Former Phil Campbell, Northwest coach passes 

Former Phil Campbell football coach and Northwest Junior College basketball and softball coach Mike Tice passed away this past week. He was 72.

Tice came to Phil Campbell in 1982, where he served as the head football coach for five years, compiling a record of 32-20. His first three seasons at Phil Campbell he went 8-2, 8-3 and 8-3.

“He was the best,” said Kelly Kiser, who played quarterback for Tice at Phil Campbell and later became the head coach of the Bobcats. “He demanded a lot out of his players, especially his quarterbacks. If you couldn’t be coached hard and yelled at, you couldn’t play for him. 

“If you were one of his players, you were for life. He was a loyal friend to the end.”

Tice is known for one of the most famous play calls in Alabama high school football history – the Hideaway Play – in 1984, in a game when Cordova was playing at Phil Campbell.

Cordova was 5-0 and Phil Campbell was 4-1. Phil Campbell led Cordova by one point, with less than one minute to go in the game. The Bobcats fumbled, and Cordova scored, taking a six-point lead. 

After a good kick-off return to the 49-yard line, Tice called the Hideaway Play. His quarterback, Daryl Bates, connected with Jim Bishop for a 51-yard touchdown pass to give the Bobcats a one-point lead. 

Cordova returned the kickoff inside the 20-yard line and was able to attempt a field goal. It was good, ostensibly giving the Blue Devils the lead; however, the officials called an illegal procedure penalty, nullifying the points and forcing Cordova to kick again. This time, they missed, and Phil Campbell won the game.

In the aftermath, Cordova’s coach appealed to the Alabama High School Athletic Association, saying Phil Campbell ran an illegal play. The AHSAA, however, ruled in Phil Campbell’s favor. 

Cordova filed a lawsuit in Walker County, seeking to overturn the outcome of the game. The Walker County judge ruled in favor of Cordova and said they won the game. 

Phil Campbell countersued in Franklin County, where Judge John Jolly ruled in favor of the Bobcats. 

The case ended up at the State Supreme Court, where the court ruled in favor of the AHSAA and judged that Phil Campbell won the game. 

The ruling came down just hours before Phil Campbell was set to play Vernon in the first round of the playoffs.

Tice left Phil Campbell in 1987 to coach football at Pell City, where he stayed for two years. In 1989 he returned to northwest Alabama, where he took the women’s basketball job at Northwest Alabama Junior College in Phil Campbell.

At Northwest, Tice won a JUCO state championship with the women’s and men’s teams. He coached at Northwest until he retired. 

Former Belgreen standout and current Deshler head coach Brian Pounders played on Tice’s 2000 JUCO state championship team.

“He was the only head coach I played for, other than my dad,” said Pounders. “We all loved the man. The last time I saw him was at Wallace State before our regional game. We talked for a few minutes, and he gave me a hug and told me he loved me. I told him I loved him, too. Every time he told me goodbye, he told me he loved me – every time.”

Tice lived on Little Bear Creek in Hodges. He was preceded in death by his wife, Sandy. He married Teresa Tice two years ago. He is survived by his children, Tonya Peoples, Amanda Thomas and Chad Tice. 

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