When the name Jerry Partridge comes up in football conversations around the Birmingham area you can be sure that one word will soon follow: Respect. For no coach who ever wore a whistle in or around the city was more respected than Jerry Partridge. He was respected because he took on the tough jobs. After serving as an assistant coach at West end and Jones valley in the mid 60’s, he became the head coach at Phillips High school in 1969. In 1971 he went to Midfield High school and he is credited with starting the football and athletic programs there. He was respected because he knew his business..By 1973 he went to Huffman as an assistant coach and became head coach in 1979. His expertise on the defensive side was second to none in the city and he was respected for his knowledge of football strategy. His teams were always well coached and known for their disciplined play. He was certainly respected for his leadership…Former Asst Coach Phil English said, “ Almost all of us on the staff at Huffman were inexperienced as to what we were facing with the rapid integration of our school, our staff and our athletic program. Jerry guided us through some stormy waters and it all came out as one smooth transition. To this day I cannot think of even one problem that was not handled successfully under Jerry’s guidance.”
Jerry Partridge was respected because he helped others. Former player Keith Trotman says “His guidance through the years helped countless young men become the best they could be, not only in football but life. He inspired me to follow in his footsteps and pursue a career in coaching. I am truly appreciative of his role in my life.” He went out of his way to help other coaches. Former Hewitt Trussville Coach Jack Wood went to Jerry for help-he said, “ Coach Partridge took the time to share his expertise and help a new young head coach become much better. Much of the success we had came from Coach Partridge’s influence in changing our offense to the split back veer. I’m not sure how many coaches would help their biggest rival become more successful but he did. I will always be grateful for his unselfish and humble attitude.”
By 1983 the Huffman teams were getting much better. The ’83 team led by Jerry’s son David at QB had a great chemistry—they won nine games. But the 1985 team turned some magic. After going 7-3 in the regular season, they caught fire in the playoffs. The Vikings conquered four straight playoff opponents including the nation’s second ranked team in J.O. Johnson by a score of 36-7 in the semi finals. Although Huffman fell to Northview in the finals, Jerry was the Birmingham News Coach of the Year and respected by his peers. Ken Walker who was Pinson Valley coach at the time, was quoted in the News “I don’t know of another coach who would have had the overall support that Jerry had in the playoffs. When he reached the semifinals and finals, every coach I know was pulling for him to win.” The Birmingham News named him one of the five most respected high school coaches but then again everyone already knew that.
Jerry Partridge certainly had the respect of his family and players. He and his wife Patricia are proud parents of four children, all who have been involved in athletics or education. Over 30 of his former players have become coaches, including his son David. “As I have met other coaches during my career,” David said. “I have been amazed at the number of them that have commented on how much respect they have for my Dad. His colleagues always remark that he did things the right way, with great sportsmanship.” Jerry has won more football games than any Huffman coach. In 1994 the athletic complex at Huffman High School was named in his honor. We too recognize and respect the job that Jerry has done coaching high school football in this state. Therefore the ALFCA is proud to bestow its Lifetime Achievement award upon Jerry Partridge.