By Gary Lloyd
TRUSSVILLE — Hewitt-Trussville coach David Dobbs is retiring as head varsity track and field coach after 30 years with the program.
Dobbs will remain with the program as an assistant coach and will continue to lead the cross country program. Dobbs began his career in 1990, teaching physical education at Hewitt-Trussville Middle School. He then taught science at Hewitt-Trussville middle, junior high and high schools. He retired from teaching in May 2019.
“It has been my privilege to coach for the past 30 years at Hewitt-Trussville High School,” Dobbs said in a press release. “I would not trade these memories for anything. There is no better place to teach and coach than in the Trussville City Schools system. It is time to turn the program over to someone we know who will be able to carry on the legacy that Anita and I have built here. We have always taught that the program is bigger than wins and losses and have worked to ensure that our athletes developed character, through competition, to become outstanding ladies and gentlemen. We will always bleed red and gray and will continue to be a part of this program as we support it in the future. Go Huskies!”
Dobbs was featured in my 2017 book, Valley Road: Uplifting Stories from Down South, with this chapter on catching more flies with sugar than salt. Read it here. Dobbs is the best type of high school teacher/coach. He maintains a consistency that is tough to find these days. He kept the same phone number since 1987 so that kids knew how to reach him, if needed.
As recently as this month, he entered a Twitter discussion about oatmeal raisin cookies versus chocolate chip cookies, an entertaining way to pass time during this COVID-19 pandemic, and said that his wife makes a batch with dark chocolate raisins.
“Best of both worlds,” he said. He called them a game-changer, and said that a batch may be coming to a certain journalist in the near future. In a fun Twitter debate over which cookie is superior, he combined the two and offered a batch. I find that awesome.
During his time at Hewitt-Trussville, Dobbs has seen more than 80 of his athletes sign college scholarships. Dobbs led the Huskies to a girls state championship in indoor track in 1999. The girls outdoor team also won a state title in 1999. In 2011, the boys team finished second at the state outdoor meet. The boys also placed second at the state indoor meet in 2017. Dobbs has led the track and field program to five sectional titles and 12 sectional second-place finishes. Hewitt-Trussville won 14 consecutive girls Jefferson County Championships from 1992-2005. The boys won seven Jefferson County Championships and three county runner-up titles from 1992-2005.
In cross country, Dobbs coached a pair of state runner-up teams in 2010 and 2011. His cross country teams have placed in the top two at sectionals a total of 29 times.
Dobbs’ replacement is Tom Esslinger, the former Homewood track and field coach who led the Patriots to 31 state championships in cross country and track and field since 2005.