Monday, January 27, 2020






Mark Jones Joining AHSAA As Director of Officials


            Mark Jones, Jacksonville State University Director of Recreational Sports for the last 32 years, will join the executive staff of the Alabama High School Athletic Association as Assistant Director overseeing officials, Executive Director Steve Savarese announced Saturday.

            Jones, who will be replacing retiring AHSAA Director of Officials Greg Brewer, has been serving Jacksonville State University and the city of Jacksonville in various roles since 1984. A city councilman since 2008 and a member of the Calhoun County Chamber of Commerce Board of Directors since 2013, Jones has also served as a contest official for more than 30 years. He has officiated high school basketball, football and baseball during his career spending eight years officiating women’s basketball in the NCAA as well. He has also taught sports officiating classes at JSU for 28 years in multiple sports including football, basketball, volleyball, soccer, softball and baseball.

           “We are fortunate and delighted to have Mark Jones joining our staff,” Savarese said. “He is a talented individual of strong character who has been an outstanding contest official and mentor of officials in the AHSAA for many years. He has already been an important member of our AHSAA family while working in athletic administration at JSU and through his work as a teacher of sports officiating.  Greg Brewer served the AHSAA for more than three decades. While we are saddened to see him retire, we wish him well and feel certain that Mark Jones will step in and aptly lead our more than 7,000 contest officials and will become an important addition to the AHSAA family.”
            Jones, the AHSAA East-Central District football director of officials since 2007, was also founder of the Mt. Cheaha Basketball Officials Association. He served as president and assignor for the East Alabama Basketball Officials Association and has been an AHSAA state football camp instructor for 14 years. He was a founding member and current treasurer of the Calhoun County Sports Hall of Fame serving on the board for the past 11 years.

           A 1978 graduate of Guntersville High School, Jones earned his Bachelor’s degree in Education from Jacksonville State in 1982 earning a double major in physical education and sociology. He completed his Master of Science degree in physical education at JSU 1984. 
          “I am very excited to have the opportunity to accept this position with the AHSAA,” Jones said. “This is a dream job for me. Sports and officiating have been a substantial part of my entire life.  I know it will be a challenge for me to maintain the standard that has been set by Greg Brewer.  Because of Greg, officiating in Alabama is well respected across the nation.
        “I want to thank Jacksonville State University for the opportunity to serve as Director of Recreational Sports the past 32 years.  Jacksonville has been my home since 1978 when I entered JSU as a freshman. I am looking forward to this new challenge.”
        Among his many duties at Jacksonville State, Jones has been building manager for Stephenson Hall and Pete Mathews Coliseum and facilities manager for outdoor playing fields and tennis courts. He has also been judicial coordinator and served on JSU’s Budget Committee, Personnel Council, Athletic Council, University Forum and the school’s Wellness and Alcohol and Drug Abuse committees. He also served as Northeast Regional basketball tournament coordinator for the AHSAA since its inception in 1994.
       Brewer, the senior member of the current AHSAA executive staff, announced his retirement plans last April. He will officially step down August 31. Jones will join the AHSAA beginning July 25.

About Alabama High School Athletic Association

    The AHSAA, based in Montgomery, AL, is the state leadership organization for its member high schools in Alabama. Since 1921, the AHSAA has led the development of education-based interscholastic sports (currently 24 sports, 11 each for girls and boys and the newest sport bowling, added in 2015-16). Through its more than 700 member high schools and junior high/middle schools, the AHSAA provides guidance and sports championships for more than 155,000 student-athletes annually and oversees the rules and regulations for the students and more than 10,000 member coaches and administrators. The AHSAA is recognized as the state authority on interscholastic athletic programs and is considered a leader among NFHS state associations. For more information, visit the AHSAA website at

AHSAA Mourns Death of Coach Bobby Beckett


     The Alabama High School Athletic Association is saddened to learn of the death of Cherokee County High School coach Bobby Beckett, 75, who died April 13. Mr. Beckett was inducted into the Cherokee County Sports Hall of Fame in in 2009.
     He is survived by his wife of 52 years Peggy. His son Alan Beckett also followed his dad into coaching.
      “We offer our most sincere condolences to the family of Coach Beckett,” AHSAA Executive Director Steve Savarese said. “Our thoughts and prayers are with the family and with his extended coaching family in Alabama, especially Cherokee County.”
      Coach Beckett, a graduate of Winterboro High School, began his career as a head coach in 1971 at Ragland High School. He moved to Cherokee County High School in 1975 where he served as an assistant football coach until 1991. While serving as defensive coordinator in 1985, the Warriors finished as 4A state runners-up.
       Coach Beckett later became the head football coach at CCHS and led the team to an area championship in 1998. He served as the head baseball coach at CCHS from 1976 until 1990 where he won back-to-back state championships in 1980 and 1981 and directed Ragland to a runner-up finish in 1971. His overall baseball coaching record was 218-98.The baseball field at Cherokee County was also named in his honor.
    He started both the girls’ basketball program at CCHS and the baseball program at Gaylesville High School. During his coaching tenure in the state of Alabama, Coach Beckett coached in four state championship games in two different sports.
    A proud military veteran
who served a tour in Vietnam from 1967-68, he also had teaching/coaching stops at Collinsville, Gadsden, West Jefferson and Chattooga high schools.
veteran and served in 1967-68.

     His funeral service was April 15. Memorials may be made to the Centre First Methodist Church and American Cancer Society.

AHSAA Mourns Death of Coach Glendon Gibbs

    The AHSAA was saddened to learn of the death of former Brilliant High School principal, basketball and football coach Glendon Gibbs. Our prayers go out to the Mr. Gibbs’ family and his extended Brilliant High School family.
     Mr. Gibbs, 89, passed away of natural causes April 10.  He was inducted into the AHSAA Hall of Fame in 1997. The retired coach, educator, and civic leader was also a veteran of both World War II and the Korean War. The valedictorian of the Brilliant High School Class of 1945, Gibbs went on to earn a B.S. degree at the University of North Alabama and a M.S. degree and Master’s Certification in School Administration from The University of Alabama. He helped to educate generations of students during his 38 years at Brilliant High School, where he taught science, coached and served as principal.
     He served as head basketball coach for 33 years winning more than 500 games, and was head football coach for 17 years compiling a 124-55-11 record. He also served as principal for two years. The gymnasium at Brilliant High School was named in his honor in 1980. 
     Gibbs was a member of the first class of inductees into the Marion County Sports Hall of Fame in 1985. After his retirement, Gibbs continued his support of area schools by serving as an elected member of the Marion County Board of Education for over 20 years.

       Funeral services will be held Thursday, April 14, at 11 a.m. at the Winfield First United Methodist Church with viewing beginning at 10 a.m.  Burial will follow in Brilliant Memorial Garden.
      Visitation will be Wednesday, April 13, at Miles Funeral Home in Winfield from 5 until 8 p.m.


AHSAA Approves Enrollment Participation Opportunities for Non-Traditional Students

               MONTGOMERY, AL – The Alabama High School Athletic Association (AHSAA) Central Board of Control and AHSAA Legislative Council approved Tuesday a bylaw that will grant athletic eligibility for non-traditional students.  Non-traditional students include students who are home school students, virtual school students or students attending a charter school.
               The action was one of eight proposals passed at the Spring meeting of the Central Board of Control and of the Legislative Council.
                The bylaw, Proposal 8, ratifies athletic eligibility for non-traditional students and will go into effect for the next school year.  Non-traditional students will be eligible to enroll at the public school that serves the district where their parents reside. All current AHSAA eligibility and transfer rules will apply equally to traditional and non-traditional students.  The complete guidelines can be found at at the following link:
               AHSAA Executive Director Steve Savarese said many hours have gone into developing the bylaw that addresses the concerns of non-traditional students and AHSAA member schools. “A lot of time and thought have gone into developing this important legislation,” he said. “We now are ready to move forward. This will give our outstanding coaches an opportunity to make a positive difference in even more students’ lives.” He thanked the Central Board and Legislative Council for its input and direction.
       In other Central Board and Legislative Council business Tuesday, the Legislative Council approved eight proposals. To make a proposal a by-law, a two-thirds vote of the 32-member group is required.
              “We appreciate the Legislative Council for their due diligence in making the tough decisions and doing what is right for the association as a whole,” AHSAA Central Board president Mike Welsh said. “I also want to thank the AHSAA staff for developing a bylaw that maintains the integrity of the AHSAA and its mission of fair play and educational athletics.
              The Council also approved Proposal 11, which requires any proposal ratified by the Legislative Council at its April meeting to go into effect following the last day of the current school year. Previously, any bylaws passed became effective on the first day of the next school year. This rule affects all proposals that were ratified Tuesday.
               Also approved were:
Proposal 3: Schools declaring ninth-grade football teams may conduct a separate ninth grade 10-day evaluation period either during the middle school 20 days allowed or during the high school 20 days allowed. Student-athletes will be allowed only 10 days of evaluations total.
Proposal 5: Schools that participate in the AHSAA playoffs in any sport that allows participation of an ineligible athlete must return all playoff shares/revenue to the AHSAA with the funds to be placed in the Revenue Share program.
Proposal 6: The word of current Rule VI, Section 12 is changing its verbiage to read: “A school in violation of this rule may be placed on restrictive probation.” It previous read “will be placed on restrictive probation.
Proposal 12: Allows AHSAA certified coaches from the school’s staff to hold organized instruction outside the sports season during the school year in groups not to exceed 50 percent of the players required to play the game for a maximum of two hours per week per athlete. Athletes participating in an in-season sport may not participate in outside-the-season instruction.
Proposal 13: Allows unlimited summer competition for winter and springs sports during three of the four weeks of May 30, June 6, June 13 and June 20. Fall sports teams will be allowed unlimited competition during three of the following weeks of June 27, July 4, July 11 and July 25. The week of July 18 will be a dead week for competition due to AHSAA All-Star Week.
Proposal 15: Amends Rule III, Section 16 to allow spring sports the option to either conduct their evaluation anytime from the end of their season to the end of the school year or to conduct the evaluations during the first semester.
             The Central Board also voted to make the NFHS Cardiac Arrest online course mandatory for all member school coaches. It now becomes one of the items required for coach certification.
             Two schools, Oakwood Advent Academy of Huntsville and St. Michael’s Catholic High School of Fairhope, were approved for associate membership for 2016-17.
            Central Board president Mike Welsh, principal at Spring Garden High School, and vice president John Hardin, principal at Hackleburg High School, were also elected to serve one more year in that capacity.
            UMS-Wright head football coach and athletic director Terry Curtis was also sworn in as a new Central Board member from District 1 replacing Jamie Riggs of T.R. Miller, who retired.
           Savarese presented out-going Central Board members Dr. Stephanie Robinson and Dr. Cathy Trimble with plaques of appreciation for their service on the Central Board of Control.
           The Central Board also voted to make a donation to Dale County High School’s band, the 2016 recipient of the NFHS National Heart of the Arts Award. The award will be presented at the NFHS Summer Meeting in Reno, Nev., June 20.
           Other Central Board action included:       
            -- Approved the 2015 Football Playoff Audit, the 2016 Bowling, Wrestling, Indoor Track, Regional and State Basketball Financial Reports.
            -- Approved expenses for the National Federation Summer Meeting scheduled for June in Reno, Nevada.
            -- Approved the AHSAA 2016-17 Calendar of Events and Sports Calendar, the AHSAA 5-year Calendar, and dates for Central Board regular meetings for the 2016-17 school year.
            -- Approved New Board Member Orientation for June 16, 2016.
            -- Approved the Association of Classical and Christian Schools as an organization that can provide school accreditation. The request was made by Providence Christian School.