Meek baseball copy

The Austin graduate put Decatur Heritage football and baseball on the map in his 11 seasons as head coach. The football program went 86-42 with four region championships and eight consecutive trips to the state playoffs. The baseball program made 10 straight trips to the state playoffs, which included the 2016 Class 1A state championship. Decatur Heritage also advanced to the baseball finals in both 2017 and 2022. During Meek’s tenure, the Eagles had 18 All-State football selections and 23 All-State baseball selections. He was named the Class 1A football Coach of the Year in 2015 and the Class 2A baseball Coach of the Year in 2022.

Taking the Eagles to new heights

Steve Meek turned Decatur Heritage football and baseball into powerhouse programs

By David Elwell
The Decatur Daily

In 2011, Decatur Heritage Christian Academy cast its net far and wide in a search for a new football head coach.

“We were ready to raise the program to the next level,” then athletic director Steve Atchley recalled. “We had several coaches interested.

“We interviewed one young coach, who was fired up about the opportunity. He would have been a great selection, but we needed stability. We needed someone who would not use our program as a stepping stone in two years to another job.”

The Eagles elected to fly high with Decatur native Steve Meek. It was a decision no one would regret. In 11 seasons under Meek’s leadership, Decatur Heritage football won 86 games, claimed four region championships and made eight trips to the playoffs. Four times the Eagles had their playoff runs ended by teams that would go on to play for the state championship.

The football success came despite the school not having a home field. The Eagles played all their home games at West Morgan and Priceville.

“We just hoped to be competitive in football,” Atchley said. “There’s no way that we could have expected Steve to take the program to the heights that he did.”

Success was not limited to the football field. Meek added the duties of baseball coach in 2012. In 10 seasons, the Eagles were always ranked among the best in the state while winning a state championship in 2016 and advancing to the state finals two other times in 2017 and 2022.

It was an amazing run for an Austin graduate who started his 38-year coaching career while in college at Auburn. Meek retired from public education in 2010 expecting to see how many yards he could mow in Decatur.

Instead he became one of the most successful football and baseball coaches in the state. He will be inducted into the Morgan County Sports Hall of Fame on May 4 at the Priceville Event Center.

“When I think of the Morgan County Sports Hall of Fame I think of people like Tom Calvin (Austin), Joe Jones (Austin) and Earl Webb (Decatur) and not me,” Meek said. “I’m extremely appreciative and humble to receive this honor.”

Meek’s success at Decatur Heritage is even more remarkable because during his run as head coach in two sports he was the only faculty member on the coaching staff for either sport. The program relied on volunteer coaches who were mostly fathers of players or young coaches getting a start in the game.

Often the daily practice schedules were determined by what time certain assistant coaches could leave work and make it to the school. Trace Lentz began a seven-year run as an assistant coach in football and baseball when his sons were playing.

“We had some talented players, but I think it was Steve’s moral code and spiritual beliefs that made this such a wonderful experience,” Lentz said. “I couldn’t think of a better person for my sons to spend so much time with in high school.”

Decatur Heritage did have its share of talent during Meek’s tenure. The football program had 18 All-State selections.

The baseball program had 23.

Grayson Wakefield was an All-State quarterback in 2015 and an All-State baseball selection in 2016 and 2017. After his playing days ended, Wakefield became a volunteer coach for football and baseball.

“Coach Meek means everything to me,” Wakefield said. “He was a father figure to me after losing my Dad (Arvid Wakefield) in 2014.

“Our relationship became much deeper when I got to coach beside him. We’ve gone through a lot of highs and lows together. It shaped me as a person. He’s never stopped being a close friend.”
Wakefield was the starting quarterback in Decatur Heritage’s first playoff game ever at Donoho in 2014. The Eagles lost 65-0.

“After taking probably the worst loss in playoff history, it would have been easy for Coach Meek to change his demeanor, but he didn’t,” Wakefield said. “He stayed true to himself and believed in us.”

The next season, Decatur Heritage opened with a loss to Falkville, but then won 12 in a row before falling in the Class 1A semifinals at Collinsville, 53-40.

“A year later we flipped the switch. We saw the joy in winning and that made us hungry for success,” Wakefield said. “Winning was fun because we knew it wasn’t easy to do.”

The 2015 season was the start of an amazing eight-year run. Decatur Heritage became one of the elite programs in the state with a 68-19 record, four region championships and eight trips to the playoffs. The records were 12-2, 10-3, 8-3, 7-4, 12-1, 9-3 and 10-3 with 10 playoff wins, including four trips to the third round and one trip to the semifinals.

“A lot of people don’t truly understand what he was able to accomplish,” Wakefield said. “At a small 1A Christian school you can’t do the same things you can at Austin, Decatur or Hartselle. You can’t be ‘my way or the highway.’ He found ways to adapt and have great success.”

Meek’s final school year at Decatur Heritage was one of the school’s best. He was The Daily 1A-4A All-Area Coach of the Year in both football and baseball. The football team (10-3) was led by two-time All-State quarterback Brayden Kyle, who accounted for over 4,400 yards of offense and 70 touchdowns.

The baseball team advanced to the Class 2A state championship finals before falling to powerhouse G.W. Long. Meek was named the state’s Class 2A Coach of the Year.

“I don’t know all the numbers. What I do know is how much I enjoyed being with these kids and the coaches,” Meek said.

Scroll to Top