19 PittmanMen who coached with him called the late Nathan Pittman one of the smartest people they ever knew, and an assistant football coach who was impossible to fool.
Pittman, who was part of four championship football teams in Fayetteville, died recently and was recognized during a celebration of life
service on March 15 at Rogers and Breece Funeral Home.

A native of Florida, Pittman came to Fayetteville as a young man and held assistant coaching jobs at a variety of local high schools. But it was at Seventy-First and South View high schools where he saw his greatest success in his role as defensive coordinator. He helped lead the 1970 Seventy-First team to the Eastern 3-A title, which was as far as schools could go in the North Carolina High School Athletic Association playoffs at the time.

He was a part of three state championship teams under head coach Bobby Poss, two at Seventy-First in the 1980s and a third at South View High School in the 1990s.
After Poss left South View, Pittman ended his coaching career with stops at Terry Sanford and Gray’s Creek high schools.

Greg Killingsworth played for Pittman his first year at Seventy-First and later hired him to coach at Terry Sanford when Killingsworth was athletic director there.
“If you were playing Trivial Pursuit, you wanted him on your team,’’ Killingsworth said. “He was the smartest man I ever met.’’

As for his skills as a football coach, Killingsworth said Pittman was way ahead of the game as a defensive coordinator. “He studied what people did and predicted exactly what they were going to do,’’ Killingsworth said. “You could move the football from the 20 to the 20, but when the field got smaller, his defense always rose to the occasion.’’
Bernie Poole, who became head basketball coach at Seventy-First, came to the school in 1984 and worked with Pittman as an assistant football coach.

“He made great adjustments when he watched films,’’ Poole said. “He never wanted to be a head coach. He liked who he worked for and that’s what kept him going.’’
Poss, who has won more NCHSAA football championships at different schools than any coach in state history, called Pittman a big part of any success he had while coaching at Seventy-First and South View.

“He was intelligent and he wasn’t one to get snookered,’’ Poss said. “You weren’t going to pull the wool over his eyes, whether you were the backup linebacker or the head coach.’’

Former Terry Sanford and Gray’s Creek head coach Bill Yeager took Pittman with him when he started the football program at Gray’s Creek.

“He was as knowledgeable as any football coach I’ve been around, I don’t care what level,’’ Yeager said. “I didn’t have to worry about the defense at all. He ran the defense, from top to bottom.’’

But Yeager said there was more than Xs and Os with Pittman. “He cared about the young men as far as being good people,’’ Yeager said. “The kids knew he cared about them. That was why they played so hard for him.’’

Latest Articles

  • Is ignorance spreading faster than COVID-19?
  • Today’s good news
  • Distance learning
  • This Easter, let the church bells ring for love, hope, unity and faith

 

Login/Subscribe