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

McGill-Toolen Boys, Hoover Girls Win State Swim Titles


AUBURN – McGill-Toolen  literally “willed” its way to its first AHSAA swimming and diving boys state championship and defending champion Hoover won its second straight girls title Friday and Saturday at Auburn University’s James E. Martin Aquatics Center.


Junior Will Glass won two individual events, breaking one state record, and was part of two first-place relay teams. Junior teammate Will Anderson joined Glass on the two winning relay teams and added a second and third-place finish in two other events.


Glass swam a time of 49.61 in the 100-yard backstroke, eclipsing the record (50.03) set by Woody Joye of Stanhope Elmore in 2008. He also finished first in the 100 butterfly (49.38) and was on the winning teams in the 200 medley relay (1:38.35) and the 400 freestyle relay (3:15.14).


Anderson was second in the 100 butterfly (50.72) and third in the 100 backstroke (52.25). McGill’s 200 freestyle relay team of Mitchell Roubion, Tucker Thames, Russell Noletto and Drew Priede finished third (1:32.32). Pried and Noletto swam with Glass and Anderson on the winning 400 freestyle relay team.


The Yellow Jackets unseated runner-up Bob Jones, which had won the previous seven boys team titles. Senior Kent Fellows led the Patriots with a first-place finish in the 100 freestyle (47.08) and was on the winning 200 freestyle relay team (1:29.42) along with Mitch Deaton, Martin Wang and Derek Sander. Fellows was on the second-place 400 freestyle relay team with Sander, Deaton and Zach Harting and also finished fifth in the 200 freestyle.


McGill tallied 232 points enroute to the victory, followed by Bob Jones with 177, Fairhope 171 and Auburn 168.


Senior Angelica Chapman led the Hoover girls with four first-place finishes – two individual and two as part of a relay team. She broke her own state record in the 100 butterfly with a time of 55.63 and also won the 200 individual medley (2:06.27). She teamed with Claire Williamson, Allison Smith and Natalie Swindall to set a state record (3:35.08) in the 400 freestyle relay and placed first in the 200 freestyle relay (1:39.82).


Williamson, a senior, was fourth in the 200 free style and seventh in the 100 freestyle. Swindall, also a senior, was fifth in the 100 butterfly and eighth in the 100 backstroke.


Hoover’s 252 points outdistanced Grissom, which finished with 165, St. Paul’s 157 and Fairhope's 143.


Homewood sophomore Ginny Pittman turned in an outstanding performance, winning the 50 freestyle (23.68) and the 100 backstroke (55.66). She was also part of Homewood’s second-place team in the 200 medley relay and fourth-place team in the 400 freestyle relay.


Murphy senior Robert Raley won his fifth straight boys’ diving championship with a score of 531.95, shattering the state record he set last year (520.35). Senior Megan Hughes of Grissom took the girls’ diving title with a score of 369.45.