Tuesday, July 16, 2019






High School Sports Participation Increases for 26th Consecutive Year, Tops 7.8 Million for First Time

            INDIANAPOLIS, IN (August 13, 2015) – The number of participants in high school sports increased for the 26th consecutive year in 2014-15 – topping the 7.8 million mark for the first time – according to the annual High School Athletics Participation Survey conducted by the National Federation of State High School Associations (NFHS).

              Based on figures from the 51 NFHS member state high school associations, which includes the District of Columbia, the number of participants in high school sports reached an all-time high of 7,807,047 – an increase of 11,389 from the previous year.

              While boys participation dipped 8,682 from the previous year, girls participation increased for the 26th consecutive year with an additional 20,071 participants and set an all-time high of 3,287,735. The boys participation total of 4,519,312 is No. 2 all-time behind the 2013-14 total of 4,527,994.

             The top 10 states by participants remained in the same order as last year, with Texas and California topping the list with 804,598 and 797,101, respectively. The remainder of the top 10 was New York (389,475), Illinois (340,972), Ohio (319,929), Pennsylvania (319,562), Michigan (295,660), New Jersey (279,377), Florida (267,954) and Minnesota (235,243). Alabama ranked 21st nationally and fourth in Section 3 with 123,339 high school participants. The AHSAA numbers include 80,510 boys and 42,829 girls. AHSAA’s top boys’ sports by participation were football (31,468), basketball (12,860) and baseball (12,080). The top girls’ participation sports were softball (9,338), volleyball (9,202) and basketball (8,349). The AHSAA numbers totaled 130,791 when factoring in cheerleading and bowling, programs not figured in championship sports results reported to the NFHS in 2014-15. Bowling will be a championship sport in 2015-16 and cheerleading is currently an activity that has an independent championship program, but is endorsed by the AHSAA.
             Six of the top 10 girls sports registered increases in participation this past year, led by competitive spirit squads (5,170 additional participants) and cross country (3,495). While track and field remained the No. 1 sport for girls with 478,726 participants, volleyball (432,176) moved ahead of basketball (429,504) to secure the No. 2 spot. Ten years ago, basketball was No. 1 for girls, followed by track and field, and volleyball.

              Among the top 10 boys sports, soccer registered the largest gain with an additional 15,150 participants, while wrestling (11,306) and 11-player football (9,617) had the largest declines in participation. Besides soccer, other top 10 boys sports that had increases in the number of participants were baseball (3,938) and basketball (425).

              “Overall, we are pleased with this year’s participation report indicating an increase for the 26th consecutive year,” said Bob Gardner, NFHS executive director. “And while football participation dropped this past year, the decrease is not that significant when you consider more than 1.1 million boys and girls are involved in the sport at the high school level.

              “Despite other out-of-school opportunities that exist in some sports, this year’s survey is yet another confirmation that our model of education-based sports within the high school setting is the No. 1 choice for boys and girls nationwide. We applaud the more than 19,000 high schools across the country for continuing to provide these important programs despite the funding challenges that exist in some areas.”

              Eleven-player football remains the runaway leader in boys participants with 1,083,617, followed by outdoor track and field (578,632), basketball (541,479), baseball (486,567) and soccer (432,569). The remainder of the top 10 is wrestling (258,208), cross country (250,981), tennis (157,240), golf (148,823) and swimming/diving (137,087).

              After outdoor track and field, volleyball and basketball, the remainder of the top 10 girls sports are soccer (375,681), fast-pitch softball (364,103), cross country (221,616), tennis (182,876), swimming/diving (166,838), competitive spirit squads (125,763) and lacrosse (84,785).

              Among some of the non-traditional high school sports on this year’s survey, archery and riflery registered significant increases in participation. An additional 2,877 participants (boys and girls) in archery brings the overall total to 7,744 with schools in eight states sponsoring the sport. Riflery was up 1,010 participants for a total of 4,238 with competition in 10 states. Also, while boys wrestling was down by more than 11,000 this past year, the number of girls participating in the sport increased by 1,592 for a total of 11,496.

             The participation survey has been compiled since 1971 by the NFHS through numbers it receives from its member associations. The complete 2014-15 High School Athletics Participation Survey is attached in PDF format and will be posted soon on the NFHS website at www.nfhs.org.

AHSAA: Making Sports Safer Playing Rules and Technique Are Changing Football for the Better

     High school football coaches remember the old days when playing football meant long, punishing practices, when intense blocking and tackling drills were meant to cull the weak from the strong and drinking water in practice was only for weaklings.
     Clay-Chalkville High School head football coach Jerry Hood says he is glad those days are gone forever.
     “A lot of the things we learned as players and early in our coaching careers, there’s better ways to do those things now,” Hood said. “We practiced tackling all this summer with just helmets on because we are teaching a new way to tackle that keeps the head out of it. We think those kinds of things are very effective.”
     As the game of high school football’s playing rules have changed, so have the techniques and the emphasis on teaching. Practice sessions for AHSAA schools are now spent concentrating on the fundamental techniques that are designed to make the sport safer. Hood, who led the Cougars to a 15-0 season in 2014 and the Class 6A state football championship, says the game has now evolved to one that is safer than it has ever been.  He said a recent study by Michigan State University has shown that current tackling and blocking fundamentals are reducing concussions.
     “The way offensive and defensive linemen play with their hands these days, there are a lot less head and shoulder collisions in the interior offensive and defensive lines than it used to be,” Hood said. “So, things have changed drastically in our teaching techniques.
     “I think the game is now much safer than it was 20 years ago and safer than it was even 10 years ago.”
      Hood said it starts in the grassroots – at practice. It is a philosophy that has helped the game of football evolve into a showcase of athleticism, speed and excitement.
      “Our coaches at the high school level have reached down to the youth league level and the middle school coaches,” Hood explained. “We’re smarter about what happens to the body when you go through football practice and football games. We watch it much more carefully.”
     “I think neck strength has a lot to do with it. The Michigan State study shows that it correlates to a reduction in concussions. I also think our helmet hardware is better, and I think the sport is much, much safer than it used to be.”
     Dothan High School football coach Kelvis White also points to the rules’ changes that allow offensive linemen to use their upper-body strength by extending their arms as another major reason the game is much safer. White says teaching those techniques must also include intense strength training and some psychology by the coaches to convince the players that the new techniques do work best.
    White said when parents question his staff’s more modern teaching styles, he points out: “The game has changed. Kids today are bigger, stronger and faster so the impact is much greater.  I tell the parents that by today’s standards, we want to keep the players safe so they can have a healthy lifestyle when they are through with football.”
    White said he has learned to hang on to the good teaching practices of men like his own dad Louis White.  Louis directed Courtland High School to four Class 1A state titles during his 30-year coaching career and was inducted into the AHSAA Sports Hall of Fame in 2003.
    “My dad was an open book,” White said. “His practices were always open. If a kid had a problem, they talked to him and if a parent had a question, they talked to him. I try to do the same now and keep an open line of communication so the players and parents can learn to trust me. My dad had a lot of old school in him, but at the same time, the kids always came first.”
     Central-Phenix City High School athletic director, volleyball and basketball coach Carolyn Wright said coaches in each AHSAA sport are promoting best health and safety practices.
    “It starts first with a pre-participation physical,” she said. “It give us some idea of a student’s physical condition going into a season,” she said. “We always start our practices with a dynamic warm-up, then do our stretching. There is no option … we do it every practice in volleyball and basketball before we move into our normal drills.”
     She said water is available in the gym at all times, and breaks are taken with the frequency dependent on the intensity of each drill. She says good coaching is more than teaching them how to shoot or dribble or run or jump.
    “Our conditioning program deals with getting the core stronger,” she said. “We try to concentrate on diet by giving them a good synopsis of what they should be eating and things they should try to stay away from. We try to keep them drinking more water and not sodas and beverages like that. Getting the proper rest is also very important. We tell our players after practice to get home, do their homework, get a bath and then get in bed.”
    “Our coaches are much more educated in Alabama thanks to the programs of the AHSAA and are very conscious about what it takes to keep the kids healthy.
     “With me, I have been in the business for so long that I can tell the difference in a slight twist and a more serious injury just by the sound of the player’s voice and by the way they fall.  I am here to tell you that there are a lot of other coaches out there just as experienced as I am.”

AHSAA: Making Sports Safer Anyone Can Save a Life if Prepared for Crisis

    Thompson High School football coach and athletic director Mark Freeman called his former Spanish Fort High School player Alex McKeever last week on the first day of football practice just to tell him hello. He wanted to hear his voice one more time.
   He said it was the most enjoyable phone call he’s ever made – and he hopes to make the same call each August for the next 50 years.
   Alex, a sophomore last year, was going through drills on the first day of practice with Freeman’s then Spanish Fort Toros when the 6-foot-4 youngster collapsed in cardiac arrest.  What happened next was a miracle, Freeman said, for many reasons.
    Spanish Fort had an Emergency Action Plan (EAP) in place for football practice – one Freeman said his staff, trainers and coaches practiced often. It worked to perfection.
     All member schools of the Alabama High School Athletic Association are required to have EAPs on file when audited. The AHSAA, however, stresses the importance of having emergency action plans for after school activities by requiring schools to have an EAP for practice and games for every sport and every venue. It was a main focus of the AHSAA Summer Conference last month.
     A template designed to help schools develop a plan is available to all schools. The AHSAA also recently provided each member high school and middle school an EAP program template designed by the Minnesota State High School League entitled Anyone Can Save A Life that utilizes students in roles of responsibility. This is an essential step-by-step plan that is designed for schools with few coaches or sports where one coach may be the only adult in the gym or on the field with a team on a regular basis. This plan shows how anyone, students or adults, can help save a life when a crisis occurs – if they know and practice their roles.
      The AHSAA auditors now check those plans when conducting school audits. Each high school and middle school is audited yearly.
    “Our preparedness saved Alex’s life,” Freeman said. “Everyone knew their task, from the coach who called 911, to the coach who called the parents to the coach who directed the emergency vehicle into and out of the stadium. We actually had two AEDs (automated external defibrillator) on hand and we needed them.”
     Freeman said his certified athletic trainer (Rob Milam) had an AED and the team had one. They had to use them both when the first one began to fail.
     “Alex’s heart had stopped, but Rob revived him and the paramedics arrived in time to get him to a local hospital. The rest was even more miraculous,” Freeman said. “He was able to recover fully, and when we played in the Champions Challenge at Montgomery’s Cramton Bowl three weeks later, he and his family were on hand watching from the press box.”
     He said he now tells his coaches all the time that he learned two important things from AHSAA Medical Advisory Committee co-chairman Dr. (Jimmy) Robinson at the AHSAA’s mandatory medical advisory meeting at the Summer Conference the year before.
     “I learned that if someone is suffering from a heat related illness, they have 100 percent recovery if action is taken within 10 minutes. If not, then it can be disastrous. So we keep an ice tub ready at each practice.”
      “When Alex collapsed, we had the ice tub ready but his situation was not about heat. The second thing I learned is that emergency action plans are a must – and the plan must be practiced so everyone knows what their roles are.”
    Freeman said he hopes to never have to use an EAP ever again, “but if we have to, then we will be ready,” he said. “The most important thing I brought with me to my new position at Thompson is the EAP. I learned from that experience last year that an emergency is going to come when you least expect it.  That situation happened early in the first day of fall practice, our least strenuous day. We were only in our fifth session when Alex suffered his cardiac arrest. I thank God every day that we were prepared.”
     Goshen High School football coach and athletic director Bart Snyder is also a very vocal proponent of being prepared. Emergency action plans are not just about knowing where the AED is located,” he said. “It is about taking seriously the training that is available, taking seriously the importance of practicing the plan and making sure everyone, from the coaches, players and the volunteers who might be parking the vehicles at a game, knows what to do.”
    Snyder remembers an emergency crisis at his school a few years ago.
   “We had an incident that took place in our gym during a girls’ basketball game,” he said. “We had a kid to fall out. During that time, our coaches responded quickly – having been trained to know CPR. Having plans in place enabled us to respond and gave the injured student an opportunity to survive.”
     Like Freeman, Snyder said his coaches, students and school practice those plans often.
     “We’ll rehearse those plans during fall practice in case something else were to happen,” Snyder said. “Of course, like coaches we hope it doesn’t, but we know we must be prepared just in case. When we practice a crisis situation, we usually let the students know in advance because we don’t want them to panic. Later in the year (after their initial training), we may stage something without informing them just so we can see how everyone will respond.
     “In that one particular case I mentioned earlier, the kids that were there responded and helped us. You just couldn’t imagine how well they responded given the situation. It is amazing just what kids can do in certain situations when called upon.”
      Snyder is a firm believer in safety education. He said no one will ever hear him complain of the AHSAA requirements placed on each coach. He says few businesses require their supervisors to be as well-trained in safety as high school coaches.
      AHSAA rules require all coaches, faculty and non-faculty, to undergo health and safety education training before even stepping on a court or field to work with the student-athletes. The requirements include completing the NFHS Principles of Coaching and Sports Safety and First Aid courses online. All coaches must also be CPR and AED certified at all times, which requires annual training, and they must also complete the NFHS Concussion Awareness and Heat Illness Prevention courses online. The NFHS offers a Cardiac Arrest course that has been recommended for all AHSAA coaches, and through a joint effort with LifeStart, each school now has its own AED to use in emergencies and also to use in classroom training.
    Snyder said the tools provided by the AHSAA has helped him become a better coach and helped him better prepare his staff.
   “We always try to put safety first,” he said. “We preach to our incoming coaches that whatever we do the child’s safety is number one. We don’t ever want to put our children into a place where they could overheat or become injured due to our mistake.
      “So, we’re not going to do anything without thinking safety first.”
      NEXT: Final part of this five-part series addresses the importance of coaching technique.

AHSAA: Making Sports Safer Helmet Safety Is Top Priority of AHSAA Schools

   When Herman L. “Bubba” Scott, became executive director of the Alabama High School Athletic Association in the mid-1960s, there was no standard for helmet safety for high school football.
    However, much changed during his 25-year tenure at the AHSAA thanks in big part to Scott’s leadership as part of the National Federation of State High School Associations Football Rules Committee.
      Scott served on the committee for 23 years spending nine as vice chairman and four as chairman from 1976-1990. It was during his leadership tenure that helmet safety regulations were put in place that are still impacting the sport of football and making it safer.
      Scott joined the NFHS Football Rules committee in 1967. One year later, the climate began to change after 1968 when 32 fatalities were documented from head and neck injuries directly due to participation in the sport in organized competition.
    In 1969, the National Operating Committee on Standards for Athletic Equipment (NOCSAE) was formed to commission research directed at injury reduction.  Research began with football being targeted for their initial research effort.
    Researchers found that 1968 was not the norm. In fact, research showed that the incidence of head injury fatalities had been averaging less than two per 100,000 athletes. However, most agreed that some sort of helmet safety standard must be developed as a guide for NFHS member schools.
     Forging ahead, a testing system was devised in 1970 and by 1973 the test standard was published for the first time. In 1975, one of the nation’s leading helmet re-conditioners found that 84 percent of the helmets tested failed the NOCSAE drop test.
    Scott, a former college and high school football coach himself, helped spearhead rules changes in the high school game that went into effect in 1980 requiring all NFHS high school teams to use helmets that carried the NOCSAE certified stamp.
    Now, 35 years later, NOCSAE is still the defining organization on helmet safety. According to NFHS rules, AHSAA member schools must use new helmets that carry the NOCSAE certification stamp and must re-certify used helmets based on helmet manufacturer recommendations. Most manufacturers recommend re-certifying helmets by having them re-conditioned a minimum of every two years. Most AHSAA member schools re-condition helmets annually.
       Reconditioned helmets must also carry the NOCSAE certification sticker and must display the date of original purchase. Each helmet manufacturer sets the shelf life of its helmets and the warranty. Once that warranty expires, the helmet is no longer used. The date of origin is also displayed on a helmet.
     Clay-Chalkville High School head football coach Jerry Hood said the protocol surrounding helmet safety is now automatic as far as he is concerned. We do what we have always done, he said.
      “We have our helmets redone every year and make sure they are fitted properly,” he said.
      Dothan High School head football coach Kelvis White said football rules, many which changed during Scott’s tenure on the NFHS Football Rules committee, have also made the game safer, but requiring safety standards for equipment such as helmets is essential. 
      White, the son and nephew of AHSAA Hall of Fame coaches Louis White and Mylun White, said helmet safety is a top priority at his school.
      “Our principal doesn’t cut cost on helmets,” White said. "They have the Virginia Tech 5-star rating, and all our helmets are the best helmets we can get.”
    White, considered one of the best interior line coaches in the state, added, “Even a 5-star helmet isn’t going to protect you if you use it improperly. That’s why we spend so much time teaching technique that is designed to get the head out of the contact. We get our helmets re-conditioned every year, but at the same time we still emphasize that technique by coaching them the right way.”
    White said rules allowing kids to extend their arms revolutionized the game at the high school level. That is why it is also important to spend time in the weight room developing players’ upper body strength.
    “A stronger kid is going to trust his technique more than a timid kid because the natural thing to do is to duck his head when he sees a big ole’ back coming his way,” White said. “It isn’t just about being stronger.  If you are confident in your ability and your weights and you feel good that you can use your hands to protect yourself, then you can use technique and not have to get your head involved.”
    Montgomery Academy head football coach and athletic director Anthony McCall said he has learned a lot about helmet safety since becoming a head football coach thanks to AHSAA education at rules clinics, the AHSAA Summer Conference medical advisory meetings and football clinics.
    “At Montgomery Academy, I am proud to say we have our helmets certified annually,” McCall said. “As soon as the season is over, within two weeks we are calling the company and telling them to come pick up our helmets. What they are looking at now, and something I wasn’t aware of until a couple of years ago, is that helmets have a shelf life.
    “Just last year, we had to discard about 30 helmets and purchase new helmets. That is something we take seriously – making sure each year our helmets and other equipment are up to par for our student-athletes. We share this with our parents so they will know that the helmets and equipment we are putting their children in are the best that we can provide for them.
     McCall said the shelf life stamp of a helmet is easy to see.
    “It shows the year it was actually made and when the shelf life expires,” he said. “We are fortunate to have a company that looks at that for us, and they won’t attempt to re-condition that helmet if it is expired.  As part of the reconditioning and recertification, the helmets are getting new facemasks, are being cleaned (inside and out), the whole nine yards. In some ways, we are basically getting a new helmet back when we recertify them.
    “We know that we can’t put a price on the safety of our kids, so whatever the cost of doing that, we do it annually.”
    In Scott’s first year as vice-chairman of the Football Rules Committee in 1976, rules-making committees were responsible for initiating changes which prohibited initial contact of the head in blocking and tackling and removed spearing from football. These changes have helped to significantly reduce quadriplegic injuries as well as other serious and fatal head injuries.
     Scott’s national impact did not go unnoticed by the NFHS. He was inducted into the NFHS High School Hall of Fame in 1990 and is one of only 42 individuals to receive the NFHS   prestigious Award of Merit (1992). Other notable recipients have been former President Gerald Ford, former Major League Baseball Commissioner Bowie Kuhn and Walter Byers, the first NCAA executive director.
   Other Alabamians have played key roles in educating coaches.
   Cliff Harper, the AHSAA executive director before Scott, designed the illustrated rule book the NFHS still uses today to instruct football contest officials.  Dan Washburn, who followed Scott as executive director in 1991, worked with the AHSAA Central Board to set up an emphasis on sportsmanship through the Star Sportsmanship program created by Learning Through Sports that has been completed by more than 200,000 student-athletes, coaches, administrators, contest officials and parents since its inception in 2007. And during current Executive Director Steve Savarese’s tenure, more than 11,000 coaches and administrators have completed the NFHS Concussion Awareness and Heat Illness Prevention courses which are now required by the AHSAA for each faculty and non-faculty coach in all sports.
    Since 1990, AHSAA Director of Officials Greg Brewer has served on the NFHS Football Rules Committee.
    Parents wanting to know more about helmet safety can go to NOCSAE’s website: www. http://nocsae.org/.

AHSAA Schools: Making Sports Safer AHSAA Regulations Limiting Full-Speed Contact in Football Practice Now in Place

     Football teams in the AHSAA opened practice this week with some new regulations in place concerning full-speed contact designed to reduce injuries.
      Fred Riley, head football coach and athletic director at Davidson High School in Mobile, said, “No big deal.”
      He wasn’t trying to be cavalier – quite the contrary. He said schools had already been following that protocol for years.
     After much study, the AHSAA introduced some football practice guideline recommendations in 2013 that limited the amount of full-speed contact student-athletes undergo each week during practice. Those guidelines were cited for reducing injuries in a study by the National Federation of State High School Associations (NFHS) last winter when the national governing body of high schools announced its own recommendations.
      The AHSAA Central Board of Control, on the recommendation of the AHSAA Medical Advisory Committee and Alabama High School Athletic Directors & Coaches Association (AHSADCA) last spring, adopted the recommendations as bylaws – thus insuring that all schools follow these guidelines in their practice regimen each week from preseason until the end of the season.
      The guidelines give specific limits concerning full-speed contact beginning with Week 1 of the preseason right up to the first game and then states limits once the season begins.
      Riley said his school has been limiting full-speed contact in practice for the last 11 years. And he has been amazed at the results.
      “The biggest thing is that we really don’t have an issue,” Riley said. “You know a lot of the new practice protocol (of the AHSAA) going into place we have been doing for 11 years. We were ahead of the curve.  We haven’t gone to the ground in a practice in 11 years with full contact and a full-fledged winner no more than about two days a week.”
      He said his players have had only six concussions in that time span.
      “Of the six concussions we have had, four came in games and most were the result of a knee hitting a helmet in a pile in a scrum and not as a head-to-head thing,” Riley added. “That just doesn’t happen very often.”
     The AHSAA protocol limits full-speed contact to just 90 minutes per player during the first week of practice. Teams are in shorts and helmets the first two days, in shoulder pads and helmets on day three for no more than 90 minutes total practice time, and in shoulder pads and helmets on day four for no more than 120 minutes.
     On the fifth practice day, one full-speed contact practice, in full gear, is allowed not to exceed 90 minutes.
    At no time can schools have back-to-back days of two-a-day practices.
    Week 2 allows alternating days of full-speed contact practice, not to exceed a combined total of 120 minutes of full-speed contact is allowed. In addition, one intra-squad scrimmage is allowed.
   During Week 3, alternating days of full-speed practice, not to exceed 120 minutes of full contact is allowed. One interscholastic scrimmage or contest is allowed in Week 3.
   During Week 4 through end of the season, a total of 90 minutes of full-speed contact practice per week is allowed.
    Loachapoka High School football coach and athletic director Jerome Tate says he fully supports the practice regulations.
    “I think the AHSAA is way ahead of other states in what we are doing as far as safety for our kids with our concussion awareness,” Tate said. “And now the cardiac arrest training and other stuff the AHSAA does (for us) is preparing us even more. I think it is very important for coaches, especially when you are dealing with young lives, to be aware of what is going on, what the rules are and what you can and cannot do.”
    He chuckles when he remembers his own days as a high school football player.
     “Those olden days of being able to push you until your drop, they are long gone. So you have to be conscious of what you are doing out there all of the time.”
     Alvin Briggs, Director of the AHSADCA, said member-school coaches have long been supportive of anything that can make the game of football safer.
    He pointed out that more than 11,000 coaches and administrators took the NFHS Concussion Awareness course online prior to 2013 and have been practicing full-speed contact limits for many years.
    “Our coaches have shown tremendous support of these guidelines,” he said.
    Riley said he wasn’t surprised that Alabama’s high school coaches ranked third nationally for the NFHS in completing the concussion awareness course offered.
    “The only reason we weren’t first is because some states were more populated than us would be my guess,” Riley said. “This has always been a state that cares. From the time I played high school sports I was coached by professionals.”
      “Kids now grow up in an era where everybody thinks they are a coach. I mean everyone has a shirt with the word “coach” on the back and that makes them a coach. That’s not how it is at the high school level.”
     “The true professionals in this state are the ones that do it for a living in our schools, and it has always been that way. I have been coached by professional people all my entire life- people who know what they are supposed to do and who stay on top of the cutting edge educationally. They always have been and it just keeps getting better and better.”
     Next: Helmet Certification Is Mandatory for AHSAA Schools.

AHSAA 2015-16 Guidelines

For Full-Speed Contact during Football Practices


Summary:   The Alabama High School Athletic Association’s (AHSAA) bylaw governing the amount of full-speed contact practice during the football season. This bylaw regards the amount of time during which full-speed contact practice is allowed.


AHSAA Regulations:  During the regular season, including championship play, and the allowed 10-day spring evaluation period, AHSAA member schools must restrict the amount of full-speed contact football practice. These guidelines are intended to limit the amount of full-speed contact and not to limit the number of practices in full pads.


Week 1 – In accordance with the AHSAA Fall Football Practice Rule (Rule III, Section 18, Page 44 of the 2015-16 Handbook), only shorts and helmets are allowed the first two days of fall football practice. Shoulder pads and helmets are allowed on the third practice day for a period not to exceed 90 minutes of total practice time and not exceed 120 (2 hours) minutes on the fourth day.


On the fifth practice day, one full-speed contact practice, in full gear, is allowed not to exceed 90 minutes.


Week 2 – Alternating days of full-speed contact practice, not to exceed a combined total of 120 minutes of full-speed contact is allowed. In addition, one intra-squad scrimmage is allowed in week 2.


Week 3 – Alternating days of full-speed contact practice, not to exceed a combined total of 120 minutes of full contact is allowed. One interscholastic scrimmage or contest is allowed in week 3.


Week 4 through End of Season – A total of 90 minutes of full-speed contact practice per week is allowed.


Spring Evaluation – Alternating days of full-speed contact practice, not to exceed a combined total of 120 minutes of full-speed contact per week is allowed during the 10 allowable days for evaluation. One interscholastic scrimmage contest is allowed during the spring evaluation and counts as one of the 10 allowable days.


The following definitions describe the different levels of contact in football practice:


Actions that require contact limitations:

Live Action – Contact at game speed in which players execute full blocking and tackling at a competitive pace, taking players to the ground.

Full-speed contact - Any simulations in which live action occurs.   

Thud – Any live action or full-speed contact with no pre-determined winner or without taking a player to the ground.




Actions that do NOT require contact limitations:


Air – Players should run unopposed without bags or any opposition.

Bags – Activity is executed against a bag, shield or pad to allow for a soft-contact surface, with or without the resistance of a teammate or coach standing behind the bag.

AHSAA Schools: Making Sports Safer Vestavia Hills’ Buddy Anderson Says Emphasis On Health and Safety Is AHSAA Schools’ Chief Concern

     High school student-athletes reported to school Monday to begin preparations for the upcoming   Alabama High School Athletic Association football, volleyball, cross country and swimming seasons.
     And as in years past, the emphasis on health and safety is upper most on all coaches and administrators’ minds.
    Beginning today, the AHSAA is producing a series that will provide insight concerning the best health and safety practices of its member schools and the many areas of focus that are making sports safer in 2015-16.
    Football teams will be following AHSAA practice regulations that were recommendations in 2014-15.  While most schools were already following these best health and safety practices, the contact limitation regulations are now required.
    Additionally, with the hot August days ahead, schools are also following guidelines that limit the length of football practices and that prohibit two straight days of two-a-day practices.
    All high schools and middle schools were required to attend a mandatory session presented by the AHSAA Medical Advisory Committee at the recent AHSAA Summer Conference in Montgomery. The session dealt chiefly with heat illness awareness, concussion awareness and Emergency Action Plans (EAP). All schools are required to have EAPs for practice and games at each venue.
     Vestavia Hills High School football coach Buddy Anderson, the state’s all-time prep leader in wins with 311 heading into his 38th season as head coach and 44th season overall, says the game of high school football is now safer than ever before.
    “Health and safety have always been our number one priorities,” said Anderson, who owns a 311-132 record as the Rebels’ head football coach. “As much as I believe in athletics, and as much as I believe in the values that football teaches, health and safety is the number one thing.
     “We leave it up to our doctors and our trainer to let us know if someone does not need to practice or does not need to play. That is totally left up to them because they are the ones that know more about young lady or young man and if they are able to do the things we are asking them to do. That’s our main goal … their health and safety.”
    Anderson said the attention placed on heat and concussion awareness by the AHSAA is among the chief reasons the game is safer today. He remembers a time when coaches were left on their own to learn what they could.
   “When I first started coaching, we would go to conferences to learn what we could,” he said. “Back then we were our own trainers and now we are very fortunate to have certified trainers (at practices and games).”
     He remembers one incident in the late 1980s that resonates still today. He admitted they had limited knowledge then but put into practice what they knew.
     “We had an incident with a player who ended up with a heat stroke,” Anderson said. “We as coaches iced him down, put him in an ice bath and put ice on all the pressure points. The paramedics came and as they were getting ready to transport him they took the ice off. They didn’t even know the right protocol, but we had studied to know that and felt like we ended up saving the young man’s life.”
     Anderson said they found out later that he had been taking medicine that affected his ability to cool down.
     “He was in great shape and he was going to be recruited and ended up having a great career at Southern Miss’” Anderson said. “He felt like he was coming down with a cold, so he had taken an antihistamine to clear up the cold.”
      The doctor learned from his mother that the player had been taking the medication.
      “His antihistamine level was off the chart, the doctor told us. “It didn’t dawn on me (then) but antihistamines dry you up.  You know, when you are out practicing in the heat that makes it even worse. The doctor said he was about 25 times more susceptible of getting a heat stroke, so the next thing we did was find out which kids were on an antihistamine. “
     “We realized too that a lot of teenagers are taking stuff for acne which also dries the skin up … and I had been to all these clinics and had not heard that.  It started coming out about these kinds of concerns. You have to be ahead of the game.’’
     When practice started Monday, Anderson’s trainer knew each student that might be taking medication and kept an eye on those especially.
     Anderson said this is common practice now – not just at Vestavia Hills but at all AHSAA member schools.
    Anderson said he is thankful that many schools now have certified athletic trainers.
    “We try to be as proactive as we can on that. We still go to clinics to learn about more, and our trainer is updating himself for anything that he needs to be aware of.”
    The veteran coach said emergency action plans are also now a way of life at his school.
    “We have our emergency action plan,” Anderson said, “That is meticulous and well thought out. It has transferred over into all areas whether it is a practice or a game or anything like that. We have an EAP for every sport and every venue (now).”
   Tomorrow: What AHSAA Schools do to make practices safer!

AHSAA Mourns Death Of Hartselle Coach Robin Halbrooks Riley

   The AHSAA is saddened to learn of the recent death of Hartselle High School teacher and coach Robin Halbrook Riley and joins with its member schools in offering condolences to her family and to her extended family at Hartselle High School. Mrs. Riley, 30, passed away August 1 at Cullman Regional Medical Center.
    Mrs. Riley was a special education teacher at Hartselle Junior High School and served as an assistant volleyball and softball coach. She attended Hartselle High School where she was a multi-sport athlete and playing softball and volleyball.
     Survivors include her husband Joey Riley, two sons Trey and Justice, and daughter Madison; her parents are Bobby and Brenda Halbrooks; and grandmother Viola Nave.
      The memorial service will be at Hartselle First Baptist Church at 1 p.m., Tues
day, Aug. 4, with burial to follow at Bethlehem Baptist Church cemetery. Visitation will be Monday night, Aug. 3, from 6 to 9 p.m. at Peck Funeral Home.

$1.6 Million in Revenue Sharing Approved By AHSAA Central Board of Control

        The Alabama High School Athletic Association Central Board of Control approved returning $1.6 million to its member schools under its Revenue Sharing Plan. The amount is the largest in the six years since the revenue sharing program was instituted.
         The action was taken Wednesday at its annual summer meeting in Montgomery. The Central Board also approved some recommended changes in the AHSAA Amateur Rule, and also approved a dual wrestling tournament for member schools beginning the 2016-17 school year.  The Central Board also approved the 2015-16 AHSAA Handbook, 2015 Fall Sports Book, 2016 Winter Sports Book and the 2016 Spring Sports Book publications.
        The AHSAA Legislative Council also met Wednesday, heard a review of the Central Board’s actions and also approved the publications for 2015-16.
        The Revenue Sharing Plan, approved first by the Central Board in 2009, has returned $8.0 million to its member schools in six years, counting 2014-15 total. The $1.6 million total is up $200,000 from 2013-14 and is the highest payout in the history of the revenue share program.
       The formula for the distribution of funds includes a differential between classifications and the number of sports played by non-football-playing schools. The plan returns excess funds back to the schools when the AHSAA has at least one year’s working capital in reserve.
        “I want to thank the Central Board for its strong leadership,” said Executive Director Steve Savarese. “Returning $1.6 million to our schools is certainly important to the financial well-being of our schools. The Central Board also waved membership dues for the upcoming school year, a savings to our membership of approximately $83,000.”
        The membership dues have been waved for 23 straight years resulting in an overall savings for member schools of approximately $1.9 million.
        The AHSAA Amateur Rule changes, which go into effect for the 2015-16 school year, included raising the monetary value of an award given to a student athlete from $50 to $250. Acceptance of awards exceeding these limitations shall disqualify a student. The $50 limit has been the guideline for more than 30 years. The language also will now include “camp” and not just contest or game as previously stated. The new language also states gift cards for athletic performances or participation may not be given.
        The Central Board also approved changes to Rule III, Section 21, Camps, found on pages 45-46 of the 2014-15 AHSAA Handbook. Following the first note, that remains the same about outside participation during the sports season, a second note will now state: College tryouts are permissible during the sports season if pre-approved by the principal and head coach and no contest is missed.
         At the request of the Wrestling Committee, the Central Board approved, beginning in 2016-17, a Duals Wrestling Tournament with teams qualifying through section play for the one-week tourney held prior to the regular state wrestling post-season section meets.
In other Central Board action:

– Approved the financial reports for the spring championships in soccer, softball, baseball and track.

– Approved the 2015-16 budgets for the AHSAA and the Alabama High School Athletic Directors & Coaches Association and the 2014-15 audits for each group.

–  Heard an eligibility appeal from Oak Mountain High School, upheld the Executive Director’s ruling and accepted the school’s self-imposed sanctions.

–  Approved Bowling Championship adjustments/alignments which became necessary due to the growing number of schools that have declared the new sport for 2015-16.

–  Tabled a recommendation to change the current rotating brackets for all applicable sports beginning with the 2016-17 year. The Central Board asked for more information and will consider the recommendation at its October meeting.

– Heard updates on the catastrophic insurance and other AHSAA insurance coverages

– Welcomed new board member Hal Riddle of Trussville City Schools from District 5. He replaces Terry Cooper of Mountain Brook, who has retired.

– Outgoing Central Board president Lamar Brooks from Dale County (District 2) was recognized with a plaque of appreciation. He remains on the Central Board, and Mike Welsh of Spring Garden (District 6) opened the meeting as the new Central Board president.

10 Veteran Officials With 413 Years’ Experience Recognized For Distinguished Service At AHSAA Officials Awards Luncheon

    Ten veteran contest officials were honored Saturday at the AHSAA Officials Awards luncheon held at the Montgomery Renaissance Hotel and Convention Center.  The banquet was the final event of the 19th annual AHSAA Summer Conference and All-Star Week hosted by the Alabama High School Athletic Directors & Coaches Association.
    Paul Bright of Anniston, a veteran of 49 years in officiating topped the list of 10 – that totaled 413 years of officiating between them. The others recognized with Distinguished Service plaques were Bill Minor, Selma (48); Marshall Aday, Florence (45); Louie Adkison, Selma (45); Mike Newman, Fayette (41); Claude Grant, Florence (40); Ed Stringer, Tuscaloosa (40); Keiron Morkin, Florence (38); Mike Pretnar,Hoover (36); and Tracy Deal, Troy (31).
   “We are honored to be able to recognize these officials who have spent so much of their lives working with the AHSAA, our coaches and student athletes,” said Greg Brewer, AHSAA Director of Officials. “These men deserve our sincere appreciation for their dedication and long-time service.”
   The banquet also recognized AHSAA contest officials who worked championship events in 2014-15 and Brewer announced the AHSAA District and State Officials of the Year. Joe Dean, Jr., was the keynote speaker for the luncheon banquet.
   Eight active contest officials were named Official of the Year for 2014-15 in their respective sports: Baseball: Ken Helms, Southeast District; Basketball: Jason Jones; Northeast District;  Football: Tim Dees, Southwest District; Soccer: Tim Barron, Northwest District; Softball: Kim Guy, South Central District; Track: Randy Yarbrough, North Central District; Volleyball: Amber Martin, North Central District; Wrestling: Archie Best, Southwest District.
District officials of the year were also selected.
Ray Tanner; Basketball: Bridges Anderson; Football: Tim Dees; Soccer: George Engelman; Softball: Rick Mularz; Track: Laura Ellis; Volleyball: Bernie Dorman; Wrestling: Archie Best.

Baseball: Ken Helms; Basketball: Velton Robinson; Football: Kevin Bryan; Soccer: Jason Palfreeman; Softball: Billy Hughes; Track: John Hargray; Volleyball: Pamela Bratcher; Wrestling: None.
Chris Washington; Basketball: Pete Daniels; Football: Mike Miller; Soccer: Zach Kirkland: Softball: Kim Guy; Track: Adam Russell; Volleyball: Kenith Booker; Wrestling: Julian Wright.
Johnny Caldwell; Basketball: Jeremy Rancher; Football: John Solomon; Soccer: None;           Softball: Nichole Bruner; Track: Rodney Rowser; Volleyball: Marcy Thurman; Wrestling: None.
: Steve Gross; Basketball: Don Smith; Football: Mike McKenzie; Soccer: None; Softball: Josh Vest; Track: Richard Coleman; Volleyball: Epati Lilio; Wrestling: Steve Thomas.
Tom Callahan; Basketball: Chuck Willis; Football: Ricky Tucker; Soccer: David Nicholson; Softball: Ronald Wilder; Track: Randy Yarbrough; Volleyball: Amber Martin; Wrestling: Todd Dewey.
Chuck Tonini; Basketball: Jason Jones;    Football: Brandon Schultz; Soccer: Jeff Gray; Softball: Dewane Shumate; Track: None; Volleyball: Tabatha Holt;             Wrestling: Howard Phillips.
: Tim Bowers; Basketball: Brandon Oaks; Football: Allen Orman; Soccer: Tim Barron; Softball: Chris Liles; Track: Claborn Campbell; Volleyball: Nicole Fletcher; Wrestling: None.

State Finals Certificate Recipients 2014-15 School Year


Todd Agee                  Druid City

David Akins                Druid City

Doug Baxter               Metro-Montgomery

Justin Beam                 Sand Mountain

Tim Bowers                 Decatur

Ricky Bryan                Colbert County

Tommy Colvin            Druid City

Tony Combs                Metro-Mobile

Kaleb Devier               Southeast Alabama

John Ewing                 Alex City

Jessie Foster                Alex City

Mike Norris                 Marengo County

Barry Ragsdale           Etowah County

Alton Smith                Decatur

Ben Smith                   Sand Mountain

Brad Smith                  Southeast Alabama

Greg Tanner                Sand Mountain

Chuck Tonini              Greater Huntsville

Lance Weems              Shelby County

Wade Whitney            Metro-Mobile

Dillon Wilson              Southeast Alabama



Kelly Armstrong         Mountain Valley

Ken Barnett                Northwest Alabama

Kenith Booker                        Capital City

Wesley Brackett          North Alabama

Curtis Brown              Central Alabama

Karl Burns                   Metro-Birmingham

Joe Cameron               Capital City

Elliott Carr                  JeffCo

Greg Childs                 Gadsden

Myron Coats               Druid City

Allen Cone                  Tri-Central County

Shane Corbitt              North Alabama

Felicia Cushenberry    Birmingham

Ed Daniels                  Central Alabama

Mark Dearen               Northwest Alabama

Stan Dixon                  Capital City

Marius Dockery          North Alabama

Matt Driver                 Tennessee Valley

Katrina Evans             Mobile County

Allen Gilbert               Mount Cheaha

Russell Gordon           Southeast Alabama

Sonja Hard                  Mountain Valley

Darrell Hargreaves      Druid City

Clint Hawkins             Tri-County

Carol Hughes              Mobile County

Pat Jolly                      North Metro

Kristen Jones               Metro-Birmingham

Joe Kyles                     Georgia/Alabama

Errol Lewis                 Jeffco

Nick Madsen               Metro-Birmingham

Ben Mathison              Central Alabama

Brian McCollum         Walker County

Eric Mims                    Metro-Birmingham

Cindy Musselwhite     North Alabama

Thomas Owens           North Metro

Joe Pike                       Jeffco

Jay Reyes                    East Central

Scott Richards                        Jeffco

Bill Taylor                   Central Alabama

Richard Taylor            Capital City

Acie Thomas               Druid City

Victor Valentine         Mobile County

Marvin Wesley            North Alabama

Bill Young                  East Central



Kevin Anders              Metro-Mobile

Jay Amos                    Gadsden

Trey Arnold                East Alabama

Rickey Barrett             North Alabama

David Bell                   North Alabama

Butch Brackin             Southwest Alabama

Dexter Bright              Selma

Charlie Brooks            Mid-State

Matt Caldwell             East Central

Jeff Cobb                    Birmingham

Fred Cody                   Metro-Tuscaloosa

David Cole                  Big East

Ira Collins                   East Alabama

Jason Copeland           Gadsden

Brian Davis                 Decatur

Tommie Ellis               Central Alabama

Don English                Southwest Alabama

Jon Gibson                  Birmingham

Allen Gilbert               Mid-East

Mark Jackson              East Alabama

Jay Johnson                 Decatur

Chris Kaminski           Tri-County

Luke Kyle                   Southeast Alabama

Chris Liles                   Tennessee Valley

Jay Logan                    Metro-Tuscaloosa

Eddie Massey             North Alabama

Ed May                       Tennessee Valley

John McClung             Southeast Alabama

Brian McCollum         Alabama

Ricky Morgan             Southeast Alabama

Leonard Morris           Decatur

Randy Mummert         Decatur

Eddie Newell              Tennessee Valley

Eddie Odom               North Alabama

David Palmer              Mid-East

Cliff Parker                 Bay Area

Victor Pettus               Metropolitan

Jason Powers               Shelby

Terry Qualls                South Central

Jeremy Samuel            NA
Darryl Shaw                Metro-Tuscaloosa

Ernest Shears              Selma

Jason Slade                 Metro-Mobile

Ben Smith                   Northeast Alabama

George Smith              Southwest Alabama

Howard Smith                        East Central

Bob West                    Birmingham

Dustin Whitehead       Birmingham

Glenn Wilson              Mid-State

Brad Wood                 North Alabama

James York                 Central Alabama



Tim Barron                  North Alabama

Sam Bierster                Greater Birmingham

Justin Brown               North Alabama

Myron Chwe               West Alabama

Jose Cornelio               Greater Birmingham

John Curran                 North Alabama

Jimmy Franklin           East Central

Pete Gonzales             Central Alabama

Zach Kirkland             East Central

Sean Mardis                Wiregrass

Steve Morisani            Gulf Coast

Patrick Powell             West Alabama

Bill Presor                   Central Alabama

Paul Roberts                Northeast Alabama

Kris Rose                    Greater Birmingham

David Stephenson       Shoals Area

Cedric Thomas            North Alabama

Ken Wrye                    Marshall County


Don Adkins                North Jefferson

Nate Ayers                  Cullman

Marquetta Brown        Central Alabama

Nichole Bruner            Black Warrior

Mark Carruth              NA
Veronica Campbell     Central Alabama

Cameron Chandler      West Alabama

Greg Farris                  Walker County

Chris Garmon              Gadsden

Kim Guy                     Central Counties

Mike Heath                 Southeast Alabama

Sonny Jackson                        Metro-Montgomery

David Johnson                        North Jefferson

Jay Johnson                 Walker County

Andy Lathan               North Alabama

Chris Liles                   Colbert County

Amanda Miller            Marshall County

Steve Nelson               Gadsden

Jeremiah Patterson      Marshall County

Andy Pruitt                 Walker County

Casey Rager                Gadsden

Franklin Reynolds       Black Warrior

Tim Roberts                North Alabama

Dewane Shumate        North Alabama

John Solomon             Dallas County

Chris Vann                  Central Alabama

Ben Walker                 Walker County

Daryl White                West Alabama



Mark Addison             Smith Lake

Mark Aderhold           Smith Lake

Alan Ash                     Brewton

David Bahakel                        Central Alabama

Dick Bell                     East Alabama

Carole Bentley            Port City

Mary Birdwell             Central Alabama

Stan Blakemore           Central Alabama

Shannon Briggs           North Alabama

Chante Calhoun          Port City

Blake Calvert              Smith Lake

Sally Campbell            East Alabama

Richard Coleman        Sylacauga

Charles Collins            Port City

Kudezyia Crenshaw    Port City

Sheila Crenshaw         Port City

Michael Daves            Port City

Milan Dekich              Smith Lake

Landen Delazier          Port City

Laura Ellis                   Port City

Eric Fillings                 Smith Lake

John Forti                    Southeast Alabama

Jamie Freeman            East Central

Marvin Goldsby          Central Alabama

Sharon Hamilton         Smith Lake

Lauretta Horn             East Central

Erroll Hickenbottom   Port City

Catherine Hudson       Port City

Davina Johnson           Port City

Wayne Kulakowski     Port City

Joey Kyle                    Smith Lake

Teresa Kyle                 Smith Lake

Reid Laporte               Central Alabama

Sarah LeCray              Port City

Bryan Lorge                North Alabama

Everline Matonyei       Port City

Steven Maxwell          East Alabama

Debra McDonald        East Central

Tim McDonough         East Central

James Miller                East Alabama

Aaron Moore               Port City

Albert Moore              Port City

Jeanette Morgan          Port City

Emily Pharez               Port City

James Presley              Port City

Willie Ray                   Central Alabama

Lemuel Rich                Port City

Tom Ritchie                Port City

Latoya Rowell                        Port City

James Russell              River Region

Whitney Rustand        Port City

Jordan Santa Maria     Port City

John Solomon             Selma

Marvyn Stallings         East Central

Paul Stemmer              Port City

Tommie Stinson          Central Alabama

Charles Thompson      Central Alabama

Gene Tomlin               Central Alabama

Erica Tripp                  Port City

James Weaver             North Alabama

Robert Wheatley         Southeast Alabama

Reggie Winston          North Alabama

Randy Yarbrough       Central Alabama

David York                 Central Alabama



Kenith Booker                        Central Alabama

Kim Brooks                 Birmingham

Patsy Burke                 Birmingham

Johnny Champion       Tri-County

Nakesha Coleman       Tuscaloosa

Melanie Davis             South Alabama

Cynthia Ellis               North Baldwin

Stephanie Grimes        Tuscaloosa

Linda Hatchett                        Mobile

Johnathan Holladay    Wal-Win

Danny Humbers          Marion County

Wendy Little               Quad-Cities

Harold Lockett           Central Alabama

Terri Looney               North Baldwin

Thomas Merrett           Central Alabama

Athena Metcalf           Wiregrass

Phillip Mosley             Tri-County

Kathy Odom               Tri-County

Milton Scarpa              North Baldwin

Annissa Smith             Birmingham

Wendy Wallace           Limestone County

Kyndall Waters           Birmingham

Laina Williams            Etowah County

Tracy Woods               Etowah County



Anthony Adams         Northern

Josh Bierman               Southern

Dwight Buzbee           Birmingham

T. J. Coleman              Southern

Brent Helms                Eastern

Justin Miller                Southern

Ken Nixon                  Southern

Josh Pate                     Birmingham

Howard Phillips          Northern

Toney Pugh                 Birmingham

Jeff Saxon                   Birmingham

Willie Staggs               Northern

Jack Stallings              Northern

Joe Stephenson           Northern

Mike Swinson             Birmingham

Julian Wright               Southern

Seven Individuals Receive 2015 Making A Difference Awards at 19th Annual Coaches Awards Banquet

   Seven individuals were selected as recipients of the AHSAA’s “Making A Difference” Award Friday night at the Championship Coaches Awards Banquet held at the Renaissance Hotel and Convention Center.
     The banquet highlighted the 19th annual All-Star Sports Week and Summer Conference, which officially closes out the week's activities Saturday with the AHSAA Officials Awards Banquet.
  The All-Star Sports Week and Summer Conference is an event of the Alabama High School Athletic Association and hosted by the Alabama High School Athletic Directors & Coaches Association (AHSADCA).  NFHS National Sports Hall of Fame inductee Coach Jim Tate of St. Paul’s Episcopal High School was the keynote speaker. Tate, who holds the AHSAA state record for most state championships as a head coach, was also recognized among the 108 state championship coaches for 2014-15 for his girls’ track team state titles in Class 4A-5A indoor track And Class 5A outdoor track. The titles were the 98th and 99th high school championships of his stellar career at St. Paul’s.
     The fifth class of recipients of the special “Making A Difference” Award is given annually to one individual in each classification who is selected for their signicant contributions in their communities and schools. The Class of 2014 included: Class 1A: Marilyn Miller, Marengo High School softball, volleyball and track coach; Class 2A: Don Turner, LaFayette High School principal; Class 3A: Brad James, Colbert Heights softball and volleyball coach; Class 4A: Todd Nelms, Brooks High School baseball coach; Class 6A: Brenda Mayes, Muscle Shoals retiring volleyball coach and assistant athletic director; Class 7A: Chris Brandt, Auburn High School assistant boys’ basketball, track and freshman football coach..
    The recipients were nominated by member schools or other special organizations and selected by a special AHSAA committee.
    Longtime AHSAA “super volunteer” Bob Pannone of Spanish Fort was awarded posthumously the NFHS State Award for Outstanding Service. The prestigious award was given for Mr. Pannone’s long-time service as a volunteer at AHSAA all-star and championship events. The much loved Pannone passed away in 2014. His family was on hand to accept the award from AHSAA Executive Director Steve Savarese.    Ten high schools received the Lemak Award, a $2,500 need-based grant. The Lemak Award has been provided a total of $180,000 in grants to AHSAA schools since 2008. The schools were selected from more than 70 applications by a special committee. The award is named in honor of AHSAA Medical Advisory Board member Dr. Lawrence Lemak, who was present to present the awards.
     The 2015 Lemak Award recipients included: Red Level, Marengo, South Lamar, Choctaw County, Weaver, Pisgah, Jacksonville, Carver-Birmingham, Paul Bryant and Baldwin County.
     AHSADCA Director Alvin Briggs announced the 10 recipients of the AHSADCA Coaches’ Children Scholarships to seniors who are children of high school coaches or administrators. The 2015 recipients:
Khalil Jordan Yelding, Daphne (Son of Coach Lawrence Yelding)
Naareh Ayanna Cooke, Georgiana (Daughter of Coach Beverly Cooke)
Paden Browning, St. James (Daughter of Coach Jerry Browning)
Thomas Collin Carter, Auburn (Son of Coach Tommy Carter)
Justin Anderson, Pelham Son of Coach Sean Anderson)
Joshua Bogle, Gaston (Son of Coach Tonya Bogle)
Josiah McDaniel, Faith Christians (Son of Coach Erik McDaniel)
Sarah “Sally” Tinker, Glencoe (Daughter of Coach Wendy Tinker)
Ty Austin Herron, Lamar County (Don of Coach Vance Herron)
Bryant Farley, West Point (Son of Coach Don Farley) 

Coaches Awarded NFHS Section 3 Coach of the Year Awards
  Three AHSAA coaches were recognized for being selected Section 3 NFHS Coaches of the Year for the 2013-14 school: Boys Tennis: David Bethea, Montgomery Academy; Boys Basketball: Willie Moore, Dallas County; Volleyball: Pam Wilkins, Addison.
    NFHS Alabama state Coaches of the Year for 2014, nominated by the AHSADCA, were: Girls Basketball: Brant Llewellyn, Lauderdale County; Wrestling: Michael Pruitt, Arab; Boys Cross Country: Lars Porter, Homewood; Boys Golf: Brian Carter, Spain Park; Boys Track & Field: Keith Wilemon, Falkville; Girls’ Track & Field: Thomas Esslinger, Homewood; Baseball: Derek Irons, Charles Henderson; Girls Golf: Derrick Gargis, Muscle Shoals; Girls Swimming: Jeff Dellinger, Auburn; Boys Soccer: Rick Grammer, Vestavia Hills; S Softball: Lori Wyatt, Hale County.
     The AHSADCA 2014-15 NFHS state coaches of the year will be recognized next summer.
    Patrick Smith of Deshler High  School was also named the 2014-15  High School was honored as 2013 AHSAA Athletic Director of the Year.
    Outgoing AHSADCA president David Wofford of Washington County High School was presented the Past President’s Award from AHSADCA Director Alvin Briggs.   
Sportsmanship Luncheon
     Earlier Friday, 121 high schools were recognized at the seventh annual AHSAA Star Sportsmanship Luncheon for schools with no fines or ejections for the 2014-15 school year. 
     Also, eight schools, one from each district, were presented an al.com $1,000 Sportsmanship Grant by Alabama Media Group Director of Sports Roy S. Johnson. The eight were: Millry  (District 1); Carroll-Ozark (District 2); R.C. Hatch (District 3); Beauregard (District 4); Wenonah (District 5); Jacksonville Christian (District 6); Lawrence County (District 7); Gordo (District 8).
      Keynote speakers for the Sportsmanship Luncheon were Faith Academy boys’ basketball coach John Price and his senior manager Austin Miller.
Tuley Honored by FCA
     At Thursday’s Fellowship of Christian Athletes Luncheon, former Lee-Montgomery and coach and Trinity athletic director Jim Tuley received the Herman “Bubba” Scott Lifetime Achievement Award for his contributions in promoting the principles of FCA as well as demonstrating those principles in her own life throughout her career.
      Former Clemson University head coach Tommy Bowden was the keynote speaker.