Northeast Florida Sports Jacksonville

Best of the Best: Best High School Coach of All Time: Round 3, Region 1 Basketball

It’s getting down to the nitty gritty as they say. We are in the elite 8 as voted by you the fans as who is the best coach of all time in our area. We started out with 32 of the best, and now we are down to 8. We’ve got the two best coaches in four areas of sport matched up against one another. And knowing how competitive these coaches are, it’s going to be close ones all the way. Luckily we have you to vote for the best of all time!


The Road they traveled..

Round 2

The new road that begins!

Bernard Wilkes vs Al Austin

It’s a match up you could easily see in the championship, but because these two legendary coaches coached the same sport, they had to meet in the elite 8 of our basketball region.

Bernard Wilkes became the head boys basketball coach at Ribault High School in 1976 and made his first FHSAA Finals appearance in 1981. In his 30-year career, he won 12 Gateway Conference championships, 21 district titles, 16 FHSAA Finals state tournament appearances, and was a state champion and state runner-up four times each. His final record was 758-158 – two wins shy of the record for the most wins in Florida high school boys basketball, set by fellow Hall of Fame member Don Wallen.

In 26 seasons, Al Austin (721-60) guided the Trojans to 8 state titles and 1 state runner-up finish. Ribault High School girls basketball coach Al Austin has had reason to celebrate in 2003. In addition to his selection to the FHSAA Hall of Fame, he completed his 25th season with a fifth consecutive state championship, a breakthrough in Florida girls basketball history.
At the time his 695-56 record made him the all-time winningest coach in Florida. His teams have amassed 22 district and 18 regional championships, 13 appearances in the FHSAA Finals, and eight state titles. Under Austin’s leadership, Ribault won 101 consecutive games from January 2000 through January 2003, and has never lost more than five games in a season.

So now it’s time to do the hard work. Who will advance? The one who revolutionized Ribault Basketball, or the one who took it to a new level of unprecedented dominance.