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.”


Yeager Named All-Star Football Head Coach


           Mountain Brook High School’s Chris Yeager has been named the head coach of  Alabama squad for the 2012 Alabama-Mississippi Football All-Star Game at Montgomery’s Cramton Bowl Dec. 15 according to a Monday announcement by Alvin Briggs, Director of the Alabama High School Athletic Directors & Coaches Association.
            The the other members of the 2012 staff are Scott Rials of Elba, Mike Battles of Handley,  Woodrow Lowe of Central-Phenix City, Rusty Funk of Marion County, Todd Watson of Foley, David Faulkner of Enterprise and Mountain Brook assistant coach Marty Rozell, who will serve as Alabama’s scout coach.

            “We think we have assembled an outstanding staff,” Briggs said. “Coach Yeager is well respected among his coaching peers. The staff is an experienced one that should blend well together.”

            Yeager, head coach at Mountain Brook since 2006, has compiled an 77-37 coaching record in a career that also has included head coaching stops at West Blocton and Walker.  His teams have reached the state playoffs seven times in 10 years and have won 11 or more games in a season  four times. Yeager served as the All-Star team’s offensive coordinator in the 2008 game won by Alabama 28-3.

            “Golly, I am honored,” Yeager said of his selection as head coach. “This is a reflection on our coaching staff, the players that have been in our program and an honor for the entire Mountain Brook team. When I look at the list of those who have served as head coach in this game in the past, it really is overwhelming. I am a little bit numb.”

            Generally recognized as one of the best offensive line coaches in high school football, Yeager has led the Spartans to records of 12-1 and 11-3 the last two seasons.

            His team won the Class 6A, Region 6 title with a perfect 7-0 record en route to a 10-0 regular season in 2011, averaging 30.5 points per game and allowing just 10.9 points per game. The Spartans' win streak reached 12 games before a 35-28 triple-overtime loss to Oxford ended their season in the third round.

            Yeager said that as head coach at Mountain Brook he has been able to keep his passion for coaching the offensive line. “I love the offensive line. They are about 25 percent of a team usually and largest group you have. They are the foundation for all that you try to do offensively.”

            He has sent several players to college football, including William Vlachos, the starting center on the University of Alabama’s 2009 and 2011 BCS National Championship teams. He conducts the largest lineman camp in the state each summer.

            Battles, Rials and Funk led their schools to state titles in Class 3A, 2A and 1A in 2011. Handley and Elba each finished 15-0 and Marion County set the state single- season total offense record en route to a 14-1 record.

            Lowe, the former University of Alabama All-America linebacker, coached six years in the NFL for the Oakland Raiders and Kansas City Chiefs before joining the high school ranks. He directed Central-Phenix City to an 11-3 record this past season.

            Watson led Foley to a 7-4 record last year and Faulkner guided Fairhope to a 10-3 finish. He accepted the head-coaching position at Enterprise after the end of the 2011 season. Watson will serve as defensive coordinator and Faulkner the offensive coordinator, Yeager said.

            Rozell has served as offensive coordinator at Mountain Brook throughout Yeager’s six-year tenure.

            Alabama won last year’s game 31-12 for its fourth straight win and 18th win overall in the 25-year series. It was the first game of the series played at Cramton Bowl.

            Yeager said he realizes the importance of being successful in this game.

            “I know what football means to the folks in this state,” he said.  “It is a religion to some and to the others it means even more. When we put a team on the field that carries the state’s name, we know it is important to do the best job we can do.

            “I think, as coaches, we look forward to this challenge.”