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.”


Saban Addresses Alabama-Mississippi All-Stars

Both Teams Prepare For Saturday Game In Cold, Windy Workouts

            Just a few days after learning his University of Alabama football team will be playing LSU in the BCS National Championship Game in New Orleans in January, Crimson Tide football coach Nick Saban addressed 80 high school senior all-stars at a special dinner Wednesday night.

            The Alabama and Mississippi prep all-star teams, which will clash on the gridiron Saturday, dined at Wynlakes Golf and Country Club Club in Montgomery after two cold workouts at Faulkner University and Huntingdon College earlier in the day.

            The players will have two more workouts Thursday, the Alabama stars at Faulkner University at 9 a.m. and Mississippi's stars at Huntingdon College. Both squads will practice at Stanhope Elmore High School in Millbrook Thursday afternoon.

            On Tuesday, new Ole Miss head coach Hugh Freeze  visited the Mississippi team practice. Freeze, who guided Arkansas State to a 10-2 record and the 2011 Sun Belt Conference Championship, also coached Briarcrest High School in Memphis and Ole Miss standout Michael Oher, the subject of the highly-acclaimed movie Blindside.

            SEC coaches learned Monday the NCAA will allow coaches to attend Saturday’s 25th  Alabama-Mississippi All-Star Football Game, which will kick off at 12:38 p.m. at Cramton Bowl. The game will be televised live across Alabama and Mississippi by Raycom Media and its network of television stations. The game will be shown on each station’s main channel with WSFA-TV sports director Jeff Shearer of Montgomery handling the play-by-play duties.

            Alabama holds a 17-7 edge in the series which began in 1988 at Mobile’s Ladd-Peebles Stadium. This is the first year the contest is being played in Montgomery.

            ADCOCK PRAISES TEAM WORK ETHIC: Alabama All-Star head coach Jere Adcock of Decatur said his team worked hard Wednesday despite two practices conducted in the bitter cold. “It seemed to be colder for the coaches,” said Adcock.

            He said the team remained focused on the task of preparing for Saturday’s game. He signaled out two players who especially stood out Wednesday, Linden’s Terris Lewis and Cleburne County’s Rocky Hayes. “I knew they were good players, but I was pleasantly surprised at just how athletic they are. They came in with great attitudes.”

            MISSISSIPPI ROSTER COMPLETE: Mississippi’s All-Stars added one player to its roster late Tuesday to fill out its 40-man roster which was two players shy after two failed to report Monday morning. Mississippi head coach Larry Weems of Meridian added his own receiver LaDerrick Roberts Monday afternoon and defensive back Marcus Betts of Long Beach joined the squad late Tuesday. Betts had 70 tackles and three interceptions for Long Beach in 2011.

            Quarterback Todd Mays also reported Tuesday as well after missing the first day due to a bout with strep throat. Mays led Olive Branch to a 16-0 record and the Class 6A state championship in 2011, rushing for four touchdowns in a 35-34 win over Petal in the finals.  Mayes rushed for more than 1,400 yards and 18 touchdowns and also completed 156-of-256 passes for 2,874 yards and 28 touchdowns.
            Fellow all-star quarterback Anthony Alford had three TD passes and two rushing TDs in the championship game for Petal. He rushed for 1,524 yards and passed for 1,892 in ’11.