Danny Powell has won a combined nine state championships in football and baseball as a head coach at three schools. (Call News file photo)
By MARCUS GATES
Hall of famer Danny Powell has won a pile of state championships in football and baseball at Leroy and Jackson and said the goal will be the same at Jackson Academy, where he has taken the head football coach’s job for the second time.
Powell, 74, has had an incredible career, winning a combined nine state championships as a head coach in football and baseball at Lee-Scott Academy, Leroy and Jackson and one
more as an assistant football coach with the Bears in 2004.
He said he wants to do the same thing with the Eagles, who have finished as the AISA Class A runner-up in football the last two years.
“We want to teach these young men to be productive citizens of society and good people and win a lot of football games, as in state championships,” Powell said.
“Football is football and I will run the same similar scheme that I have been running and it just depends on how well you are able to execute it at any level, whether you’re a 1A private school or a 4A or 7A public school or college team. It really comes down to your kids being able to understand and execute the system and fit your system to the best of their abilities.”
Powell, who was inducted into the Alabama High School Sports Hall of Fame in 2022, succeeds Jacob Webb, who resigned to take the head football coach’s job at Pearl River Central (Miss.). Webb was 33-4 the last three years at Jackson Academy and Powell’s presence heightens expectations of continued success.
“When we found out coach Webb was leaving, Danny Powell was at the top of our list,” Jackson Academy headmaster Joe Jones said. “He is a hall of fame coach, he has won everywhere he has been and I am just excited that we are fortunate to get someone of his caliber to come in and run our football program. He has told me he will be totally committed to this program and we are excited about that.”
Powell is also a math teacher, which comes in handy when adding up all his accomplishments.
“Some say I am a better football coach than baseball coach and some people from way back say I am a better basketball coach and some say I am a better math teacher,” Powell said. “I have some math knowledge. I had a great math teacher (at Leroy High), Mildred Farish. She was a outstanding teacher and had a huge influence on my life.”
In football, Powell won an AISA title at Lee-Scott in 1988, four state titles at Leroy (2006, 2007, 2008, 2010) and one at Jackson (2011).
Leroy won 17 straight football playoff games under Powell and at one point he won 51 straight region games between Leroy and Jackson.
Powell won three state baseball crowns at Leroy in 2001, 2007 and 2008 and went 186-98.
Powell is 177-72-1 in his football coaching career — including 66-7 at Leroy and 82-20 at Jackson — is 42-11 in the playoffs and 92-17 in region play.
But Powell has struggled at private schools, going a combined 29-45-1 in previous stints at McIntosh Christian, Jackson Academy, Lee-Scott and Clarke Prep. He never had a winning season in three years at JA (1989-91).
“I don’t remember what my win-loss record was when I was at Jackson Academy but now I have a chance to do a do over,” Powell said.
Powell planned to meet with his new players Wednesday and said he expected to start full-time in May and have a limited spring practice.
Powell said he is ready if Jackson Academy moves from the AISA to the AHSAA, which has been rumored.
“If that is what they decide to do, I am good with it,” he said. “It would cut down on travel in most cases and feel like you might could get the athletes and be able to compete.”
Regardless of all the victories at any level, Powell said he enjoys a deeper satisfaction.
“It is nothing like having a player come back in 20 years and tell something that you really did for him and might not have even realized it,” Powell said. “Thanking you for doing something in their life or something like that is really gratifying. And I am not going to deny that I like the winning part.”