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.”

Prep Tix

Champions Challenge Teams Ready To Play

Thomasville To Face Heralded Hueytown Quarterback In Event Opener



            Thomasville High School football coach Jack Hankins said his players realize Friday night’s Champions Challenge football game with Hueytown at Cramton Bowl is a pre-season contest that won’t count on the Tigers’ record.

            But …

            “When our kids in Thomasville strap on their headgear and pads, they come ready to play,” said Hankins. “I never have to worry about our kids giving it their best effort. We had better be ready for Hueytown. They’ve got the best football player I think we’ve ever had the chance to be on the field with.”

            That “player” is senior Jameis Winston, the 6-foot-4 quarterback who attracted college recruiters from every corner of the football universe before settling on Florida State earlier this summer.

            “From what I have seen of him on film, he is without a doubt the best high school quarterback in the country,” Hankins said.

            The sixth annual Champions Challenge Football Classic, an event of the Alabama High School Athletic Association and  hosted by the Alabama High School Athletic Directors & Coaches Association,  kicks off the first of three games Friday night at 7 p.m. at Montgomery’s Cramton Bowl.  
            The series continues Saturday with defending Class 1A state champion Sweet Water (12-3) facing 2010 Class 3A state runner-up Hamilton (14-1) at 5 p.m. and defending Class 6A state champion Daphne (15-0) meeting Jefferson County Class 6A powerhouse Clay-Chalkville (9-4) at 7:30 p.m. 
            All three games will be webcast live by Raycom and can be accessed at the AHSAA’s website ( by clicking on the network link:

            Local Raycom Media stations (WSFA, WBRC, WAFF, WDFX and the AHSAA Sports network) will also livestream the games through each station’s website. The AHSAA Radio Network is also broadcasting the games that can be accessed at

            Hankins’ Tigers have won 96 and lost just 22 in his nine-year tenure – an average of 10.7 wins per season. Thomasville rolled to the Class 4A championship last year with a perfect 15-0 record.  Hankins normally might worry about players still having their heads in the clouds after such an impressive season, but …

            “We only have two offensive players returning on offense and we lost a great class of seniors,” he said. “We have had so much teaching we had to do that there hasn’t been any time to relax.  Besides, Hueytown is good enough to beat just about anybody. Winston is good enough to put 40 points on anybody quick. Our kids relish the challenge though. I like that about them. ”

            One player who is especially looking forward to the challenge is senior middle linebacker and University of Alabama commitment Tyler Hayes, Hankins said. “We plan to have him spying Winston.  Tyler wants to go up against the best and Winston is the best. That should provide some special moments for the fans who watch that matchup.”

            Hueytown (11-2) reached the third round of the Class 5A state playoffs last season, knocking off 2009 state champion Demopolis in the second round before falling to eventual 2010 state champ Spanish Fort. Coach Matt Scott’s Gophers are looking at the Champions Challenge game as a stepping stone to what they hope will be a Super 6 finish in December.

            “We are looking forward to playing a great team like Thomasville,” said Scott. “Our players want to play the best, and Thomasville has shown already they are one of the best.”

            The Tigers shattered virtually every Super 6 offensive record last year with the 59-34 win over Deshler at Auburn’s Jordan-Hare Stadium, including points (59),  rushing yards (447) and total yards (487).  Hayes certainly did his part. After Deshler’s William Minor raced 75 yards on the first play from scrimmage for a touchdown, the 6-foot-3, 215-pound Hayes returned the following kickoff 77 yards for a Thomasville score. He finished the game with 268 tandem yards with 148 on three kickoff returns, 80 rushing on four carries and 40 receiving on three catches. He also had a 36-yard punt and made two tackles on defense.

            “That’s the kind of player he is,” Hankins said. “Tyler loves to play the game. He’s the kind of leader you want on your side.”

            All six teams are making their first appearances in the Champions Challenge series. Sweet Water, with nine state championships to its credit, and Daphne (three state titles) are coming off state championship seasons. Hamilton had its best season ever with 14 wins last year and Clay-Chalkville brings in one state title (1999).

          The Champions Challenge Series history:



Opelika 34, Greenville 6                                                 

Auburn 30, Spain Park 3

Jackson 30, Trinity 8                                          


Prattville 37, Carver-Montgomery 0                                             

T.R. Miller 27, Leeds 7

Hoover 32, Oxford 27


Prattville vs. Oxford, canceled due to inclement weather


Prattville 36, North Gwinnett, Ga. 3


Hoover 38, UMS-Wright 0

Clay-County 41, Addison 6