Meet the Selma Times-Journal football coach of the year

Published 7:26 am Saturday, December 25, 2021

By Lew Gilliland

The Selma Times-Journal

Keith coach Anthony Lumpkin said a sense of togetherness was a big part of his team’s success in 2021.

That togetherness showed up, for example, on defense, where the Bears were stingy. Keith outscored its opponents 318-84. The Bears began the season with four straight shutouts and gave up double-figure points only twice.

Lumpkin said the key to that defense was a “willingness to play for each other. They knew their strong points and what each other couldn’t do. They all tackled well. They wanted to have fun.

“My message to them was to have fun and play the game of football, and that’s what they did.”

In fact, Keith had a lot of fun on the field in 2021, finishing 11-2, winning a region championship and advancing to the quarterfinals of the Class 1A playoffs. That list of accomplishments helped Lumpkin earn The Selma Times-Journal’s coach of the year award.

“It’s an honor,” Lumpkin said. “The hats off to my coaching staff and my players; they’re the reason this is happening.”

Lumpkin said one key to Keith’s season was the ability of his players to perform well, even when things didn’t always go as planned in practice.

“The way our kids worked … there would be days when things became a little chaotic, but they were able to multi-task. And they always showed up on the field,” he said. “They were a bunch of kids who knew how to play football, they wanted to play for each other. They were able to execute the things we put in for game day.”

Lumpkin took over as Keith head coach in 2018 after previously serving as a Bears assistant. Since taking the helm, he has led Keith to a record of 28-17, including a 15-9 mark in region play and three straight playoff berths.

A special part of the 2021 campaign for Lumpkin was getting to coach his son, Terrell Lumpkin, who started at quarterback for the Bears.

The elder Lumpkin called the experience “amazing.”