In Memory of Coach John Tatum

Dear MA Family,

I, like many of you, was saddened by the recent passing of Coach John Tatum. I played football for Coach Tatum in the mid 90s and while I may not have been the star of his team, he always took time to push me to become the best football player, and man I could possibly be. I count him among the most influential people in my life and the impact he had on me is immeasurable.

Coach Tatum was a part of The Montgomery Academy for over 30 years in various capacities. He was a football coach, an athletic director, an art teacher, and to some, a father. He became the heart and soul of The Montgomery Academy.

His trademark was integrity. He cared more about the kids on his teams than he did about the score on the scoreboard. He pushed us all toward the pursuit of excellence: on the field, in the classroom and in life in general. We wanted to make him proud and he never ceased to lead by example.

A few months ago, I had the privilege of attending a get-together honoring Coach Tatum that was spearheaded by Robert Kohn, Frank Thomas, and a number of former athletes and supporters who wanted to properly honor this man that has meant so much to us all. His legacy, not only to MA but the entire city of Montgomery and the state of Alabama was truly on display that night. A representative from every school in the city and several from outside the river region, presented coach with a helmet from their respective school and spoke to the direct personal impact Coach Tatum had on him. It was truly amazing to see that my coach’s legacy has been felt across school lines and spanned generations. We also got to watch the 1987 State Championship game and relive that crowning achievement with coach there with us. What a gift it was to see the joy on Coach Tatum’s face as he relived each exciting moment.

In the weeks and months that have followed, through Robert and his group’s leadership there has been a swell of former athletes and alumni interested in honoring this great man in a special way.

After much consideration, the school has decided to move forward with a special project to honor our dear friend and coach in the manner in which his legacy and the entire Tatum family deserves. Since so many have inquired about being a part of this effort, we are providing the link below to facilitate involvement and support.

Once complete, we plan to have a formal dedication ceremony honoring Coach Tatum’s wife, Mirenda, and the rest of the Tatum family at the October 14th Homecoming game. We hope that you will all make plans to attend and express your love and appreciation for all the ways Coach Tatum impacted the hearts and lives that have passed through The Montgomery Academy.


Alexander Carothers ‘98

Robert Kohn ‘94

To view others' memories of Coach Tatum and to share your own, please visit the Sons and Daughters of Coach John Tatum Facebook page

Collegues, friends remember Coach Tatum by Ethan Bernal, Montgomery Advertiser

Retired Coach Not Alone in Battle Against Cancer by Paul Payne, Montgomery Advertiser

John Tatum's Obituary

To make a donation in memory of John Tatum, click here.