Class of 2007
Ed Bridges recalled the day he was hired to coach at Elkmont High School. "It was 1958," he said. "I was hired on July 5 and two weeks later we had a football game. I didn't even know the names of the players by our first game."
Bridges, still a youngster himself graduating high school at nearby Clements High where he starred in all three sports from 1948-51 and played basketball and baseball at Florence State College in the early 1950's, He was the Elkmont coach by himself. "I had football, basketball, baseball and track," he said. "I had it all and I didn't have another coach to help."
Another young coach back then, Dwight Young, was later hired to help Bridges at Elkmont and became the head football coach in 1959.
"I was his assistant and he was my assistant," Bridges said. "I left Elkmont in 1960 to become the basketball coach and assistant football coach at West Limestone." Bridges won a lot of games and several county championships while at West Limestone. He retired from coaching in 1979 and became the supervisor of the Limestone County School Transportation System, a position he held until 1990 when he retired.
"Athletics is all I've known ever since I was big enough to walk and I think it's one of the best education tools we have in making young men," Bridges told The News Courier in 1979 when he retired from coaching.
Bridges said coaching in Limestone County today is different than when he coached. "For one thing , when I coached we practiced for three to four hours when school was out and went home," he said. "A lot of parents carne to our practices. It was a closely-netted group. A lot of times, the coaches would meet at the old Jlil-Mar and Sue-Will Grill to talk ball and some of the players and their parents were there, too. I think I missed that part about coaching the most," he said. Not only was Bridges a good coach, he was also known in Limestone County as a good softball player. He was a force in fastpitch softball over the 12 years he played in the city leagues. "We had some teams in that league that could play with anybody in the state," he said. "We played our ball at the fairgrounds. It was a lot of fun." Bridges said he, Freddy Leonard and Guy Chittam sold signs to go up in the outfield so the league could have a fence. "I wasn't married then, so I left practice at school to go play softball. It took us a while, but we sold the signs and finally got us a fence up so we could hit home runs over it." Today, Bridges plays a lot of golf. "I have a bunch of guys I play with every day at the Athens County Club," he said. "If I'm not there, they call the house to find out why."