MONTGOMERY – Twelve major contributors to prep athletics in Alabama will be inducted into the 25th class of the Alabama High School Sports Hall of Fame March 23.
The 2015 class, which includes coaches, administrators, officials, media and an “oldtimer,” will be inducted at a special Silver Anniversary banquet commemorating all 25 years of the event. The banquet will be at the Renaissance Hotel at the Convention Center in Montgomery.
The public is invited to attend the banquet. The deadline for ordering tickets by mail was March 2, but anyone still wishing to purchase tickets ($40.00 each) has until March 16 to order tickets by phone at 334-263-6994.
Selected were tennis coach Nancy Becker, basketball coaches Steve Jefferson, Jack Doss and Bobby Wright, football coaches Steve Rivers, Doug Goodwin and John Tatum, athletic director Myra Miles, track official Houston Young, and administrators Alan Mitchell and Ron Ingram. Selected in the “Old Timer” category was longtime Geneva County football coach James D. Chesteen.
Beginning today, a series featuring the inductees written by state sports historian Bill Plott will begin at www.ahsaa.com. Today’s Class of 2015 Spotlight is Nancy Becker, Vestavia Hills High School girls’ tennis coach for more than two decades. Be sure to check the website daily for each installment.
Sponsors of the Hall of Fame program are the Alabama High School Athletic Directors & Coaches Association (AHSADCA) and the AHSAA. The corporate sponsors are Cadence Bank, Coca-Cola, EBSCO Media, Encore Rehabilitation, Farmers Insurance, Russell Athletic, TeamIP and Wilson Sporting Goods.
AHSAA Hall of Fame Class of 2015
Nancy Becker Shares Love For Tennis
By BILL PLOTT
First of a Series
A native of Gadsden, Nancy Backer graduated from Gadsden High School in 1957 and Auburn University in 1961. The 2015 AHSAA Hall of Fame inductee holds a master’s degree in business education from the University of Alabama-Birmingham. Her teaching career spans 40 years, most of it in her native state of Alabama.
Upon graduation from Auburn, she went to Jacksonville, FL where she taught business for three years. In 1965, she accepted a similar position at John Carroll High School in Birmingham.
In 1984, she moved to Vestavia Hills High School as a business education teacher and girls’ varsity tennis coach, a position she held for 23 years. From 1987 until she retired in 2010, Coach Becker compiled a spectacular girls’ tennis coaching record.
During her 23-year tenure, her teams finished in the top four every year. They won 10 AHSAA state championships including strings of three and four in a row (1989, 1991-93, 1998-99, 2007-10). They finished second eight times (1998, 1990, 1994, 2001-05). There were also four third-place finishes. They won 20 sectional championships.
She was twice (2008 and 2010) named the National Federation of High Schools Coach of the Year.
In 2013 she came out of retirement to assist that team which also won a state championship.
She was recognized by The Birmingham News when her team presented her with her 200th coaching win. She was named state coach of the year in 2008 and received a 2011 Outstanding High School Teacher/Coach award from the Kiwanis Club of Birmingham.
Vestavia Hills Principal Wes Gordon wrote about Becker’s distinct personality:
“If you talk to Nancy Becker today, you are likely to hear stories about her weekly tap dancing class or her latest visit to the theater. Even after many, many years of teaching and coaching, Nancy Becker forgot to grow old. She is the only coach to show up in tights at a faculty Christmas breakfast and the only coach to cajole her teaching department to perform a song from A Chorus Line at the faculty talent show. Her involvement in the school community extends much further into the fabric of the school than coaching. She is a model coach and a model teacher.
“Vestavia Hills High School is a school with many long-time successful coaches The coaching staff at my high school is impressive and exceptional because of the level of commitment the men and woman give to high school athletics….Still a teacher at the high school, her smile and positive attitude continue to pervade the school community She continues to coach young men and woman, not so much in lessons of tennis anymore, but in lessons of life.”
Fellow teacher Timarie Fisk wrote that Becker’s commitment off the court has been as important to her players as her coaching:
“Nancy is not only a coach to her players. Her guidance as a mentor, friend, and leader has had an impact on hundreds of high school tennis players. Nancy expected the best from her players. While under her coaching, it did not matter whether a player was in the top six playing players or were further down the roster. Nancy expected each player to bring her best and to be a committed member of the team.
“Nancy was diligent about finding a player’s strengths both on and off the court. She expected her students to not only make a commitment to the team but also to their academic standards. Her high expectations resulted in the girls’ tennis team consistently holding some of the highest GPAs at Vestavia Hills High School.
“As a coach, Nancy was committed to good sportsmanship. Her players knew that if they exhibited a bad attitude on or off the court, they would be removed from competition. She expected that all players support each other by encouraging support and praise both on and off the court.
“Nancy has stayed involved in the tennis program even after her retirement from coaching. She has assisted the coaches that have followed her legacy by supporting them during competition and mentoring them through leading their own teams. Her help and support contributed to VHHS winning the 2013 6A state title.
“Nancy Becker has had an impact on tennis in both the Vestavia Hills and Birmingham communities. Her commitment to tennis, education and development of young people has established a legacy that is deserving the honor of being a select member of the Alabama High School Sports Hall of Fame.”
She has also earned a number of personal awards in tennis. She was a member of the committee that founded the Birmingham Ladies Inter-Club Tennis League and was on the championship team in 1975. She was tennis chairman for the Mountain Brook Swim and Tennis Club in 1975. In 1976 she was the mixed doubles champion at the Country Club of Birmingham. She won district, state and the Southern Equitable Family Tennis Challenge, enabling her to play doubles in the Nationals Finals of the U.S. Open Tennis Championship at Flushing Meadows, N.Y. in 1979.
Her additional community service has included serving on the boards of both the Charity League and the Civiettes for a number of years.
Six teams have been selected for the 10th annual AHSAA Champions Challenge Football Classic Aug. 21-22 at Montgomery’s Cramton Bowl.
Two defending champions, Class 4A Leeds and Class 3A Madison Academy, will kick off the Champions Challenge on Friday night, Aug. 21, in the first of three games, according to Alvin Briggs, Director of the Alabama High School Athletic Directors & Coaches Association (AHSADCA), which hosts the event each year.
The two remaining games are scheduled Saturday, Aug. 22, beginning at 5 p.m. with 2014 Class 3A semifinalists Gordo versus Glencoe and Class 6A Carver-Montgomery squaring off against Class 7A Bob Jones at 7:30 p.m.
Schools still have a choice whether to count a week one contest as a regular-season or exhibition contest. The Leeds-Madison Academy game will be a regular season game while the other two will be considered exhibition games, Briggs said, and will not count on either team’s record.
Madison Academy (14-1) and Leeds (14-1) met in the 2013 Class 3A state finals with the Mustangs winning the state title. The two teams then agreed to meet in the season opener last season with the Green Wave winning 27-24 to snap a 25-game winning streak for Coach Eric Cohu’s Mustangs. Madison Academy rebounded to win its next 14 games including a 70-34 victory over Dale County at Auburn’s Jordan-Hare Stadium to win its third straight Class 3A state championship. Coach Keith Etheredge’s Green Wave won 13 of their next 14 games to capture the Class 4A, Region 3 title and then beat Deshler 30-0 in the state finals to claim the Class 4A state championship.
Glencoe (13-1) and Gordo (13-1) were unbeaten heading into the Class 3A semifinals and both lost heartbreakers to end their seasons. Coach Lee Ozmint’s Yellow Jackets fell 31-28 when Madison Academy kicked a field goal to beat Glencoe. Gordo lost 32-28 to Dale County in the other semifinal with the Warriors completing a touchdown pass on the final play of the game to nip Coach Ryan Lolley’s Green Wave.
Carver (9-3) won the Class 6A Region 2 title. Coach Billy Gresham’s Wolverines averaged 33.2 points a game, advanced to the second round of the state playoffs before falling to Hillcrest-Tuscaloosa 35-14. Bob Jones (8-3), coached by Kevin Rose, and reached the first 7A playoffs qualifying second in Region 8. The Patriots, averaging 37.7 points per game, lost to Tuscaloosa County 28-21 in the first round.
In last year’s Champions Challenge, Opelika edged Carver-Montgomery 20-16, Dadeville nipped Piedmont 14-8 and Spanish Fort beat Stanhope Elmore 42-14.
The 2015 Champions Challenge schedule at Cramton Bowl is:
Friday, August 21 – 7 p.m.: Madison Academy (14-1) vs. Leeds (14-1)
Saturday, August 22 – 5 p.m.: Glencoe (13-1) vs. Gordo (13-1)
Saturday, August 22 – 7:30 p.m.: Carver-Montgomery (9-3) vs. Bob Jones (8-3)
Several of the all-stars are still undecided about their college choice.
2015 Alabama Boys All-Star Basketball Team
Carver - Montgomery
Tommy Burton, Jr.
Lee - Montgomery
Central - Phenix City
Lee - Huntsville
Jamie Lee, Adm
2015 Alabama Girls All-Star Basketball Team
Brenda Mayes, Adm.
The Bryant-Jordan Student-Athlete Program’s 104 regional winners have been announced by Bryant-Jordan Director Shelton Thompson for 2015.
A total of 52 seniors, eight each from the AHSAA Classes 1A through 6A and four in Class 7A, were selected as Scholar-Athlete regional winners and 52 were chosen in the Student- Achievement division. Each student selected was nominated by their respective high schools. For the first time since 1988, the total number has expanded from the previous 96 total. Eight additional student-athletes will be recognized due to the addition of Class 7A, which has 32 total schools, by the AHSAA this school year. Approximately 60-64 schools comprise each of the other six classifications.
A committee of school principals chose the area winners. A committee of school administrators in each region then selected the regional winners. The overall winners will be selected by a statewide committee comprised of school administrators and state business leaders.
All 104 will be recognized at the 2015 Bryant-Jordan Banquet set for Birmingham’s Sheraton Hotel Ballroom April 13. Each regional winner will receive a $2,500 scholarship with class winners receiving an additional $3,000 scholarship. The overall Larry D. Striplin, Jr. Scholar-Athlete and the overall Ken and Betty Joy Blankenship Achievement Award state winners will receive an additional $3,000 each.
Regional winners are also eligible to receive several other scholarships that will be awarded by 13 Alabama four-year colleges and 13 Alabama community colleges participating in the program. The 13 colleges participating include: Auburn University, Auburn-Montgomery, Jacksonville State, Miles College, Samford, Troy University, University of Alabama, University of Alabama-Birmingham, University of Alabama-Huntsville, Montevallo, North Alabama, South Alabama and West Alabama.
The 13 community colleges are: Bevill State, Calhoun, Central Alabama, Chattahoochee Valley, Gadsden State, Jefferson State, Lawson State, Northeast Alabama, Northwest-Shoals, Shelton State, Snead State, Wallace-Dothan and Wallace-Hanceville.
Several special scholarships are also presented annually including the Dr. Gaylon McCollough Medical Scholarship ($2,500) earmarked for a selected regional winner who plans to go into the medical field, and the Herman “Bubba” Scott Coach’s Scholarship ($2,500) given to a selected regional winner who plans to go into teaching and coaching. The Auburn Football Lettermen and the University of Alabama “A” Club Educational and Charitable Foundation also present scholarships to selected regional winners who plan to attend either Auburn or Alabama, respectively. The Auburn Lettermen present two $2,500 scholarships while the Alabama “A” Club presents scholarships totaling $12,000.
In addition, each school that has an individual classification winner will receive a $2,000 cash award. Approximately $1 million in scholarships are awarded annually in the nationally acclaimed program named for legendary football coaches Paul “Bear” Bryant and Ralph “Shug” Jordan. The program began in 1986 as a project of the Alabama Sports Hall of Fame and the AHSAA and is now in its 30th year.
The 2015 regional winners are listed below:
2015 Bryant-Jordan Student Achievement Regional Winners
Region 1: MacKenzie Grace, Kinston
Region 2: Adriauna Alston, Linden
Region 3: Amber Uptain, Maplesville
Region 4: Phillip Cook, Winterboro
Region 5: Nathan Young, Hubbertville
Region 6: Mallary Guthrie, Meek
Region 7: Sarah Avans, Skylinje
Region 8: Kate Fortenberry, Athens Bible
Region 1: Trey Garris, Leroy
Region 2: Noah Cobb, Samson
Region 3: Donta’ Hall, Luverne
Region 4: MarKiece Williams, Reeltown
Region 5: Brittany Snyder, Fayetteville
Region 6: Carissa Barrios, Cleveland
Region 7: Michael Warner, Ider
Region 8: Chelsea Dewberry, Cherokee
Region 1: Cathrine Wiggins, Excel
Region 2: Timothy Skipper, Abbeville
Region 3: Nicole Hoots, Prattville Christian
Region 4: Ty Herron, Lamar County
Region 5: Max Erb, Winfield
Region 6: Hope Bishop, Glencoe
Region 7: Keely Ellison, Pisgah
Region 8: Zack Simbeck, Lauderdale County
Region 1: Carly Brooks, Ashford
Region 2: Carter Rief, LAMP
Region 3: Levi Warren, Elmore County
Region 4: Mikailah Good, Oak Grove
Region 5: Chandler Gann, Carbon Hill
Region 6: Brady Williams, Crossville
Region 7: Jesse Overton, Haleyville
Region 8: William Chandler, Wilson
Region 1: Robert Henderson, Jr., Escambia County
Region 2: Chase Smartt, Charles Henderson
Region 3: Kiriklin McWhorter, Tallassee
Region 4: Shakeith, Tyes, Calera
Region 5: Juan Waters, A.H. Parker
Region 6: Dontrez Green, Mortimer Jordan
Region 7: Conner Parrish, Boaz
Region 8: Breanna Peeples, East Limestone
Region 1: Tyler Brentzel, Spanish Fort
Region 2: Benjamin Dowd, Northview
Region 3: Whitley Bailey, Benjamin Russell
Region 4: Ethan Howard, Brookwood
Region 5: Samantha “Sammie” LaBeau, Chelsea
Region 6: Terelle West, Clay-Chalkville
Region 7: Easton Gorman, Fort Payne
Region 8: Devin Sanders, Decatur
Region 1: Chris Dillon, Foley
Region 2: Zach Higman, Prattville
Region 3: Ward Webb, Mountain Brook
Region 4: Ryan Sivak, Grissom
2015 Bryant-Jordan Scholar-Athlete Regional Winners
Region 1: Jared Alan Moss, Fruitdale
Region 2: Ashley Ballard, McKenzie
Region 3: Kacie Adams, Isabella
Region 4: Kasey Gamble, Victory Christian
Region 5: Brock Belcher, Shades Mountain Christian
Region 6: Lauren Kois, Brilliant
Region 7: Kelsi Lynn Sisk, Woodville
Region 8: Tyler Crumpton, Phillips
Region 1: Tripp Vickery, Flomaton
Region 2: Matthew Logan Skinner, Geneva County
Region 3: Tyler Phillips, Goshen
Region 4: Sydney Meadows, Horseshoe Bend
Region 5: John David Jacobs, Woodland
Region 6: Trent Tatum, Cleveland
Region 7: Carly Westermoreland, Addison
Region 8: Katie Clemons, Mars Hill Bible
Region 1: Amanda Jillian Daher, Geneva
Region 2: Nathaniel “Nate” Robinson, Slocomb
Region 3: Jillian Tinglin, Montgomery Academy
Region 4: Nate Freeman, Fultondale
Region 5: Judson Keith Hunt, Jr., Winfield
Region 6: Ali Porter, Westbrook Christian
Region 7: Will Cole, Sand Rock
Region 8: Sydney Homan, Madison Academy
Region 1: Robert M. Hope III, UMS-Wright
Region 2: Anna Curles, Trinity Presbyterian
Region 3: Morgan Tew, Elmore County
Region 4: Shane Adams, Handley
Region 5: Blake Foster, Locust Fork
Region 6: John “J.T.” Hill, Cherokee County
Region 7: Connar Franklin, Hamilton
Region 8: Zachary “Zack” Phillips, Wilson
Region 1: William “Will” Pickard, St. Paul’s Episcopal
Region 2: James “Trey” Tate III, Rehobeth
Region 3: Kylee Carter, Beauregard
Region 4: Braxton Stokes, Calera
Region 5: Blaine Kilgore, Corner
Region 6: Thomas R. Powers, Moody
Region 7: Isabella Wisener, Douglas
Region 8: Elizabeth Lopez, St. John Paul II Catholic
Region 1: Jordan T. Hess, Robertsville
Region 2: Holly M. Baker, Northview
Region 3: Abrianna Fornis, Hillcrest-Tuscaloosa
Region 4: Kyle Stuart, Northridge
Region 5: Charles “Chase” Kelly III, Homewood
Region 6: Hasan Sadiq Abdulla, Clay-Chalkville
Region 7: Lindsey Elizabeth Hindsman, Southside-Gadsden
Region 8: Max Erbe, Florence
Region 1: Caleb Casolaro, Fairhope
Region 2: Savanna Cooper, Prattville
Region 3: Jake Colburn, Tuscaloosa County
Region 4: Cameron Andrew Thomas, Fairhope
J.O. Johnson High School (32-4) beat Ramsay 59-52 Saturday at the BJCC Legacy Arena to capture the Class 5A boys state basketball title.
The win also gave Jaguars Coach Jack Doss the eighth state title of his prep coaching career. He is the first boys basketball coach in AHSAA history to win eight titles -- snapping a tie with R.C. Hatch legendary coach Eugene Mason.
Class 5A state tournament MVP John Petty had 15 points, four assists, three steals and five rebounds and exited the game with the other Jaguars starters with 1:42 remaining and Johnson leading 52-39. Ramsay went on a 13-7 run to end the game to close to seven. Terrion Bone added 14 points for Johnson and Justin Hopkins had 13.
Jordan Millsap and Jonathan Etheridge each had 15 for Ramsay (30-6), coached by Kelly Cheatham. Baniko Harley added 12. The Rams were Class 5A runner-up to Parker in 2014 and J.O. Johnson lost in overtime to Dallas County in the 2014 Class 4A finals.
Mason, who won all seven of his state titles at R.C. Hatch of Uniontown, collapsed earlier this week while helping his former student and player Cecil Williams prepare Keith High School’s girls team for the Class 1A state championship game Williams’ team won Friday. Mason was later pronounced dead at a Selma hospital.
Doss offered condolences to Mason’s game during his post-game press conference. “I have always respected Coach Mason the R.C. Hatch program. I was shocked to learn of his death. Our thoughts and prayers go out to Coach Mason’s family.”
Class 5A Boys All-Tournament Team
John Petty, J.O. Johnson (MVP); Terrion Bone, J.O. Johnson; Justin Hokpins, J.O. Johnson; Jordan Millsap, Ramsay; Albert Luke, Ramsay; Jerrod Moorer, Dallas County; Josh Hill, Faith Academy.
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