“Going out on top”: Coach Jack Doss talks about why he chose retirement


Jack Doss (WHNT News 19 file)

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HUNTSVILLE, Ala. (WHNT) - Coach Jack Doss will go down as one of the most legendary coaches to ever pace the hardwood in Huntsville. Of his 36 year coaching career, all but four years were spent here in the Tennessee Valley.

The Mae Jemison High School Boys Basketball Coach announced Monday afternoon, this past season was his last.

Doss holds the AHSAA record for state championships, with 10. While coaching at Jemison High, the boys' team went 33-4 overall, and 27-0 against in-state foes last season, bringing home a state title.

While the record state championships may be his claim to fame, his biggest pride comes from the boys he's coached into respectful young men.

Coach Doss is rarely at a loss for words, but says his decision to retire came in a rare moment of silence.

"Pumping gas on Wavaho on Governors and it felt like the good Lord convinced me it’s time to step down," Coach Doss told WHNT News 19.

He says once his decision was made, he knew he couldn't and shouldn't turn back.

“I didn’t even tell my wife when I was leaving the house this morning," says Doss. “I’ve been blessed, God’s favor has been on me, and it’s been a fun trip and it’s time to step down and rest a little bit.”

That's not to say, the choice was an easy one.

“It’s hard to walk away from them and they’ll find somebody to carry the tradition on," he says.

Coach Doss began his career at a now-shuttered school in Birmingham - Hayes High School. Early on, he made a style decision that would stick, a blue shirt and yellow tie.

"Nobody knows how many clothes you got if you wear the same colors all the time," Doss jokes.

As his closet grew, so did his "Blue Map" state championships. He notched his 10th title this year.

“It’s just the timing is right. You don’t get to go out on top very many times, and this is the time," says Doss.

Jack says, he doesn't want to be known for titles, wins or even his signature style. No, he wants to be remembered for something much more important.

"That’s a good Christian coach, he never cussed his players but he was on them tough but it was a labor of love," he says.

And when you ask Doss what he'll miss most, sometimes even the most well spoken coach can be found at a loss for words.

"Some of the simple things like that about coaching, and then when they come back with their kids, you know…" Doss says, as his eyes well with tears. 

In addition to more time with his grandchildren, Coach Doss says he's most excited about a planned trip to the Holy Land with his church.

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