Panter joins Oakman football staff as defensive coordinator

By JOHNATHAN BENTLEY, Eagle Sports Editor
Posted 6/30/19

OAKMAN — When he started his coaching career, one of Ben Panter’s goals was to be a defensive coordinator.

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Panter joins Oakman football staff as defensive coordinator


OAKMAN — When he started his coaching career, one of Ben Panter’s goals was to be a defensive coordinator.

Now after several coaching stops and an 11-year absence while running his own business, Panter finds himself as the defensive coordinator at Oakman High School under his brother-in-law Ryan Hall.

“When I started, I wanted to be a defensive coordinator and a head coach at some point,” Panter said. “When I stepped away from coaching (in the early 2000s), I didn’t know if I would ever be back, but it’s built in you. This will be my fourth year back. I missed coaching and the relationships with the kids.”

Hall and Panter coached the Jasper Middle School football team last year.

When Hall got the Oakman head coaching job in January, he asked his brother-in-law to join him.

“It’s been in my heart to be a defensive coordinator,” Panter, 41, said. “I’m excited about this. I grew up around here. My church is here. I’ve spent a lot of time down here. I know the people in the community. I love this place. It’s like a second home to me in a way. I had no qualms about coming in.”

Panter spent the last three years in the Jasper City School System at both the high school and middle school levels. Along with his coaching duties, he was over the city system’s alternative school, which is located at the former Walker High School.

“That was a mission field in itself. I loved the work and made relationships with those kids. I poured my heart into it. Leaving there wasn’t easy.”

Panter is a 1996 Walker High School graduate. He played his senior year under coach Bubba Davis. He played football at West Alabama before concussions ended his playing career. He graduated from Athens State University.

His first coaching job came at Cordova. He also had stops at Walker, Gardendale and Sumiton Middle School before stepping away to run his construction business.

More recently, Panter served as a secondary coach under Heath Brunner at Jasper High School before helping out with the middle school last year. He also coached the Jasper JV baseball team.

Panter is ready for his new venture in 2019.

“I’m looking forward to this. The kids I’ve met have been phenomenal. They are good workers and have a good work ethic about them,” Panter said.

He feels the Wildcats will be a perfect fit for his system.

“I’m like an old-school type guy. I like the big hits — playing hard-nosed football. That’s my philosophy. With the spread and throwing the ball a lot, in some ways we’ve let the toughness of the game go by the way side. I just want to bring some of that back, and this is probably a great place to do it because these kids are just naturally tough kids. You don’t have to twist their arms to get them to go to work. They just get it.”

Ben and his wife Mandi have two boys, Sailor and Barrett.