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By Joe Thomas
Ledger Editor 

Former Blackcats honor Coach Powell

Century Blackcats gather to pay tribute to Coach Powell


June 15, 2023

Joe Thomas

Century Blackcats gather to pay tribute to Coach Powell

Former Century Blackcat players for Melvin 'Buck' Powell gathered Saturday to pay tribute to the man they said not only instilled Blackcat Pride in them, but helped mold them into citizens long after their football career ended.

Bubba Hammac said Tony Simpson, Tony Brown and Doodle Langhorne, who all played for Powell at Century in Powell's last year in 1975, said they got together and decided they needed to do something to honor their old coach.

"We needed to do something for Coach Powell to honor his time in Century," Hammac said.

So they began reaching out to former Blackcats who played for Powell from 1970 to the end of the 1975 football season.

During his six seasons leading the Blackcats, Powell's teams went 46-15-2. Powell was named the Escambia River Conference Coach of the Year in 1973, 1974 and 1975. In 1975 Powell was also named the Florida Coach of the Year.

About 20 former players gathered last Saturday to honor the 80-year old Powell. The day also included a Face time chat with New York Mets head baseball coach Buck Showalter, who played football under Powell at Century.

The group presented Powell with a plaque that read "In appreciation of Coach Buck Powell for instilling lifelong pride and character in all of us".

Steve Stanton, who played football under Powell from 1972 to 1975, said Coach Powell taught a lot more than football.

Stanton said discipline and following instructions were on the top of Powell's list.

"You didn't have long hair or sideburns and on Thursday night's before a Friday game, you were home by 9 p.m." Stanton said. "We all had to wear ties to school on Fridays during football season."

Powell's coaching career began at Lyeffion High School,where he was the head football coach and teacher from1966 to 1969. He was an assistant football coach and coached basketball one year at Greenville High School.

He then became the head football coach and athletic director in Century in 1970. Powell then moved to Escambia County High School in Atmore where he led the Blue Devils to the 1983 Class 3A championship. He was also named Alabama's Coach of the Year in 1983.

After getting out of coaching, Powell continued in education serving as an assistant principal at ECHS, principal of Rachel Patterson Elementary School in Atmore and served as the Escambia County (Ala.) School Superintendent from 2000 to 2006.


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