Former Sumter County football coach killed in crash


Sumter County head coach Stacey Watters reacts during a game against Northside on Sept. 12, 2008. (Photo by File Photo)


The Associated Press

OZARK | Stacey Watters, former head football coach at Sumter County High School in York, and one of his sons died Thursday as the result of an automobile accident in Florida.



Watters had completed one season as the head coach at Carroll High School in Ozark. His team defeated Abbeville in a spring game last week, according to a report from The Dothan Eagle.

Watters, 38, and his 10-year-old son, Quentin, were killed in eastern Orange County, just outside Orlando. The vehicle he was driving with his two sons stopped at a stop sign before turning in front of a box truck headed north on State Road 520, according to authorities.

The box truck struck the Chevrolet Impala on the driver’s side, killing Watters and Quentin at the scene. Florida Highway Patrol Sgt. Kim Montes said Watters’ other son, 7-year-old Jai, remained in critical condition Thursday.

Montes said Watters was trying to meet up with people who had accompanied him and his sons on a Disney cruise at the time of the accident, and all occupants of the vehicle were wearing safety restraints.

The driver of the box truck was not injured, Montes said.

Pastors and officials from throughout the Ozark area met with students at CHS Thursday before graduation to recall memories of Watters and how he changed the high school’s football program.

Many students wore lapel ribbons in honor of the coach during graduation services. Many others, like CHS graduate and former defensive tackle CJ Stapleton, were able to wear their football jerseys under their graduation gowns.

“I played football here all four years and I started, but when he became head coach it was just a different atmosphere,” Stapleton told The Dothan Eagle. “He told us to work hard and never stop. He pushed for me to be on scholarship now at Grambling (State University). He said never back down and never finish second.”

Glory to Him Fellowship Youth Minister Hunter Hughes said he was invited by Watters often to minister to the football team.

“He gave me the scripture to soar like an eagle,” Hughes said. “He loved the kids and let them know they could either peck like a chicken or they could soar like the eagles they were, and he taught them how. He didn’t just throw Jesus at them. He was a friend, an example.”

Ozark City Schools Superintendent Mike Lenhart said plans for a memorial would be announced later.

“Right now everyone is still pretty much in a state of shock, but the one thing I do want to say is that we don’t need to give up what he started,” Lenhart said. “His first year here, he got kids scholarships that would have never even had a chance to go to college. Kids probably that wouldn’t have graduated, now they’re going to graduate.”

Watters had a 29-34 record in five seasons as Sumter County’s head coach. His last thee teams (2006-2008) qualified for the AHSAA playoffs. His 2007 team went 9-3 overall, 1-1 in the playoffs.

Watters coached Cordarro Law, who went on to the University of Southern Mississippi. Law, a defensive end, was named to the All-Conference USA first team for the 2011 season. Law had 17.5 tackles for losses and a team-high 7.5 sacks during his senior season.

Watters’ first Carroll team went 3-7 in 20111.

Ebony Horton and Jim Cook of The Dothan Eagle contributed to this report.