Class of 2007
Baxter Booth played football and basketball at Athens High School. He played on the first Athens football team to ever beat Decatur. That was in 1953 when Athens won 12-0. He was Co-Captain of the 1954 Athens squad, which was the first Athens team to go undefeated. He made the All-Tennessee Valley Conference and was All-State and played in the state high school All-Star game.
Baxter's high school coach was a winner, the late, great Ferman Elmore. "If Alabama had hired coach Elmore in 1958, I don't think coach Bryant would have made it to Alabama," Booth said. "Coach Elmore was a super coach and he didn't like losing."
Booth signed to play football at Alabama in 1955. He lettered with the Crimson Tide in 1956-58. His first two seasons were terrible. "It was terrible," Booth said. "That was when coach J.B. Whitworth was down there. We did not win many games."
He said his freshman year at Alabama, Bart Starr was a senior quarterback for the Tide. "They set him on the bench all season long," Booth said "and none of us knew why." Starr, even though he did not play much for the Tide, was later drafted in the National Football League and went on to become one of the all-time great quarterbacks. When Paul "Bear" Bryant took over as coach at the University of Alabama in 1958, things changed. Booth said, "You gave it your all, or you were gone. He did not fool around. Coach Bryant made it as good as you wanted it, or as bad as you wanted it. He was a winner and he would not put up with a loser."
Athens High School's Baxter Booth was a senior on the Crimson Tide football team. The way things started under the new coach was not to Booth's liking. "I told coach Gene Stallings, my position coach, that I didn't think they were giving me a chance," Booth recalled. "He grabbed me and pushed me into Coach Bryant's office and told him what I had said." "I told coach Bryant I thought I should be on the red (first team) team," he said. "The next thing I knew I'm challenging the guy ahead of me and I won the position. The next day, the guy challenged me and I won again. After that, I was in there to stay," he said.
Booth went on to play both ways, end and tackle, for the Crimson Tide his senior year. He played 58 minutes against Auburn that season. He was the only Alabama player to play in the North-South Shrine game in the Orange Bowl in Miami, Florida. The great Darrell Royal of Texas coached the South squad and a young coach by the name of Ara Parseghian of Northwestern coached the North squad. Parseghian would later become the head coach at Notre Dame where he won several national championships.
After football , Booth returned to Athens in 1959 when he was hired to coach the line at Athens High School. Booth, who now owns his own insurance agency in Athens is a life member of the "Million Dollar Round Table," the highest honor bestowed in the insurance business.