Longtime Warrior Council Member James “Coach” Jett, 79, died at his home on Monday night, after a long illness.
Jett served on the Warrior Council for 52 years, which is believed to the be longest term of service of any seated, elected official in the state. Jett was just 27 when he took office in 1968.
According to Mayor Johnny Ragland, Jett’s legacy with the city will be his love for local children and the park and recreation programs that served them. Over the years, he often went out to prepare the city’s fields himself to ensure they were in “pristine” condition for the kids who used them, Ragland remembers. He was instrumental in getting the ball fields built in the early 70s, according to Council Member Chuck Mosley.
In fact, until health issued began to sideline him two years ago, Jett could often be found at the city’s fields working to keep the facilities in top shape.
Jett’s dedication to the parks and the kids who play in them led the other council members to surprise Jett with a proposal to rename one of the city’s fields “Jett Field.”
Jett himself had been a catcher for his college’s baseball team and “a heck of a baseball player,” Ragland remembers.
But Jett’s service to his community wasn’t limited to his time in office, he also served as a coach at Mortimer Jordan High School and Warrior High School, eventually becoming the principal at Warrior High School.
Mosley said Tuesday that he was mourning the loss of his friend and mentor.
“Coach Jimmy Jett’s wealth of knowledge, experience and love for the city can never be replaced,” Mosley said. “It’s been a real pleasure for me over the last eight years serving Warrior and our citizens sitting at the feet of a man like Coach Jett.”
Jett was also a longtime board member for the Cullman Jefferson Gas Board.
Messmer Goodwin Funeral Home in Warrior will be handling Jett’s arrangements. Ragland said the city will plan a formal memorial for Jett after the coronavirus danger has passed.