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Coach Perry Swindall’s Coaching Tree Continues to Grow

The following is an article written by Bill Plott on celebrating this year's inductees to the Alabama High School Sports Hall of Fame. Coach Swindall is one of five inductees with a football background to be honored on March 18th in Montgomery.

                By BILL PLOTT / For the AHSAA

     MONTGOMERY – Perry Swindall may be finally retired from high school coaching, but his “coaching tree’’ continues to grow.     Swindall’s passion for coaching has been infectious to those who he worked with – a big reason many of his former assistants are now head coaches in their own right.    

He now joins a special “coaching tree” himself. Swindall will be inducted along with 11 others into the Alabama High School Sports Hall of Fame’s Class of 2024 at the 34th annual Hall of Fame Induction Banquet to be held at the Montgomery Renaissance Hotel and Spa Convention Center on Monday night, March 18.     Those individuals selected alongside Swindall are: football coaches Phillip Lolley and Rick Rhoades;  football and track coach Eddie Brundidge; basketball coaches Chucky Miller and Thomas “Mike” Boyd; wrestling coach Richard “Dickey” Wright; baseball and football coach/athletic director Ron Nelson; softball and baseball coach Christopher Goodman; AHSAA administrator Kimberly Vickers;  and selected from the “Old-Timers’ Division were coach/administrators Frank “Swede” Kendall and Cornell “C.T.” Torrence.   

Swindall graduated from Ashville High School in 1978, earned two letters as a defensive lineman for at Davidson College, earning his bachelor’s degree in 1982. He also earned a master’s degree from Troy University and EDS from Lincoln Memorial University.   

He started his teaching and coaching career in 1984 at Oneonta High School, serving as defensive coordinator. While he was there, Oneonta made two state football championship game appearances. His defense held opponents to 10.2 points per game.   

In 1989 he accepted the head football coach’s position at Daleville High School. In his nine years there, the Warhawks compiled a record of 75-33. Eight teams made the playoffs. The 1990 won a school record 11 games and the 1992 squad broke that mark going 15-0 and defeated Munford, 40-8, for the Class 4A state championship. The Warhawks finished runner-up in 1993 to North Jackson 21-14. In 1992, Swindall was named AHSAA Class 4A Coach of the Year.    

“Before he arrived, Daleville had only had six winning teams in 24 football seasons. He changed Daleville almost immediately,” said Coach Jamie Riggs, a Hall-of-Fame coach himself who coached at T.R. Miller. “Coach Swindall believed you built teams in the weight room during the off season. His teams played hard and were physical.     “He was ahead of his time on offense with a one back set that spread the field, sprinkled with enough option plays to cause you problems. His 1992 Daleville squad was one of the best 4A teams I have ever seen, throwing the ball around before it became the popular thing in high school football.”    

In 1998, Swindall moved to Russellville High School where he remained for nine seasons. His teams averaged 11 wins per season over that stretch with 42 consecutive region victories and three Class 5A state runner-up finishes in a row from 2002-2004. He had seven straight seasons of 10 or more victories winning 87% of their games during that stretch. Russellville was 99-21 during his tenure – which ranks Swindall as the second-winningest coach in school history behind Don Cox (130-46), who was inducted into the Alabama High School Sports Hall of Fame in  2008. Bill Doty, who ranks No. 3 all-time at Russellville with an 83-36-5 record, was inducted into the HOF in 1992.     

Swindall’s teams won 42 consecutive region games during that time. His 2002 team lost to Homewood 31-28 in the finals. The Patriots coach was Bob Newton, a Russellville graduate who was inducted into the HOF in 2007.    

Swindall finished his AHSAA career as defensive coordinator at Spain Park High School in 2007. Spain Park was Class 6A runner-up that year, limiting opponents to 12.9 points per game.    

He then concluded his active coaching career at LaFayette (GA) High School with a two-year record of 11-9 at a school that had only won four games the previous three seasons. He closed his career with a 185-63 overall win-loss record – a winning percentage of 74.6%.    

Swindall was also a mentor. At Lafayette, he hired a young coach named Stephen Jackson as an assistant. “Little did I know, but that decision would be the best of my career,” said Coach Jackson. “He gave back to the game by employing a bunch of young coaches and dedicating his time there to pour into our development. Not only were our players taught precise technique, leadership, love of football, and love for training, but also, we coaches were taught the details of how to be great in this profession. I was a successful player in high school and college, but I had no idea how much more work it would take for me to be successful as a coach. Perry did. He took me in and taught – and demanded – that I learn it. For that I am ever grateful.”    

Coach Marc Edge, another former assistant, said, “The mark of a great coach is sustained success and his influence on people. His coaching tree has grown over the years. Coaches that he taught football and former players who have gone into coaching abound. The legacy that he laid will continue. He definitely influenced my career and my accomplishments. Any success I have had over my 33-year career go back to those long afternoons and nights spent in a cramped office in Daleville, learning defense and offense from one of the best.     

“Perry was one of the great teachers of football this state ever seen. Perry Swindall could also do the hardest thing a coach must do in football. He took two teams which were losing and turned them into immediate winners.”    

That influence was not limited to the football field, however.    

Oneonta head coach Phil Phillips said, “I had known that I wanted to coach for several years, and even knew I would be expected to teach, but naturally at that age I thought coaching was 100 percent of the job. That changed one day when I needed Perry’s keys, and I stopped by his world history class for the last ten minutes. I was amazed as I watched him instructing those teenagers with the same enthusiasm and knowledge that he did our kids on the practice field. It totally changed the way I looked at my goals and put education and coaching to into perspective for me.    

“He was such a great teacher of life, which included the games we played. The personal attention he paid to all of his players and his staff was something I have so tried to emulate. The personal sacrifices I saw him make for players and coaches are too numerous to count. We haven’t worked together since the fall off 2007, but I find myself constantly calling him for help and advice.”


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