Coaches in Prattville will be the first to tell you how much sports mean to the community.
“Youth sports are big here and it’s all about that atmosphere and the kids,” said Chad Anderson, head coach of the Prattville High varsity football team.
By all accounts, Tracy Edwards bought into that system a long time ago and still believed in it until he died.
“He was a Prattville boy,” defensive coordinator Ryan Wilson said. “That’s what he lived, that’s what he loved and that’s what he wanted to be great.”
Edwards, 41, died following a shooting at Club Big Boyz on Holt Street in Montgomery early Wednesday morning. At the time, he had just finished his first season as a volunteer coach for the freshmen football team at Prattville High School, where he mentored receivers and where his son, Trair, was a quarterback. Edwards had also been an active volunteer with the Prattville Junior High football team, as well as with city league sports.
People close to Edwards said he was not only passionately involved with sports, but with the community as a whole. Playing football at Prattville High alongside him in the early 1990s, Anderson recalled Edwards as a tailback who was always focused on being the best he could be for his teammates.
“He wasn’t an outspoken person,” Anderson said. “He was out there to work.”
Wilson also played with Edwards, and like him, he learned how to carry what he was doing on the field into the real world.
“We didn’t have a lot of players, but we learned how to be tough and how to work,” Wilson said.
After a couple of years at Prattville, Edwards transferred to Billingsley High School, where he played running back. In 1992, the Alabama Sports Writers Association would select him to the All-State team. The University of North Alabama later ranked him as an All-Time Letterman for his season of play in 1993.
Coach Antonio “Bam” Richards, offensive coordinator for Prattville High, said volunteering was always important to Edwards because it gave him an opportunity to teach young players what he had learned.
“He always wanted to do something to help the kids,” Richards said.
Anderson said being a coach and mentor were what Edwards’ excelled at.
“When you volunteer, you’re not getting paid,” Anderson said. “They’re not doing it for the glory, but for the kids.”
Hours after Edwards was killed, Anderson spoke with his players and with the freshman team to talk about his legacy and how they could honor it.
“Some kids can be selfish and consumed by ego, but he would want them to go out there and do something for someone else,” Anderson said.
Prattville High Principal Richard Dennis said the school day was hard for everyone that knew Edwards “It’s a real loss for Prattville,” Dennis said.
As of Wednesday evening, a second victim in the shooting was being treated for injuries that were not life-threatening.
No arrests have been made in the case.
— Andrew Yawn contributed to this story