Former Jefferson football coach Jim Lofton releases book Former Jefferson coach Jim Lofton spent 50 years on the sidelines, a tenure he says “may or may not be a record.”
Either way, the well-traveled coach had things he wanted to say.
Lofton, one of the winningest and most well-known high school football figures in the state, has authored a book, So you think you want to coach ...
The coach said the decades he spent doubling as a classroom teacher came in handy with this project.
“It was helpful that I was an English teacher over the years,” said the 81-year-old Lofton, who coached at Jefferson High School from 1965-1974.
Lofton, who guided the Dragons to a 70-28-6 record, three top-10 finishes and a 1971 region title, will unveil his book Saturday at North Hall High School at 9 a.m.
So you think you want to coach ... is a 105-page guide for young coaches, incorporating Lofton’s half century of experience in coaching. He spent 39 of those years as a head coach for seven schools, during which he won 255 games and one state title. The picture that graces the cover of the book is of Lofton on the shoulders of his players at Lee Academy after winning a state championship in Alabama in the 1970s.
Through his work at coaches’ clinics during his retirement, Lofton noticed young coaches dealing with a lot of the same problems in running their teams. He wanted to help.
“In my years, I’ve dealt with most of those things,” Lofton said. “I had some answers, but there was so much that, in preparing for another clinic, it just ran into a book.”
In fact, Lofton said he felt an “obligation” put words on the page, given the role coaches play in their players’ lives.
“You take young people at this particular age — 14 to 18 — and you can really have a lot of influence over them,” Lofton said. “So I felt like I needed to help coaches become aware of just that. You have a potential here to really make a difference.”
Lofton’s So You Think You Want to Coach … includes seven chapters and an appendix. It discusses everything from practice schedules and game preparation to maintaining strong relationships with school system faculty and the community, borrowing a few vignettes from his coaching days to illustration his points. There’s also a section on X’s and O’s.
“It’s an easy read,” Lofton said. “It’s not complicated.”
It includes a forward from Georgia coaching legend Vince Dooley, who was Lofton’s teammate and roommate on the Auburn football team in the 1950s.
“This coaching guide will be invaluable to all that are seriously considering the challenges and rewards of earning the right to be called for a lifetime the revered name, coach!” Dooley wrote.
Lofton, who concluded his head-coaching career in 1998 at Greater Atlanta Christian, hopes this opens the door for more speaking engagement opportunities to further spread his coaching theories as he continues to stay busy in his retirement.
When he’s not writing books, he spends his time being a grandfather to 24, looking after his wife who’s had health problems, teaching Sunday school and remaining active in a book club.
He also looks back on his time at Jefferson fondly. Though he’s been gone for 36 years, Lofton’s 70 wins at the school still rank second all-time in JHS history, while his winning percentage (.714) is first all-time for coaches who spent at least two years in Jefferson. Two of his sons graduated from Jefferson, including Jimmy Lofton – now an attorney in the U.S. Department of Justice — who quarterbacked the Dragons for four years.
“There are a lot of good folks over there,” Lofton said. “That was a good 10-year period for me and my family.”
Those wanting to obtain a copy of Lofton’s book can do so by going to www.coachlofton.com