Red Flanagan was born in Paint Rock and graduated from Madison County High School in 1948. He thinks that W.O. Wooley may have had the greatest impact on his life because of his arranging a football tryout for him that eventually led to a football scholarship in Athens College. While at Athens, he lettered in football, basketball and baseball. In 1950, when Athens dropped football, he transferred to Bethel College on a basketball scholarship and later lettered in both football and basketball. He graduated from Bethel College in 1952 and signed with the New York Giants professional baseball organization. After a short time with the Giants, he returned to Tennessee and began his coaching and teaching career. Red retired from the Polk County School system in Florida in 1990 and was inducted into the Bethel College Sports Hall of Fame in 1996.