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.”

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Washburn Selected To NFHS Hall of Fame

Dan Washburn, who served for 16 years as Executive Director of the Alabama High School Athletic Association (AHSAA), will become the eighth person from the State of Alabama to be inducted into the National High School Hall of Fame.

Washburn is among 12 individuals who will be inducted in the National Federation of State High School Associations (NFHS) National High School Hall of Fame July 2 at the closing event of the 92nd annual NFHS Summer Meeting at the Philadelphia Marriott Downtown in Philadelphia, PA.

            Previous Alabama inductees include the late Cliff Harper (1987), Dan Gaylord  (1988), Bart Starr (1989), Bubba Scott (1990), the late Wallace “Mickey” O’Brien (1992), Glenn Daniel (1999) and Sam Short (2007).

Washburn, who retired in 2007, was instrumental in the development of outstanding venues for AHSAA championship sports. It was under his leadership that the current corporate partner program began to reach its potential and make possible events such as the Super 6 football championships, Final 48 basketball championships and Elite Eight volleyball championships. He also established the STAR Sportsmanship initiative as an eligibility requirement.

He served on the NFHS Board of Directors and was NFHS president in 2005-06.

Washburn graduated with a bachelor's degree from the University of Chattanooga (now the University of Tennessee at Chattanooga) and later received his master's degree in school administration from Troy State University.

           He began his coaching and teaching career in 1962 at Valley High School as an assistant football and head basketball coach. He moved to Lanett High School in 1967 as head football coach and athletic director.
           After coaching a year at Autauga County High School (Prattville), he returned to Lanett in 1974 as assistant principal, athletic director and head football coach. In 1984 he became Superintendent of Lanett City Schools and spent seven years there before becoming executive director of the AHSAA in 1991.

He became only the third full-time director after the retirement of Herman L. “Bubba” Scott, who had served since 1966. The late Cliff Harper became the first AHSAA head in 1948 with the establishment of a State Office in Montgomery. Prior to that, Sellers Stough of Birmingham had served as director on a part-time basis.
            “I truly value the time I spent shadowing him in the six months before I officially became executive director of the AHSAA,” said current director Steve Savarese. “I still call him often to seek his advice. Already a member of the Alabama High School Sports Hall of Fame, we congratulate him now in taking his rightful place in the NFHS Hall of Fame as one of the esteemed high school leaders of our nation.”

          The other inductees in the Class of 2011 are athletes Randall McDaniel (Arizona), Kevin McReynolds (Arkansas), Kenny Monday (Oklahoma), Billy Owens, (Pennsylvania); and the late Brad Van Pelt (Michigan); coaches Leta Andrews (Texas), Curt Bladt (Iowa); Larry Shaw (West Virginia), and Pete Shock (New Mexico); and
contest officials Emry Dilday (Missouri) and Rick Tucci (Florida).

The National High School Hall of Fame was started in 1982 by the NFHS to honor high school athletes, coaches, contest officials, administrators, fine arts coaches/directors and others for their extraordinary achievements and accomplishments in high school sports and activity programs. This year’s class increases the number in the Hall of Fame to 386.

The 12 individuals were chosen after a two-level selection process involving a screening committee composed of active high school state association administrators, coaches and officials, and a final selection committee composed of coaches, former athletes, state association officials, media representatives and educational leaders. Nominations were made through NFHS member associations.