Legendary Central High basketball coach dies at age 75

Local News

One of the most successful high school basketball coaches in the Chattahoochee Valley died early this morning.

James B. Redd, who led Central High School for 14 seasons in the 1970s and 1980s, died at the Piedmont Columbus Regional midtown campus after a brief illness, his son Kelvin told News 3.

Redd was 75. Funeral arrangements are incomplete.

Redd was known as a great motivator and produced a number of top players during his tenure, including Ken Johnson, Eddie Adams and Mike Jones.

Redd began his coaching career at Barbour County Training School in Clayton, Ala. He won 62 games in four years and led the school to its first-ever region championship and a state semi-final appearance in.

Redd’s coaching career was dotted with great players. Travis Grant, who scored more than 4,000 points at Kentucky State and is in the Alabama Sports Hall of Fame and the College Basketball Hall of Fame, was the first one at Barbour County Training School.

He took over a Central program in 1974 that was coming off four straight losing seasons. and he started the turnaround, going 16-9 record. 

In Coach Redd’s 14-year tenure at Central High School, he won 325 games — an average of 23 wins a season.

During that time, 40 Central players to receive college scholarships, including University of Alabama signees, Ken Johnson and Eddie Adams, Auburn University signee, Mike Jones.

He was the Alabama Sports Writers Association 6A Coach of the Year in 1984.
Redd’s wins came against some of the top coaches in Chattahoochee Valley history. He had winning records against James “Bubba” Ball at Baker High and Columbus High; Henry Gresham at Baker Jimmy Lee at Hardaway; Jimmy Devenny at Auburn High; Ernest Washington at Tuskegee; and Dan Lewis at Carver-Montgomery.

Redd is in the Chattahoochee Valley Sports Hall of Fame.

Redd was also an accomplished teacher, teaching chemistry and physics at Central before he retired in 1989.

Redd was a 1961 graduate and valedictorian of South Girard High School in Phenix City. He graduated and finished second in his class at Alabama State University in 1965 with a degree in chemistry. He received his Master of Arts degree from Fisk University in 1971. 

Redd is survived by his wife, Marie and two children, Kelvin and Krystal.

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