Former players remember time under Fountain

Published 9:47 pm Tuesday, January 17, 2012

There are no shortage of players who took the field under Charles Henderson High School head football coach and athletic director Hugh Fountain, who announced his retirement from both positions after 16 years.

The veteran coach took over the then 0-10 program in 1996 and in his time on the sidelines has taken the Trojans to the postseason 10 times.

His program has produced 50 college football players, perhaps most notably 2010 Auburn Tiger and national championship winning safety Zac Etheridge.

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“To me, he was a great coach,” Ethridge said. “He always came in ready to work and was all about getting an education. He gave guys opportunities to move forward and pursue their dreams. He was a guy who you could go and talk to about anything.”

Coaching under the lights of Troy University’s Veterans Memorial Stadium, Fountain has left a legacy to his players as a strong coach and motivator.

“He was a great man and a godly man,” former CHHS quarterback and current Troy player K. D. Edenfield. “I loved playing for him; he was a great motivator and one of my favorite coaches I’ve played for. He could get guys from the school who may not have ever thought about playing football and get guys in from the streets and make them a part of the team.”

Fountain leaves the Trojans with a 106-67 career record, which came to a conclusion in the 2011 season when he took the Trojans to the second round of the playoffs and finished 6-6, capping off a year marked by adversity that included the loss of offensive coordinator Tyrone Black and offensive lineman Ronnell Moore.

Former players of the coach know the departure will be a tough time for both coaches and players alike, but are certain that Fountain will be an asset to any team should he decide to continue his coaching career.

“I’m sure it was hard for him and his family,” Edenfield said. “He’s been there for so long and knew so many people. He’s a great coach and we all enjoyed playing for him. He’s a good leader and would be a good fit for any football team.”

But above all else there are former players who consider themselves fortunate to have spent time under Fountain, citing his ability to set an example as a man for them to follow past their high school years.

“He was a coach who taught lessons on and off the field,” offensive lineman Parker Smith, who played for Charles Henderson’s third round playoff team in 2007, said. “He was a good Christian and taught you how to be a man. It was an honor and I feel really privileged to have played under him.”

No announcements have been made of CHHS’ plans for the football program or the position of athletic director, but the players seem to feel that Fountain has left some big shoes to fill.

“You hate to see a guy leave who has been there for so long and was trying to help guys succeed.” Etheridge said. “It will be hard to replace coach Fountain.”