Not even a sniper could intimidate Earl Webb
Jim Grammer, When it was a game
One of the greatest high school coaches ever to work in this area was Earl Webb.
He already had been a success at Falkville and Lanett High School before arriving at Decatur High.
Having won a state championship at Lanett, Webb came to Decatur in 1968 and won a championship with the Red Raiders in 1971. Not only was he a great coach, but he was a wonderful person, and it was my good fortune to work for him several years as an assistant coach.
He enjoyed a joke or a funny story, seemingly more than the average person. He was the brunt of some of these stories himself.
I can remember a game one year in the late 1970s.
We were in the coaching office, going through last-minute details just before our big game with Austin High School. And, as usual, we were a little nervous.
A November cold front had dropped the temperatures into the 30s and a strong northern wind made it feel much colder.
Coach Webb had a bright red set of coveralls he wore on cold nights, just like that night. He also had an old camouflage set of coveralls hanging by his desk he wore to practice on cold afternoons.
Just before leaving the coaches' office, two nervous Decatur policemen entered the office with some news.
"Coach Webb," one of them said, "we just received a tip there is going to be a sniper on the roof of the gymnasium with a high-powered rifle tonight."
There had been a recent movie playing at local theatres about a sniper who shoots people at a football game. Someone had called the police informing them there was going to be a copycat at the Decatur/Austin game.
Without saying a word, Webb unzipped the bright red coveralls and pulled them off, reached over and got the camouflage outfit and stepped into them. He zipped them up, grabbed his clipboard, and headed for the door.
I know it should have been a more serious moment, but we assistant coaches were rolling on the floor laughing.