Hall of Fame coach passes

Published 3:49pm Monday, September 30, 2013

Elmore County High School and the town of Eclectic lost a legend Friday, as Hall of Fame football coach Terry Burt passed away at the age of 75.

Burt coached the Panthers for 28 straight years, first taking the sideline midseason in 1963. He led ECHS to Panthers to three state championships in 1976, 1978 and 1987. After a three-year return in 1999, he retired from coaching in 2001 with 195 career wins.

Flags at the high school were lowered to half-staff in Burt’s honor Friday.

Elmore County High Principal Wes Rogers, who began his teaching and coaching career during Burt’s return to the sidelines, said the school is mourning “the loss of a legend and an icon.”

“He touched so many lives,” Rogers said. “We’ve already had lots of former players and students come by the school today, and you can see on their faces that he did so much for them that impacted their lives.”

Burt was inducted into the Alabama High School Athletic Association Hall of Fame in 1995. He was named Alabama’s Coach of the Year three times. His Panthers racked up three area or region championships during Burt’s tenure and went to the playoffs 11 times.

School Superintendent Jeff Langham began his teaching career at ECHS when Burt was football coach and a teacher at the junior high school. He said he has “fond memories” of his time as the Hall of Famer’s colleague.

“I will always be appreciative for his friendship and assistance (along with his wife Wanda) that started upon my arrival here,” Langham said.

Speaking for the entire Elmore County School System, Langham said, “we will always be grateful for the wonderful memories and enduring legacy of Coach Terry Burt.”

“It is quite powerful to stop and think of the lives he has impacted and his contributions to our local community,” he added. “What a blessing!”

In high school, Burt played center for Greenville High’s undefeated state championship team in 1955. He played college ball at Livingston University in the late 1950s, and was an assistant coach at Livingston High and Central of Phenix City before taking the sidelines in Eclectic.

Burt is survived by his wife Wanda; daughters Teresa Hodge and Pidge Yeager and grandchildren, Luke Yeager, Becca Yeager, Cody Hodge, Lilly Yeager and Teri Hodge.

Visitation will be Sunday at Linville Memorial Funeral Home. Funeral services will be at 11 a.m. Monday at First Baptist Church of Eclectic, with burial following at Mt. Carmel Cemetery in Greenville.

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