By Bonita Wilborn
Plainview’s new head football coach, Nick Ledbetter, and his strength and conditioning/ coach/offensive line, Josh Clements both have dominance in their blood. Nick Ledbetter played football at Plainview during the famed “Decade of Dominance” in the 1990s under the guidance of Coach Dale Pruitt and Josh played football at Fyffe during the years when Fyffe was ascending the domination ladder under the tutelage of Coach Paul Benefield.
Ledbetter, age 36, is a 2000 graduate of Plainview High School where he was an all-state linebacker in 1999, his senior season. While attending Plainview Ledbetter participated in football as well as baseball throughout his high school years. He received offers to continue his athletic career in both football and baseball but chose instead to attend Northeast Alabama Community College (NACC) and then transfer to the University of Alabama.
Although he is still a young man, Ledbetter has already logged a lot of time on the sideline in a coaching capacity. His first stint as a coach came as a volunteer assistant on Plainview’s coaching staff during the years when Coach Clay McCall was at the helm. That stint lasted for the two years that Ledbetter attended NACC. After that, Ledbetter spent time on the coaching staff at the University of Alabama, first as a student assistant and then after graduating he received a graduate assistant position. Ledbetter left Alabama when he received a position at D.A.R., where he was instrumental in starting their first ever football program. His time at D.A.R. lasted for only one season.
Dale Pruitt returned to Plainview after a few years away and upon his return he contacted Ledbetter about becoming his defensive coordinator. So it was back home to Plainview for his second time coaching on the Bears’ sideline. He remained in that position from the 2006 season through the 2013 seasons (8 years).
After that, Ledbetter switched sports when he received the head baseball coaching position at Scottsboro High School where he stayed for two seasons (2013–2015) before returning to his first love, (on the sports scene of course) football. Ledbetter then came back to the DeKalb County School System as a member of Coach Matt Putnam’s Ram defense. His three-year stint there rounds out a total of 16 years for his coaching career.
Ledbetter commented, “Sylvania, Coach Putnam, and Mr. King gave me the opportunity to come back into DeKalb County to coach football there. Because we had success there and the players worked hard it gave me the opportunity to come here [Plainview]. The board, Mr. Richards, and Dr. Barnett trusted me to come here and it’s exciting to be back home and come back to the place where I learned how to play the game. The kids here already have a pretty good work ethic. There are a few things we have to pick up on, but everything’s going to work out. I named Chase Parker the defensive coordinator, today. I’m in the process of finding an offensive coordinator.
So far as positions, we’ve really not set down with the staff, we’ve just been working them out, running them outside, and instilling a little bit of offense and defense. I’ve not broken down who’s coaching what yet. We have a tough first half of the season, that’s for sure. We’ll go first thing and play Collinsville; a really good team, then we’ll turn right around and play North Jackson and then Geraldine and Sylvania back to back, which are two of the better teams in our region. Then we’ll have Susan Moore, which I don’t know anything about, followed by Fyffe.”
Coach Ledbetter concluded, “Melissa and I have prayed about where God wants us to be and for him to lead us. When he closed doors he opens other doors so everything works out for a reason. That’s why I’m here, cause that’s where I’m supposed to be right now.”
Josh Clements is a 2009 graduate of Fyffe High School. After graduating there, he attended Shorter University in Rome, Georgia where he played football. After graduating in the spring of 2013 he began his coaching career at Hazel Green that summer under the guidance of Coach Matt Putnam. He remained there for two years.
“When Coach Putnam left and went to Sylvania,” Clements said, “I took a teaching/football coaching position at Cullman High School under Coach Mark Britton. I spent one year at Cullman.”
Then a teaching position opened at Sylvania and Clements accepted the opportunity to work with Coach Putnam again. During his two years at Sylvania Coach Clements has helped coach football both years, coached junior high baseball the first year (Nick Ledbetter was the varsity coach), and during his second year he took on the strength program for the girls programs and filled the boys head coaching position for the first ever Rams soccer team.
Coach Clements has been hired to fill the vacancy left in the faculty by Steve Bowman’s retirement; sixth grade teacher. He stated, “I am excited for the opportunity to continue working with Coach Ledbetter. He has a wealth of both knowledge and experience. He also has a passion for not only the game, but also for the students he works with. I hope to learn as much as I can under Ledbetter and with our staff at Plainview.”