‘Carl Madison Field’ – School Board Considers Renaming Tate Football Field For Legendary Coach

December 17, 2020

The Escambia County School Board will consider a proposal next month to name the football field at Tate High School as the “Carl Madison Field” in honor of the legendary coach that led the Aggies to a 1980 state championship and is one of the all-time winningest high school coaches in the nation.

Madison, who will turn 90 next month, sits at number two on Florida’s all-time football coaching victories list with a 326-129-7 record.

In addition to winning a state title at Tate, he took the Pine Forest Eagles to two state championships in 1987 and 1988. The 1988 Eagle team was named as national champions by USA Today, and Madison earned the title of the National High School Football Coach of the Year. All in all, he coached at five different Florida High Schools including Ernest Ward, plus three out of state schools.

His football days began early at Escambia County High School in Atmore where he played tailback under Coach Herbert Barnes from 1945 to 1947, making him one of Atmore’s semi-famous “Barnes Boys” with 30 straight wins. After a stint in the Army, from 1950 to 1952, Madison  played college ball for Texas Tech and Troy State Teachers College in the mid-1950’s.

Fresh out of college, Madison coached for four years beginning in 1957 at Ernest Ward High School in Walnut Hill. He moved to Milton High in 1961, coaching them to a state championship and 34 straight victories. He then took a coaching job at a Georgia High School, losing a state championship game in 1968.

Madison joined the coaching staff at Tate in 1971 on his way to winning that 1980 state championship. He left Tate in 1983, heading to Pensacola High for a couple of years. Then it was off to Pine Forest and those back-to-back state championships. He coached at an Albany, Georgia, school, another 10 years at Milton High and another short period at PHS during the period from 1989 until 2002.

In 2002, he took the head coach job at the small Jackson Academy in Alabama. The then 71-year old took over a team that had gone 0-10 prior to his arrival. He lost his first two games at Jackson, but he went on to win the state championship. The following year, Jackson was undefeated and won another state championship.

In 2009, Madison briefly came out of retirement to once again take to the field at Tate, this time as an offensive consultant.

The Escambia County School Board will consider a resolution at their January 19, 2021, meeting to name the Tate High football field as “Carl Madison Field”. The stadium will continue to be known as the Pete Gindl Stadium.


27 Responses to “‘Carl Madison Field’ – School Board Considers Renaming Tate Football Field For Legendary Coach”

  1. Aggie of 83 on January 14th, 2021 12:57 am

    I was a student at Tate and there is no doubt that he was a great coach and deserves recognition. However, I think it is to confusing to have the field named one thing and the stadium something different. Keep it as it is. When I go back to Tate to watch the games it reminds me of the good old days when I was in the stadium. He won 1 National title at Tate and back to back (2) at Pine Forest. Not sure why they want to do this at Tate instead of Pine Forest.

  2. Danny Webb on January 12th, 2021 2:45 pm

    Coach Madison,

    Little did we know that 40 years ago at the young ages of 14-17, that we were being taught true lessons of life.

    Lessons that have stayed with us to this very day. Lessons like discipline to stick it out during those two-a-days no matter how hot, how hard, how thirsty, and how tough they were. Lessons to trust in your teammates like calling crack-backs on those outside sweeps, lessons to know that when you failed to execute your responsibilities there were going to be consequences – whether running stadium bleachers or 50-yard sprints or one-on-one in the cage. But the biggest lesson learned for me was to respect your coach and teammates. They say if you can count on one hand the number of true friends you have, you are blessed. Well, I am Blessed! I am proud to say that my best friends outside my wife, are four of my defensive teammates – class of ‘79. I never had the privilege of serving in the military and have said on many occasions that playing under Coach Carl Madison for all four years is about the closest that I ever got to being part of a true brother hood. Special bonds were being built in those days between a group of young boys that have stuck with us to this day and we never even realized it.

    I had the privilege of playing under Coach from 1976-1979. We did not win State, we did not even win District our Senior year, but what we did “win in”, was how to live Life applying those principles you taught us.

    Thank You Coach Madison for the many years and long hours of dedication not just to this sport, but to the impact that you have had on so many young men’s lives.

    Congratulations on your life achievements & Happy 90th Birthday!

    Danny Webb
    Class of ‘79

  3. Janice Cooley Stewart on January 1st, 2021 12:32 pm

    Where do we sign up to come

  4. Dan on December 31st, 2020 11:31 am

    Michael – thanks for sharing and serving.

  5. Michael Miller on December 31st, 2020 10:19 am

    I played QB and FS for coach mad dog at MHS from 1992-1995. He is a great coach and taught me so much about life and football. I got to play at Troy after serving in the Navy; similar to his bio.

  6. MIKE PEADEN on December 22nd, 2020 2:29 am


  7. CW on December 20th, 2020 3:51 am

    Do it . . .

  8. Bama on December 18th, 2020 5:58 am

    Coach Madison certainly deserves the praise he gets from his former players. like someone said before, he was tough but fair. I played for Coach Madison when he was at Ernest Ward in the early 60’s

  9. Justin on December 17th, 2020 9:37 pm

    Coach Madison absolutely deserves this honor. I was lucky to attend Jackson Academy when he was coaching there. He found some old 70’s Band uniforms and thought it would be a good idea to get a few of us goof balls in them for football games. We had a blast goofing off as “the band” with out kazoos, tambourines, and 5 gallon buckets as drums. Had a lot of great memories because of Coach.

  10. Jlb on December 17th, 2020 6:38 pm

    The stadium name would remain the same.. The football field would be named after Coach Madison.. I can definitely say he was a tough coach. But his player respected him highly. It’s a shame we don’t have more coaches like him today. Congratulations on turning 90 soon.. And definitely hope that the school board will vote for the field to be named after Coach Madison.

  11. Jim on December 17th, 2020 6:18 pm

    Folks, as many have already said, the name of the stadium will not change. This is the same thing as was done at Florida State. The stadium is still Doak Campbell Stadium. The field is now named after Bobby Bowden. The same thing with the baseball stadium, Dick Howser Stadium at Mike Martin Field. And the honor is long overdue for Coach Madison.

  12. Cee-Jay on December 17th, 2020 3:05 pm

    I do apologize, I was under the impression that the stadium and feild name were the same. Since they are different, Madison’s name should be on the field. From what I understand he was a great coach.

  13. Barry Southers on December 17th, 2020 12:59 pm

    My son played for Coach Madison at PFHS and to this day he loves coach Madison he respects him for making young men see what can happen when they do their job coach is a winner in life and on the field he deserves this

  14. Dan on December 17th, 2020 12:38 pm

    Coach Madison, now almost 90 years young, set an inspirational tone in a 1977 keepsake letter to me and my teammates prior to that football season. His signed challenge meant you’d better show up in shape and ready for conditions not suitable for the unconditioned. An unforgettable 2-week pre-season of hot & humid August two a days awaited. Sweat would be plentiful while water breaks would be reserved for the end of practice. Playing for coach Madison was not easy and often demanding. Winning however was rewarding. What I learned during that long ago, 4-year window of growth was that to realize success, hard work would be required. There would be sacrifice, a required team commitment and consequences for under-performing or poor decisions. Those not bought in would weed themselves out and find other interests. Coach Madison was old school, usually 2-3 steps ahead and passionate. Coach was the right leader in my life at the right time for which I remain thankful. He was tough but fair, revered and sometimes respectfully feared. His 45 year career would be decorated with a record number of wins, 5 state championships (Tate’s first & only in 1980), national high school coach of the year honors, multiple hall of fame inductions and other distinctions too numerous to include here. He tried to win as many games as he could and was dedicated to his profession. A large part of his legacy can be traced to the countless former players & many coaches who would become leaders and successful contributors later in life. Naming the Tate campus football field “Carl Madison Field” at Pete Gindl Stadium is not only appropriate but deserving and long overdue.

  15. Citizen on December 17th, 2020 12:07 pm

    Try to follow…

    It would be “Carl Madison Field at Pete Gindl Stadium”.

    The stadium name would NOT change.

    This is a well-deserved honor for Coach Madison.

    P.S. There’s no “e” at the end of “Gindl”

  16. db on December 17th, 2020 11:23 am

    Just think of all the others that were around a lot longer…
    does loyalty count for anything anymore?

  17. ensley boy on December 17th, 2020 11:04 am

    Why can”t it be named the Gindle-Madison stadium?

  18. tg on December 17th, 2020 11:02 am

    Coach Madison was great but Pete Gindle was not Minced Meat.

  19. Stephen on December 17th, 2020 10:28 am

    @Cee-Jay the stadium will remain named for Mr. Gindl. They are naming the FIELD for Coach Madison and rightfully so.

  20. catman on December 17th, 2020 10:27 am

    Cee-jay they are talking about the field being named after Coach Madison not the stadium.He deserves this honor.

  21. cadman on December 17th, 2020 10:03 am

    This would be a wonderful tribute to Coach Madison, and those of us who played under his tenure.

  22. Alan on December 17th, 2020 8:09 am

    The man was a winner, a motivator, and won State Championships in both Escambia and Santa Rosa counties. If only there were a roadway, perhaps a new bridge, that connected the two counties that could be named after him to show the level of appreciation he deserves.

  23. Nobody on December 17th, 2020 8:01 am

    They should without a doubt name the field after Coach Madison. I played for him at Ernest Ward in 1986 and he turned our program around. He was as tough as they come but would have done anything for anyone of us. Although he only coached at Ernest Ward that one year before going to Pine Forest H.S that was some of the best days. It should be a no brainer to rename that field after Coach.

  24. JTV on December 17th, 2020 7:04 am

    Well Deserved

  25. MJ on December 17th, 2020 6:17 am

    Played under him 74 -78. His motivation and character along with discipline were instilled in his players.Values of doing your assignment to do it the correct way, and if not accomplished then “Let’s do it again”. I agree that the field should be named in his honor.
    Would also be nice to see the a sports facility in his honor with a with statue.Way to go Coach Madison
    You have touched my life and thanks.

  26. Class of 80 Aggie on December 17th, 2020 6:10 am

    Why hasn’t this been done already? Long overdue! Coach Madison deserves this honor.

  27. Cee-Jay on December 17th, 2020 5:54 am

    Pete Gindle was a part of Tate High School and a part of the north end community. He watched a lot of kids grow up, not just in high school. The stadium should stay The Gindle Stadium.

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