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.”



Sword, Jones Named 2012 Mr. & Miss Basketball

Craig Sword of Carver-Montgomery and Jasmine Jones of Bob Jones earned the Alabama Sports Writers Association's Mr. and Miss Basketball Awards Wednesday at the annual Player of the Year luncheon sponsored by the Alabama High School Athletic Directors and Coaches Association at the Alabama Activity Center in Montgomery.


Sword led Carver to the Class 6A state championship with a 33-point performance in the title game. The 6-foot-3 Mississippi State signee averaged 17 points, 12 rebounds and eight assists as the Wolverines finished 29-3. The senior was named the state Gatorade Player of the Year and earned first-team all-state honors as a sophomore and junior.


Sword, the Class 6A Player of the Year, leads the ASWA Super Five along with Class 5A Player of the Year Derunnya Wilson of Wenonah, Class 4A Player of the Year Justin Pride of Butler, Jeffery Moss of Class 6A Bob Jones and Class 2A Player of the Year Takwain Whigham of Barbour County. All are seniors except Wilson, who is a junior.


Also earning Player of the Year honors were Class 3A Madison Academy eighth-grader Josh Langford and Class 1A Cedar Bluff junior DeAngelo Hardy.


Jones led Bob Jones to the Class 6A championship game that the Patriots lost to Hoover. The 6-2 Tennessee signee averaged 21 points, 12 rebounds, four steals and three blocked shots per game for the  season. She was named the state Gatorade Player of the Year and selected to participate in the Women’s Basketball Coaches Association All-America game.


Jones, also the Class 6A Player of the Year, is a member of the Super Five for the second straight year along with three-time Class 3A Player of the Year and 2011 Miss Basketball Hayden Hamby of West Morgan. Others on the Super Five are Morgan William of Class 6A Shades Valley, Class 5A Player of the Year Shakayla Thomas of Sylacauga and Hoover’s Marqu’es Webb, the 2011 Class 4A Player of the Year at Brewbaker Tech.


Jones and Purdue signee Hamby are seniors while William and Thomas are sophomores and Webb a junior.


Other girls selected Player of the Year were two-time Class 4A winner senior Jasmine Steele of Midfield, Class 2A Section senior Taylor Adams, and two-time Class 1A winner senior Alex Gholston of R.A. Hubbard.


The Mr. Basketball award has been selected since 1985 and the Miss Basketball honor since 1988.


Mr. Basketball voting totals: Craig Sword 105, Derunnya Wilson 63, Justin Pride 58, Jeffery Moss 39, Takwain Whigham 29.


Miss Basketball voting totals: Jasmine Jones 108, Hayden Hamby 66, Morgan William 57, Shakayla Thomas 55, Marques Webb 30.