It was 1976. A young assistant coach from Sprayberry High School in Georgia took a job at Homewood High School, which was in their fifth year of playing football. Bob Newton must have liked Homewood High School for he would stay for 33 years. His life’s work at the school was so extraordinary that the football field was named in his honor when he retired.
It seemed that Bob Newton always found success in athletics- particularly football. A native of Russellville, he played tackle on the Golden Tigers 1967 state championship football team. He next went to Samford, where he was a team captain and outstanding player. Bob played on the 1971 Div II National Championship team at Samford and after graduation went to coach high school football in Georgia. That’s when he got the opportunity of a lifetime.
During his time at Homewood, Bob earned a Masters degree and administrative credentials from Montevallo. He coached football, wrestling, tennis, baseball and softball. He worked for Coach Gerald Gann for 16 football seasons, and the Patriots had some good years, making four strong playoff runs.
When Gann resigned after the 1994 season, Coach Bob Newton was named the new head coach at Homewood. It would be 11 great seasons.
In his first year, the Patriots lost two regular season games but got hot in the playoffs, and defeated a great Blount team 17-12 at Legion Field in the 5A championship game.
Homewood would have good teams for the next four seasons. But beginning in 2000, Bob Newton’s Patriot team went on one of the great runs in AHSAA playoff history, winning 82 games in 6 years, playing in five state championship games and winning four of them. In his last season in 2005, Homewood went 15-0, scored 597 points and won the state title by defeating Buckhorn 45-13 in the 5A championship game.
After his retirement from coaching, Bob stayed on four more years as athletic director at Homewood. He and his wife Allison have two sons, Bert and Ross-both football coaches- and six grandchildren. He has enjoyed retirement , spending time with his grandchildren, playing on two softball teams, watching his sons coach football, working out daily, participating in Bible studies and volunteering.
Bob is a member of the Franklin County Hall of Fame, the Alabama High School Coaches Hall of Fame and a 2019 inductee into the Samford University Hall of Fame. He coached in the Alabama-Mississippi All Star game three times, the North-South All Star game in 2004 and was Coach of the Year on five different occasions. He was named Person of the Year for the city of Homewood, not once but twice.
Bob Newton has always been a winner. But most of all he coached with great pride in his school, great dignity and was one of the greatest coaches of his generation.