Willie Rogest Averett “The Legend” was born Nov. 25, 1927 to the late Mary Stella Coleman. He departed his earthly home for his heavenly assignment on Jan. 17, 2018. He was preceded in death by his parents and brother.
Funeral services were held Wednesday, Jan. 24, at 11 a.m., at Friendship Baptist Church in Georgiana. Georgiana Memorial Funeral Home conducted the memorial service.
Willie’s family moved to Georgiana while he was still young. Once in Georgiana, they joined the Friendship Missionary Baptist Church. Willie confessed Christ at an early age. After serving in the U.S. Army and going off to college, Willie returned home; he was ordained and served as deacon at Friendship Missionary Baptist Church until his death.
Willie met and married the love of his life, Ms. Emma Mae Bedgood, and to this union four children were born.
Willie was a graduate of Georgiana Training School. After high school, he was drafted into the U.S. Army. He was stationed at Fort Benning, Ga. He was classified 1-A and waited to be called. He spent 19 months in service (European theatre). After service, he started working and planned to attend college. With three dollars in his pocket, he caught a Greyhound bus to Montgomery. He attended college on the GI Bill and finished college at Alabama State University.
Willie served 33 of his 35 years in education in Monroe County as a successful teacher, basketball coach, and athletic director at J.F. Shields High School in Beatrice. He guided the 1972 team, led by former Atlanta Hawks player, John Drew, to its first-ever state title. Willie had the great fortune of coaching John Drew.
The colorful Averett coached in many all-star games and received “Coach of the Year” honors three times. The current gym at J.F. Shields is named in his honor. Mr. Averett is a real legend and all of his former students, as well as former student athletes, honor and respect him to the utmost. In March 2005, Coach Averett was inducted into the Alabama High School Sports Hall of Fame.
Willie was preceded in death by one brother. He leaves to cherish his memories: his wife, Emma Mae; children, Syrenthia, Brenneta, Wayne, and Franchetta (Keith); a host of grandchildren and great-grandchildren; one brother, Crawford James Coleman; and a host of other relatives and friends.