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 Sports Participation Continues Upward Climb


INDIANAPOLIS — Participation in high school sports increased for the 22nd consecutive school year during 2010-11, according to the annual High School Athletics Participation Survey conducted by the National Federation of State High School Associations (NFHS).

Based on figures from the 50 state high school athletic/activity associations that are NFHS members plus the District of Columbia, sports participation for the 2010-11 school year reached another record-breaking total of 7,667,955 participants.

Boys and girls participation figures also reached respective all-time highs with 4,494,406 boys and 3,173,549 girls participating – an overall increase of 39,578 participants from 2009-10.

“While the overall increase was not as much as we’ve seen in the past few years, we are definitely encouraged with these totals given the financial challenges facing our nation’s high schools,” said Bob Gardner, NFHS executive director. “The benefits of education-based athletics at the high school level are well-documented, and we encourage communities throughout the nation to keep these doors of opportunity open.

“Based on the survey, 55.5 percent of students enrolled in high schools participate in athletics, which emphasizes and reinforces the idea that high school sports continue to have a significant role in student involvement in schools across the country.”

Cross country and outdoor track and field gained the most participants in boys sports last year, with increases of 7,340 and 7,179, respectively. Other boys sports with significant jumps were soccer (6,512), basketball (5,637) and lacrosse (5,013). Three sports with lower overall participation totals registered large percentage gains in 2010-11 – fencing (up 38 percent to 2,027 participants), weightlifting (up 12 percent to 22,161 participants) and badminton (up 9.4 percent to 4,693 participants).

Among girls sports, the emerging sport of lacrosse led the way with an additional 6,155 participants, an increase of nine percent from the previous year. With 74,927 participants nationwide, lacrosse cracked the girls Top 10 listing for the first time as it moved past golf (71,764). Outdoor track & field was close behind lacrosse with an additional 6,088 participants, followed by soccer (5,440), volleyball (5,347) and cross country (2,685).

Sports with lower overall girls participation totals that registered the largest percentage gains were wrestling (up 19.8 percent to 7,351 participants), badminton (up 14 percent to 12,083 participants) and weightlifting (up 11 percent to 8,237 participants).

The top 10 participatory sports for boys remained the same from 2009-10.  Eleven-player football led the way with 1,108,441, followed by outdoor track & field (579,302), basketball (545,844), baseball (471,025), soccer (398,351), wrestling (273,732), cross country (246,948), tennis (161,367), golf (156,866) and swimming and diving (133,900).

Outdoor track and field was the top sport for girls again last year with 475,265 participants, followed by basketball (438,933), volleyball (409,332), fast-pitch softball (373,535), soccer (361,556), cross country (204,653), tennis (182,074), swimming and diving (160,881), competitive spirit squads (96,718) and lacrosse (74,927).

Texas and California once again topped the list of participants by state with 786,626 and 774,767, respectively, followed by New York (388,527), Illinois (350,144), Ohio (328,430), Pennsylvania (316,687), Michigan (314,354), New Jersey (255,893), Florida (245,079) and Minnesota (234,901).

Although the rise in girls participation numbers was not as large this past year (due, in part, to significant drops in competitive spirit numbers in two states), the percentage increase rate has more than doubled the rate for boys during the past 20 years, 63 percent to 31 percent. Twenty years ago girls constituted 36 percent of the total number of participants. This past year that number has climbed to 41 percent. In Oklahoma the number of girls participants actually exceeded the number of boys this past year, 44,112 to 42,694.

The participation survey has been compiled since 1971 by the NFHS through numbers it receives from its member associations. The complete 2010-11 High School Athletics Participation Survey is available on the NFHS Web site at


Schools                           Participants

1. Basketball               18,150  1. Football – 11-Player    1,108,441

2. Track & Field–Outdoor    15,954  2. Track & Field–Outdoor     579,302

3. Baseball                 15,863  3. Basketball                545,844

4. Football – 11-Player     14,279  4. Baseball                  471,025

5. Cross Country            14,097  5. Soccer                    398,351

6. Golf                     13,681  6. Wrestling                 273,732

7. Soccer                   11,503  7. Cross Country             246,948

8. Wrestling                10,407  8. Tennis                    161,367

9. Tennis                    9,839  9. Golf                      156,866

10. Swimming & Diving        6,899  10. Swimming & Diving        133,900



Schools                            Participants

 1. Basketball               17,767  1. Track & Field – Outdoor  475,265

 2. Track & Field–Outdoor    16,030  2. Basketball               438,933

 3. Volleyball               15,479  3. Volleyball               409,332

 4. Softball – Fast Pitch    15,338  4. Softball – Fast Pitch    373,535

 5. Cross Country            13,839  5. Soccer                   361,556

 6. Soccer                   11,047  6. Cross Country            204,653

 7. Tennis                   10,181  7. Tennis                   182,074

 8. Golf                     9,609   8. Swimming & Diving        160,881

 9. Swimming & Diving        7,164   9. Competitive Spirit Squads        96,718

10. Competitive Spirit Squads        4,266  10. Lacrosse                 74,927