From The Tribune staff reports
MONTGOMERY — The Alabama High School Athletic Association lost a coaching legend last weekend.
James Robert “Jim” Chafin, an Alabama Sports Hall of Fame member, passed away on Saturday, June 27, at the age of 92. Chafin won two state football championships (1969, 1970) as head coach at Robert E. Lee High School. He also grabbed a state baseball championship at Sidney Lanier in 1954.
“Coach Jim Chafin was a major positive influence on the lives of so many, especially in Montgomery,” AHSAA Executive Director Steve Savarese said. “He was a leader that led by a life of Christian example. Our heartfelt condolences go out to his wife of 69 years Joan Hackney, their children, grandchildren and great-grandchildren, their extended family and friends.”
Savarese added, “He was an outstanding coach who dedicated his life to teaching the merits of hard work and determination to the student-athletes entrusted in his care and teaching values that helped them become outstanding adults.”
He began his high school teaching and coaching career at Isabella High School in 1949 before going into the military. He joined the staff at Sidney Lanier High School in 1954, serving as assistant football coach and head baseball coach. His baseball team won the AHSAA state title that year.
He went on to coach the next 17 years at Robert E. Lee High School, 11 of which were spent as a football assistant under fellow Alabama Sports Hall of Famer Tom Jones, winning 93 games and five state championships. Chafin replaced Jones in 1966, winning two state titles in six years with the Generals. He led a 32-game winning streak from 1969-1971.
In 1993, Chafin was named to the Montgomery Area Sports Hall of Fame, was inducted into the Robert E. Lee High School Hall of Fame in 1995 and the Marshall County Sports Hall of Fame in 2009. He received Jacksonville State University’s Distinguished Award in 1995 and the Alabama Football Coaches Association (AFCA) Lifetime Achievement Award in 2009.
He served as a Deacon at Morningview Baptist Church in Montgomery for many years, teaching Sunday school for more than 50 years. The Chafins moved to Tyler, Texas, in 2013 to be closer to family and were active members of Green Acres Baptist Church.
There will be a private graveside burial on Tuesday, June 30, followed by a memorial service at the Chapel of Green Acres Baptist Church at 2 p.m. Visitation with the family will follow the memorial service.