The Alabama Community College System Board of Trustees earlier this month unanimously voted to honor former Snead State Community College basketball coach John Kitchens for his years of service and his coaching accomplishments.

Snead State also will formally recognize Kitchens with a dedication ceremony in January, officially naming the court in the Plunkett-Wallace Gymnasium the Coach John Kitchens Court.

“Today was a very special day for our family. Thank you to (Snead State President) Dr. Robert Exley for your leadership and making this possible,” state Rep. Wes Kitchens, R-Arab, coach Kitchens’ grandson, said.

“John Kitchens’ impact on Snead College lives on today. It’s not unusual to see Coach Kitchens in the stands at the gym, supporting our basketball teams,” Exley said. “We are proud to have this opportunity to honor his success and the legacy he has left within our community.”

A native of Marshall County, Kitchens was a graduate of Trinity High School in Morgan County and Florida State College. His coaching career started in 1959 at Carlisle Park in Guntersville, where his Cubcats went 9-10.

His first job as a high school coach was at Eva High School, and his team was county runner-up in 1961. His Eva teams compiled a 30-24 record during his tenure.

Kitchens rose to coaching prominence at DAR, where his teams won a state championship and also had second- and third-place finishes. His Patriots won four consecutive county championships — 1965, 1966, 1967 and 1968 — and were 159-36 during his tenure.

Kitchens coached a couple of seasons at Northwest Junior College, then moved to Snead State, where he led the men’s team to a 201-161 record from 1970 to 1988. He was women’s basketball coach from 1986 to 2000, leading his teams to three state championships and seventh- and 12th-place finishes in the national tournament.

His overall community college coaching record was 640-415, and he received Coach of the Year honors once in men’s basketball and three times in women’s basketball. He’s a member of both the Alabama Junior College Athletic and Marshall County Sports halls of fame.

Some of his former players have moved on to have notable careers as coaches. His children and grandchildren also followed in his footsteps as athletes, coaches and educators.

One son, Brad, currently works in the Arab City Schools’ central office and coaches boys’ junior varsity basketball for Arab High.

Another son, Lance, has worked in Albertville City Schools for most of his career but was boys’ basketball coach at Boaz from 2004 to 2008. He has four sons who play various sports at Albertville.

Kitchens’ daughter, Nan, and her husband, Jimmy Gardner, have a son and daughter, and their son, who goes by J, was a successful high school football and baseball player at Deshler.