Marengo County Sports Hall of Fame Inductee: Alfred Padilla

Published 8:23 pm Friday, January 26, 2024

A native of Winslow, Arizona, and third generation Mexican-American, Padilla moved to Montgomery, at a very young age. His father later relocated the family to Demopolis, where they ran numerous convenience stores. His dad was fondly known as “Poncho” to everyone around town.

Padilla has spent most of his life in Demopolis, where he attended school and lettered in baseball and football at Demopolis High School. His love for the Demopolis community began early as he stated, “Everyone was so nice and welcoming to my family, even though we were different…we were some of the first Latinos in this area.”

He was and continues to be a part of youth baseball in Demopolis, as he currently serves as the president of the league. He spent over 26 years as league president and as a coach, from 1978 to 2004, where he did it all, from fundraising to maintaining concessions, uniforms, and paying umpires. In 1993, Padilla coached the Demopolis Dixie Youth All-Stars to a State Runner-up finish. He also spent ten years, from 2000 to 2010, as District 4 Assistant District Director and State Board Member for Dixie Youth Baseball. As a youth league baseball coach, he was 20-0 his first year and won numerous league titles. It was always every player’s hope to get “the call” from Padilla on draft night saying that he would be their coach that summer. One future major leaguer who got “the call” was Andy Phillips (MCSHOF 2014). 

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After moving on from these roles, he stayed involved as a softball umpire for the Alabama High School Athletic Association and as a regular umpire for various recreational leagues. Just this past year, after retirement, he and his longtime colleague and friend, Mike Randall, started coaching again in the local Cal Ripken Youth League.

Padilla was also involved in youth football from 1991 to 1994 as a coach and referee. In 1998, he was a co-founder of the first-ever sanctioned youth soccer league in Demopolis and Marengo County. For several years, he took teams to play in various American Youth Soccer Organization tournaments throughout the state.

He also served for 17 years, from 1998 to 2015, on the City of Demopolis Parks and Recreation Board and continues to lead the “chain gang” at every Demopolis High School football home game. He has done so for more than 25 years. 

Padilla has dedicated a very substantial part of his life to the youth of Demopolis, whose impact can be seen through all the lives he has touched as a passionate volunteer and tireless supporter of all athletics in Demopolis. He continues to take pride in his former players, whom he has seen grow up to become successful on and off the playing field. 

He proudly served three years in the United States Army as a medic in the 101st Airborne Division. He retired from Alabama Power Company’s Plant in Greene County after a 43-year career in plant operations. He was a part of the local Alabama Power Service Organization. You probably saw him dressed as Louie the Lightning Bug during Christmas on the River in years past. 

Padilla received Alabama Power’s prestigious “Presidential Honor Award” in 2008 for his heroic efforts to save someone who suffered a critical injury while on the job site. 

By far, his most proud accomplishments are his 42-year marriage to Libby Fields Padilla of Demopolis and his longtime employee of Demopolis City School System along with their children, Christy and Freddy, and their families. Christy currently resides in Redwood City, California, where she works as a Registered Nurse at Stanford University Hospital, and Freddy resides in Vestavia Hills and is the Federal Affairs Manager at Alabama Power Company. He is married to Liza Luker Padilla of Birmingham, and they have two daughters, Reese and Ryan, who are Padilla’s pride and joy.