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.”

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AHSAA's Evans, Bailey Announce Retirement Plans
     Joe Evans, Associate Executive Director of the Alabama High School Athletic Association, and Steve Bailey, the first full-time director of the Alabama High School Athletic Director & Coaches Association, announced Monday their plans to retire from their positions.
      Evans, who joined the AHSAA staff in June of 2000, is just the third associate executive director at the AHSAA since the position was created in 1968 by the merger of the AHSAA and the Alabama Interscholastic Athletic Association. He plans to retire by Nov. 30.
      He coordinates the AHSAA’s Coaches Education program, the school audit program, the Reclassification Committee and works with all championship events. He instituted and coordinates the annual Middle School/Junior High Conference that provides professional development for junior high and middle school coaches and administrators.
     Another major accomplishment has been his efforts to reinstate indoor track as a state championship sport. Discontinued in 2007, it will be reinstated next February with the state championship meet at the new world-class facility in Birmingham Evans worked closely with the City of Birmingham to develop this project from its inception.
      He also currently serves on the National Federation of High School Associations Equity Committee and Coaches Education Committee and has coordinated the AHSAA’s participation in the NFHS National Youth Leadership Conference.
      Evans came to the AHSAA with 29 years of coaching and athletic administration experience. He coached at Keith High School for 16 years where he compiled a 378-85 career record, then spent 10 years on Coach Gene Bartow’s men’s basketball staff at the University of Alabama at Birmingham. He was serving as the athletic director and chairman of the Health, Physical Education, Recreation and Dance Department at Lawson State Community College in Birmingham when he joined the AHSAA.
     “It is really hard to leave the AHSAA because I enjoy what I do and will miss it,” Evans said. “I am doing what is best for me and my family, however. I especially want to thank Mr. Dan Washburn and the Central Board that thought enough of me 11 years ago to give me this opportunity.  Because of it, I have had a chance to make many new friends across this state and the nation.”
     Bailey became director of the AHSADCA on a part-time basis in December of 2004 and elevated to full-time director in 2007.  He will retire Dec. 1.
    AHSAA Executive Director Steve Savarese praised Evans and Bailey for their service.
    “I can’t thank Mr. Evans and Coach Bailey enough for the leadership they have provided our coaches and administrators throughout the state during their tenures here,” Savarese said. “Mr. Evans is a man I respect tremendously. He has always represented the AHSAA with the utmost integrity. Coach Bailey is also a man of high integrity who has made a major impact through his outstanding direction with the AHSADCA. We wish both of them well in their retirement. Both will be difficult to replace.”
      Savarese said the AHSAA will begin the search for both replacements in the near future as the positions are officially posted at
      “It is with mixed emotions that I announce my plans to retire as Director of the AHSADCA,” Bailey said. “Recent developments in the Alabama Legislature with the elimination of the DROP program, paying more into the retirement program and the insurance increase adjustments have made it financially difficult for me to stay in the state system.
    “There are so many people I wish to thank for making the last seven years a pleasure. It has been an honor to serve the coaches and athletic directors of this state. I have worked with an executive director and AHSAA staff that has a passion for children and coaches. I have made so many friends across the state who ‘answered the call’ any time I have needed help. I will be eternally grateful for my association with so many outstanding people. God placed each and every one of them along my path to teach me many lessons of life.”
    Bailey led the AHSADCA though some major changes, including moving the annual All-Star Sports Week and Coaching School to Huntsville in 2005 and back to Montgomery in 2011.
      He saw AHSADCA membership rise to more than 9,500 coaches and administrators.  He also developed the popular sports-specific mini-clinic series hosted each year in Montgomery and has managed the Alabama-Mississippi all-star football and basketball contests.
     Under Bailey’s direction, the AHSADCA also began an annual Principals and Athletic Directors Conference. He serves on the NFHS Athletic Directors Committee and is a board member of the National Organization of Coaches and Athletic Directors Association (NOCAD).
     Bailey, a Robert E. Lee graduate, was a high school coach at Montgomery’s Jeff Davis High School before moving to the AHSADCA. Serving as the Vols’ head football coach from 1998-2003, he compiled a 40-23 record and led his 2002 team to a runner-up finish in the Class 6A state championship game at Legion Field.