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New and familiar faces

I was glad to hear that Scott Booth was returning to coach football at Isabella. I was just as thrilled to hear that former CCHS coach Joe Nettles was returning to the area to coach Billingsley.

While I never played high school sports, both of these men influenced me in my teens and early 20s. I’m sure many others can say the same.

Scott Booth led the Mustangs to the state playoff semifinals in 2002. The following year, he became the first football coach at Paul Bryant High School in his hometown of Tuscaloosa. After coaching there for five years, he went to Highland Home for a two-year stint.

Because I didn’t attend Isabella, I simply knew Scott by his name; plus it was easy for me to remember for obvious reasons. He was the minister of music at the church I attended, and he “coached” me as I attempted to sing in front of a church audience for the first time. You don’t easily forget those moments, especially the people who encouraged you through them.

I also enjoyed hearing him sing every week, as he would sometimes pick a lesser-known song with a challenging message.

Coach Nettles stands out in my memory for several reasons. First, he taught me in Alabama history and physical education at Chilton County High School. One of my favorite things about his history class was being tested on Alabama’s 67 counties (memorizing them has paid off a few times).

He led the Tigers in their most successful year to date as they won 12 straight games in the 1996-97 season. It was a lot of fun being part of that class, even though I wasn’t on the field.

I met Coach Nettles again as a reporter covering a Marbury football game in which he coached the visiting team. I don’t always interview the visiting coach, but I made a little extra time that evening to catch up.

The point of this column is that coaches touch the lives of many people, not just those who wear a uniform. I look forward to catching up with these two again very soon.