A lifetime achievement award honors a person for their body of work throughout their life. In the case of Tandy Geralds, it also extends to his influence on the lifetimes of many of the players coaches and others he touched in a 27 year career. For in addition to being a great coach, he was a man of influence both on and off the field. His influence on the Deshler High school football program and the community of Tuscumbia is still felt today.
He was the head football coach at Woodlawn High School in Birmingham from 1971-75 where he was highly successful. His teams went 36-14 in those years and he won the area title in 1975 behind the running of the great Tony Nathan. He left coaching in 1975 to go into the insurance business in Birmingham. But Tandy Geralds was not through with coaching. He took the coaching job at Deshler in the spring of 1984 and started talking about pride in oneself, integrity and preparation. He was a great believer in the importance of preparing and it was not unusual to see playbooks and play diagrams on the kitchen table at his house at any time of the year. Coach Geralds immediately established a new set of standards for the Deshler team. He put the Tigers to work. He established an off season program that many coaches in the shoals area credit with changing the face of football in NW Alabama. Deshler won 4 games in ’84 then 7 in ’85. When the Tigers went 9-3 in 1986, it was their first nine win season in 20 years. The following year Deshler went 11-2 for the schools’ first 11 win season. They came within a whisper of the State Championship game losing in the semis 27-24 to Alexandria. But the best was yet to come.
In 1990 all of Tandy Geralds preaching of blocking, tackling, execution and preparation put Deshler at the top of football in the state of Alabama. Led by QB Scott Thompson and WR/DB Corey Donley Deshler went 15-0 scoring a then state record 603 points. They defeated T.R. Miller 28-27 in overtime in one of the great championship games. The following year might have been one of his greatest coaching jobs. After having graduated much of his great Wing T offense from the year before, the Tigers won 13 straight games and ran their win streak to 28 before losing to T.R. Miller in the finals.
He retired after the 1994 season leaving Deshler with a record of 101-36 and a foundation that still stands today. In 1998 he started an 8 man football team at Shoals Christian School where he coached for three years and established a program that is now a member of the AHSAA. His awards were numerous. He coached in the ALA-Miss all Star game, he is in the Colbert county Sports Hall of fame, Shoals Christian named the football field after him and Tuscumbia has a Tandy Geralds Memorial Drive. He was a deacon in his church, a Sunday school teacher. He never turned down an opportunity to speak in the Shoals area, to continue to influence with his strong faith in God, his words or his deeds. Former Superintendent of Tuscumbia City schools Robert Clemmon said “Coach Geralds helped bring our community together with his outstanding program, exhibition of personal character, high personal expectations of his staff and players and Christian example as he lived his much too short life serving others.”
Coach Geralds wife Debbie accepts his award today—The Alabama Football Coaches association is proud to bestow its Lifetime achievement award on Coach Tandy Geralds.