Class of 2007
It was the spring of 1975 and a crowd was on hand for dedication ceremonies at the official opening of Athens Stadium, the home of the Athens Golden Eagles. Alabama coaching legend Paul "Bear" Bryant was there. So was Larry McCoy, the coach of the Athens Golden Eagles, who in the fall would lead his team to a state championship, the first for Athens in more than two decades.
A photograph of that stadium dedication is a prized possession of former Golden Eagle Jimmy Woodroof, who played for McCoy. Woodroof, now a Limestone County circuit judge, has the photograph hanging in his office at the Limestone County Courthouse. The photo shows Bryant, McCoy, Woodroof's father, Jimmy Woodroof Sr., and the late Oscar Barker, who at the time was an officer of the Athens High School Booster Club.
McCoy, who grew up in Tuscaloosa was on the 1957 Crimson Tide team the last year before Bryant took over as coach.
He started his coaching career in 1961 at Tuscaloosa High School as an assistant coach. He moved to Dothan High School in 1962, where he was an assistant football coach. He came to Athens in 1963 and became head football coach and athletic director of the Golden Eagles in 1966. "He was a great football coach," said Wilson Blair, a 2005 Limestone Sports Hall of Fame inductee who retired last year as the "Voice of the Golden Eagles" in the booth.
In 1975, McCoy and his Golden Eagles beat highly regarded Andalusia 35-15. That game was played before a packed house atAthens Stadium. The 1975 Golden Eagles, which included Auburn linebacker Freddie Smith at running back, won the state championship. That was McCoy's final season at Athens. He accepted the head coaching job and athletic director's position at Huntsville High School a year later.
In his coaching career, McCoy had only one losing season, his first, in 10 years as Athens High School's head football coach. He compiled a 70-32-3 record and led the 1975 team to the Class 3A championship. His track and field teams won three state titles. McCoy coached nine AII- American football players and 17 All-State football players. He is also a member of the Tuscaloosa High School Sports Hall of Fame.
"Dr. Larry McCoy's career is marked by achievements that extend from sports and athletic accomplishments to years of service to his fellow Alabamians," said Athens resident Greg Young, who also played for McCoy in those championship days. "He has dedicated his life assuring others have opportunities and are prepared with the proper education and training to meet the challenges presented."
"Hallmarks of his career are obvious during each of its three major phases. He began as a high school classroom teacher and football coach. He moved into postsecondary administration and retired as president emeritus of Northwest-Shoals Community College." His wife, Mary, is a former tennis coach at Calhoun Community College and is a member of the state's Junior College Sports Hall of Fame.