Limbaugh earns AFCA Coach of the Year
by Erich Hilkert
Feb 03, 2014 | 1749 views |  0 comments | 20 20 recommendations | email to a friend | print
FAYETTEVILLE—The Fayetteville Wolves finished the past season with their first winning record (6-4) since 2007. Head coach John Limbaugh was recognized as class 1A Coach of the Year by the Alabama Football Coaches Association at a banquet held in Montgomery in January for his efforts in the team’s improvement, but Limbaugh continually emphasized his individual award was truly a team accomplishment.

“I don’t look at it as ‘I’ won anything,” Limbaugh said. “I look at it as validation for a lot of people’s efforts and hard work. The first person is my wife because she is the one who is at home taking care of things while I’m on the practice field or watching film. The hours I put in here she understands and she is our biggest fan. She’s up there in the stands cheering and when I see her up there, everything is good. That’s what it takes and my family is very supportive. It’s validation for all of our coaches. Every coach would love to bring people with them they know and trust and know what they’re capable of. When you get into a situation at a high school level, you can’t always do that. 90 percent of the time you can’t bring anybody with you, so you work with what’s here. When I got here, I found coaches like Mark Reed, who is our defensive coordinator and a great guy and a good friend now. I’ve gotten to know him and see how hard he works in his efforts. Coach Wilkinson is our special teams coach and works with defensive backs and receivers. The efforts these guys are putting in and all the other assistant coaches do a great job. We have some great volunteer assistants. This is validation of what they’ve done since we’ve been together.”

Fayetteville Principal Byron Brasher said Limbaugh’s efforts extent well beyond the football field.

“Coach Limbaugh has been a pillar of this community,” Brasher said. “This is his second year at the school, but he has been in the community for over 20 years as the minister of a local church (Fayetteville United Methodist Church). Coach Limbaugh is looking for what is best for our whole student body. Since he has been here, he has created an archery team, he has helped us develop a fishing team with two members being individual state champions last year, and helped us get the cross country team running. Even though he is our football coach, as athletic director he has done an awful lot. He has taken care of kids who may not be football players, but they find something they can belong to. Kids want to belong to something.”

Limbaugh said the Fayetteville fans deserve a lot of credit for their support of the Wolves.

“The Seahawks were talking about the 12th man,” Limbaugh said. “I feel like we have that here because our fans. Many times during away games we will have more fans there than the home team. They follow us, they care, they’re in it; financial support comes from the community. Our area restaurants and gas stations here support us and everybody from Childersburg to Sylacauga and in between that support us financially—all of this is validation for what they wanted to see happen. That’s why they might recognize one person, but I’m not anything really—it’s what everybody else around you does. That’s the way I really feel about it.”

Most of all, Limbaugh said his job in helping shape young adults is worth far more than any award.

“There are some things that God has blessed me with, like being able to be pastor of a church and loving my role here,” he said. “The role here is to be involved in the life of kids. People say ‘I’d do my job for nothing.’ I can honestly say that if I had the financial means I would do this job for nothing. It is something that I love. If I can see that effort and determination in a kid on the football field or in the classroom or if we can help him be a better person and strive for that the rest of his life, that’s why I would do this job for nothing. It’s a great gift.”

Brasher said one of Limbaugh’s greatest traits is his tireless efforts to find the greater good for the students and athletes of Fayetteville.

“With his personality, he’s always looking out for what is best for the kids,” Brasher said. “He has a personality that draws people to him. He can relate to the kids well. He is an individual that I don’t have to worry about as far as mistreating a kid; he will treat them correctly. He’s the first one to tell them when they do something right, but he’s going to be the first one to tell them they did it wrong and make sure they get it corrected. He’s good with the community. He’s just overall a great individual for us here at Fayetteville. We’re very fortunate to have him.”