April 13, 2016
Southern Torch (3425 articles)
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Famed area coach Bobby Beckett passes away

By Tyler Pruett

tyler@southerntorch.com

CENTRE, Ala.— Northeast Alabama lost a high school coaching legend late Tuesday night. Bobby Beckett passed away at his residence in Centre, Alabama late on April 12. Beckett’s coaching career spans four decades and five sports, including football, baseball, boys basketball, girls basketball and track. He also established new sports programs at Ragland, Cherokee County, and Gaylesville schools and was inducted into the Cherokee County Sports Hall of Fame in 2008.

Coach Beckett’s love for high school sports began in Alpine, Alabama, where he attended Winterboro High School and playing three sports. After completing high school, Beckett played baseball at Southern Union in south Alabama.

He began his coaching career in Ragland in the early seventies; starting their baseball program from scratch and taking his new team to the state finals in their first season in 1971. After several successful baseball seasons, Beckett moved to Cherokee County High School in 1975 as an assistant football coach and started their baseball program as well. From 1975 – 1990, Coach Beckett took the new Warriors baseball team to four area championships and back-to-back state championships in 1980-81.

Showing a versatility in coaching that few others have, he also began the CCHS girls basketball program in 1975, and served as head coach until 1978. Cherokee County would also employ Beckett as the boys basketball coach in the early eighties, leading the team to a county tournament win and several winning seasons.

Carrying on his tradition of starting programs, Beckett moved to Gaylesville school and began their baseball program in 93-94, and served as head football coach. The new Trojans baseball team would make a state playoff appearance soon after their formation.

In the mid-nineties, Beckett became influential in Dekalb County sports, successfully coaching the Collinsville Panthers in baseball and football. He would wrap up his storied coaching career in the area a few years later, returning as head football coach at Cherokee County High School.

“Coach Beckett wasn’t the type of person to scream and yell, he was able to command respect by the person he was.” said Cherokee County Schools Superintendent Mitchell Guice, who also played for Coach Beckett.

“He was a really positive person, you always felt like you were going to win. He will be sorely missed not only by his family, but by all the lives he touched.” Guice added.

“(Coach Beckett) was a very positive person to be around and our prayers go out to his family,” said Superintendent Hugh Taylor, who coached with Beckett during his time at Collinsville.

Coach Beckett is survived by his wife Peggy, son Alan, and his grandchildren. His son, Alan Beckett, continues in his father’s footsteps, coaching at Collinsville and currently at his father’s alma mater, Winterboro High School.

Visitation will be held from 5 – 6pm on Thursday, April 14 at the Perry Funeral Home. The funeral will take place on Friday, April 15 at 2:00 pm at the First Methodist Church in Centre, Alabama.

Southern Torch

Southern Torch

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