Longtime Ernest Ward High School Coach Inducted Into Hall Of Fame

November 29, 2008

latham10.jpgA former longtime North Escambia coach was recently inducted into the Atmore Area Hall of Fame.

Better known as Coach Latham, Joe Latham dedicated his life to sports, making his mark in in his 27 years at Ernest Ward High School. He coached basketball, tennis, baseball and football.

Coach Latham graduated from high school in Maplesville, Ala. in 1939. After serving in World War II, he graduated from the University of Southern Mississippi in 1948. He was picked up by the Los Angeles Rams, then went to Detroit as a single-wing fullback before beginning his coaching career.

Coach Latham coached all sports but his favorites were football and baseball. He coached at Walnut Hill, Pass Christian, Miss.; Franklinton, La.; Orville, Ala.; and Wildwood, Fla. He dedicated 36 years of service to young people – 27 years at Walnut Hill. Coach Latham returned to Walnut Hill in 1960 after coaching in south Florida for two years.

He received a number of honors during his career.

He was named Coach of the Year for the Escambia River Conference in 1961, 1964, 1965, and 1971.

In 1965, Coach Latham was inducted into the University of Southern Mississippi Sports Hall of Fame, having played fullback there in the 1940s. He was assistant coach for the North All-Star Football Team in 1965.

He was inducted into the Hall of Fame at his alma mater in Maplesville, Ala.

To honor Coach Latham for his dedication, the Ernest Ward High School stadium was named for him in the 1980’s.

Article and photos courtesy Atmore News.

Pictured top: Coach Joe Latham. Pictured below: Members of the Latham family on hand for the Hall of Fame ceremony were (L-R front)  Suzanne Rodgers, Kathryn Rodgers, Laura Latham, Mary Hunter Latham; (L-R middle) Cynthia Rodgers, Evelyn Latham, Carolyn Loggins, Jay Russell, Gary Loggins; (L-R back) Mark Rodgers, Leigh Ann Russell, Joe Latham Jr., Susan Latham. Submitted photos by Atmore News for NorthEscambia.com, click to enlarge.



9 Responses to “Longtime Ernest Ward High School Coach Inducted Into Hall Of Fame”

  1. Greg Robbins on June 4th, 2015 2:32 pm

    I have fond memories of Coach Latham. He was tough on all of us, but we knew he cared about each of us deeply. I remember him going to the ER with me after a football game one night to make sure I was ok. He used to like to enjoy pond fishing and loved to cook the fish/hush puppies afterwards. Coach Latham was a good coach, but an even better man. Not many days have gone by over the 30 plus years since I graduated from Ernest Ward that I do not think about him or something he said and have a smile on my face.

  2. Jerry Bates on June 11th, 2011 7:26 pm

    Coach Latham came to Pass Christian High School (Mississippi) for the Fall 1948 football season. Coach came too late to install a new sysyem, so we had to use the system from the previous year for the first game. We wound up tied our first game . After that he quickly installed a version of the “T”, got us in shape and we were off and running. We won the MS Region 8 Championship that year, but Woodville knocked us out of the South Mississippi playoffs..

    Coach Latham was a very good coach –I admired him so much!!!! I graduated that year and moved to another school the next year. I lost track of him after thatand during my college and Korean service years. I was so happy to find this on the internet. A freind told me about. I printed it ou for future reference. Thank you so much for making this info about “MY COACH” Available.

  3. Bob Waltman on June 7th, 2011 7:41 pm

    I was a green sophomore at Pass Christian HS on the MS Gulf Coast when Coach Latham became our football coach. We had alread played a couple of games and were floundering. Coach Latham came in, got us in shape, made us disciplined, changed the offense to the Split T and we were off and running. We won Region 8 that year (‘48 I think) and entered thestate playoffs. We got as far as the semi finals and were beaten by Woodville. My oldest son’s father in law was the guard across the line from me and he left bruses that I still have. Coach loved to hunt quail and we had a small farm that had lots of birds. He would come with his wife and dog and hunt often. She would talk to my parents while he would hunt. He was a great coach, a terrific guy and he made an indellable impession on me. We only had Coach Joe one year but we knew he would go on to be a success. I am so pleased to see him honopred. I send my best regards to his family. He made a lasting impression on me. I am very grateful that our paths crossed.

  4. Jan Bohne on August 5th, 2009 1:25 am

    I have been cleaning out a family estate on Staten Island in NY and came across some letters from a Joseph Franklin Latham written to our Fetteroll relative. It sounds like they may have met after Robert retired and the family spent their winters in Florida. Did he serve on the USS Maryland out of CA? Knowing that ship was part of the Pearl Harbor attack made me want to find out if this particular J Franklin Latham survived the war.

    Thank you,

  5. richard bowen on July 26th, 2009 2:38 pm

    I played under Coach Latham and Coach Hoffman. I will always look back upon those days with pleasure. He was a rugged man with a huge heart and knew the secret to makin a great hush puppy.

  6. klw on December 4th, 2008 7:25 pm

    i’m doing a newspaper article on this.
    he seems like a well known athlete coach!

  7. Micaela Vaughan Fuller on December 1st, 2008 9:21 pm

    Coach Latham was such a GREAT man! He not only was a great coach but also a family friend. “Papa Joe” meant a lot to my family, especially my father John Henry Vaughan. My favorite memory of him is going to his house in Atmore to visit with him and his wife. They had a collection of Dr. Suess books that I would sit and read everytime I went. I am now a teacher and every year I make sure to pass on that love of books through Dr. Suess. Thank you for doing this for his family, they are a GREAT bunch of people.

  8. Autumn Slay on December 1st, 2008 1:40 pm


  9. Carolyn Latham Loggins on December 1st, 2008 11:07 am

    Thank you for this very nice editorial about daddy. I really appreciate all you do for the community.

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