Coach Fred Yancey was one of 12 major contributors to prep athletics in Alabama inducted Monday night into the Alabama High School Sports Hall of Fame. The 2020 class was enshrined at a banquet held at the Montgomery Renaissance Hotel and Spa Convention Center.
A native of Memphis, Yancey, 76, graduated from Messick High School in 1963 and began his teaching and coaching career in 1969 at Overton High School after earning his degree at Memphis State University that same year.
He had coaching stints at private Christian schools in Tennessee and Georgia and then moved to Alabama in 1990 as the head football coach at Briarwood Christian School. He remained at Briarwood for the next 29 years – building a program that would compile a 278-95 record, win three state championships (1998, 1999, 2003) and finish runner-up three times (2007, 2010, 2017).
His 278 wins at Briarwood rank third in the AHSAA for wins by a coach at the same school. His teams had 26 straight state playoff appearances, and the 62 playoff wins rank the Lions second all-time in Class 5A. He finished his coaching career compiling a 319-115-1 record. More importantly, his devotion to his faith and dedication to coaching excellence made him a role model for coaches and teachers across the state.
Yancey was named the Varsity Football National Coach of the Year by the National Christian School Athletic Association in 2017 and was recognized by his school for his outstanding career during the 2019 season with more than 400 former students and players gathering on the field to honor him.
Coaching at a Christian school sometimes produces a different approach to athletics. Briarwood athletic director Jay Mathews said Yancey’s commitment to coaching at a Christian school was a ministry in its own right.
“All of the people who have been in contact with Fred throughout his 29 years at BCS will say the same thing,” Mathews explains. “Coach Yancey was a man who clearly demonstrated a passion for Jesus Christ and always understood his work to be primarily a ministry of discipleship. The image that will forever capture this ministry is both teams meeting at midfield after a hard-fought game where Coach Yancey would always commend the opponents and their coaches whether Briarwood won or lost. He would always direct the conversation to the Lord and His blessings as both teams prayed together.’
Dr. Kynerd, a former superintendent of the school shared “Coach Yancey valued people and he evoked respect, appreciation, and admiration throughout the broad sphere of the athletic program at BCS. He has been a model for good relations among and between all coaches, schools, and classifications of the AHSAA. He was good for Alabama high school athletics through positive relationships, promoting unity among member schools and valuing the officials and decisions of the AHSAA.”
Dr. Kynerd said his coach was a well-respected and admired leader. “Impeccable character distinguished his example and decisions,” he said. “He always did the right thing, and countless people valued and sought his counsel. Coach Yancey’s style had an invigorating influence on his players, their parents, and every coach in the athletic program at BCS. Coaches, parents, players, and administrators sought and usually followed his counsel and suggestions."