Newspaper article The Tuscaloosa News

INSIDE PREPS: Marengo Academy Football Coach Robby James Retires after 40 Years

Newspaper article The Tuscaloosa News

INSIDE PREPS: Marengo Academy Football Coach Robby James Retires after 40 Years

Article excerpt

The decision wasn't easy, but after a long and successful career, Marengo Academy football coach Robby James is hanging up his whistle. James, who also serves as the school's headmaster, plans to spend more time with his family, including his five grandchildren, upon retirement.

Sharing the news with his players proved to be the most difficult part of announcing his decision on Wednesday.

"I've been coaching 40 years and had some good teams and some good times," James said. "The hardest thing today was talking to my boys and telling them. That is always hard to do. I think of them as my own kids watching them grow and have success."

During his career, the storied coach has not only watched his current squad grow up before his eyes, but some of their parents. James spent 14 years as the head coach at Catherine Academy, eight years at Morgan Academy, seven years with Faith Academy and the past six years with the Longhorns. He's won nine state titles, including Marengo Academy's Class A championship last season. He's also made 18 appearances in the AISA state finals -- a feat he accomplished one last time this season by advancing to the Class AA title game. He boasts an overall record of 298-116-1, but it's the players and the experiences he'll miss the most. Not the hardware.

"I've had so many really good times and a lot of good athletes, and I think the thing I remember the most is just the kids," he said. "You can talk about the wins, but I really don't keep up with that, for me it's more about the kids. The biggest thing is seeing them have success and getting to that championship level. To see the kids have that chance and enjoy a game like that."

James hopes to play a role in finding his successor, and whoever MA names as the next head coach inherits plenty of talent. In the past two seasons, the Longhorns have finished 25-2.

"Marengo has been really good to me and my family," James said. "I've enjoyed every minute of it, and I told the players that I'm retiring, but I'll still be around and hopefully see them play. I encouraged them to stick together and work hard and they'll be a success. This school is a really good school, and they've got a chance to keep growing and keep working along. …

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