In every job Bobby Spaeth got into, he performed with such personality and zeal that it was never really work. It was a pleasure, not only for him but for all whose paths he crossed.

Coach Bobby Spaeth has died at age 71.

The graduate of Montgomery’s Robert E. Lee High School and Troy University developed a lifelong love for sports. When his coaching career ended, the passion did not end, merely transferred to whatever gig he thought up.

His career as “Coarch” started at Montgomery’s YMCA while still a high school student. In 1972, he hired on at Goodwin Junior High, leading the football team to an amazing eight seasons with a perfect 64-0 record. For a rookie coach, you can’t beat that.

Onward to Brewbaker Junior High where he launched the athletic program. For 19 years, he was a coach or athletic director.

He had been eligible to retire after 20 years with the Montgomery County Public School System, but he just couldn’t walk away. He stretched his career as a coach and P.E. teacher to 27 years.

After that, stay at home and just watch sports on TV?  No. He jumped into whatever honest work presented itself. He sold used cars and tires, earning the nickname, “Big-Hearted Bob.”  He fried turkeys in the parking lot. He was a lover of cooking – kitchens and grills. Before each New Year’s and 4th of July, he worked at the local fireworks stands, hawking each type of firework.

“You were a good friend and a great boss to work for. You will be missed by so many people. My boys loved coming to see you at the fireworks stand. I know you’re in Paradise now.”  __Charlie Hickman, friend

Somewhere along the way, he earned the slogan, “DAMMIT BOBBY.” We’ve heard at least three different stories about how that happened and who penned the name.

His love of fishing started in the River Region’s lakes and rivers. His fishing trips to the Gulf Coast led to a major life change in 2019. He had dreamed of living on the coast, and he moved to Gulf Breeze, Florida, creating an entirely new set of friends and memories for the past five years.

Those who knew Bobby knew that he was living his dream and could usually find him at one of his favorite haunts of ‘Paradise Bar and Grill’ and ‘The Break.’

Here is something quite unusual about Bobby Spaeth in death. His Celebration of Life will be a celebration indeed. It will be held at this favorite haunt:

Saturday, April 13, 2024

10 a.m.-noon (Central time)

Paradise Bar & Grill

21 Via De Luna Drive, Pensacola Beach, FL 32561

From the Paradise Bar & Grill to his eternal home in paradise.

This will actually be the second (or more) celebration of life for Bobby Spaeth. Here is the video of one where he was alive and there, and paradise came to him:

In death, Bobby Spaeth is continuing to make a difference for those children he loved to coach and mentor -- and for their families. In lieu of flowers, memorial contributions can be made in Bobby’s honor to "Dream Court Montgomery" at, or "The Miracle League of Montgomery"

Jim Zeigler writes about Alabama’s people, places, events, groups and prominent deaths.  He is a former Alabama Public Service Commissioner and State Auditor. You can reach him for comments at

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