Spotlighting Your Neighbor: More than meets the eye with DHS coach

Published 12:00 am Thursday, May 22, 2008

Editor’s note: Spotlighting Your Neighbor is a new features that runs in the weekend edition of Serendipity.

His reputation among Demopolis High School coaches and players would seem to imply Russell Bedingfield is outspoken, gruff and sometimes abrasive. That&8217;s because he is.

One of the coaches Bedingfield admired most, Brian Seymore, now sits alongside him as a colleague in the athletic department at Demopolis High School.

Bedingfield&8217;s relationship with Seymore, while being directly responsible for his tenure in Demopolis, also played a large role in his breakthrough into the coaching circle.

When Bedingfield, a quarterback, shortstop and point guard at Macon-East, informed his mentor of his desire to coach, Seymore helped arrange a position for him at Pike Liberal Arts, an AISA school in Pike County.

Bedingfield began earning his stripes at PLA while enrolled in undergraduate courses at Troy University and studying coaching at the feet of local legend Larry Blakeney. During that span, Bedingfield learned the proverbial X&8217;s and O&8217;s of game-planning, diagramming plays and preparing for each game.

Those aspects of coaching serve to fuel his competitive nature, but what makes Bedingfield a good coach, his genuine concern for his student-athletes, could not be gained in the classroom.

However, as admirable as his passion for athletics and the athletes he coaches is, to neglect to see beyond his vocation is to misunderstand Bedingfield.

The competitive drive which motivates him professionally also permeates other areas of his life, helping Bedingfield to defy the jock stereotype to which shallow onlookers would otherwise resign him.

In addition to his enjoyment of athletics, Bedingfield is truly enthusiastic about the arts.

In addition to music, Bedingfield also enjoys art, reportedly having compiled a portfolio consisting of more than 100 works since his adolescent years.

Another important aspect of Bedingfield&8217;s personality is his love for Lesh, his nine-month-old American Pit Bull.

In June, another piece of Bedingfield&8217;s life will come together when he weds fianc/ Kasey Gibbs, an clear ying to the yang that is his forthright yet endearing nature.