Jere Adcock copy

The Handley native came to Decatur in 1994 to join head coach Steve Rivers’ coaching staff. In 2022, Adcock retired from Decatur after 27 years as head coach with 187 wins, the second most in Red Raider history behind H.L. “Shorty” Ogle with 209. Adcock’s teams had 17 winning seasons, 21 playoff appearances, five 10-win seasons and seven region championships. He was named the state’s Class 6A Coach of the Year in 2014. During Adcock’s tenure, the Red Raiders had 40 All-State selections. In 2024, the Alabama Football Coaches Association honored him with a Lifetime Achievement Award.

Red Raider legend

Jere Adcock continued the Decatur High tradition of championship football

By David Elwell
The Decatur Daily

When one steps through the main entrance at the Decatur High football fieldhouse, you can’t help but notice the four plaques on the wall to the right.

The plaques honor four men from the past, who created a legacy that those who call the fieldhouse home today work to continue.

The plaques start with H.L. “Shorty” Ogle who won 209 games and five mythical state championships. Then there’s Wes Thompson, who played at Decatur and for the Alabama Crimson Tide and was a long-time coach for the Red Raiders.

Next is Earl Webb, whose Decatur teams won 96 games in 14 years and a state championship in 1971. Then there’s Steve Rivers with 103 wins in 15 years at Decatur.

Soon there should be a new plaque to mount on that wall to honor Jere Adcock, 68, who carried on the program’s winning ways with 187 victories in 27 seasons.

No one after Ogle worked longer to keep the success of Decatur football alive and well. His teams had 17 winning seasons, made 21 playoff appearances, had a school record five seasons with 10 or more wins and claimed seven region championships. The 2014 state’s Class 6A Coach of the Year had 40 All-State selections that included players who went on to play in college and the NFL.

“I don’t know how much people in Decatur appreciate what Coach Adcock did for the school and community,” said Jerraud Powers, who played at Decatur and Auburn and in the Super Bowl with the Indianapolis Colts.

The four men honored with the plaques are all in the Morgan County Sports Hall of Fame. Adcock will join them with the honor on May 4 when the Class of 2024 is inducted at the Priceville Event Center.

“When you get in the (coaching) business you hope to be one of those coaches who make a difference,” Adcock said.“All of a sudden you get a phone call about an honor like this and you can’t help but be extremely appreciative.”

Adcock grew up in Handley working in the family grocery store. He went to college at Auburn to major in business and eventually take over the store. Later when the family decided it was best to sell the store, Adcock changed his plans to become a teacher and coach.

Decatur native John Godwin went to Auburn and roomed with Adcock’s brother Johnny. He and Jere later became friends and fraternity brothers. Because Handley is not far from Auburn, the Adcock farm became a weekend destination for Godwin.

“We worked hard on the farm during the day and then enjoyed Mrs. Adcock’s great cooking in the evening,” Godwin said.

After college, Godwin and Adcock stayed in touch. In 1994 when Decatur assistant coach Mike Ward decided to move into administration, Godwin went to bat for Adcock to join Rivers’ staff.

“Jere was one of those guys who had floated from job to job and never been in the right place at the right time,” Godwin said. “I thought he would be a great fit for Decatur. How can you not like Jere Adcock?”

In 1996 when Rivers left to become head coach at Athens, Adcock was promoted to head coach.

“I didn’t see that coming, but I always thought Jere was made for Decatur even though he still has a lot of South Alabama in him,” Godwin said. “When I played at Decatur we were just a group of raw-boned boys and we’re still that way today. We might not be the most athletic, but you knew we were going to hit you. That’s Jere’s kind of player.”

Under Rivers, Adcock had been Red Raiders’ defensive coordinator. Bob Godsey was the offensive coordinator. They had become best friends and both applied for the job of head coach. They also agreed that the one who didn’t get the job would stay on the coaching staff.

Godsey stayed two years before leaving to become head coach at Brooks. In 2003, he moved to Hartselle to give a new angle to the legendary rivalry between the Red Raiders and Tigers.

“Our relationship has been really special,” Godsey said. “It was an intense situation when we were coaching at rival schools, but that just shows how strong our friendship is. We’ve never had a crossword. We still talk a lot and spend a lot of time together traveling to Montgomery for meetings.”

Adcock’s era at Decatur has been defined by three words – character, commitment and class.

“Coach Adcock is a danged good coach who’s had a lot of success,” said Trentin Dupper, who was an All-State quarterback in 2018. “When you come into the program as a freshman, you fear him, but over the next four years you see what he’s about.

 “Coach sets a standard that you have to follow. He will challenge you. He’s loud and he’s good at getting his point across. That’s just his way of getting the best out of you.”

There’s no question that Adcock got the best out of Dupper in 2018. The Red Raider quarterback accounted for 2,606 yards and 31 touchdowns in just 9 1/2 games.

“Coach Adcock played quarterback in high school, but he didn’t coach quarterbacks when I played,” Dupper said, “but I saw him all the time breaking down film and understanding everything about a defense in a way that helped me a lot on Friday nights.”

One of the hallmarks of Decatur football under Adcock has always been the loyalty of the coaching staff. For many years the core of Adcock’s staff rarely changed.

“When you put a staff together with people like Bob Godsey, Lee Cagle and Laron White you’ve got a great staff that is good at preaching the same message,” Powers said. “Those kinds of coaches can touch everyone in the locker room and make each player feel vital to the program’s success. That’s important.”

Daniel Johnson played for Adcock and was on the coaching staff for four years. He’s now the head coach at Fayetteville City in Tennessee.

“Coach had a way to motivate everyone whether it meant putting his arm round you or chewing out your butt,” Johnson said. “His talks to the team, especially after practice, were always meaningful.”

Johnson recalls one of those talks from his sophomore season in 2001. Decatur trailed Huntsville, 14-0, in the first quarter.

“He called timeout and had us all take a knee so he could chew us out,” Johnson said. “When the head official came over and said it was time to play, coach called a second timeout and kept talking.”
Decatur went on to win the game 17-14.

“Coach is old school football. That’s good defense, good special teams and run the football,” Johnson said. “That’s a winning philosophy that I follow as a coach.”

It’s no secret that the last eight years of Adcock’s time at Decatur had some seasons not up to the usual standard for the Red Raiders. The talent level was down. More players were being called on to contribute on the varsity as freshmen and sophomores. The Red Raiders missed the playoffs four out of those eight years and had just three playoff wins, but Decatur did go 9-3 in Adcock’s final season.

“The coaching job he did in those last few years just shows how much Decatur and Decatur High means to him,” Godsey said. “He kept that program going with his coaching ability to get everything out of his players.”

Adcock retired after the 2022 season, but the retirement lasted just one season. Last December he became the head coach at Whitesburg Christian Academy in Huntsville. It’s a young football program in need of veteran leadership.
“It’s a challenge that I’m excited about,” Adcock said.

Over the years, Adcock’s influence did grow beyond the Red Raiders. He became a mentor in the coaching profession, especially through the Alabama Football Coaches Association. The group honored him with a Lifetime Achievement Award in January.

In a release about the honor, the group said “Few high school football coaches in the state of Alabama ever loved the game and understood the value it can have for young people better than Jere Adcock. It wasn’t enough to love his own players and care for his beloved Decatur High School. He felt a responsibility to protect and improve the game for the next generation of players and coaches.”

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