FORT PAYNE — Editor’s note: This is the fifth installment in a question-and-answer series with DeKalb County coaches, taking a look at their playing journeys and their coaching experiences. In Part 5, The Times-Journal interviewed Plainview football coach Nick Ledbetter.
Q: How long have you been involved in coaching as both a head coach and an assistant coach?
A: I began coaching as a volunteer in the fall of 2000 at Plainview, for the seventh- and eighth-grade football team. I have never stopped since that time. Even in college, I worked as a student assistant and a graduate assistant for the University of Alabama. This year will mark my 20th year coaching.
Q: What led you to coaching?
A: I wanted to be a civil engineer. When I started college, I also worked as an estimator at a steel company. I thought it would help me become a civil engineer. While I worked at the steel plant, I also began volunteer coaching. I found out pretty quick that my love was still sports and switched my degree to physical education.
Q: What was your playing career like? High school? College?
A: I played football, baseball and basketball at Plainview. My sophomore year, I broke my foot and could not play basketball. The rest of my high school career, I played football and baseball. I had two offers for football, one at (the University of North Alabama) and the other at Tuft University. I chose to play baseball at Southern Union and then quit to take a job working at the steel plant, while I finished my engineering degree.
Q: Who are some of the coaches who have most shaped the way you’ve approached your head coaching career?
A:The coaches who have shaped my approach to coaching are Dale Pruitt, Terry Mitchell and Jeff Brooks. All three coaches without a doubt shape the way I do things on an everyday basis. Looking back a little further, I can also see Jim Higdon and my dad who both coached me in little league. I can vividly remember the things they taught me growing up playing ball.
Q: What is your favorite sports memory as a player and what made it special?
A: My favorite high school sports memory was the fall of 1999, my senior year. The whole season sticks out to me the most as being special. We were ranked No. 1 in the state and had the No. 1 scoring defense in all classifications. We ran through our schedule and ended up being put out in the semifinals by Lincoln. We lost a close game by a few plays but I’ll never forget the fun we had and the accomplishments we achieved.