Former Longtime Central-Phenix City High School Basketball Coach James Redd Passed Away This Morning


Photo Courtesy: Kelvin A. Redd

His son Kelvin A. Redd provided WLTZ First News with the following information:

Former Central High School basketball coach, James B. Redd, passed away on February 28, 2019. He was 75 years old.

Coach Redd is a 1961 graduate and valedictorian of South Girard High School in Phenix City, Alabama. He graduated and finished number two in his class at Alabama State University in 1965 with a degree in chemistry. He received his Master of Arts degree from Fisk University in 1971.

In 1965, Coach Redd began his coaching career at Barbour County Training School in Clayton, Alabama. Under his leadership, the basketball program won 62 games in his four-year tenure. He led the school to its first ever region championship and a state semi-final. The senior leader on that team was Travis Grant, a recent Alabama Sports Hall of Fame Inductee and College Basketball Hall of Famer.

In 1974, Coach Redd became the head basketball coach at Central High School in Phenix City, Alabama. He took over a program that was coming off four straight losing seasons. In his first season, he lost his first two games, but rebounded to win eight straight games and a tournament berth in the finals of the annual William Henry Shaw Christmas Tournament in Columbus, Georgia. His first team finished the season with a 16-9 record.

In Coach Redd’s 14-year tenure at Central High School, he won 325 games. That’s an average of 23 wins per year. Under his leadership, Coach Redd had 40 players to receive college scholarships, including University of Alabama signees, Ken Johnson and Eddie Adams, Auburn University signee, Mike Jones, and the above mentioned Kentucky State University All-American, Travis Grant.

I think it should be noted that during the era in which Coach Redd coached basketball at Central High School in Phenix City, he had winning record against legendary basketball coaches such as James “Bubba” Ball (Baker High School-Columbus, Georgia), Henry Gresham (Baker High School-Columbus, Georgia), Jimmy Lee (Hardaway High School-Columbus, Georgia), Jimmy Devenny (Auburn High School), Ernest Washington (Tuskegee High School), and Dan Lewis (Carver Montgomery).

Coach Redd’s 1980-81 Central High School team won 33 straight games, defeated Southwest Macon High School in Macon, Georgia—two years removed from being named the mythical national high school basketball champions and coached by legendary coach, Don Richardson— ranked number one in the state at the end of the regular season, and made it to the state semi-finals before losing and finishing the season with a 33-1 record.

Since retirement, Coach Redd’s accolades have not diminished. In 2005, he was inducted into the Chattahoochee Valley Sports Hall of Fame in Columbus, Georgia, along with one of his former basketball player and former University of Alabama and NFL defensive back, Jeremiah Castille, legendary state of Georgia and now current Central High School baseball coach, Bobby Howard, and former Major League baseball player, Glenn Davis.

Coach Redd is still known for being a tremendous educator as much as for his prowess as a successful basketball coach. Coach Redd developed Central High School’s first chemistry department, post-integration, and taught difficult courses such as AP Chemistry, Physics and math, all the while coaching the game of basketball.

Coach Redd is preceded by wife of 53 years, Marie, a son Kelvin (Tanja), and daughter, Krystal (Johnny) and 6 grandchildren.

Categories: Alabama Sports, Georgia Sports, High School, Sports