basketball at VHS in 1987. He returned as junior varsity football coach in 1988. In the fall of 1989, head football coach Jack Clayton asked Garrett to assist him.

When Coach Clayton left in 1994, Garrett

became athletic director for the school and also continued to serve as assistant coach in various capacities.

During his entire career at VHS Garrett always taught either algebra or physical education. He said except for his college days at Livingston (now University of West Alabama) Garrett said he has spent nearly every day of his life at the school since the age of 6. He claims that is a total of 40 plus.

Garrett is now 51. He and his wife, Sue, have two children, Amy 26 and Chris, 21, both who plan careers in education