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.”


Trinity Receiver Sets State Career Record 


            Trinity Presbyterian School senior wide receiver Mark White caught seven passes  for 49 yards in the Wildcats’ 24-3 win over Montgomery Catholic Friday night to become the AHSAA’s career pass receptions leader.

            With 47 catches this season, White's 275 career receptions ranks him ahead of the 260 career catches of previous state leader Nick Threlkeld of Hubbertville from 1998-01.          
            The record total also ranks White seventh nationally and moved him ahead of current
Philadelphia Eagles receiver Steve Smith on the National Federation records list. He is just  four catches behind former Georgia receiver A.J. Green, now with the Cincinnati Bengals, and  54 shy of the national record set by Chris Fulmer of Nitro, West Virginia, from 2002-05.
            White came into the 2011 season needing 41 catches to surpass the state career record. After 40 catches in the Wildcats’ first five games, Trinity (5-1) discovered that White, who was credited with a then single-season state record 106 receptions as a sophomore in 2009, actually had 108 that year. A closer look also showed an additional seven varsity receptions for White as a freshman.

            His milestone feat was recognized by host Catholic at halftime as family members and school officials met White at midfield and the game ball was presented to him by Trinity athletic director Jim Tuley. Knights athletic director Travis Jarome and head coach Mike Shatzer notified Ragsdale earlier in the week they planned to recognize the accomplishment of White. The action drew rave comments from Ragsdale.

            “This caught me by surprise,” said Ragsdale. “To have the opposing team, a rival, want to take the time to recognize a player from the other team is almost unheard of. Catholic has been just wonderful. It was a special moment for him. I think the entire ceremony, the way Catholic officials handled things, was nothing but class. This means so much to all of us.”
            Ragsdale spoke to Catholic’s team and coaches when both squads gathered after the game. “I am deeply humbled by such a tremendous display of sportsmanship that you displayed,” he said. “We deeply appreciate this act of kindness with great humility.”