Chris Whitt
Class of 2024

Chris Whitt

There was a point in Chris Whitt’s young life to where he had no clue on what career he wanted to pursue. He tried music production without much success. Whitt then started working for his father in the family business and went back to college and earned his teaching certificate. He thought he would start his teaching career at Ardmore High School in the Fall of 1990. However, one day prior to starting his job at Ardmore, Whitt received an impromptu visitor at the jobsite his dad and him were working. “Johnny Black (a 2016 LCSHOF inductee) was the principal at Tanner High School and he just showed up and asked me if he could have a word with me.

We got in his car and he talked with me about coming to Tanner High School. He had a teaching and coaching spot open there and he wanted me to come to Tanner.

I took him up on the offer,” said the 2024 LCSHOF inductee. As with most young coaches in high school, Whitt was tasked with coaching multiple sports. Whitt leaned on his playing days as three-sport standout with Elkmont High School to help in the transition from playing to coaching multiple sports. He was the head coach of the Rattlers 1991 baseball team and guided Tanner to the fourth round of the state playoffs. He also served as an assistant coach in the highly successful Tanner High School football program. It was the sport of basketball where Whitt would embark on a remarkable head coaching career that would see him become one of the most successful basketball coaches in Limestone County High School history.

A career that spanned from 1994-2020, Whitt would lead the Rattlers to two state championships, 12 county championships, 21 area championships, 23 regional appearances, 13 regional championships and 13 Final Four appearances. Whitt’s career record leading the Rattlers boys’ basketball program was a spectacular 586-196.

“I landed in a gold mine,” said Whitt. “One of the best pieces of advise I ever received about coaching basketball was from (former University of Alabama head basketball coach) Wimp Sanderson. I was at a coaching clinic when he spoke to a bunch of us coaches. He told us no matter how good we thought we were as coaches that to be successful, we better have some players.

We had good players at Tanner. A lot of good players. There were no down cycles. No matter what we lost from the season before, we had talented players ready to step in. I couldn’t have asked for better young men to coach. They were committed to doing what we asked. I had great assistant coaches beginning with Jason Camp who helped me tremendously when I took over the basketball program. The Tanner community was incredible in how they supported our team over the years. Our administration was great beginning with Billy Owens (a 2014 LCSHOF inductee) who was our principal when I took over as the basketball coach. He was the former head basketball coach at Tanner and he always welcomed me in his office when I wanted to pick his brain about what we needed to do to improve.”

While the Rattlers would win many games and secure numerous championships during the first two decades of Whitt’s tenure as head coach of the Tanner boys’ basketball team, the ultimate championship would eluded them until 2011. The Rattlers would play Barbour County High School for the state championship that year. “That was a tough matchup for us. They were tall. I believe they had two players who were 6’9 and 6’6 respectively starting on their frontline and our tallest player was 6’3. We were down 14 points in the third quarter and we decided to go to our 1-2-2 trap. We started forcing some turnovers and cut their lead to one point with one minute to go. Matthew Hines then hit four free throws in last few seconds and we won 54-51. We won another state championship two years later. But, winning the state championship in 2011, was extra special for me because my two sons and nephew were on that team,” said Whitt.

Camp says it was Whitt’s steady leadership that led to the great success the Rattlers achieved. “Chris was a great coach. His work ethic was off the charts. He never asked an assistant coach or player to do something that he wasn’t willing to do.

He was good with the X’s and O’s of coaching but he was even better with relationships. Chris really cared for his players,” said Camp. Whitt says he is humbled to be included in this year’s Limestone County Sports Hall of Fame but the honor isn’t about him. “I feel blessed to receive this honor. However, this award is about the players, coaches and administrators at Tanner High School that brought this honor to my name. My family is responsible for this award as well. My dad was always supportive and never missed a game. And finally, my wife who was at home with three young children early on during my coaching career at Tanner. It was tough for her but she was at as many games as she could make with our kids supporting me,” said Whitt.