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.”


McGill-Toolen, Huntsville Win State Swim/Diving Titles

    McGill-Toolen High School totaled 174 points to win the AHSAA 2012 girls state swimming championship and Huntsville High School won the boys title with 239.5 points.
    McGill-Toolen’s boys were runner-up with 237 points and Fairhope third with 211. St. Paul’s Episcopal scored 162 points to finish second behind McGill-Toolen’s girls. Spain Park had 156 points to take third place.
     A total of five boys state meet records and three girls records were set during the competition at Auburn University’s James E. Martin Aquatic Complex.
    McGill-Toolen’s boys set an AHSAA record in the 200-yard medley relay with a winning time of 1:35.28.  The team included seniors Will Anderson and Will Glass and sophomores Jackson Algiers and Russell Noletto. Glass also set new marks with his 100-yard butterfly clocking of 48.21 seconds in the finals.
    Will Freeman, a junior from Spain Park, also established a new record in the 200-yard freestyle with a winning time of 1:38.22 and 100-yard backstroke with a time of 48.41.   Marlin Brutkiewicz of UMS-Wright won the 100-yard breaststroke in a record 55.51 time, three seconds better than his prelim time.
   In the girls’ competition, eighth grader Paige Madden of UMS-Wright won the 200-yard freestyle with a record time of 1:50.23.  Another eighth grader, Baker’s Maria Reed, set a new mark in the 100-yard freestyle (51.33 seconds). Ginny Pittman of Homewood was timed at a record 55.05 in a 100-yard backstroke preliminary round, then won the event with a 56.37 in the finals.