Class of 2016
Jason Black remembers the moment he was hired at Clements High as an assistant football coach. There was pressure.
But these were not the typical young coach jitters — natural butter-flies for a competitor who wanted to succeed.
For Black, there also was the aspect of living up to a family legacy. Long before Jason got into coaching, his uncle, Johnny Black, set the family bar high.
Johnny was one of Clement's football pioneers, helping establish the program in the 1960s, and leading the Colts to immediate success.
"For a-young guy who wanted to get into coaching, my uncle didn't do me a whole lot of favors," Jason said. "He was extremely successful — and in more than one sport. He set the bar pretty darn high."
Johnny led Clements to state titles in football and basketball, win-ning the Class lA football crown in 1966, and the basketball state title in 1967.
At Clements, Johnny wore many hats. He coached the school's foot-ball, basketball and track teams. He also held coaching stints at Athens and Ardmore before taking an administrative position at Tanner in 1979.
"My uncle had a good run as a coach," Jason said. "The championship teams he had in football and basketball still are the only state championships (Clements) has won in those sports. But that's just how my uncle Johnny was. He was a winner.
Johnny retired from education in the 1980s to pursue a career in politics. He served on the Athens City Council and Athens City Board of Education before getting elected in 1990 as the Limestone County Commission chairman —an office he held until 1994.
"Johnny was a good man," Jason said. "He did a lot for this community, as an educator, coach and public servant. He set a great example by leading by example, which is what we all should do."