Former HT Husky Coach Jack Wood reflects on Bucs’ Finley
By Wayne Wood
The Bucs’ opponent this week, Hewitt-Trussville, has had a football program since 1922. The Bucs and the Huskies first played against each other in 1963 and competed in 5 games that decade. They did not compete during the 1970’s and 1980’s but then played against each other 8 times from 1990-1997. Since 2000, they’ve competed 7 times with 4 of those games being in the state playoffs. The Bucs have a 16-3 overall edge in the history of the series.
Speaking of history, the city of Trussville is about 50 years older than the city of Birmingham when Warren Truss first settled in the area before 1820. A professor named R.G. Hewitt founded Trussville Academy in 1869 thus the name of Hewitt-Trussville has remained for its current high school.
Included in the Huskies football history was Coach Jack Wood who began in 1983 and stayed for 19 years accumulating a 141-78 record with a state runner-up finish in 1992. Husky Stadium was rededicated Jack Wood Stadium in 1998 on the old campus location. The high school has had 3 different site locations within the past 30 plus years.
Jack Wood (no direct relation to me) was inducted into the AHSAA State Coaches Hall of Fame in 2003. He has served on numerous and various coaches committees for the state since then.
Coach Wood competed against legendary Buc Coach Bob Finley four times during his career coaching the Huskies. In 1990, Finley’s Bucs won 21-15 and in 1991 Wood’s Huskies won 13-0. In 1992, the Bucs won 12-9 in overtime and in Finley’s final season of 1993 they won 14-6.
He wrote a part for the Finley book I composed years ago indicating a few of his best memories of Coach Finley.
“Attending numerous coaches’ clinics around the South and always seeing Coach Finley up front whether Lou Holtz was speaking or a junior high school coach was speaking impressed me. He always attended every session and was always taking notes. For a young coach, that made a great impression on me. If Coach Finley can keep learning, so can I.”
“Getting a 7:00 am Saturday morning phone call from him apologizing for one of his players having an unsportsmanlike act during our game the night before. We have all done this, but a penalty was not called. In fact, I did not know about it. Coach saw it on film that Saturday morning and called. That’s Class!”
“I’ve always considered Coach Finley to be the prime example of the true ‘Southern Gentleman.’ I quickly learned that he had a great desire for his team to play well and win. Though a true sportsman, he wanted to win, and as an opposing coach you had better have your team ready to play very well or you would be ‘out-coached.’ I think of all the great coaches I’ve known and his name is one that always comes up first.”
Coach Jack Wood would have to be included into that group as well however.