J.R. Tidwell/FCT John Ritter is the new head football coach at Red Bay High School. He takes over after the resignation of Jamie Easley.

Archived Story

New head coach has experience

Published 6:00am Wednesday, August 1, 2012

RED BAY — For the second time this summer Red Bay has a new head football coach.

John Ritter, who is 29 years old, took over the head coaching spot a few weeks after the resignation of Jamie Easley, who was hired earlier this year.

Despite his young age for a head coach, Ritter does have plenty of experience in coaching positions.

Ritter was the quarterback at Lauderdale County High School from 1999 to 2003.

His head coach was Ronnie Ritter, who also happens to be his father. Ronnie Ritter was the head coach at LCHS from 1991 to 2006 with a record of 106-77.

“It was fun getting to be around him so much, because my dad and I are really close,” Ritter said. “But there was always pressure to perform. If I had a bad night it felt like I was letting two people down, my dad and my coach.”

John Ritter has seven years of coaching experience, including time at Lauderdale County, Athens, Muscle Shoals and Mortimer Jordan.

The position at Red Bay marks Ritter’s first head coaching job.

“It’s exciting,” Ritter said. “It’s an honor to be in a place like Red Bay, a prestigious honor.”

Despite this being his first job as head coach, Ritter already has it in his mind what he wants to accomplish in his first season with the Tigers.

“I want to continue the success that we’ve had here,” he said. “I want to beat the people that we’re supposed to beat, and I want to beat the people we’re not supposed to beat.”

The coaching carousel that struck Red Bay this summer has been a far cry from what the school is used to, as Dale Jeffreys maintained the position over the past 15 years, with 13 of those winning seasons.

Jeffreys amassed a final record of 114-59 while at Red Bay.

“Dale did a great job of coaching these kids up,” Ritter said. “They have had good stability for so long. I started two weeks ago and all of the guys are already saying yes sir and no sir. This is a great group of kids, so I won’t have to change much. They know what the expectations are for them.”

The only goal that has seemed out of reach for the Tigers had been to make it deep into the playoffs. Red Bay went 11-13 in the postseason under Jeffreys, but the team has made the playoffs the last 13 years straight.

“Making the playoffs is expected here,” Ritter said. “If you can get there, then you hope to make some noise.”

As far as a coaching style goes, Ritter seems like he will bring some enthusiasm to the game.

“I’m high energy,” he said. “We are going to do everything we do full speed.”

The pressure to have a winning football team in Red Bay is something that has been built over the past several years, but those who know the town and its players completely understand that drive.

“Red Bay is a great community,” Ritter said. “There is a great love for football here, and the town lives for Friday night, just like where I’m from.”

What Coach Ritter hears from different members of the community over the next few years may not always be about football but rather his name being extremely similar to a deceased comedic actor.

“I have heard every comment about Jack Tripper and ‘Three’s Company’ that you can imagine,” Ritter said.

“I’ve heard them all, but the younger generation doesn’t know who he was.”

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