Red Bay's Roberts Notches 800th Career Victory


                                                           By KEITH LETBETTER
                                              Red Bay News (Special to the AHSAA)

    Red Bay High School girls coach Donnie Roberts notched the 800th win of his long prep basketball coaching career Jan. 25 as the Lady Tigers beat Colbert Heights 64-37. The Lady Tigers improved to 22-2 this season with the win.
    Roberts, who has compiled an 800-346 overall record in his 41-year coaching career, is now the state’s career wins leader for girls basketball and the first in state history to win 800 games.  He will be inducted into the Alabama High School Athletic Association Sports Hall of Fame in March as a member of the Class of 2014.

   “It’s not about me,” he said. “It’s about how fortunate my career has been at Red Bay and the 10 years Icoached at Tremont (Ms.). All I can do is thank the kids that played for me. They had a lot more to do with it than Idid.

   After earning a Master’s Degree from Mississippi State University, he returned to his alma mater, Tremont High School just across the state line from Red Bay and compiled a 142-127 record in the next 10 seasons. Roberts moved to Red Bay in 1983 and began working on the goal of making that first trip to Birmingham for the state playoffs.
    “I came here and took over a team that was 9-11 the year before. We had a real good year that first year and we went 19-5,” Roberts said.

    Roberts, who owns a 658-219 girls coaching record at Red Bay, led the Lady Tigers to state championships in 1987, 1993, 2001 and most recently directed Red Bay to the 2012 Class 2A state finals, a 54-49 loss to Section. Last year Roberts’ team won the Northwest Regional again and lost in the Final 48 semifinals.
     “It takes a combination of things to have a state championship program. It does take coaching, but it also takes pride in our program from our girls.”

      Roberts said that it also takes the involvement of the community.

“Everybody here is involved in it,”said Roberts. They back us and support us. The community likes to see us do well.

      Roberts said that over the years some of the best memories he has is that of having the opportunity to coach both of his daughters, Laura Beth and Leah.

“I think it’s rare to have coached two daughters and to have those two daughters on two different teams win state championships. I can tell you it’s a great experience.”


All-Stars To Hear Chizik At FCA Breakfast

Teams Work Out In Good Weather, Then Enjoy Shrimp Feed In Millbrook

            Auburn University head football coach Gene Chizik will be the featured speaker at the Fellowship of Christian Athletes Breakfast for the Alabama and Mississippi All-Stars Saturday morning at Montgomery’s First United Methodist Church.

            The players, who finally had a chance to work out in good weather Thursday after braving rain on Tuesday and bitter cold on Wednesday, will meet at 8:30 a.m. Saturday to hear Chizik before the squads head to Cramton Bowl for the 25th Alabama-Mississippi All-Star Football Game. Kickoff is set for 12:30 p.m.
            Tickets will be  available at Cramton Bowl the day of the contest. Alabama holds a 17-7 edge in the series that was held in Mobile from 1988-2010.

            Mississippi players worked out at Huntingdon College’s Charles Lee Field Thursday morning while the Alabama stars practiced at Faulkner University. Both teams practiced at Stanhope Elmore High School in Millbrook Thursday afternoon and then were treated to a “Low Country Boil” at Millbrook Community Center, complete with shrimp, corn on the cob and new potatoes among other choices.

            Both squads will return to Huntingdon and Faulkner Friday morning for the final workout. Following lunch the Alabama All-Stars will visit the V.A. Hospital in Montgomery and the Mississippi All-Stars will visit McGinnis School. Friday night the two teams, coaches and family members will gather at Frazer Memorial United Methodist Church for a banquet beginning at 7 p.m.

            COACHES PRAISE QBs: Mississippi and Alabama coaches lauded the work of their quarterbacks Thursday. Alabama quarterbacks Jameis Winston of Hueytown and Jonathan Wallace of Central-Phenix City each guided their teams to the state playoff semifinals – Winston in Class 5A and Central in Class 6A.

            Both have made verbal commitments with Winston choosing Florida State prior to the 2011 season and Wallace picking Southern Miss.

            Mississippi quarterbacks Todd Mays of Olive Branch and Anthony Alford of Petal met in the 6A state finals with Mays’ team winning 35-34.

            All four are sure to continue to attract lots of attention from college recruiters until signing day.

            THIRTEEN COLLEGES HAVE COMMITMENTS ON ALABAMA SQUAD: Each squad has 40 players with many still deciding their college preferences. Twenty-three of the Alabama prep seniors  have made verbal commitments to 13 colleges. Among the schools with commitments are Alabama (4), Southern Miss (4), Auburn (2), Kentucky (2), Florida State (2), South Alabama (2), Purdue (1), Mississippi State (1), Vanderbilt (1), UAB (1), Troy (1), Samford (1) and Arkansas (1).

            Mississippi’s roster includes 13 players with verbal commitments. Mississippi State has been the big winner so far with eight players committing to play collegiately for the Bulldogs. The other colleges receiving commitment include Ole Miss (2), Southern Miss (2) and Washington State (1).