2nd in a 13-part series introducing the Alabama High School Sports Hall of Fame Class of 2023
By Bill Plott | AHSAA
Montgomery, AL – David Powell is best described as a “fierce competitor” by those who know him best.
His coaching impact and successful record on the field prove their point.
Powell is one of 13 individuals who are being inducted into the Alabama High School Sports Hall of Fame next Monday, March 13, at the Montgomery Renaissance Hotel and Convention Center. The banquet will begin at 6 p.m. At noon, a press conference will be held at the Renaissance introducing the Class of 2023 to the media. The Hall of Fame is a program developed and managed by the AHSAA’s Alabama High School High School Athletic Directors & Coaches Association (AHSADCA). This year’s class will be the 23rd class inducted since the HOF inception in 1991.
He moved from Louisville, Kentucky as a youngster to Alabama where he graduated from Midfield High school and Jacksonville State University (JSU). He also holds a master’s degree in physical education from the University of Alabama-Birmingham and G-3 Endorsement in driver and traffic safety education from JSU.
He began teaching and coaching at McAdory High School in 1983 and has spent almost his entire career there. He started as an assistant coaching junior high school football and then moved up to be a varsity football assistant.
Powell became the head coach for baseball from 1986-95, winning the state championship in 1995. His teams were in the state playoffs eight times in 10 years, advancing to the quarterfinals in 1986, 1993 and 1994. He was named Jefferson County Coach of the Year twice.
In 1994, he was named head football coach and athletic director. He retired from the football position after the 2018 season but continued serving as athletic director until his retirement from public school teaching. He moved to Sumiton Christian in 2019 where he is serving as athletic director and head football coach. In 25 years of coaching football at McAdory, Powell’s teams were in the state playoffs 24 times. advanced to the quarterfinals six times and the semifinals three times. The 2012 team was runner-up to Spanish Fort in the Class 5A Super 7 state championship game and set a school record for wins finishing 14-1. His overall football coaching record at McAdory was 220-76 and is currently 239-99 overall. Powell’s teams won 11 Region championships. Twelve of his teams won 10 or more games, had three undefeated regular seasons and 63 All-State players. He received several Coach of the Year honors and was named an assistant for the North squad in the 2010 all-star game.
Powell has been a leader among his peers. He has served as president of the Jefferson County Coaches Association twice and vice president of the Jefferson County Baseball Coaches Association twice. He served on the McAdory High School Budget Committee and Continuous Improvement Leadership Team.
Former McAdory Principal D. Brent Shaw said, “During my time as assistant principal, we worked hand-in-hand to tighten up the overall discipline at McAdory High School. Our success in that matter was in part due to David’s influence over his players, over the entire student body, and his raising expectations of the athletic program culture. This transition was not fast or easy, however, we slowly saw a change in the overall discipline in the student body.
“What I am saying has nothing to do with wins and losses on the field but using his influence for the betterment of the school, not just the football team. During my time as principal, David was a huge asset to me as head football coach and athletic director. David was very insightful, wise, and strategic in his advisement to me.”
Shaw added, “He was a true confidant and was priceless to me as a new principal. During all of our years together, I came to fully trust and admire David Powell. To this day, he is someone that I know I can call on during a time of need for advice and perspective. As purely a coach, he is fiercely competitive and has the ability to bring the best out of his players. Year after year, David would take his players through an arduous refining process. By the time the young men graduated, they were better prepared for life and ready for adulthood.”
Retired Pleasant Grove Principal Wayne A. Byram said, “I have known David since we were in grade school together in Midfield. We played high school football together for the legendary Coach Bill Sparks. When I was on the staff at McAdory High School with Dickey Atchison in the early eighties, we had an opening on our staff, I recommended David for the job.”
Byram said he has never known a more fierce competitor than Powell.
“He hates to lose, Byram said. “He will do everything within his power and within the rules to win any competition he is involved with. Many times, over the years our teams at Pleasant Grove have competed with his McAdory teams. Dave’s teams were always well-prepared, organized, and played just as hard as he coached, as his overall record in football and baseball reflects.
“His demand for honor and fair play are just as intense. His teams were always well-behaved and well-mannered. The positive influence he has had on the young people of McCalla over the years is immeasurable.”