Staff photos by Paul Henry
After a 41-year coaching career, Fayetteville High School’s Coach Alvin Palmer is hanging up his whistle. Friday night, Coach P led the Tigers for the final time with a 14-0 win over Franklin Grace Christian. Saturday night, a reception was held in his honor.
Coach P’s impact on lives was obvious during Saturday’s event. Former players going back decades and traveling from as far as California were in attendance out of love and respect for their former coach.
“The wins and championships have all been great,” Coach P said. “I’ve had players move on to the next level in college and the NFL, but my greatest reward has been turning some of these boys into men. You know you’re going to lose some kids along the way, but it’s those you connect with that is the greatest reward. When I see a young man move on in life and be a good husband and father, a successful positive influence in their community, that’s my payment.”
Coach Palmer’s career included assistant coaching jobs at Fayetteville Junior High School, Central High and Lincoln County High School where he served as defensive coordinator, taking the Falcons to a 1982 and 1990 State Championship. He served as head coach at Franklin High, Page, Hazel Green, Ala., and Fayetteville High School, compiling a 107-94 record. While leading the Tigers, he made playoff appearances 4 out of 6 years.
“I can say my career has gone full circle,” he continued. “I started at Fayetteville Junior High School doing my student-teaching and coaching with Coach Max Raby. Then, I get to retire from Fayetteville High School, the place it all started.
“But, coaches neglect their own families,” Coach P added. “I know I wasn’t there to watch my two daughters grow up and be involved in their lives as much as I would have liked. Coaching goes on year round with strength training, practice and breaking down film, but I have two grandchildren that are involved in volleyball and baseball; I’m looking forward to going to some games and just spending time with my family.
“I owe so much to so many people,” he said in closing. “I’ve been so blessed to come back to my hometown and be a part of the community that I love so much. I thank each of you from the bottom of my heart for the support and opportunities I’ve been given.”