Jimmy Hightower, who led Americus to football state championships in 1962 and 1965 and was the high school coach of Dan Reeves and Chan Gailey, has died.
Hightower’s record in 21 seasons as a head coach from 1960 to 1980 was 155-64-4, according to the Georgia High School Football Historians Association. Hightower also coached at Cedartown (1971), his hometown; LaGrange (1972-79); and Bainbridge (1980) before going to college ball at Georgia Southwestern.
Hightower had his most success at Americus in the ’60s. He was hired at the school in 1954, became head football coach in 1960 and won state titles in football, basketball, baseball and golf.
He was the head coach of future famous head coaches in Reeves (1960 senior season) and Gailey (1967). Reeves played on Hightower’s 1961 basketball state championship team.
Reeves and Gailey were high school quarterbacks under Hightower and later were head coaches in the NFL, Reeves with the Broncos and Falcons, Gailey with the Cowboys and Bills. Gailey was Georgia Tech’s head coach (2002-07).
“I owe everything I am in coaching to Coach Hightower,” Gailey once said. “He made me want to be a coach.”
Hightower died Saturday. He was 82, according to the Americus Times-Recorder.