James Walter Carmack Sr., known by many as Coach Carmack, has been an avid citizen of Franklin County for the past 60 years. He was born August 14, 1933, in Jackson County, Tennessee to Charlie and Alpha Carmack. When he was 12 years old, his family moved to Cookeville, Tennessee. He attended schools in Jackson and Putnam Counties and graduated from Cookeville Central High School in 1953. He then enrolled in Tennessee Polytechnic Institute (now Tennessee Tech University) where he graduated with a Bachelor of Science degree in Industrial Technology in 1958. It was during his time at college that he married the love of his life, Eunetta McDonald, on December 21, 1954.
After graduation from college, James and Eunetta found a home in Franklin County and moved to Huntland, Tennessee in 1959. At this time Coach Carmack accepted his first position with the Franklin County Board of Education as a woodshop teacher, as well as a girls’ basketball and football coach at Huntland High School. He remained in Huntland until 1968 when the new junior high schools opened.
He transferred to North Junior High School as shop teacher and assistant principal, while also coaching football and girls’ basketball. Due to North Junior High School’s building not being complete for the start of the 1968-1969 school year, Coach Carmack, the rest of North’s faculty, and students started the first half of that school year at Franklin County High School. They finally moved into their new building mid-year. In 1975, while at North, he earned a Master’s Degree in Administration and Supervision from Middle Tennessee State University. He remained at North Junior High School through the end of the 1979-1980 school year.
He started the 1980-1981 school year as principal of Franklin County High School. He spent 13 years at the helm of Franklin County High School and retired at the conclusion of the 1993 school year. He has commented that out of all his job assignments with the Franklin County Board of Education, his favorite was being the principal of Franklin County High School.
In addition to his coaching at area schools, he has coached Jr. Pro basketball, AAU Basketball, Little League Baseball, and has even helped coach soccer. Even after retirement he remained active by filling in administrative roles at Clark Memorial Elementary School, South Junior High School, and North Junior High School. He volunteered his time coaching football and basketball at Franklin County High School and coaching basketball at Clark Memorial Elementary School and at South Middle School. He is a long-time member of the Winchester Cumberland Presbyterian Church, where he has held the office of Ruling Elder and currently sings in the choir. He has two children, James W. Carmack, Jr. and Jane Elizabeth Carmack Earls, 5 grandchildren, and 3 great grandchildren with another great grandchild on the way. He considers them his greatest legacy.
Through more than 55 years of administration, coaching, teaching, and volunteering in and around the Winchester area, Coach Carmack has become a supporter and advocate for the youth of Franklin County. While now officially retired from all coaching and teaching duties, he remains a supporter of Franklin County athletics. You can often find him on the bleachers of home basketball and football games cheering on our Rebels and Rebelettes.