70 Years of History
The Coates Family has been in the transportation business for more than 70 years. Beginning with motor freight in the 1940’s, family patriarch Bob Coates began passenger transportation in 1959, with an Avis Rent a Car franchise at the old Huntsville airport. Forty-one years later, in 2000, in an effort to diversify the company’s growing car business, Robert “Clip” Coates, Jr. added motorcoaches to the fleet and Spirit Coach was born.
Starting with one new 48-passenger wheelchair-lift equipped luxury coach, “the Spirit of Huntsville”, Spirit Coach saw phenomenal growth in its first three years. Spirit Coach placed in service nine new 48, 50, and 56 passenger motorcoaches by the end of 2002, and had traveled more than 1,000,000 miles throughout the United States and Canada. Major college sports teams noted that Spirit Coach was their preferred carrier, and Spirit signed contracts to provide team transportation with most colleges and universities within a 100 mile radius of Huntsville. Spirit Coach also built an expertise in transporting large school groups to Washington, DC, New York City, Williamsburg, and Orlando. As Huntsville’s economy continued to thrive, Spirit Coach began providing transportation for weddings, local meetings and conventions, often working with some of the area’s top corporate employers. And of course, church youth groups and senior adults have been a mainstay for Spirit Coach since the very beginning!
Today, Spirit Coach operates 13 Prevost H3-45 luxury coaches, each one seating up to 56 passengers. Spirit Coach operates two luxury mini buses, a 33-passenger and 40-passenger, with multiple flat screen monitors. Spirit Coach operates two wheelchair lift-equipped coach for passengers with mobility restrictions, and is a proud provider of team transportation for the University of Alabama wheelchair basketball team. Spirit Coach annually provides luxury motorcoach transportation for more than 30,000 passengers who travel nearly 850,000 miles throughout the United States and Canada. Together, Spirit Coach and the Coates Auto Rental Group operate more than 800 vehicles, from compacts to vans to luxury cars to trucks, offering an unmatched ability to meet any individual or group transportation needs.