Harlow Fikes
Class of 2024

Harlow Fikes

When talking about his football career with the Athens High School Golden Eagles and the University of North Alabama Lions, Harlow Fikes says that if you are going to tee it up, you might as well go ahead and win. It is only fitting that Fikes would use this analogy when talking about his competitive spirit as he was outstanding kicker for both programs. “I guess as soon as I could move around, I was playing sports. As I got older and moved on to Athens High School, I developed a drive to be better than my opponent. My primary goal was to help my team win and be a good teammate,” said the 2024 Limestone County Sports Hall of Fame inductee.

A good all-around athlete, Fikes lettered in basketball, football and golf while attending Athens High School. He was a member of the AHS golf team during all four years of his high school career recording a low score of 69 and twice qualified for individual matches in the Alabama High School State golf tournament. He played two years of varsity basketball for the Golden Eagles under 2012 LCSHOF inductee Jerry Todd. “Coach Todd became the basketball coach at Athens High School before my sophomore season. He installed a motion offense that created a lot of movement and got players open shots. He was a good coach. He was intense and he expected his players to give maximum effort,” said Fikes.

Fikes played three seasons for the Golden Eagles football team. A versatile player, he played receiver on offense and safety on defense. It was on special teams where Fikes stood out. He served as place kicker and punter for AHS. His kickoffs were rarely returned as he used his strong right leg to kick the football into the end zone. His punting skills (he averaged 40 yards per punt in his high school career) often kept opposing teams pinned deep in their own territory. Fikes would help lead the Golden Eagles to a 7-3 record his senior season. An injury prior to his senior season would best represent Fike’s competitive nature and his commitment to his teammates. “It was the first day of two a day practices,” recalls Fikes. “I was playing free safety and I jumped to break up a pass. I got undercut and when I fell, I broke my wrist. The doctor fitted me with a cast from my hand to shoulder. It was uncomfortable dropping the football to where it needed to be for me to punt effectively with a cast on.

So, after a couple of weeks or so, I went out to my dad’s shop, took a saw and cut the cast off. I wasn’t cleared to play on offense or defense to about the seventh game of the season but I was able to punt the football effectively without the cast on.”

College football programs recruited Fikes as a punter. Multiple schools offered him a scholarship but he eventually chose the University of North Alabama over Middle Tennessee State University. “The head football coach at UNA Wayne Grubb told me that I could play football and golf. He said I would play football in the fall and golf in the spring. It was a great decision for me. I was just an hour from home and had some great teammates during my four years at UNA. We won a lot of games and a lot of big games. We won the Gulf South Conference Championship twice during my career in football and finished second in the nation my senior season,” recalled Fikes.

Fikes would set numerous school records during his career at UNA while earning All-Conference honors. The UNA school records he set were most career punts (275), most career punting yards (10,925), highest career punting average (39.7 yards) and most career punts over 50 yards (29). Fikes booming punts would catch the attention of professional football scouts. After graduating from UNA, he would sign a two-year contract with the Birmingham Stallions of the United States Football League. Unfortunately, the USFL would fold before Fikes would be able to register his first punt for the Stallions.

Fikes says he is honored to be included in this year’s class of Limestone County High School Hall of Fame inductees. “Honestly, I was quite surprised when I received the news,” said Fikes. “This honor means a lot and I am humbled to be included in this year’s class. I had a lot of great teammates along the way. My dad, my coaches and others served as great mentors in my athletic career.”