Jimmy Blanton was born April 1, 1958 in Oxford, Alabama. Jimmy Blanton was a 1976 graduate of Oxford High School. As a team captain his senior year, he placed 3rd at the 1976 Alabama State Tournament. Upon graduation, Jimmy enrolled at the University of Alabama, where he majored in education. After receiving his degree in 1980, Jimmy accepted a teaching and coaching position at Southside-Gadsden High School, where he would coach football, wrestling, and baseball.
A gifted coach and motivator, Blanton would excel in his coaching roles, but none more than wrestling. Jimmy served as Head Wrestling Coach at Southside from 1980 to 1998, and his teams would supply the state tournament with hordes of wrestlers over the years. The 1985 Southside Panther wrestling squad captured the school's first state title, which was promptly followed by a second in 1986. By 1987, it was becoming the norm, as the Blanton-led Panthers captured their third straight state title, truly earning the moniker of "dynasty" and cementing Coach Blanton's legacy. A runner-up finish by Southside in 1988 was swiftly corrected in 1989 with the program's fourth state title in five short years. This stretch of Southside dominance was noticed throughout the state and regarded as a special era by many. Although the '89 team would provide Coach Blanton with his final team title, he would continue to elevate his program and lead individuals to state titles and medals until he coached his final state champion in 1997. During his tenure at Southside, Jimmy coached multiple individual State Champions and Place Finishers, including Michael Pruitt (Alabama Chapter Member), Ken Bowman, Kevin Bowman, Keith Corder, Jonathan Crawford, Duke Hinds, Toby Ryals, Eddie Thompson, and Terry Thompson. In 1980, Jimmy also started the Southside-Gadsden Youth Wrestling Club.
Coach Jimmy Blanton tragically passed away in May of 1998. He left behind a 10-year-old son (Bryant, now 35) and a 7-year-old daughter (Jordan, now 32), as well as countless young men whose lives he touched. His impact has endured, evidenced by the many state championship teams coached by his former wrestlers. And Jimmy’s son Bryant has followed in his footsteps - as a 2010 NCAA division II Champion, and currently the Associate Head Wrestling Coach at his alma mater - Newberry College in South Carolina.
Lifetime Service to Wrestling