ATHENS, Ala. (WHNT) — Athens native Keith Dunnavant has written multiple sports documentaries and books, focusing on legends like Paul “Bear” Bryant, Joe Montana, and Bart Starr.
But now, Dunnavant has written a documentary that hits a little closer to home and is “close to heart.”
“Willie’s Gift” is a short documentary about Athens High School’s 1975 state-champion football team. The doc will premiere on April 20 at 6:30 p.m. at the new Athens High Auditorium.
Tickets for the premiere are $20 dollars and are available at several outlets around the city of Athens, as well as online here and at the door. All proceeds go the Feed the Eagle which is the food and nutrition program that supports the Athens football team.
The 1975 Athens football team, led by Coach Larry McCoy, is considered to be one of the best in Alabama history after it finished 12-1-1 to claim the school’s first Class 3A state championship. Eight members of the team have been inducted into the Limestone County Sports Hall of Fame.
The documentary features interviews with running back/linebacker Freddie Smith who won 3A player of the year and went on to star at Auburn, Coach McCoy and other key players like John Marshall, Steve Parker, Bill Ming and Thomas Woodroof.
Dunnavant is a 1983 Athens graduate, so he says the team meant a lot to him growing up.
“This is the story of a great football team, one that was a big part of my life growing up,” Dunnavant said, “and it’s also a story about the connective tissue between the program and its community. It digs into the power of pride and shared values and how a loving parent can make all the difference.”
Fans planning to see the film are encouraged to arrive early to walk the carpet and mingle with the players at 5:30 p.m. Following the premiere, there will be a brief question and answer session with Dunnavant and members of the team.
“This will be a night of celebration for Athens. This is our opportunity as a community to recognize the championship football team and also what high school football represents to our culture. I look forward to seeing old friends and sharing this special moment with my hometown,” Dunnavant said.