If Randy Ragsdale had not been a high school football coach, you would have begged him to coach to your son’s little league team, or maybe his pee wee football squad or his YMCA basketball team. We all need really good people with great character to work with our children, and Randy Ragsdale was just that. But luckily for Trinity Presbyterian School in Montgomery, he decided to be a football coach.
Randy Ragsdale graduated from Rockdale County High School in Conyers Ga and went to Jacksonville State University where he was a 3 year starter at offensive tackle for coaches Clarkie Mayfield and Jim Fuller in the mid 70s. He landed assistant coaching jobs at North Clayton and Fayette County high school in Georgia, back at Jax State and finally to Northview in Dothan where as defensive coordinator he helped the Cougars win the 1985 6A state championship.
In 1989, Trinity Presbyterian was looking for a young head coach with great promise and they found him in Randy Ragsdale. He would serve as their head coach for 28 seasons. Randy put the Wildcats in the weight room so they could compete with the bigger schools and preached personal accountability. His Trinity teams won 5 area championships, 9 region championships and won 10 or more games in 10 different seasons. In the early 2000s, Trinity won 45 consecutive regular season games. He coached in the North South All Star game and the Alabama- Mississippi All Star game, serving as head coach in 2010.
And then there was 2003 season.
Trinity 14-0 met Deshler 14-0 for the state championship on Dec 4, 2003 at Legion Field in Birmingham. In a hard fought defensive battle, Deshler led 7-3 with a little more than a minute left in the half. What ensued was the wildest minute of high school football in state playoff history. Tommy Trott caught a 26 yard TD pass from Rory McKean with 1 minute left. It looked as though the Wildcats would take a 14-10 lead into half time.
But Deshler returned the kickoff 88 yards for a touchdown. Following a sky kick from Deshler, McKean found Jack Bartlett running in the clear down the left sideline and hit him in stride. Suddenly Bartlett fumbled and Austin Hoyt recovered in the end zone to complete a crazy, 64 yard scoring play with 29 seconds left. In a daring bit of Ragsdale coaching, Trinity onside kicked and recovered on the Deshler 38. McKean then hit Tommy Trott again on the next play for another touchdown with 16 seconds left in the half to make the score 24-14. The Wildcat defense stood up in the second half and in a strange twist, neither team scored again. Trinity was 15-0 and the 4A state champion.
Randy Ragsdale received the Bubba Scott Lifetime achievement award presented by FCA in 2017 and was elected to the Alabama High School Coaches Hall of Fame in 2018. He has been married for 33 years to Rosemary Hubbard Ragsdale and they have 2 daughters-Caroline and Craegh- and twin grandsons Charlie and Gray.
But most of all Randy Ragsdale will be remembered as a great Christian example of coaching, first class in all of his dealings with players coaches and opponents, and the man that took Trinity to new heights in football.