Monday, January 27, 2020






Gary McGriff Selected by NFHS Officials Association As National Contributor Award Recipient

      INDIANAPOLIS, IN  — Gary McGriff of Holly Pond and David Briseno of Clovis, New Mexico, and have been selected as national award recipients by the National Federation of State High School Associations (NFHS) Officials Association.

      McGriff, who has been involved in officiating in various capacities for 30 years, is the recipient of the National Contributor Award. Briseno, who has been involved in officiating in New Mexico since 1984, is the recipient of the National Active Official Award.
        “Few people have made the impact Gary McGriff has had on officiating in the state of Alabama,” said Steve Savarese, executive director of the AHSAA. “A visionary, always providing opportunities for our officials to grow technologically, Gary continues to be a state leader with regard to communication, not only between officials, but most important our Association.”
         McGriff officiated four sports, including basketball for 18 years, and has continued his involvement in officiating by serving as district director for basketball (12 years) and track and field (five years). In addition to his on-the-field accomplishments, McGriff has been a photographer at all Alabama state championships for the past 15 years, and he developed the officials’ software program for the Alabama High School Athletic Association (AHSAA).
     “I am honored and humbled to be nominated and receive this award for something I love doing so much,” said McGriff, who spent 25 years at NASA working as a tester for space shuttle main engine components.  “I owe a special thanks to the AHSAA for allowing me to bring in new ideas and for embracing and encouraging those ideas.  Supporting officiating and officials of all sports has been enjoyable and rewarding.”

     He wrote the software program and has continued to develop the program to cover registration, testing, training and recordkeeping of officials in all sports. In addition to the software program for the AHSAA, McGriff developed the same program for the Mississippi High School Activities Association, the Los Angeles area baseball associations and the Dixie Youth Baseball programs in the Southeast.
     McGriff established the first website of its kind in the world designed for primarily for contest officials. It included threaded multiple sport discussions that sparked worldwide participation of officials about such topics as rules, mechanics and game situations.  This website was cited by Referee Magazine as one of the top 40 milestones in history of officiating.
       He has written articles for Referee Magazine, including a cover article about how officials were could use the internet for training and discussions. He also wrote a very poignant article about how officials should behave while watching a game from the stands.
       McGriff has also helped pioneer the use of crew communication system headsets among contest officials. Working with Vokkerro, the designer, he has helped train officials in the use of the system at the high school level (AHSAA), college level (Southeastern Conference, Big 10 Conference, Big 12, Pac 12, Mountain Wet, Sun Belt and Western Athletic conferences as well as the National Football League.  He has also demonstrated the equipment for the NBA, Atlantic Coast Conference and Missouri Valley Conference.
     He is currently active as an AHSAA district officials’ director for basketball and track.

      Briseno officiated basketball from 1984 through last year and has been a football official since 1985. He also officiated baseball for 19 years and softball for 12 years. He served on the New Mexico Officials Association Board of Directors in 2003 and 2004 and was a member of the New Mexico Activities Association Officials Commissioner Committee from 1996 to 2006.

AHSAA, Montgomery to Host 2020 NASO Officials Summit

   MONTGOMERY -- The Alabama High School Athletic Association is partnering with the National Association of Sports Officials to bring the 2020 NASO Officials Summit to Montgomery and the Renaissance Hotel and Convention Center. The announcement was made jointly by AHSAA Executive Director Steve Savarese and NASO president Barry Mano.
    The AHSAA will be the summit’s education sponsor.
    “The AHSAA is committed to providing the best training and professional development possible for our more than 7,000 contest officials,” Savarese said. “The NASO Officials Summit will bring more than 500 sports officials from across the U.S. to Alabama and will have a major economic impact on Montgomery and the state. “We are very excited to be able to host this summit. Some of the greatest minds in sports officiating will be here as clinicians. It affords the AHSAA and our state’s sports officials an incredible opportunity.”
     Mano, the founder and publisher of Referee Magazine and the NASO Summit, said he is excited about bringing the event to Montgomery. The Summit has been held annually across the nation since 1981 with year’s event set for Louisville (KY) and last year’s event held at San Antonio (TX).
    “The enthusiasm and vision of Steve Savarese, (AHSAA Director of Officials) Mark Jones and the AHSAA Board has been extraordinary,” Mano said. “In July, 2020, the NASO Sports Officiating Summit will be held at the Renaissance Montgomery. In conjunction, the AHSAA will stage “Officiate Alabama Day”. It will be historic in size and scope. It will educate and pay honor to the men, women and young people who make high school sports in Alabama safe, fair and life-building for all who play.
    “The energy and belief of the AHSAA and the Renaissance Hotel and Convention Center makes me and our NASO staff already itching to come to Montgomery. It will be extraordinary.”
     The mission of the NASO is to not only provide the best and most up-to-date information for sports officials but serve as the leading source of sports officiating information, programs and services.  Members of the NASO include officials from the professional, collegiate and high school levels for a vast variety of sports including baseball, basketball, football, wrestling, volleyball, soccer, track and field, cross country, swimming and diving and competitive cheer.
    “We are honored to have the opportunity to host this most prestigious event for sports officiating,” said Jones. “The speakers at the NASO Summit are some of the most successful officials in their sports in the country at any level.  A benefit of hosting the National Summit is that it provides for an “Officiate Alabama Day” on the Saturday prior to the Sunday opening of the Summit.   Officials from all sports across the state of Alabama will have the opportunity to attend Alabama Day and learn from the top officials in the country.” 
    The AHSAA’s Jones will be a speaker at this summer’s NASO Summit at Louisville. Among this year’s speakers are legendary sports officials and industry leaders Jerry Markbriet, Billy Kennedy, Steve Shaw, Joe Crawford, Dean Blandino, Bill Carollo, Scott Green, Marcy Weston, Sandra Serafini, Steve Javie, Tom Lopes, Terry Gregson, Joan Powell and Mike Pereira. , who will be a speaker at the 2017 NASO Summit at Louisville in July. 

ALFA Mutual Insurance Company Returns as Corporate Partner of the AHSAA


   The Alabama High School Athletic Association (AHSAA) has announced ALFA Mutual Insurance Company has realigned with the AHSAA as a corporate partner of the association.  The three-year agreement begins a new partnership that will last through the 2018-2019 school year.

   “Alfa Insurance® is honored to partner with the Alabama High School Athletic Association (AHSAA) in promoting hard work, health, sportsmanship and scholarship through sports,” remarked Jimmy Parnell, Director of ALFA. “With offices in all 67 Alabama counties, Alfa® is committed to strengthening the communities we serve.”
   Through the partnership, ALFA will become the presenting sponsor of the Alabama Sports Writers Association’s annual Mr. and Miss Basketball Awards Banquets and has designated one AHSAA football playoff game each week as the ALFA Game of the Week. Local agents across the state have been present at each ALFA Game of the Week showing the company’s support of Alabama high school athletics.

     “The AHSAA’s relationship with ALFA goes back many years,” AHSAA Executive Director Steve Savarese said. “We are delighted to welcome them. They have been supportive of our high schools for many years. We also are committed to our relationship with the ASWA and are pleased that ALFA’s renewed commitment will include support for the ASWA’s annual Mr. and Miss Basketball awards program.”
    The AHSAA’s coaching arm, the Alabama High School Athletic Directors & Coaches Association (AHSADCA), has worked closely with the ASWA to support its awards banquets. The Mr. and Miss Basketball awards have been selected and presented by the ASWA’s panel of high school sportswriters annually since 1984.
    ALFA representatives will attend the ASWA banquet and assist in presenting the awards, including the Mr. Baseball and Miss Softball awards presented at the ASWA’s annual summer convention.
      ASWA president John Zenor, ASWA Prep Committee co-chairman Paul Beaudry and AHSAA Executive Director Steve Savarese said both organizations are pleased to have ALFA as a presenting sponsor.
"We're extremely honored and grateful for ALFA's generosity and the tireless work of the AHSAA and the coaches and ADs,” Zenor and Beaudry said. “This helps ensure ASWA can continue to honor some of the best and brightest of Alabama's high school student-athletes in our most important events."
   Parnell said the ALFA and AHSAA share many common goals.
“AHSAA’s mission mirrors our own, which is to Serve, Grow and Be Healthy. High school athletics help students achieve those goals by encouraging teamwork as well as physical and emotional development,” said Parnell. “We appreciate the opportunity to work with AHSAA in supporting Alabama’s next generation of leaders.”

   The AHSAA serves 411 senior high and an additional 335 junior high and middle school members with more than 150,000 students participating in 24 championship programs for boys and girls. Since 1921, the AHSAA has provided not only opportunities for interscholastic athletic competition, but also a platform for student-athletes to gain life-long memories and experience important life lessons through mentorship, teachers, coaches and administration.
    Birmingham-based sports marketing and event management company Knight Eady works with the AHSAA to manage the Super 7 Football State Championships and Basketball State Finals as well as corporate partner program.
     With its partnership with the AHSAA, ALFA is directly supporting the student-athletes, schools and communities of Alabama through the AHSAA Revenue Sharing Program. Over the past six years, the program has given back over $9.8 million to the member schools. The AHSAA is thankful to the commitment of ALFA and all of the corporate partners for their generosity and support of high school athletics in the state of Alabama.

AHSAA Central Board Approves NFHS Sportsmanship Program for Member Schools

   MONTGOMERY – The Alabama High School Athletic Association Central Board of Control approved adjusting criteria that determine home sites in the final four rounds of the state football playoffs and a new sportsmanship program component for new student-athletes and coaches at Wednesday’s annual Winter Central Board meeting at the AHSAA Office.
    In addition, the board approved financial reports for all fall sports championship programs (volleyball, cross country, swimming) and the 2016 Alabama-Mississippi All-Star Football Game played at Cramton Bowl reviewed all proposals that were submitted by member schools in January.

     The top two seeds in each region are home teams in the first round of the AHSAA state football playoff brackets. The board approved a plan beginning in 2017 for the remaining rounds that will allow the higher seed to become the host if times traveled by each team are equal. If travel is not equal, the team that has traveled more times will be the home team. If times traveled and seeds are equal, the home team will be determined by placement on the bracket.
     Beginning with the 2017-18 school year, the AHSAA will require all first-time student-athletes and first-time coaches to complete the National Federation of State High School Associations (NFHS) Sportsmanship Program as an eligibility requirement. The NFHS sportsmanship component will replace the current STAR Sportsmanship program after this school year. The NFHS sportsmanship component can be found at
       The Central reviewed 16 legislative proposals that were submitted in January by member schools.  The AHSAA Legislative Council will vote on the proposals at April’s Legislative Council meeting. Schools are being surveyed this month for their input.

        In other Central Board action:
        -- Reviewed a football playoff comparison (for the first four rounds).
        -- Approved the Super 7 football championships audit.
        -- Approved expenses for the upcoming 2017 State Basketball Tournament.
        -- Approved expenses for the 2020 National Sports Officiating Summit to be held in Montgomery.
        -- Updated on the new mileage rate established by the state and the AHSAA Strategic Plan.
        -- Updated about Home School student participation in the AHSAA.
        -- Heard a report concerning the AHSAA investigative team.      

AHSAA Mourns Death of Spanish Fort Coach Thad Akins

   The AHSAA is saddened to learn of the untimely death of Spanish Fort High School coach and teacher Thad Akins. He died Thursday as a result of an automobile accident on I-65 near Fort Deposit.
       “Our thoughts and prayers go out to his family,” AHSAA Executive Director Steve Savarese said. “We are heartbroken and also send our deepest condolences and prayers the entire Spanish Fort community.”
     Mr. Akins, 43, served as the girls varsity basketball coach, was an assistant baseball and football coach at Spanish Fort.
     Funeral arrangements are currently unavailable.
   Read Ben Thomas’ story on  at the following link:

AHSAA Digital Ticketing Partners Preptix, Huddle Form Partnership

MONTGOMERY – The AHSAA is proud to announce a new digital ticketing platform for member schools has resulted from the newly formed partnership between Preptix and Huddle.  GoFan, Huddle’s current digital ticket program, becomes the official AHSAA digital ticketing platform beginning Jan. 3, 2017.

Huddle, an AHSAA partner for the last three years, has provided hard tickets for member schools since 2014. Preptix, also an AHSAA partner since 2014, has providing online digital ticketing services for member schools. The GoFan platform will provide the services that Preptix has been providing for member schools. The AHSAA announces the GoFan platform will also be the exclusive digital ticketing provider for its playoff and championship events.

Patrick Noles of Preptix is also joining Huddle to insure the transition runs smoothly. He will be the contact person for GoFan in Alabama.

All of the web links on will remain active through the remainder of the 2017 school year and will be forwarded to the appropriate link on the GoFan platform.


For more details, contact:

Patrick Noles - (205) 249-3695 |

AHSAA Hall of Fame Selects 12 for Class of 2017 Induction

     MONTGOMERY – Twelve major contributors to prep athletics in Alabama have been selected from an outstanding field of 50 nominations for induction into the 27th class of the Alabama High School Sports Hall of Fame next March.

     The 2017 class, which includes an “old-timer,” will be inducted at the 27th annual banquet at the Renaissance Montgomery Hotel and Spa, March 20, 2017, at 6:30 p.m.
   Selected for induction are football coaches Peter Braasch, Wayne Grant, Danny Horn, Russell Jacoway and Dwight Sanderson; basketball coaches Wayne Bowling, Richard Carter, Bob Harpe; volleyball and softball coach Rebecca Lee; softball coach Tony Scarbrough; tennis coach David Bethea; and coach/administrator Lorenzo Jackson, who was selected in the “old-timer” division. Jackson is deceased.
    Sponsors of the Hall of Fame program are the Alabama High School Athletic Directors & Coaches Association (AHSADCA) and the AHSAA. The corporate sponsors include Alabama Power, ALFA, Cadence Bank, Coca-Cola, Encore Rehabilitation, Jack’s, Russell Athletic, TeamIP and Wilson Sporting Goods.
     Veteran sportscaster Jeff Shearer will emcee the banquet. The NFHS Network is scheduled to live-stream the banquet.
      The first class was inducted in 1991. These 12 new inductees will run the total enshrined into the Alabama High School Sports Hall of Fame to 332.
       A profile of each selectee:

DAVID BETHEA:  Montgomery Academy’s boys’ tennis coach since 1985, Bethea has carved a niche’ in state annals that includes 14 state championships, nine state runners-up, 32 sectional championships and an overall 878-145 head-coaching record.  He also served as MA boys basketball coach from 1986-90 compiling a 33-36 record and has served as head junior high/middle school football coach since 1979. His football teams have won 19 city championships and compiled a 191-81-3 record.
     Bethea, 61, is a 1973 graduate of Huntsville’s Butler High School. He received his degree from the University of North Alabama in 1977 and earned a Masters from South Alabama in 1979. He serves as department chair of physical education for the Montgomery Academy. He is a member of Center Point Church.

Bowling, 75, was the boys’ basketball coach at Danville High School in Morgan County from 1963-2000. He also was head baseball coach from 1963-85.
    Considered one of the coaching leaders in North Alabama, Bowling compiled a 683-388 basketball coaching record that included four Morgan County championships (1965, 1985, 1988, 1992); 12 area championships; five regional championships; two sub-state titles (1991 and 1992); five state tournament appearances (1976, 1977, 1985, 1991, 1992);  and one state runner-up in 1992.
   He graduated from Austinville High School in 1959 and St. Bernard College in 1963 and began his high school teaching and coaching career immediately. He was inducted into the Morgan County Sports Hall of Fame in 2002. Highly respected by his coaching peers in Morgan County, the MVP Award for the Morgan County basketball tournament is named in his honor.
    He is a member of Central Park Baptist Church.

Braasch, 61, has been a teacher and coach at Vestavia Hills High School since 1977. He is the VHHS Physical Education Department chair.
    A longtime assistant coach, he served as defensive coordinator and assistant head coach alongside another Hall of Fame Coach, AHSAA’s all-time winningest football coach Buddy Anderson, since  1982. The Rebels won state championships in 1980 and 1998 and reached the finals in 1978 and 1979.
    Braasch also served as assistant head coach of the Rebels basketball alongside AHSAA HOF member Coach George Hatchett – winning state 6A titles in 1992 and 2009 and reaching the Final 48 State Tourney two more times (2000 and 2011. He was an assistant track coach from 1978-94 and won a 1993 state freshman championship as head coach of the VHHS ninth-grade team.
    One of the most highly-decorated “assistant” coaches in AHSAA history, Braasch was named Alabama Football Coaches Association assistant coach of the year in 2009; received the prestigious AHSAA “Making a Difference” Award for Class 6A in 2012; and was inducted into the Vestavia Hills Sports Hall of Fame in 2012.
    Braasch graduated from Homewood High School in 1973 and UAB in 1977. He earned a Masters at the University of Montevallo.

Growing up in Chambers County, Carter has spent most of his teaching and coaching career “at home,” serving as head boys’ basketball coach at Valley from 1975-99, and has been athletic director and head boys’ coach at Lanett since 2012. He began his coaching career at Bullock County in Union Springs where he was head football coach for three years (15-13). He also coached track.
    His overall basketball coaching record is 534-111 – including 301-62 at Valley and 125-20 at Lanett. He guided the Panthers to a 29-6 record and the Class 2A state championship in 2016 with a 73-48 win over St. Luke’s Episcopal in the finals. It was Carter’s first state title as head coach.
     Dedicated to molding the character of the young men he coaches, Carter has also served as a pastor for the past 42 years and is very active in civic affairs in East Alabama. He has mentored 75 members of his faith to become ministers themselves and has coached six players who went on to play in the NFL or NBA during his coaching career.
       Carter graduated from Rehobeth High School of Fairfax in 1965 and Alabama State University in 1969. He earned a masters from Troy University.

Grant, 61, is one of just seven high school football coaches in the AHSAA to coach at least five state championship teams. He accomplished the feat at Pike County High School during two tenures as head coach.
   Grant served as head coach at the Pike County from 1980-91 compiling a 97-33 record and winning the Brundidge school’s first two state titles in 1988 and 1989. He moved to Talladega High School from 1992-97 but returned in 1997 after the Bulldogs’ fortunes had fallen on hard times. Taking over a program that had gone 6-24 over the three previous seasons, he led Pike County back to prominence quickly with a winning season in 1999 and a state championship by 2003. The 2003 team, with just 18 players, rolled to a 14-1 record.  The Bulldogs also were 15-0 and state 3A champs in 2005 and won again in 2006. He was 100-19 in his second tenure to close out his coaching career with a 231-94 record.
    His Pike County teams were region champs 22 times, made 18 playoff appearances in 21 years, reached the quarterfinals 13 times and were 5-0 in Super 6 championship appearances.  His overall playoff record was 44-14 (76 percent). He coached in the Alabama-Mississippi All-Star Game twice and the North-South Game once with all three teams winning.
   Grant also coached two Mr. Football winners (Chris Nickson and Steven Coleman) and two that had stellar NFL careers (Fred Baxter and Cornelius Griffin).
    The 1972 Zion Chapel High School graduate earned his college degree and Masters at Troy University.
A native of basketball-crazy Morgan County, Harpe began his coaching career as the seventh-grade coach at Oak Park Middle School in his hometown of Decatur. That first team went undefeated and ignited a coaching career that led him to Austin High School from 1976-1998 and later at Arab High School from 2003-06. He also served as Austin head golf coach.
    Harpe’s teams compiled a 306-143 record and averaged over 21 wins per year. His 1996 team reached the AHSAA Final 48 State Tourney and his 1993 team won the state crown. Austin also reached the state tourney in 1987.
    More than 20 of his players signed college scholarships. Active on AHSAA basketball and golf committees, Harpe helped develop the Alabama-Mississippi All-Star Basketball Games and served as administrative coach from 1990-95. He also was a member of the District 8 Legislative Council for nine years (1990-98) and was selected to the Central Board of Control. He has also volunteered his time in his retirement to assist the AHSAA at its state tournament since 2010,
    Harpe graduated from Decatur High School in 1965 and Athens College in 1974. He earned a Masters from UAB.

DANNY HORN: Horn, 54, has served only two schools as head football coach in his 28 years as a head coach. Currently the head football coach and athletic director at Benjamin Russell, Horn is 55-39 in eight seasons (2009-16). His overall coaching record of 280-79 (78.1%) and 61-19 in the state playoffs includes an incredible 225-40 slate in 20 years at his alma mater, Clay County High School at Ashland.
   He served the Panthers as head coach from 1989-2008 capturing six state championships (1994, 1995, 1996, 2000, 2002, 2005) and posting a state-record 55-game winning streak that stretched from 1994-97.  The Panthers outscored opponents 1,974 to 194 during that streak with 34 shutouts and allowed only 3.2 points per game. 
   Horn’s 1994 team also outscored opponents 408-22 in 15 games and had 10 shutouts. His 1995 and 1996 teams allowed only 42 points in 15 games with 10 and 11 shutouts, respectively.
    He has coached in the Alabama-Mississippi All-Star Game twice (1994 and 2001), in the North-South game once (2007) and was named ASWA Coach of the Year three times.
    He graduated from Clay County High School in 1980, from Jacksonville State in 1984 and completed his Masters at JSU in 1989.

LORENZO JACKSON (OLD TIMER Division): Jackson, born in 1929, was selected to represent the “Old Timer” division in the Hall of Fame Class of 2007.
  He attended Decatur Negro High School graduating in 1947. He then got his degree from Alabama A&M in 1957. He also earned his Masters and AA.
   He was head football, basketball and track coach at Lakeside High School in Decatur from 1955-69. He was named the AIAA North Alabama High School Association Coach of the Year in 1958, 1959 and 1964.
   When Lakeside and Decatur merged following the 1968 Merger Act, Jackson served as assistant football and track coach at Austin High School for nine years. In 1977 he became the principal at Leon Sheffield Elementary School in Decatur where he serve through 1989.
   Active in civic affairs, he was a member of the Civitan Club and Alpha Phi Alpha fraternity, served as an elder at Macedonia Cumberland Presbyterian Church, was a member of the Decatur Planning Commission and Alabama Democratic Conference, and was instrumental registering voters in Morgan County. He also worked as a Decatur Parks/Recreation Aquatic Supervisor.
   Jackson, now deceased, has been inducted into the Morgan County Sports Hall of Fame and Athletic Booster Hall of Fame.

RUSSELL JACOWAY: The head football coach and athletic director at Sand Rock High School from 1983-2014, Jacoway began his coaching career in 1978 as an assistant coach at Early County High School in Blakely, Ga., where he remained for four years. He then moved to Smiths Station as an assistant coach for three.
    He came to Cherokee County’s Sand Rock High School in 1983 inheriting a team that went 1-9 in 1982. His first team in ’83 was 0-10. His third season, however, the Wildcats were 15-0 and won the Class 1A state championship. That team outscored opponents 400-54. He went on to compile a 228-132 head-coaching record at Sand Rock over 32 seasons and reached the Super 6 2A finals at Legion Field in 1997.
    The football stadium at Sand Rock was named in his honor in 1999. A book chronicling his 1985 championship was published in 2010, and he was inducted into the Cherokee County Sports Hall of fame in 2014. He coached in the North-South All-Star Game in 2002 and was named Coach of the Year by the Alabama Sportswriters Association in 1985 and 1997.
    He graduated from Collinsville High School in 1975 and Auburn University in 1978.

REBECCA LEE: Lee, 68, retired from coaching at Hatton High School with 1,320 varsity volleyball and softball wins to her credit. She began her teaching and coaching career at East Lawrence High School in 1978 where she compiled a 109-33 volleyball record over a five-year period. Her 1980 team was Class 2A state runner-up.
   She moved to her alma mater, Hatton High School, in 1983 where she remained until retiring from coaching in 2002. Her volleyball teams were 771-258 in 20 seasons with four Class 2A state championships in a row (1990, 1991, 1992 and 1993). She also became one of the top slow-pitch softball coaches in the AHSAA with her teams compiling a 400-177 record with state titles in 1992, 1993 and 1996. She was named NFHS Slow-Pitch Coach of the Year in 2000.
   The Moulton Advertiser selected her Female Coach of the Decade for Lawrence County in 1990.
   She graduated from Hatton High School 1966 and earned her degree from Athens State College in 1978. She became one of the state’s top volleyball officials during her retirement, serving as vice-president of the Quad-Cities Volleyball Officials Association for six years.

DWIGHT SANDERSON: Sanderson, 75, spent 29 years teaching and coaching in the AHSAA. He spent 14 years as head football coach at Notasulga High School from 1967-81. His first four years notched only eight wins but provided the foundation for what would come over the next 10 years.
   The Blue Devils were 76-24-2 during that stretch with five state appearances. His 1977 team was Class 1A state runner-up. The early years were extremely important, however, since it came just as the AHSAA and AIAA merged. His leadership and direction helped the school move into the new era smoothly.
    He had stops at Valley High School and Chambers County High School before retiring from Alabama in 1993. He then spent 13 years teaching in Georgia from 1994-2006.
Sanderson has been active in the community serving as a Sunday school teacher at New Site Methodist Church, a youth director in Ashland and working with senior citizens in Tallassee. He is a member of the Notasulga Lions Club.
    A 1959 graduate, he is one of two Clay County High School alumni to be selected for the Class of 2017 Hall of Fame. He earned his college degree from Jacksonville State in 1964 and a Masters at Troy University. 

TONY SCARBROUGH: The AHSAA’s winningest softball coach has been at Baker High School in Mobile as a teacher/coach since 1986.  His career high school softball-coaching record is 1,525 wins and 428 losses. His fast-pitch teams have compiled a 937-267 slate and slow-pitch teams (1987-1998) a 563-171 record. Scarbrough had coaching stops early in his career at Evangel Christian, Chickasaw Academy and Shaw High School in Alabama and Gautier (MS) and McLean County (KY).
   His slow-pitch teams won state championships in 1991, 1992, 1993 and was runner-up in 1989. The fast-pitch program captured state championships in 2003, 2005, 2007 and 2016. The Honey Bees have reached the fast-pitch state tournament 13 of the last 16 years. The 2007 team set a state record with 79 wins, which broke the previous record (78) set by Baker in 2005 that broke the previous mark (77) set by Baker in 2004.
    Scarbrough has been a leader among coaches serving on the AHSAA Softball Coaches Committee. He devised the basic plan to develop the very popular regional softball tournament format, a move that has improved softball throughout the state and has provided “state tournament” type experiences for a larger number of schools.
He was inducted into the Mobile Softball Hall of Fame in 1992 and was NFHS Section 3 Softball Coach of the Year in 2005 and 2015. He was named the Gulf Coast Writers Coach of the Year in 2015.
      Scarbrough is a graduate of Vigor High School (1967) and the University of South Alabama (1972).

AHSAA Schools to Honor Veterans at Playoff Games

   MONTGOMERY – The Alabama High School Athletic Association has planned a special Veterans’ Day Salute at all second-round state football playoff games Friday night and prior to the AHSAA State Cross Country Championships on Saturday to recognize and honor the men and women who have made many sacrifices for our nation. November 11 is Veterans Day - a day set aside to pay tribute to all Americans who have served in one of the armed forces.
   Special recognition will take place at each host school stadium with special pre-game ceremonies set just prior to the National Anthem.
     “Over the years and across this great nation thousands of individuals in the military forces have served and sacrificed so that we may live free,” AHSAA Executive Director Steve Savarese said. “We invite our schools to honor local veterans by any means approved by their administration.”
    Savarese said we must never forget the sacrifices that veterans have made to defend our country and to protect our freedom.
    “On behalf of the Alabama High School Athletic Association, we would like to take this opportunity to honor all veterans, but especially those administrators, teachers, coaches and officials who have served not only in their communities as servants for athletics, but have also served and been willing to make the ultimate sacrifice for our freedom,” Savarese said. “To
    those who have served and to those who are serving – past, present and future – and to the AHSAA member coaches, administrators, and officials who are veterans or in active duty, thank you and God bless you.”
    The AHSAA has also developed a video presentation currently online at displaying photos of veterans from among the AHSAA’s member school coaches, teachers, administrators and contest officials. Photos were provided either by member schools or the individuals. Each photo is also being tweeted to followers of the AHSAA Twitter account @ahsaaupdates.

Ainsworth to Transition into Gilliland’s Role In the Coming Months with the AHSAA

     MONTGOMERY – Alabama High School Athletic Association Executive Director Steve Savarese announced Monday that current Assistant Director Denise Ainsworth will be shifting her role with the AHSAA. She will be moving into the position that is being vacated with the retirement of Assistant Director Wanda Gilliland. Gilliland announced in October her plans of retiring effective June 1, 2017.
    Mr. Savarese said the two would continue to work closely together during the transition period.
    “We are very fortunate to already have Mrs. Ainsworth on the staff,” Savarese said. “Wanda’s role has been a very important one for the AHSAA, and Denise is highly qualified, understands the AHSAA mission and has been an integral part of what we do. We think this will make the transition much smoother.”
     She joined the full-time staff in July 2012 after working on a part-time basis beginning in 2010 with the AHSAA’s coaching component, the Alabama High School Athletic Directors & Coaches Association (AHSADCA).  Ainsworth currently serves as the Director of Special Programs. She also works with championship sports. She currently serves as the chairperson for the National Federation of State Association (NFHS) Volleyball Rules Committee and is the state coordinator for the National Interscholastic Athletic Administrators Association (NIAAA).
      “I am humbled by the AHSAA Central Board and by Mr. Savarese’s confidence in me and in my transitioning to a new position within the AHSAA,” Ainsworth said. “I have thoroughly enjoyed my seven years as part of this great organization.
     “Mr. Savarese has challenged me to think outside the box and to set goals to make each and every project or event bigger and better than it was the year before. I am very proud of the work and results our group of colleagues have made during my tenure with the AHSAA and am thankful for the opportunities afforded me during my time as Director of Special Programs. I hope to bring that same attitude and growth to this new position.”
    As Director of Special Programs, Ainsworth has overseen a variety of projects and events including the implementation of bowling as a championship sport. She administers the AHSAA and AHSADCA professional development programs such as the Leadership Training Program for coaches and administrators and the Coaches Mini-Clinic Series. She worked closely with the ALSDE to establish CEU’s for that professional development.
      She is especially proud of the Student Leadership Council established during her tenure that has grown from 14 students to 46 statewide.
       Ainsworth also coordinates AHSAA championship events in several sports as well as a number of conferences and events, including the Alabama High School Sports Hall of Fame induction banquet.
    “While I know this new position will be challenging and a learning curve, I feel confident that with the help of my co-workers and hard work and commitment on my part that we can continue and expand the work Ms. Gilliland began 20 years ago,” Ainsworth said. “Wanda’s efforts over the past 20 years have promoted better venues and better experiences for all of our student-athletes.
    “I am thankful to Wanda and others like her, who have paved the way for women as myself to be a part of the AHSAA. The term “professional” or “athlete” has no gender attached to it. However, both terms do imply hard work, commitment to excellence and integrity. I am excited to continue that work and I look forward to the challenges and opportunities that will come with this new promotion. “ 

    Prior to becoming a full-time staff member, Ainsworth was a highly successful coach, teacher and athletic administrator at Alabama Christian Academy (ACA) in Montgomery for 26 years. She served as athletic director at ACA for 12 years, during which the school’s athletic teams enjoyed tremendous success. While at ACA, she served in several AHSADCA officer positions and became the organization’s first female president in 2009.
     She was inducted into the Alabama High School Sports Hall of Fame’s Class of 2012, and her former school Alabama Christian named the school’s softball field in her honor that same year.
     A native of Florence, Ainsworth earned a bachelor’s degree in physical education in 1981 from the University of North Alabama and a masters from the University of Southern Mississippi in 1983.

AHSAA Prep Spotlight, Week 10 Coosa Central & Childersburg Close Out Regular Season in State-Record Style

     MONTGOMERY – Coosa Central High School went into its final game of the regular season needing a win over Childersburg to keep its slim playoff hopes alive. Childersburg was hoping to close out its season with a win and a two-game winning streak.
    In the end, the two teams walked off the field after final handshakes with a state record for scoring in a single game and in a single quarter as Childersburg captured an 82-64 win and the AHSAA Prep Spotlight for Week 10 of the 2016 football season.
   The combined 146 points set a new AHSAA single-game state record – as did the 72 points scored in the final quarter.  The record previous record, 139 points, was set in 2003 when Parrish downed Hubbertville 81-58. That record erased a the previous record (136) set by Slocomb and Houston County 72 years earlier in a 124-12 Red Tops win in 1931.
     Coach Jonathan Beverly’s winning Tigers scored 44 points in the final quarter and Coach Barry Simmons’ Cougars had 28 – a total of nine TDs in the final 12 minutes.
     Alexander City Outlook sports editor Cathy Higgins had the daunting task of keeping up with the game statistics. She had Coosa Central quarterback Raymond Graham with 267 yards rushing, 162 yards passing and a combined hand in seven of the Cougars’ touchdowns. 
Childersburg quarterback Jelan Kidd was just as prolific with four rushing touchdowns and three TDs passing.  |
     The game was tied at 8-8 after one quarter. Coosa Central led 30-24 at the half but trailed 38-36 heading into the wildest fourth-quarter scoring spree in state history to close out the contest. Takairee Kenabrew also had three touchdowns for the Tigers, and Jaterious Hill and Jevon McKinney had two each receiving for the Cougars.  Maurice Bennett intercepted a Coosa Central pass with 5:58 to play and ran it in for a touchdown for the only non-offensive TD of the night.  Childersburg was successful on eight 2-point tries.

    The scoring assault edged out five amazing individual performances by Falkville running back Caleb Vinson, Walker wide receiver Isiah Cox, Midfield quarterback Anthony Brown, Carbon Hill quarterback Jon Michael Madison and Sumiton Christian defensive back Tommy Woodall that etched their names in the AHSAA record book.
   Vinson had 32 rush attempts in a 53-34 win over Vinemont accounting for 287 yards rushing and seven rushing touchdowns. The seven rushing TDs rank him tied for second behind Sylacauga running back Golinsky Smith’s eight rushing TDs in a 1997 win over Chelsea. Vinson, who had scoring runs of 9, 38, 1, 45, 5, 41 and 4 yards and two two-point conversions for a total of 46 points ranking him 7th behind record holder Tommy Haley Ricks of Hubbertville’ 58 points scored in a 76-52 win over Vina in 2008.
    Walker’s senior receiver Cox became just the fourth player in AHSAA history to total more than 300 pass receiving yards in a single game. He had eight catches for 303 yards and three TDs (83, 55, 73 yards) as the Vikings beat Dora 55-7. He played just one series in the second half.  He finished his senior year with 983 receiving yards and all 13 TD passes Walker managed in 2016.
      Chris Simpson of LaFayette set the AHSAA single-game receiving record (412 yards) in a win over Alabama Christian in 2000. He had 20 catches in that performance. Brandon Greer of Westbrook Christian had 311 yards vs. Donoho in 1998 and Stevie Woods of Dora 303 yards receiving versus Oak Grove in 2010.
   Midfield’s Brown was 21-of-30 passing for 392 yards and seven touchdowns in a 48-47 win over New Hope last week. Madison was 19-of-28 passing for 403 yards and four scores in a 70-46 loss to Curry, and Woodall made four interceptions in Sumiton Christian’s 42-20 win over Marion County. Brown’s seven TD passes tied for third all-time. The 400-yard passing performance by Madison ranks 42nd in the AHSAA and the four picks by Woodall ties him for second behind four players who share the state record (5).


UMS-WRIGHT PROGRAM JOINS 600 CLUB: Coach Terry Curtis’ Bulldogs closed the regular season with a 28-7 win over defending Class 5A state champion St. Paul’s Episcopal – a win made even more memorable because it was the 600th varsity football victory in the Mobile school’s storied history. In 112 seasons dating back to 1905, UMS is now 600-418-16.
SCOTTSBORO QB TIES PAT TRAMMELL: Sophomore QB Bo Nix completed 7-of-11 passes for 102 yards and one touchdown and rushed 13 times for 155 yards and two scores as the Wildcats (10-0) closed the regular season beating Madison County 52-25. His TD pass was the 40th of his prep career tying him with former Wildcats QB Pat Trammell, a 1958 senior who had 40 in his during his prep career.  Nix heads into the state playoffs with 85 straight pass attempts without an interception.

PIEDMONT’S HAYES GOES OVER 3,000 YARDS: Senior quarterback Taylor Hayes rushed for 60 yards in the first half as defending Class 3A state champion Piedmont downed Oneonta 45-9 for their 20th straight win. In the process Hayes went over 3,000 career rushing yards for Coach Steve Smith’s Bulldogs on his 7-yard TD run in the first half. He also completed 10-of-17 passes for 112 yards.


THOMAS JOHNSTON, SPANISH FORT: Had 20 tackles, including two for loss, as the Toros beat LeFlore 25-6 to clinch runner-up in Class 6A, Region 1. He was one of the linebackers selected to the 40-man roster of the Alabama All-Star Team. The all-stars will play Mississippi in the 30th annual Alabama-Mississippi All-Star Classic on Dec. 10 at Cramton Bowl.

DEVIN KIMBROUGH, SPARKMAN: Completed 29-of-41 passes for 394 yards and five touchdowns and ran for 140 yards and a score on 20 carries in a 59-41 loss at Decatur. He also converted a 2-point conversion pass.
DALEN MORRIS, MADISON COUNTY: Was 12-of-22 passing for 303 yards and four touchdowns (49, 26, 22 and 6 yards) in a 52-25 loss to Scottsboro.
JEREMIAH HARRIS, ABBEVILLE: Accounted for 360 yards and five touchdowns in the Yellow Jackets’ 46-34 win over Headland. Harris completed 12-of-16 passes for 170 yards and three scores (29, 6 and 19 yards) and also gained 190 yards rushing on 18 carries with two touchdowns (62 and 12 yards).

BUBBA THOMPSON, McGILL-TOOLEN CATHOLIC: Connected on 18-of-19 passes for 253 yards and three touchdowns in the Yellow Jackets’ victory over Fairhope. McGill-Toolen is now 10-0 heading into the 7A state playoffs.

SCOTT McALPINE, HALEYVILLE: The sophomore quarterback passed for 266 yards and four touchdowns (18, 12, 35 and 37 yards) as the Lions (9-1) closed out the regular season with a 55-27 win over Central-Florence.

GRANT JONES, COLLINSVILLE: Completed 16-of-27 pass attempts for 252 yards and three touchdowns as the Panthers rallied past Valley Head for a 28-20 victory.
LANDON CORNUTT, ASHVILLE: Was 12-of-16 passing for 205 yards and two touchdowns and rushed 13 times for 62 yards and another score in the Bulldogs' 35-28 win over West End. He also had an interception on defense that led to the winning score.
PRESTON HERRING, ARITON: Completed 11-of-15 passes for 191 yards with two touchdowns and added 40 yards rushing one touchdown Ariton’s 35-26 win over Red Level.

JACK WEST, SARALAND: Completed 11-of-14 passes for 179 yards and three touchdowns as Saraland beat B.C. Rain 62-26 to clinch a playoff berth in Class 6A, Region 1. West also scored a rushing TD.
JACKSON HOLLADAY, BUCKHORN: Completed 14-of-21 passes for 197 yards and three scores (43, 8 and 27 yards), and threw a 2-point pass in a 42-23 win at North Jackson.
JORDAN SEYMOUR, HAZEL GREEN: Completed 13-of-26 passes for 191 yards and four touchdowns (41, 37, 31 and 7 yards) in a 30-28 victory over Oak Mountain.
MALIK SMITH, SHEFFIELD: The quarterback hooked up with receiver Donavon Goodwin for three touchdown passes and ran for another as Sheffield beat R.A. Hubbard 57-8.

JONATE COTTON, NEW HOPE: Rushed for 285 yards and five touchdowns (64, 31, 18, 16 and 4 yards) in a 48-4 loss at Midfield.
ZALON REYNOLDS, CHELSEA: Had 22 rush attempts for 272 yards and a TD as Chelsea downed Cullman 45-38.
SAMMY LATHAM, SUMITON CHRISTIAN: Piled up 238 yards rushing on 21 carries and scored three touchdowns in a 42-20 win over Marion County.
BRADEN CARVER, SAND ROCK: Rushed for 252 yards and four touchdowns (75, 1, 6, 40 yards) on 18 carries as the Wildcats beat Cedar Bluff 45-7.
HENNIS WASHINGTON, OPP: Rushed for 245 yards on just 14 carries and two touchdowns in the Bobcats’ 43-24 win over Elba.

D’ARIE JOHN, SPAIN PARK: Rushed for 232 yards and two TDs covering 60 and 31 yards as Spain Park beat Minor 52-42 to hand the Tigers their first loss of the season.
ZACK ALFORD, GOSHEN: Rushed for 201 yards with two touchdowns and added a 68-yard touchdown reception in a 26-12 win over Brantley.

LANDON LAWSON, GAYLESVILLE: Ran for 231 yards on 28 carries and scored three touchdowns to lead the Trojans to a 42-6 victory over Alabama School for the Deaf.

KOBI McCOY, COLBERT COUNTY: Rushed for 221 yards and four touchdowns as Colbert County beat Russellville 41-21. McCoy, who went over the 1,500-yard mark in rushing yards for the season, scored on runs of 34, 8, 38 and 4 yards on 18 carries.
CHADARIUS TOWNSEND, TANNER: Rushed 11 times for 195 yards four touchdowns (6, 68, 54 and 16 yards), completed 3-of-5 passes for 65 yards, recovered a blocked punt and broke up two passes in a 35-14 win over East Limestone.
DERRICK MOORE, FULTONDALE: Ran for 218 yards on 28 carries and scored one TD in Fultondale’s 16-12 loss to Montevallo.
RYAN WARREN, DALEVILLE: Had 10 carries for 209 yards and four touchdowns as the War Hawks beat Cottonwood 48-1.

DEKARLOS BILLINGSLEY, SCOTTSBORO: The senior running back rushed 17 times for 204 yards and three touchdowns and returned a kickoff 75 yards for a touchdown as the Wildcats finished the regular season 10-0 with a 52-25 win over Madison County. It was the sixth undefeated season in SHS history dating back to the first one in 1932 (7-0-1). Other unbeaten regular seasons include 1960, 1965, 1995 and 1996.
GARRETT SANDERS, G.W. LONG: Rushed for 189 yards and three touchdowns, kicked a 37-yard field goal and two extra-point kicks, had an interception return of 39 yards to set up one score and punted three times for a 40-yard average in the Rebels’ 23-21 win over Pike County.
JUNIOR SUMMERHILL, CENTRAL-FLORENCE: Rushed for 188 yards and three touchdowns on 15 carries in a 55-27 loss to Haleyville. Summerhill’s TD runs were 80, 3 and 34 yards.

HAYDEN HIBBETT, MARS HILL BIBLE: Rushed for 140 yards and three touchdowns, caught two passes for 57 yards and intercepted two passes, one he returned 90 yards for another score as Mars Hill Bible downed Shoals Christian 64-0.
MAURICE ROBINSON, MURPHY: Gained 162 yards rushing on 23 carries, threw two touchdowns and ran for two more to lead the Panthers past Vigor 28-14 on Thursday night.

DREW VAUGHN, SARDIS: Rushed for 147 yards and two touchdowns on nine carries and caught a TD pass in the Lions' 48-7 win over Boaz.
CARLOS DAVIS, MUSCLE SHOALS: Rushed for 157 yards and two TDs on run of 50 and 15 yards in a 35-7 win over Deshler.

DAKOTA LAMBERT, SPRING GARDEN:  Turned in an all-around performance in the Panthers’ 36-27 victory over Pleasant Valley posting 134 rushing yards and a 5-yard touchdown on 17 carries, three pass receptions for 53 yards and a 10-yard score, and two interceptions on defense. Teammate Ben Ivey added 147 rushing yards and a touchdown on 22 carries and also completed 3-of-5 pass attempts for 53 yards and a score.
MICHAEL CAMPBELL, T.R. MILLER: Sparked the Tigers to a 35-6 win over rival W.S. Neal in the Battle of Murder Creek by rushing for 174 yards and four touchdowns.


CARSON McGINNIS, CARBON HILL: Caught eight passes for 225 yards and a pair of touchdowns in the Bulldogs' 70-46 loss to Curry.
ANDRE LITTLE, WEST END: Caught nine passes for 145 yards and returned a kickoff 80 yards for a touchdown in the Patriots' 35-28 loss to Ashville.
JOHN RIEHL, DECATUR: Snagged 10 pass receptions for 185 yards and three touchdowns in Decatur’s 59-41 win over Sparkman.
KOLBI FUQUA, CORDOVA: Hauled in 12 passes for 165 yards and a touchdown while adding 11 tackles, an interception, two pass deflections and a blocked field goal on defense as the Blue Devils beat Munford 22-13.
TESHAWN BROWN, MONTEVALLO: Made 11 catches for 123 yards and a TD in a 16-12 win over Fultondale.
PIERCE PORTER, NORTH SAND MOUNTAIN: Made three receptions, all for TDs covering 51, 16 and 61 yards (128 total yards) and also picked off a pass on defense in a 21-20 loss at Lexington. The two teams play again this week in the first round of the Class 3A state playoffs.

CHRIS SULLIVAN, THEODORE:  Had 169 yards receiving and four total touchdowns as in a 35-10 Bobcats victory over Foley.

HUNTER HUCKBAY, ASHVILLE: Caught eight passes for 118 yards and two touchdowns in the Bulldogs' 35-28 win over West End.
TYE LINDSEY, OPP: Caught three passes for 107 yards with one touchdown, added a 65-yard kickoff for another touchdown and had a 2-yard touchdown run in the Bobcats’ 43-24 win over Elba.

DAVION COBBS, ABBEVILLE: Had 22 tackles, including three for losses in the Yellow Jackets’ 46-34 win over Headland.

JUSTIN ROBERTS, CITRONELLE: Recorded 17 tackles, including three for a loss, and blocked a PAT attempt as the Wildcats beat Washington County 37-33.
AUSTIN STORDAHL, GAYLESVILLE: Caused two fumbles and recovered another in the Trojans' 42-6 win over Alabama School for the Deaf. He also rushed for 66 yards on nine carries with a touchdown.

AMIER GREEN, HUFFMAN: Had 10 tackles and two sacks in the Vikings’ 16-3 win over Bessemer City.
ANTARIUS MITCHELL, HOMEWOOD: Returned a blocked field goal 90 yards and a touchdown and intercepted a pass as Homewood defeated Paul Bryant 41-14.
ADAM NEWTON, SLOCOMB: Had two of the four interceptions made by the Red Tops defense and returned one 70 yards for a touchdown as Slocomb beat Geneva County 28-6.
TYLER PRESLEY, DALEVILLE: Snagged two interceptions in Daleville’s 48-21 win over Cottonwood.

JUSTIN TINDLE, SATSUMA:  Had a 75-yard kickoff return for a touchdown with 1:04 left in the game gave Satsuma a 34-30 win over Chickasaw.
AVERY MOATES, WILSON: Kicked a 42-yard field goal, hauled in a 55-yard TD pass and kicked two extra points – the last one coming in overtime as Wilson beat Randolph 17-16.
FISHER SIMMONS, HOKES BLUFF: Returned a punt 53 yards for a touchdown and covered a fumbled punt that led to another score as the Eagles defeated Westbrook Christian 55-20.

SAMARIO RUDOLPH, COTTAGE HILL CHRISTIAN:  Returned a kickoff 80 yards for a touchdown with 20 seconds left in the fourth quarter in a 41-35 win over St. Luke’s Episcopal. He also had four receptions for 93 yards and six tackles and an interception on defense.
BAILEY POTTER, SCOTTSBORO: Senior place-kicker Bailey Potter was 7-for-7 on extra points and kicked a 34-yard field goal in the Wildcats’ 52-25 win over Madison County. He is now 63-of-65 on extra-point attempts for the season with currently 39 in a row.
CARDAVION MYERS, PIEDMONT: Scored on an 83-yard kickoff return and also had a 57-yard TD on his first rush attempt in the second half in a 45-9 win over Oneonta.