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.”


Reeltown Coach Notches 200th Career Victory

            Reeltown coach Jackie O’Neal became the newest member of the AHSAA “200 Win” Club last week when the Rebels beat Tarrant 34-0 in the quarterfinals of the Class 2A state football playoffs.

            O’Neal, now 200-89 in a head-coaching career that began in 1988 at Reeltown, was a young assistant coach at when the Rebels clinched the 1987 Class 2A state championship. That win proved to be the last for legendary Reeltown head coach Duane Webster, who retired after that championship with a career 218-93-9 record.

            O’Neal took over the next season, and now 23 years later the Reeltown Rebels (12-1) are preparing for their eighth trip to the AHSAA playoff semifinals. Reeltown hosts Region 6 rival Lineville (10-3) Friday night at 7 p.m.

            O’Neal, who has two state titles to his credit as a head coach (2009 and 2001), has guided the Rebels to 10 or more wins and only two losing seasons during his 23-year tenure. Reeltown has played in the state finals five times.

            A total of 12 games are scheduled this Friday with all winners advancing to the Super 6 State Championships at Auburn’s Jordan-Hare Stadium on Dec. 2-3.
          The pairings include: Class 1A, Linden (12-1) at Sweet Water (10-3) and R.A. Hubbard (12-1) at Parrish (10-3); Class 2A: Leroy (12-1) at American Christian (12-1) and Lineville (10-3) at Reeltown (12-1); Class 3A:  Leeds (13-0) goes to Gordo (12-1) and Hamilton (13-0) travels to defending champion Piedmont (12-1);
          Class 4A: Bibb County (12-1) hosts Thomasville (13-0) and Deshler (11-2) hosts North Jackson (13-0); Class 5A: Spanish Fort (11-2) at McAdory (11-2) and Briarwood Christian (12-1) at Hartselle (12-1); Class 6A: Daphne (13-0) hosts Davidson (12-1) and defending champion Hoover (13-0) puts its 20-game winning streak on the line at Regions Park against Region 6 rival Mountain Brook (11-2).

All winners advance to next week’s Super 6 State Championships at Jordan-Hare Stadium in Auburn. The action kicks off on Thursday, Dec. 2, with the Class 3A finals at 11 a.m., followed by the Class 1A championship at 3 p.m., and the Class 5A finals at 7 p.m.

            On Friday, Dec. 3, the Class 4A championship game kicks off the action at 11 a.m., followed at 3 p.m. with the Class 2A finals and concluding with the Class 6A championship game at 7 p.m.