Russell graduated from the University of Tennessee in 1964, and went on to graduate school there. He had an assistantship and taught physical education classes with Dr. Ben Plotnicki, a prominent educator, member of the Knoxville Track Club, and official “starter” for Tennessee’s home track and field meets. Winston received his master’s degree at the university in 1965 and stayed on as a physical education instructor. A year later, he received an offer to coach and teach in Oak Ridge.
Thus, a 50 year (and counting) legacy was begun. Coach Russell’s tenure at Robertsville Middle School included head football coach from 1966-1988, assistant basketball coach from 1966-1973, and head track and field coach from 1966-1989. In addition he served as an assistant football coach at Oak Ridge High School from 1989-2002 and an assistant track and field coach from 1989-2011. After a seven-year retirement from football, he returned in 2009 and was still on the Oak Ridge High School coaching staff in 2015.
Winston Russell has coached many championship teams and many individual champions during his many years of coaching. When asked once, he said that he enjoyed the physical education classes he taught for more than 40 years nearly as much as he did the athletic teams. Here from a newspaper article is what one of his former student-athletes had to say about him: