Member School Dues also Waved for 28th Straight Year
MONTGOMERY – The Alabama High School Athletic Association Central Board of Control approved returning a record $2 million to its member schools under its Revenue Sharing Plan and also voted to waive school membership dues once again – an immediate savings of approximately $84,000 for member schools.
The action was taken Wednesday at its annual summer meeting in Montgomery.
The Revenue Sharing Plan, approved first by the Central Board in 2009, has returned
$15.8 million to its member schools since 2010. The plan returns excess funds back to the schools when the AHSAA has at least one year’s working capital in reserve.
“This is outstanding news for our member schools,” AHSAA Executive Director Steve Savarese said. “We are very grateful to our corporate partners and championship communities for investing in our member schools.”
In keeping with the tradition started by the Central Board in the 1991-92 school year, membership dues to all member schools were waived for 28th consecutive year.
Waiving the dues results in a savings of approximately $84,000 for the AHSAA’s 416 high schools and 336 middle/junior high schools. Member schools have had a savings of approximately $2.2 million during the entire span since 1991-92. Member schools also derived a savings in excess of $100,000 since no entry fees are levied for state championships in any sport.
The board voted to return $1 from each playoff ticket through revenue sharing to member schools to help offset the rising cost of game expenses beginning with the 2019-20 school year. The amount totaled approximately $341,000 in 2018-19.
AHSAA Executive Director Steve Savarese presented to retiring Central Board member Richard Brown a plaque of appreciation and watch for his long-standing service on the Board. Brown, who is retiring after 50 years in public school education, has served on the Central Board for eight years and on the District 4 Legislative Council for 17 years.
New Central Board members Kim Kiel, Athletic Director at Pelham High School (District 5), and Jamie Chapman, Superintendent of Pickens County Schools (District 7), were sworn into office by AHSAA Associate Executive Director Alvin Briggs. Opelika High School principal Dr. Farrell Seymore, who is replacing Mr. Brown on the Central Board from District 4 beginning in 2019-20, was in attendance and will be sworn in at the October meeting.
The Central Board reviewed and approved 2018-19 publications, including the AHSAA Handbook and 2018-19 AHSAA Sports Book.
AHSAA legal counsel Mark Bain updated the Board on legal issues.
In highlights of other Central Board action:
-- Approved changing the penalty for the 50% Rule violation to restitution and fine on the first offense and suspension for the season on the second offense.
– Approved the financial reports for the spring championships in soccer, softball, baseball and track.
– Approved drafts of the 2019-20 budgets for the AHSAA and the Alabama High School Athletic Directors & Coaches Association (AHSADCA) and the 2018-19 audits for each group.
-- Approved a modification of the Competitive Balance formula recommended by the AHSAA Classification Task Force to classify member private school athletic teams using the most current two years of data in a classification period instead of three years of data.
-- Approved recommendations by the Cross Country, Cheerleading, Tennis, Golf, Soccer, Outdoor and Indoor Track, Softball and Baseball Coaches Committees concerning their sports.
-- Was updated about catastrophic insurance and approved AHSAA insurance coverages.
-- Approved an increase for delayed video broadcast rights fees for state playoff events from $400 to $500 per contest.
-- Approved a new digital publication plan beginning in 2019-20 and approved a new text system for accessing AHSAA By-Laws and Sports Rules.
-- Approved a new Coaching Card and Special Pass process.
-- Approved the formation of a special committee to discuss the Transfer Rule.
MONTGOMERY – Seven individuals were recognized Friday night at the AHSAA’s 23rd annual AHSAA Championship Coaches’ Awards Banquet as recipients of the prestigious “Making A Difference” Award as the 2019 AHSAA Summer Conference concluded at the Montgomery Renaissance Hotel and Convention Center.
The week-long conference, which attracted more than 4,500 administrators, coaches and other support personnel from AHSAA member schools to Montgomery, was hosted by the Alabama High School Athletic Directors & Coaches Association (AHSADCA). It included 16 North-South all-star competitions during the week – for the sports of baseball, softball, boys’ and girls’ soccer, boys’ and girls’ basketball, boys’ and girls’ cross country, volleyball, football, and for the first time boys’ and girls’ tennis and golf. The North beat the South 27-14 in the 59th playing of the North-South football all-star game to close out all-star play Thursday night.
Secretary of State John Merrill was the keynote speaker at Friday’s awards banquet recognized 113 state championship coaches who led teams to state titles in the AHSAA’s championship programs in 2018-19 as well as honoring several others for outstanding service or accomplishment.
The highlight of Friday’s banquet was the “Making A Difference” Award, however, now in its ninth year. One AHSAA member school coach, administrator or contributor was honored in each classification for their contributions to their schools and communities that help change lives in daily in a positive way.
The recipients were: retiring principal John Hardin, Hackleburg High School (1A); special education coordinator, volleyball and girls’ basketball coach Lisa Bates of Sand Rock High School (2A); principal Willie Wright of Pike County High School (3A); softball coach Chris Goodman of Alabama Christian Academy (4A); assistant football coach Rush Holcomb of Hamilton High School (5A); Opelika legendary radio personality and long-time “Voice of the Bulldogs” D. Mark Mitchell (6A); retiring Jefferson County Schools Athletic Director Ken Storie (7A).
Several other special awards were presented including the NFHS Section III “Spirit of Sport” Award recipient Zoe Portis, who graduated from Trinity Presbyterian School in the spring of 2018; NFHS National Cheer Coach of the Year Sandra Seals of Winfield High School; and Section III Coaches of the Year Chad McKnight, Samson High School (girls’ basketball); Shawn Weltzin, Thompson High School (wrestling); and Seals (cheer).
Portis, who was the AHSAA Bryant-Jordan Class 4A Student Achievement winner in 2018, went from being an orphan in Africa to becoming an honor student at Trinity Presbyterian School in Montgomery after she was adopted by the Portis family when she was a small child. Her story of perseverance, faith and character has been an inspiration to the state and nation.
Heath Thrash of Fyffe High School was honored by the AHSADCA as the AHSAA 2019 Athletic Director of the Year.
Other special awards included:
NFHS State Coaches of the Year: Twenty-two outstanding AHSAA coaches were selected 2018 NFHS state coach of the year in their respective sports: Zachary Blume, Southside-Gadsden (girls’ bowling); Brittney Carnell, Buckhorn (boys’ bowling); Matt Cimo, Auburn (baseball); Analyn Coker, Trinity Presbyterian (girls’ soccer); Jeff Dellinger, Auburn (girls’ swimming); Brandon Easterwood, Springville (softball); Arthur Fortin, Huntsville (boys’ swimming); Ashley Jackson, Fort Payne (girls’ cross country); Kevin Klein, Houston Academy (boys’ golf); Megan Liljenquist, Northridge (girls’ tennis); Christian Matthews, Jasper (boys’ tennis); Sean McBride, Homewood (boys’ soccer); Dave McConnell, Whitesburg Christian (girls’ track); Chad McKnight, Samson (girls’ basketball); Bucky McMillan, Mountain Brook (boys’ basketball); Stasha Morrison, Northside (girls’ golf); Benjamin Robinson, Scottsboro (track); Sandra Seals, Winfield (cheer); Clinton Smith, Hillcrest-Evergreen (football); Charles Tiller, American Christian (boys’ track); Whitney Welch, Alexandria (volleyball); and Shawn Weltzin, Thompson (wrestling).
Children Scholarship Recipients: Ten students, each a child of an AHSADCA member coach or administrator, also received the AHSADCA’s Coaches’ Children Scholarships. They were:
District 1: Sally Caroline Davis, Spanish Fort HS (daughter of Charles and Courtney Bishop).
District 2: Samantha Lee Adams, Carroll (daughter of Kirke and Angie Adams).
District 3: Allyn Browning, Saint James (daughter of Jerry and Suzy Browning).
District 4: Jack Edward Gant III, Tallassee HS (son of Eddie and Terina Gantt).
District 5: Caleb Austin Huber, Vestavia Hills HS (son of Brett and Patty Huber).
District 6: Preston Odom, Piedmont HS (son of Jonathan and Leah Odom).
District 6: Avery Bobbitt, Piedmont HS (daughter of Michael Bobbitt and Kelli Winkles).
District 7: Robert Mason Lambert, Haleyville HS (son of Andy and Amber Lambert).
District 7: Abram Peoples, Muscle Shoals HS (son of Scotty and Tonya Peoples).
District 8: Cassie Black, Geraldine HS (daughter of Cale and Ami Black).
Eight Schools Receive AHSAA Sportsmanship Grants: Eight of the 99 high schools that were recognized at Friday’s 11th annual AHSAA Sportsmanship Luncheon were recipients of a $1,000 AHSAA Sportsmanship Grant.
The recipients this year were: Williamson HS (District 1); McKenzie HS (District 2); Calhoun HS (District 3); Central Coosa HS (District 4); Woodlawn HS (District 5); Alabama School for the Blind (District 6); Colbert Heights HS (District 7); and Athens Bible School (District 8). The schools were selected from the 99 that completed the 2018-19 school fine and ejection free.
Eight Schools Receive FutureOnes $500 Grant:
In addition, new AHSAA Corporate Partner Future Ones, which specializes in sports uniforms and other cloth wear, presented eight $500 product gift certificates to eight schools as well. Those included: J.F. Shields HS (District 1); Abbeville HS (District 2); A.L. Johnson HS (District 3); Loachapoka HS (District 4); Parker HS (District 5); Ragland HS (District 6); Sheffield HS (District 7); and Valley Head HS (District 8).
The Alabama High School Athletic Association (AHSAA) and MaxPreps, the online high school sports leader, have announced a three-year partnership agreement that will enable the AHSAA to provide a customized sports information platform for its member schools.
MaxPreps and the AHSAA will offer a publishing platform across desktop, tablet and mobile that will streamline the process of managing sports information from its member schools. The partnership enables all box score information published on MaxPreps.com to be automatically provided to the AHSAA for use in managing various initiatives.
“This partnership with MaxPreps will be a big plus for our member schools,” said Steve Savarese, Executive Director of the AHSAA. “The state-of-the art services they can provide our schools when integrated with C2C Schools will make MaxPreps the go-to source for high school sports statistics as well as information regarding the NFHS Network. We are very excited for our member schools.”
Beginning in the 2019-20 school year, the AHSAA will recommend that coaches use the MaxPreps platform to submit statistics after each game to accurately track team and student-athlete accomplishments and also to utilize the MaxPreps Teams app as a team communication tool.
“Alabama is one of the top states in the country for high school sports, and we are excited to partner with the AHSAA to share the accomplishments of its student-athletes nationally,” said Andy Beal, president and founder of MaxPreps. “At MaxPreps it has long been our goal to provide sports information from every team in America, and this brings us a step closer to it.”
MaxPreps.com is the nation's most visited site for high school sports coverage. MaxPreps has been on the prep sports scene since 2002 and has successfully partnered with 26 other high school state associations. MaxPreps also is an official partner of the National Federation of State High School Associations (NFHS) and the NFHS Network.
MaxPreps is the leading online high school sports destination offering high school sports fans the most comprehensive coverage with the latest news, analysis, rankings and streaming content. MaxPreps aspires to cover every high school team, game and player by partnering with more than 100,000 coaches throughout the country. A unit of CBS Interactive and a CBSSports.com site, MaxPreps was founded in August 2002 and is headquartered in El Dorado Hills, Calif. For more information about MaxPreps and for the latest high school sports news, please visit www.maxpreps.com.
About the Alabama High School Athletic Association
The Alabama High School Athletic Association, founded in 1921, is a private agency organized by its member schools to control and promote their athletic programs. The purpose of the AHSAA is to regulate, coordinate and promote the interscholastic athletic programs among its member schools, which include public, private and parochial institutions. Currently, there are 416 senior high members and 336 junior high and middle school members with more than 150,000 student-athletes participating in the program. Major aims of the AHSAA are to serve the needs of its member schools in conducting their interscholastic athletic programs with fairness with an emphasis placed on health and safety and sportsmanship and to assist member schools in reaching the educational objectives as established by their school systems.
MONTGOMERY – North-South all-star squads for the baseball competition reported to Montgomery Monday and began preparations for Tuesday’s 23rd annual All-Star Week baseball doubleheader. The two teams will play game one at 4 p.m., Tuesday at Riverwalk Stadium, home of the AA Montgomery Biscuits, and game two will follow at approximately 6 p.m.
The North-South girls’ and boys’ basketball all-star games will also get underway Tuesday at the Oliver-Dunn Acadome on the campus of Alabama State University with the girls tipping off a 5 p.m., and the boys following at 7. The basketball squads conducted one practice Sunday and held two workouts Monday with a shoot-a-round planned for Tuesday.
Both all-star competitions will be live-streamed by the NFHS Network with Central-Phenix City High School’s NFHS Network School Broadcast Program producing the contests. Tim Loreman is the executive producer and Central students will handle the technical production along with other NFHS Network contributors. Handling the play-by-play for basketball will be long-time Wiregrass radio personality Gil Anthony of Dothan, who has broadcast sports and worked in radio for more than 50 years. Another Wiregrass radio personality, Eufaula’s Doug Applin, will handle the play-by-play for baseball and will also behind the mike for the softball competition set for Wednesday at Lagoon Park.
All-stars for soccer, volleyball and cross country will report Tuesday. Golf and tennis all-stars will report Wednesday. The North-South All-Star football squads reported Sunday and were still finalizing roster replacements Monday. The teams had one workout Sunday night and were put through two practice sessions Monday. Two more are scheduled for Tuesday. The NFHS Network will live-stream each all-star contest with cross country, tennis and golf highlights planned to be shown on a delayed basis. Go to www.nfhsnetwork.com for information on how to subscribe to the network.
The 23rd annual AHSAA Summer Conference also gets underway Tuesday with more than 4,000 coaches, administrators, contest officials and all-stars attending the Coaches School, all-star games and four banquets planned for the week, said Jamie Lee Director of the Alabama High School Athletic Directors & Coaches Association (AHSADCA), which hosts All-Star Week and Summer Conference Coaching School.
The coaches for the North baseball squad are Jared Smith of Bob Jones, Matt Kennedy of Westbrook Christian and Keith Lucky of Saint James, the administrative coach. South coaches are Matt Whitten of Charles Henderson, Stephen Vogel of Montgomery Academy and Ken Whittle of Trinity Presbyterian, the administrative coach. The North holds a 23-12-1 edge in the series that was first played in 1997.
North administrative coach Brant Llewellyn said both North and South basketball squads had a good day Monday. “The players are getting along well and enjoy playing with each other,” he said. The North holds a 48-28 edge in the boys’ series dating back to 1953. This year’s team is strong at guard with Lindsay Lane’s Tommy Murr, a 6-foot-1 rising senior, needing just 346 points to become the AHSAA’s all-time scoring leader. He currently ranks third behind Parkway Christian’s Jeremy Monceaux, who had 4,555 points in four seasons at the Birmingham school from 1998-2002, and R.C. Hatch’s Frankie Sullivan, who scored 4,224 points from 2003-2008. Murr has 4,210 points since joining the varsity in 2014-15 as a seventh grader. He led the nation in scoring last season with 45.1 ppg in 32 games. The North also has Muscle Shoals 6-0 guard Mark Sears and 6-5 guard Colby Jones of Mountain Brook on the quad. Sylacauga 6-10 center Shannon Grant is the tallest player on the North squad, coached by McAdory’s James Poindexter and Florence’s Anthony Reid. Fairfield’s Reginald Perry and Oxford’s Zondrick Garrett stand 6-7.
Sidney Lanier 6-8 center Rongie Gordon is the South’s tallest player. Daphne’s Tereance Edwards-Fleming is 6-7. The South is coached by Jeffrey Pope of LeFlore and Jessie Foster of Dadeville. Nigel Card of Saint James is the administrative coach.
The North girls, coached by Southside-Gadsden’s Kim Nails and Lee-Huntsville’s Je’Taime Silas, hold a 19-3 edge in the series. This year’s team is a very tall squad anchored by 6-6 centers Hannah Edwards of Oak Mountain and Emily Bowman of Huntsville. The South, coached Dyneshia Smith of Charles Henderson and Rand Smith of Southside-Selma, list Troy 6-2 center Samira Moore as its tallest player.
Wednesday’s all-star slate includes boys’ and girls’ cross country at AUM at 7:30 a.m.; softball at Lagoon Park at 5 p.m.; and boys’ and girls’ soccer at Emory Folmar YMCA Soccer Complex at 5 p.m. Thursday’s all-star schedule features boys’ and girls’ golf at 8:30 a.m., and boys’ and girls’ tennis at 10 a.m., both at Montgomery Country Club. The North-South volleyball match will be at the Cramton Bowl Multi-Plex at 4 p.m., and the football clash will close out the all-star competition at 7 p.m., at Cramton Bowl. AUM will house all all-star teams and coaches. All-star rosters, coaching staffs and team itineraries can be found at:
The Summer Conference includes coaching schools in the sports of baseball, basketball, football, soccer, softball, volleyball, track and field, wrestling and cheerleading. Several outstanding clinicians are set several outstanding college head coaches speaking at the basketball school. The annual FCA Luncheon on Thursday will feature former Dothan High School and University of Alabama quarterback Steadman Shealy as its keynote speaker. On Friday, 99 member schools will be recognized at the AHSAA Sportsmanship School luncheon at the Montgomery Renaissance Hotel and Conference Center, and the Championship Coaches banquet at 6 p.m., Friday night will feature Alabama Secretary of State John Merrill. Seven Making a Difference Award recipients will also be honored at that banquet.
The 2019 Summer Conference will close on Saturday with the AHSAA Officials luncheon at 11:30 a.m.
DOSS-BLACKMON TEAM WINS GOLF TOURNEY: Jy’Tu Blackmon of Headland High School and Christopher Doss of Verbena turned in a resounding 16-under 56 to win the AHSADCA Coaches’ best-ball golf tourney Monday at Lagoon Park. The pair edged out the team of Elba coaches Johnny Dyers and Mark Wicker by one stroke. Taking third place were Bubba Daniel of Valley and Adam Massey of Opelika. The duo combined to shoot a 58. They took third in a tie breaker over Matt Cobb and Buddy Green, who also carded 58.
North-South Series Records (Through 2018)
Football – South leads 30-27-2
Boys Basketball – North leads 48-28
Girls Basketball – North leads 19-3
Baseball – North leads 23-12-1
Softball – North leads 25-21-3
Boys Soccer – North leads 11-4-1
Girls Soccer – North leads 15-2-1
Volleyball – North leads 14-7
Boys Cross Country – North and South tied at 1-1
Girls Cross Country – North and South are tied at 1-1
MONTGOMERY – North-South all-star squads for the upcoming 60th AHSAA North-South All-Star Football Game and 77th annual North-South All-Star Basketball Boys’ and Girls’ Games report Sunday, July 14, as the 2019 AHSAA All-Star Sports Week and Summer Conference gets set to begin.
The two 37-member football teams comprised of 2019 graduating seniors report to Auburn-Montgomery University Sunday to begin preparations for Thursday night’s annual game at Cramton Bowl. The football clash concludes the most comprehensive all-star competition in All-Star Week history, said Jamie Lee Director of the Alabama High School Athletic Directors & Coaches Association (AHSADCA), which hosts All-Star Week and Summer Conference Coaching School. The boys’ and girls’ all-star basketball teams will report for practice Sunday as well. Both games will be played Tuesday with the girls’ competition tipping off at Oliver-Dunn Acadome on the Alabama State University campus at 5 p.m., and the boys’ clash will follow at 7 p.m.
The North-South Baseball doubleheader will be at Riverwalk Stadium beginning at 4 p.m., Tuesday. Wednesday’s all-star slate includes boys’ and girls’ cross country at AUM at 7:30 a.m.; softball at Lagoon Park at 5 p.m.; and boys’ and girls’ soccer at Emory Folmar YMCA Soccer Complex at 5 p.m. Thursday’s all-star schedule features boys’ and girls’ golf at 8:30 a.m., and boys’ and girls’ tennis at 10 a.m., both at Montgomery Country Club. The North-South volleyball match will be at the Cramton Bowl Multi-Plex at 4 p.m., and the football clash will close out the all-star competition at 7 p.m., at Cramton Bowl. AUM will house all all-star teams and coaches. All-star rosters, coaching staffs and team itineraries can be found at:
The AHSADCA, which operates under the auspices of the Alabama High School Athletic Association (AHSAA) will also host all-star games in baseball, softball, boys’ and girls’ soccer, boys’ and girls’ basketball, volleyball, boys’ and girls’ cross country, and for the first time boys’ and girls’ competition in golf and tennis during the All-Star Week.
The Central-Phenix City High School NFHS Network School Broadcast Program, under the direction of executive producer Tim Loreman, will live-steam over the NFHS Network all all-star game except cross country, tennis and golf. A special delayed program will highlight those three sports. The AHSAA Radio Network will also broadcast the North-South football game live over its network.
The South holds a 30-27-2 edge in the North-South football series, which is the oldest series with its first game played in 1948. The North won 27-14 last July for its fourth straight victory in the series. The North won the first game of the series played 71 years ago at Tuscaloosa 33-0.
Head coach for the South this week is Dadeville High School Coach Richard White. The North head coach is Winfield Coach David McKinney.
The North coaching staff includes Clint Smith, Jacksonville; Bryan Moore, Jasper; Scott Mansell, Hueytown; Al Smith, Gadsden City; Jeremy Sullivan, Boaz; Oscar Glasscock, Cullman; and Cedric Brown, Southside-Selma, the squad’s administrative coach. Rounding out the South coaching staff are: Lawrence “L.T.” Yelding, B.C. Rain; Jack Hankins, Thomasville; Danny Raines, Headland; Roger McDonald, Carroll; Patrick Browning, Pike Road; Daniel Flowers, Southside-Selma; and administrative coach I Mark Heaton of Gadsden City.
Coaches for the North boys’ basketball game are James Poindexter of McAdory and Anthony Reid of Florence. South coaches are Jeffrey Pope of LeFlore and Jessie Doster of Dadeville. North girls’ coaches are Kim Nails of Southside-Gadsden and JeTaime Silas of Lee-Huntsville; South girls’ coaches are Dyneshia Jones of Charles Henderson and Rand Smith of Southside-Selma. Administrative coaches are Brant Llewellyn of Lauderdale County (North) and Nigel Card of Saint James (South).
The South boys won the 2018 North-South basketball all-star game 61-57 and the North girls won 66-57. The South now holds a 48-28 edge in the series dating back to 1953, and the North girls are 19-3 in the competition which got underway in 1997.
The Summer Conference includes coaching schools in the sports of baseball, basketball, football, soccer, softball, volleyball, track and field, wrestling and cheerleading. Several outstanding clinicians are set several outstanding college head coaches speaking at the basketball school. Among them are Auburn University men’s coach Bruce Pearl, University of Alabama new men’s head coach Nate Cross and University of Tennessee coach Rick Barnes. Also scheduled to speak are new Troy University head men’s coach Scott Cross, University of Montevallo women’s basketball coach Greg Van Atta, Lipscomb University coach Lennie Acuff several college assistant coaches and prominent high school coaches.
While NCAA rules restrict Division I head coaches from speaking at the AHSAA Summer Conference, a strong lineup of high school and non-Division I football coaches are set for the football school. College coaches include Miles College head coach Reginal Ruffin and offensive and defensive coordinators Aaron James and Rashad Watson; Huntingdon College head coach Mike Turk; University of West Alabama offensive coordinator Don Bailey and defensive line coach Roberto Pinilla; and retired form University of Alabama assistant coach Sylvester Croom. High school coaches include former NFL standouts Kenny King and Atlas Herrion of Daphne High School; Mike Glisson and Adrian Abrams, Minor High School; Bo Culver, Hartselle High School; and Mark Hurt, Central-Phenix City High School.
Last year’s results and the current series records for the North-South All-Star competition are:
All-Star Sports Week Results
North 27, South 14
South 3, North 1
Girls: South 27, North 28
Boys: South 20, North 41
Girls: North 66, South 57
Boys: South 61, North 57
Game 1: South 3, North 2
Girls: North 2, South 0
Boys: North 2, South 1
Game 1: South 3, North 0
Game 2: North 5, South 4
Series Records (Through 2018)
Football – South leads 30-27-2
Boys Basketball – North leads 48-28
Girls Basketball – North leads 19-3
Current rosters for the North-South All-Star Football game are below
2019 FOOTBALL ROSTERS
J. B. Pennington
Kate Duncan Smith DAR
Lee - Huntsville
Southside - Selma - Admin.
2019 FOOTBALL ROSTER
B. C. Rain
Southside - Selma
Gadsden City - Admin.
MONTGOMERY – The Alabama High School Athletic Association is saddened to learn of the death of longtime AHSAA football and basketball official Freeman Wright. Mr. Wright, 82, passed away at home July 3 after an extended illness.
“Our thoughts and prayers go out to Mr. Wright’s family,” AHSAA Executive Director Steve Savarese said. “Freeman Wright was one of our original officials who joined the AHSAA from the Alabama Interscholastic Association (AIAA) when the two associations merged in 1968. We thank him for his years of service.”
Mr. Wright was recognized by the AHSAA for his more than 30 years of service as a football and basketball official. Two sons, Tracy and Terrell Wright, followed their father into high school officiating. Mr. Wright was also a teacher in the Montgomery County School System teaching industrial arts at Lee High School for much of his career.
He and his wife Carolyn were married for 52 years. “Freeman loved officiating, and loved being a part of the AHSAA,” said Mrs. Wright. “It was a way for him to give back and you know, I think it helped extend his life. I am so thankful.”
The memorial service for Mr. Wright will be Saturday, July 13, at Beulah Baptist Church in Montgomery at 1 p.m. Visitation will be held at Ross Clayton Funeral Home be at 6 p.m., on July 12.
School Fines Down 4.1% from Previous Year
MONTGOMERY – A total of 99 Alabama High School Athletic Association (AHSAA) member schools have been announced as AHSAA Sportsmanship Schools for the 2018-19 school year. The schools, recognized for being ejection free and receiving no more than one non-sportsmanship school fine for the just completed school year, will be honored at the AHSAA Sportsmanship Luncheon during the 2019 AHSAA Summer Conference and All-Star Sports Week.
The 12th annual luncheon will be held at noon on Friday, July 19, at the Montgomery Renaissance Hotel and Convention Center.
Among the schools to be recognized are Hubbertville High School and the Alabama School for the Blind, both which have been ejection and fine-free ten out of 12 years. Alabama School for Math and Science has reached that goal nine times, while four high schools, Alabama School for the Deaf, Booker T. Washington Magnet High School, Calhoun High School and Colbert Heights High School have accomplished the feat eight times in that time span.
Nine other schools being recognized this year have had seven years without an ejection: A.L. Johnson High School, Athens Bible High School, Hackleburg High School, Indian Springs High School, Keith High School, Lexington High School, Marion County High School, Mars Hill Bible High School and W.S. Neal High School.
Thirteen high schools earned the Sportsmanship Banner for the sixth time in 2018-19, and thirteen other schools for the fifth time. Overall, 376 of the AHSAA’s 416 high schools (90.4%) have combined to earn the Sportsmanship Award recognition 1,195 times since 2008.
“We are extremely pleased to recognize 99 high schools for this noted accomplishment,” said AHSAA Executive Director Steve Savarese. “Our total fines were down 4.1% in 2018-19 over the previous year, and we thank all our schools for their commitment to teaching good sportsmanship and upholding the regulations and by-laws created by our member schools.”
The AHSAA also released its annual Ejection and School Fine report, reporting that 258 high schools had a total of 548 student-athlete and 70 coach ejections during the 2018-19 school year. Middle and junior high school programs only had 16 student ejections and four coach ejections – a grand total of 638 total ejections for the year. This number represents a 4.1% reduction in total ejections and school fines from 2017-18. More importantly, the student-athletes with ejections represent only 0.003% of the more than 156,000 student-athletes who participated in AHSAA sports events in 2018-19, and the 74 coaches with ejections are just 0.006% of the AHSAA’s more than 11,000 certified coaches.
“We are also encouraged by the large percentage of student-athletes and coaches who are competing in our sports’ programs who never receive an ejection,” Savarese said. Our goal, however, is always for each school to be fine and ejection free. It is imperative that each of us, our schools, coaches and administrators continue to emphasize daily the importance of good sportsmanship to our students, parents and communities.”
The list of Sportsmanship Schools for 2018-19 can be found on the www.ahsaa.com website at the following link:
FINES AND EJECTION DATA
School Player & Coach Ejections
School Unsportsmanlike Incident Violations
Failure to Attend Rules Clinic/ take Rules Test Online
School Audit Fines (clerical)
AHSAA By-Law Violations
HIGH SCHOOL ASSOCIATIONS
NFHS Celebrates Centennial in Indianapolis
During 100th Summer Meeting –
Key Events to be Streamed on NFHS Network
FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE Contact: Bruce Howard
INDIANAPOLIS, IN (June 24, 2019) — The National Federation of State High School Associations (NFHS) will conduct its 100th Summer Meeting June 28-July 2 in its hometown of Indianapolis, Indiana. It will be the first Summer Meeting in Indianapolis and the first in Indiana since the 1966 conference in French Lick. The meeting will be held at the JW Marriott in downtown Indianapolis.
Several of the key events during the NFHS Summer Meeting will be streamed live on the NFHS Network (www.NFHSNetwork.com). All Summer Meeting events can be accessed on the NFHS Network at no cost.
In addition to normal workshops and sessions, this year’s Summer Meeting will feature the Centennial Celebration of the NFHS, which has been providing leadership for high school athletics and performing arts since its founding in 1920.
The NFHS is composed of state high school associations in the 50 states plus the District of Columbia. About 1,000 individuals are expected to attend the Summer Meeting, including staff members and board members from the 51-member state associations, including the Alabama High School Athletic Association (AHSAA).
The #NFHS100 Centennial Celebration, the 37th annual induction ceremony of the National High School Hall of Fame and discussion of several key issues affecting high school sports and performing arts highlight this year’s agenda.
The Hall of Fame Press Conference will be held at 12 p.m. EDT on Saturday, June 29, followed by the Hall of Fame Induction Ceremony at 6 p.m. EDT on Sunday, June 30.
The Hall of Fame Press Conference can be accessed on the NFHS Network at https://www.nfhsnetwork.com/events/nfhs/evt1959e5e6a4 and the Hall of Fame Induction Ceremony can be accessed at https://www.nfhsnetwork.com/events/nfhs/evt94264529c9 (See full listing of events that will be streamed live at the end of this release.)
Twelve individuals will be inducted into the National High School Hall of Fame on June 30, including Dusty Baker, Seimone Augustus, Derrick Brooks, Damon Bailey and Tracey Fuchs.
Baker was one of California’s top four-sport athletes at Del Campo High School in Sacramento prior to his outstanding 19-year baseball playing career and 22 years as a manager with four professional teams. Augustus led Capitol High School in Baton Rouge to a 138-7 record and two Louisiana girls basketball state titles in four years before her exemplary career at Louisiana State University and professional career with the Minnesota Lynx.
Brooks was selected National Defensive Player of the Year by USA Today as a high school senior at Pensacola (Florida) Washington before his stardom at Florida State University and the Tampa Bay Buccaneers. Bailey, Indiana’s all-time leading boys basketball scorer, also led Bedford (Indiana) North Lawrence High School to a state basketball championship in 1990 while earning National Player of the Year and Indiana Mr. Basketball honors. Fuchs was one of field hockey’s top stars at all levels, setting national records at Centereach (New York) High School before leading the University of Connecticut to a national championship and playing in four World Championships.
Three outstanding coaches will be inducted in the 2019 class, including Joe Gilbert, who has won nearly 4,000 games in softball, baseball, girls basketball, boys basketball and football in 65 years at Barnsdall (Oklahoma) High School and is still active at the age of 86.
Other coaches who will be honored this year are D. W. Rutledge, who led Converse (Texas) Judson High School to four Texas University Interscholastic League (UIL) Conference 5A state football titles prior to becoming executive director of the Texas High School Coaches Association (THSCA), and Jerry Boatner, who retired last year after leading Collinsville (Mississippi) West Lauderdale High School to 14 state baseball titles and setting the state record with 1,202 victories.
The two administrators in the 2019 class are former executive directors of the NFHS – the late Charles W. Whitten of Illinois and Bob Gardner of Indiana. Whitten led the National Federation from 1927 to 1940 prior to the establishment of a full-time office, and Gardner retired last year after 18 years on the NFHS staff, including the final eight years as executive director.
The other two members of the 2019 class are the late Ralph Stout, who was involved with football and basketball officiating with the Tennessee Secondary School Athletic Association (TSSAA) for 65 years; and Ginny Honomichl, a longtime coach, administrator and national coaching leader from Baldwin City (Kansas) High School who was the first female to serve as president of the Kansas Coaches Association and the NFHS Coaches Association.
Among the topics that will be discussed at the 52 workshops during the NFHS Summer Meeting are inclusion of students with a disability, competitive equity in classification alignments, minorities in leadership, mental health, retaining sports officials, hazing prevention and adjudication for music administration.
In addition, the Legal/Sports Medicine Workshop – one of the most popular workshops each year – will be held at 1 p.m. on June 30. This event provides an ideal opportunity to discuss current legal and medical issues.
The Summer Meeting will kick off on June 29 at 3 p.m. EDT with the Opening Ceremony and “We Are High School®” student program, featuring performances by two Indiana high schools – Noblesville High School and Whiteland Community High School. In addition, the NFHS will present the National High School Spirit of Sport Award and the National High School Heart of the Arts Award.
Amanda Merrell of Huntingtown (Maryland) High School will receive the National High School Spirit of Sport Award, and LaRaine Fess and the Beaufort High School Theatre Students of Beaufort (South Carolina) High School will receive the National High School Heart of the Arts Award.
The First General Session will follow the Opening Ceremony on June 29 at 4:15 p.m. EDT and features Siri Lindley, world champion triathlete, high-performance coach and author.
The Opening Ceremony can be accessed on the NFHS Network at https://www.nfhsnetwork.com/events/nfhs/evt8203278623 and the First General Session can be accessed at https://www.nfhsnetwork.com/events/nfhs/evtd201dcc24e.
The Second General Session on June 30 will feature NFHS President David Jackson, NFHS Executive Director Karissa Niehoff and other staff members, and the Closing General Session on July 2 will feature speaker Alex Sheen, founder of “Because I Said I Would,” a social movement and nonprofit organization dedicated to the betterment of humanity through promises made and kept.
The Second General Session can be accessed on the NFHS Network at https://www.nfhsnetwork.com/events/nfhs/evt808dffc2bc.
The Summer Meeting Luncheon will be held at 12 p.m. EDT on July 1 and will feature the presentation of NFHS Citations to 12 individuals. State association honorees include Dick Durost of Maine, Jill Masterman of Maryland, Joyce Franklin of Mississippi, Chris Kaufman of Indiana, Sue Carlsrud of North Dakota, Joey Walters of Arkansas, Diane Marshall-Freeman of California and Mike Colbrese of Washington.
Other Citation recipients are Dana Pappas of New Mexico (NFHS Officials Association), Tex Williams of West Virginia (NFHS Coaches Association), Gerald Kreitzer of Iowa (NFHS Music Association) and Gail Naylor of Kansas (NFHS Speech/Debate/Theatre Association).
The Summer Meeting Luncheon can be accessed on the NFHS Network at https://www.nfhsnetwork.com/events/nfhs/evtddc83dd1c1.
The main feature of this year’s Summer Meeting is the Centennial Celebration at 6 p.m. EDT on July 2. This celebration of the 100 years of the NFHS will be held in the Sagamore Ballroom at the Indiana Convention Center.
The #NFHS100 Centennial Celebration will recognize six former executive directors of the NFHS and will celebrate the organization’s years in Chicago, Elgin, Kansas City and Indianapolis.
Former executive directors who will be recognized are the late Charles W. Whitten (1927-40), the late H. V. Porter (1940-58), the late Cliff Fagan (1958-77), Brice Durbin (1977-93), Bob Kanaby (1993-2010) and Bob Gardner (2010-18). Current NFHS Executive Director Karissa Niehoff will close the evening’s festivities.
The Centennial Celebration can be accessed on the NFHS Network at https://www.nfhsnetwork.com/events/nfhs/evta3d60395df.
The following events during the NFHS Summer Meeting will be streamed live on the NFHS Network (www.NFHSNetwork.com). All Summer Meeting events can be accessed on the NFHS Network at no cost.
Hall of Fame Press Conference (Saturday, June 29, 12 p.m. EDT)
Opening Ceremony (Saturday, June 29, 3 p.m. EDT)
First General Session (Saturday, June 29, 4:15 p.m. EDT)
Second General Session (Sunday, June 30, 9 a.m. EDT)
Hall of Fame Induction Ceremony (Sunday, June 30, 6 p.m. EDT)
Summer Meeting Luncheon (Monday, July 1, 12 p.m. EDT)
#NFHS 100 Centennial Celebration (Tuesday, July 2, 6 p.m. EDT)
This press release was written by Luke Modrovsky, a 2019 summer intern in the NFHS Publications/Communications Department. He is a senior sports management and communication studies major at Wilkes University in Wilkes-Barre, Pennsylvania.
About the National Federation of State High School Associations (NFHS)
The NFHS, based in Indianapolis, Indiana, is the national leadership organization for high school sports and performing arts activities. Since 1920, the NFHS has led the development of education-based interscholastic sports and performing arts activities that help students succeed in their lives. The NFHS sets direction for the future by building awareness and support, improving the participation experience, establishing consistent standards and rules for competition, and helping those who oversee high school sports and activities. The NFHS writes playing rules for 17 sports for boys and girls at the high school level. Through its 50 member state associations and the District of Columbia, the NFHS reaches more than 19,500 high schools and 12 million participants in high school activity programs, including more than 7.9 million in high school sports. As the recognized national authority on interscholastic activity programs, the NFHS conducts national meetings; sanctions interstate events; offers online publications and services for high school coaches and officials; sponsors professional organizations for high school coaches, officials, speech and debate coaches, and music adjudicators; serves as the national source for interscholastic coach training; and serves as a national information resource of interscholastic athletics and activities. For more information, visit the NFHS website at www.nfhs.org.
MEDIA CONTACTS: Bruce Howard, 317-972-6900
Director of Publications and Communications
National Federation of State High School Associations
Chris Boone, 317-972-6900
Assistant Director of Publications and Communications
Dennis Victory | email@example.com
TUSCALOOSA -- The Alabama Sports Writers Association named G.W. Long’s Libby Baker its 2019 Miss Softball recipient as the top prep player in the state. Morgan Academy's Gunnar Henderson was selected Mr. Baseball by the ASWA and Haleyville's Scott McAlpine with the Jimmy Smothers Courage Award. The honorees were announced at the ASWA Convention Awards Banquet Sunday night.
Baker, a Troy signee, led G.W. Long to its second straight Class 2A softball state championship, setting a single-season national record with 37 home runs this season. She also had a state best 101 RBIs and 2.058 OPS with 81 hits, 72 runs, 12 doubles, .559 average, .637 on-base and produced 2.4 runs per game. In the circle, Baker posted 20-1 record with five saves, 271 strikeouts (14.6 per 7 innings), 16 shutouts, five no-hitters and four perfect games. She had an 0.027 ERA, .048 WHIP and allowed only two home runs in 130 innings while opponents batted .077. Baker, who earned the Class 2A state tournament MVP in 2019, leads the ASWA Super All-State softball list along with Hewitt-Trussville's Hannah Borden, Holtville's Kaylyn Dismukes, Fairhope's Alea Johnson, Macon East's Madisyn Kennedy, Spanish Fort's Ainsley Lambert, Gardendale's Carlee McCondichie, Alabama Christian's Haley Pittman, Brantley's Kassidy Wilcox and Hayden's Savannah Woodward.
Baker is the 17th Miss Softball and first G.W. Long player to earn the honor. Grissom’s Anna Thompson is the only two-time Miss Softball winner, earning the award in 2004 and 2006. Only Pisgah, Hueytown and Baker have multiple winners in the 17-year history of the award.
Henderson, who was the first pick of the MLB Draft’s second round (42nd overall), was drafted by the Baltimore Orioles. He is also an Auburn baseball signee. He heads the Super All-State list and is joined by Hazel Green's Jordan Beck, McGill-Toolen's Chandler Best, Mobile Christian's Ethan Hearn, Springville's Braden Hughes, Oak Mountain's Jackson Kimbrell, Chilton County's Pico Kohn, Bob Jones' Dylan Ray, G.W. Long's Matt Snell and Providence Christian's Grayson Stewart.
The Jimmy Smothers Courage Award, named for the former long-time Gadsden Times sports editor, honors an athlete who overcomes adversity to excel in sports. Haleyville's Scott McAlpine lost his sister to a heart condition when he was 6 years old and was diagnosed with Type I diabetes five years later. His father was diagnosed with a rare form of cancer when McAlpine was a freshman. McAlpine said football and baseball provided him with the courage and will to keep going.
2019 ASWA Super All-State Baseball
Mr. Baseball: Gunnar Henderson, Morgan Academy
Jordan Beck, Hazel Green
Chandler Best, McGill-Toolen
Ethan Hearn, Mobile Christian
Braden Hughes, Springville
Jackson Kimbrell, Oak Mountain
Pico Kohn, Chilton County
Dylan Ray, Bob Jones
Matt Snell, G.W. Long
Grayson Stewart, Providence Christian
ASWA Mr. Baseball Winners
2019: Gunnar Henderson, Morgan Academy
2018: Jeremiah Jackson, St. Luke’s
2017: Tanner Burns, Decatur
2016: Owen Lovell, Cullman
2015: Brax Garrett, Florence
2014: Cody Reed, Ardmore
2013: Keegan Thompson, Cullman
2012: Mikey White, Spain Park
2011: Daniel Koger, Huntsville
2010: Daryl Norris, Fairhope
2009: Luke Bole, Hartselle
2008: Tyler Stovall, Hokes Bluff
2007: John David Smelser, Hillcrest-Tuscaloosa
2006: Del Howell, American Christian
2005: Colby Rasmus, Russell County
2004: Patrick White, Daphne
2003: Joey Doan, Baker
2002: Allen Ponder, Lee-Scott Academy
2001: Eric West, Southside-Gadsden
2000: Wade Miller, G.W. Long
1999: Matthew Maniscalco, Oxford
2019 ASWA Super All-State Softball
Miss Softball: Libby Baker, G.W. Long
Hannah Borden, Hewitt-Trussville
Kaylyn Dismukes, Holtville
Alea Johnson, Fairhope
Madisyn Kennedy, Macon-East
Ainsley Lambert, Spanish Fort
Carlee McCondichie, Gardendale
Haley Pittman, Alabama Christian
Kassidy Wilcox, Brantley
Savannah Woodward, Hayden
ASWA Miss Softball Winners
2019: Libby Baker, G.W. Long
2018: Leanna Johnson, Brantley
2017: Annie Willis, Westminster Christian
2016: Ashlee Swindle, Curry
2015: Lacey Sumerlin, Baker
2014: Madi Moore, Winfield
2013: Kasey Cooper, Dothan
2012: Haylie McCleney, Mortimer Jordan
2011: Shelby Holley, Pisgah
2010: Leigh Streetman, Hueytown
2009: Hilary Phillips, Ider
2008: Lindsey Dunlap, Hueytown
2007: Whitney Larsen, Vestavia Hills
2006: Anna Thompson, Grissom
2005: Tara Donaldson, Baker
2004: Anna Thompson, Grissom
2003: Holly Currie, Pisgah
ASWA Jimmy Smothers Courage Award Winners
2019: Scott McAlpine, Haleyville (football, baseball)
2018: Anna Bryant, Pleasant Valley (volleyball)
2017: Ethan Hearn, Mobile Christian, (football)
2016: Alex Wilcox, Brantley (softball)
MONTGOMERY – Seven individuals who have made an impact as exemplary role models have been selected as the 2019 Making a Difference Award recipients by the Alabama High School Athletic Association (AHSAA) and the Alabama High School Athletic Directors & Coaches Association (AHSADCA).
One recipient from each of the AHSAA’s seven classifications was chosen from nominations submitted by AHSAA member schools and other support organizations. This year’s recipients are John Hardin, Hackleburg High School (1A) principal; Lisa Bates, Sand Rock High School (2A) girls’ basketball and volleyball coach; Willie Wright, Pike County (3A) principal; Chris Goodman, Alabama Christian Academy (4A) softball coach; Russ Holcomb, Hamilton High School (5A) football coach; D. Mark Mitchell, WKKR Radio (iheart) sports announcer, Opelika (6A); and Ken Storie, Jefferson County Schools Athletic Director (7A).
The honorees will be recognized at the Championship Coaches Banquet at the Renaissance Montgomery Convention Center July 19. The 6 p.m. event will close out the 2019 AHSAA Summer Conference and All-Star Sports Week for member schools. The Officials’ Awards luncheon will officially close out the week on Saturday, July 20, at the Renaissance at 11:30 a.m.
The Making a Difference Award was established in 2011 by the AHSAA and AHSADCA to recognize individuals who go beyond their normal duties as a coach, teacher or administrator to make a positive impact in their schools and communities. This year’s recipients include two principals, three athletic directors, one basketball and one track coach. One of the athletic directors also serves as head football coach, one is a head volleyball coach and the other is a head basketball coach.
“The recipients in this 2019 Making a Difference class are excellent examples of men and women who take their positions as role models for their students, faculty and community very seriously. Each have had a major positive impact in their communities and schools and across the state and are excellent choices for what this award stands for," said AHSAA Executive Director Steve Savarese. “This award is the most important honor a professional educator in our state can receive. Characteristics considered for this prestigious award include the recipient’s character, integrity and service, all of which have enabled these individuals to have a life-changing impact on the community or school where they serve.”
Savarese said this special award exemplifies what makes education-based sports so important.
“This is one way we can honor them for the examples they set and the life lessons they teach on a daily basis,” he said.
Following is a brief synopsis of the Making a Difference recipients for 2019:
JOHN HARDIN, HACKLEBURG PRINCIPAL: Hardin is currently finishing his second year as president of the AHSAA Central Board of Control. He served 10 years on the Central Board, where he served as vice president and was on several key committees including Finance, Hall of Fame and Bryant-Jordan Selection Committee. He has been an officer on the District 7 Board and Legislative Council for 23 years.
A 1974 graduate of Hackleburg High School, he received a B.S. degree in Education from the University of Mississippi in 1978 and a master’s in educational leadership from the University of West Alabama in 2007.
in 1978, he began a career in education that spanned 40 years with his first job as a middle school teacher and coach at Amory (MS). In 1987, he returned to his alma mater as a history teacher, assistant football and varsity softball coach. He later served as head football coach for 20 years from 1989 to 2009 and was the head girls’ basketball coach for 13 years from 1992 – 2005. In 2010, Hardin became the school’s principal, a position he has held ever since. He is planning to retire June 30.
Successful at all tasks, his softball trams compiled a 244-121 record with six Marion County championships, five West Alabama Conference championships, seven area championships and six state tournament appearances. His football trams compiled a 120-95 record with 10 area titles and 13 state playoff appearances, and his girls’ basketball teams were 234-106 with five county championships, six conference titles and eight regional appearances in 13 year. Twice his teams advanced to the State Tourney Final 4 in Birmingham.
His leadership, however, following the tragic tornado that destroyed the school and community in 2011, proved to be his finest hour as Hackleburg dug out of the rubble to return to normalcy much sooner than expected.
That same leadership quality helped him lead the AHSAA with wisdom, patience and strength as its Central Board president.
LISA (BASWELL) BATES, SAND ROCK HIGH SCHOOL COACH – An outstanding student-athlete in high school graduating as valedictorian at Locust Fork in 1995, Bates was named Class 3A Player of the Year in 1995 averaging 27.5 points and 15.4 rebounds a game. She played in the Alabama-Mississippi All-Star Classic and led her team to the Final Four twice. She was inducted into the Blount County Sports Hall of Fame last March and still holds the AHSAA girls’ single-season rebound record (624) she set in 1995.
She also had a tremendous college basketball career at Southern Miss and Jacksonville State. She graduated in 1999 and was inducted into JSU’s Hall of Fame in 2011. While in college, Bates was the recipient of JSU's prestigious Eagle Owl Award and also served as president of the JSU Student Athlete Advisory Committee while also volunteering as an event coordinator for the Special Olympics. She earned Academic All-America honors and was Atlantic Sun Conference Student-Athlete of the Year in 1999 and 2000.
She and her husband Keith, also a teacher and coach at Sand Rock since 2000, have been leaders on and off the court, in and out of the classroom. Best known outside Cherokee County as the school’s girls’ varsity basketball and volleyball coach, those inside the county know here for so much more. Her primary responsibility is Special Education Chairperson at SRHS. She works with all students in K thru 12 that receive special education services and is a strong advocate for students with disabilities. She has served as Job Ready Day Coordinator since 2016, a service that prepares all Cherokee County students with special needs to enter and be successful in the work force by lining up mock interview experiences for all students with special needs in grades 9-12. She is also a Special Olympics volunteer. She was named 2015 Vocational Rehabilitation Teacher of the Year.
Her basketball teams have compiled a 382-191 record with three county titles, eight regional appearances and two Class 2A state runner-up finishes. She was named Class 2A Coach of the Year in 2018. Her volleyball teams have compiled a 622-219 record since 2002 with eight area titles, eight county championships, nine Elite Eight state tourney appearances and five Final Four finishes.
WILLIE WRIGHT, PIKE COUNTY HIGH SCHOOL PRINCIPAL: Wright is a graduate of Jefferson Davis High School in Montgomery where he played basketball and baseball. He played baseball at Troy University and earned a bachelor’s degree in Physical Education and a Masters’ degree in Educational Leadership. He began his career in education at Admiral Moorer Middle School in Eufaula teaching physical education and coaching football, baseball and basketball.
Pike County has made great strides academically and athletically during his time as an administrator at the Brundidge school. He has served as an assistant principal at Pike County High School and principal of Pike County Elementary School. He became principal at the high school in 2011. During his tenure in administration, PCHS has been recognized as a School of Distinction in 2018 by the Council for Leaders in Alabama; received the Best Hustle Award for improving FAFSA completion rate (2017-18); awarded a bronze medal by U.S. News and World Reports as part of the magazine’s “Best High Schools” throughout the United States (2008, 2009, and 2016); recognized by the Yellowhammer News as one of the top 25 Safest High Schools in Alabama. Also, Pike County received recognition from SREB for “Making Middle Grades Work” (2017). Athletically, Pike County High School won two state football championships (2005 and 2006) and the boys’ basketball team won the South Regional title and advanced to the AHSAA State tournament Final Four (2016). He has overseen the construction of Pike County High School’s football fieldhouse and renovations of the gymnasium and football stadium.
Wright is also the Brundidge Recreation Department Director and is coaching his daughter Skylar’s 7-and-under softball team.
CHRIS GOODMAN, ALABAMA CHRISTIAN ACADEMY COACH: Goodman is a Wetumpka High School graduate and a Faulkner University grad as well. He played college baseball at Faulkner.
An outstanding baseball, softball and basketball coach since joining the Alabama Christian Academy staff, Goodman became the first coach in AHSAA history to win state titles in baseball and softball – and he has done it twice.
As a softball coach, his team presented him with his 500th career win in 2019 and closed out the year as Class 4A state champions. His first team in 2007 also won a state title. The Lady Eagles have reached the state tourney every year but one (2016) with three state crowns, three state runner-up finishes and have compiled a 537-195-5 record. He coached ACA baseball teams to a 389-192 record with state titles in 1995 and 2000 and finished runner-up in 1994 and 2004.
He coached the boys’ basketball program to three area titles and a 216-168 record and led the ACA girls to six area titles and a 225-93 record. He has been named Metro Coach of the Year in all four sports. His four-sport overall coaching record is 1,367-634-5. His ability to coach boys and girls alike with the amazing successes he has had is a testament to how he helps the student-athletes reach their potential time and time again.
He has served on the AHSAA State Softball Coaches Committee since 2007.
RUSH HOLCOMB, HAMILTON HIGH SCHOOL COACH – Holcomb graduated from the University of Mississippi in 2002 and went to work at Hamilton High School that same year. He just completed his 17th year as a teacher and coach at Hamilton. He currently serves as defensive coordinator in football. He was elevated to that position in 2010 and helped Hamilton reach the state finals that year.
Head coach and athletic director Rodney Stidham says while Holcomb is excellent at the X’s and O’s of football, he is means so much more to the students off the field.
“What started out many years ago with him taking boys to colleges to visit and to try out evolved into him helping in other ways that did not always have anything to do with Hamilton High School football,” said Stidham.
Since then, Holcomb, wo still lives just across the state line in Mississippi, has taken over a dozen kids into his home to help them pass summer school, has worked to help others get into college and helped them with transportation to and from school. In addition, he and his wife and son have from time to time taken in kids who were homeless. One of the students failed to graduate on time and the coach helped him study and pass his last class so he could finally get his diploma. The Holcombs were the only “family” at the young man’s private graduation ceremony. For many others he has helped get them food when hungry and to the doctor when sick.
“Coach Holcomb and these kids continue to be like family today,” said Stidham. “And if you are ever at Sargent Stadium on a Friday night, you can usually see several crowded up on the hill waiting for him to come out of the locker room and take the field. For over 15 years he has been the greatest coach I have ever known. What he has done for the kids of Hamilton has permeated throughout the school and town and all are better for having him be a part of both.”
D. MARK MITCHELL, OPELIKA RADIO PERSONALITY– Self-described as “Once a Dawg, always a Dawg,” Mitchell’s radio legacy as the sports authority on all things dealing with Opelika High School has spanned 37 years – starting in 1978 when he was still in high school. Mitchell, a 1982 OHS graduate, broadcast Opelika High School athletics, especially football, for that entire span.
He has celebrated the wins and suffered the losses first-hand as he sat behind the microphone for OHS athletics. He made no excuses for his love of the “Dawgs.” In fact, that is what has endeared him for so many years to the Opelika community. And despite dealing with health problems that led to 37 surgeries since the 1990s, he missed being in the booth on a Friday night only a handful of times during the last four decades.
In addition to his play-by-play duties, which finally came to an end after the 2017-18 school year, he has hosted “On the Mark,” a local sports talk radio show concentrating on local sports for 13 years and counting. The iheart radio affiliate (WKKR and WTLM) sports director also has hosted the “East Alabama High School Coaches Show” for 15 years and has hosted the high school wrap-up show for seven years.
A committed volunteer and president of the OHS Booster Club for many years, he currently serves as co-chair of the Auburn-Opelika Sports Council, co-chair of the Auburn-Opelika Super 7 Committee, is sports editor of the Opelika Observer and also serves as the Alabama Dixie Boys Baseball State Director.
His work behind the scenes helped bring the Super 7 football championships to Auburn and Alabama on a rotating basis in 2009 and he is still working full steam ahead each year to create opportunities for Opelika.
KEN STORIE, JEFFERSON COUNTY SCHOOLS ATHLETIC DIRECTOR -- Storie has spent his entire career in education working behind the scenes without fanfare for the betterment of the students and schools in his trust. Serving as athletic director of the Jefferson County School System from 2007-2019, Storie attended Jefferson County schools graduating from Hewitt-Trussville High School when it was still a member of the Jeffco System. He then attended UAB and earned his masters at the University of Montevallo. In 1990 he returned to Jefferson County where he taught history and coached football at Hewitt-Trussville Junior high. In 1996 he moved to Clay-Chalkville and joined the varsity football staff while teaching economics and sociology. He became assistant principal in 1998.
He became principal at Moody High School from 2004-2007 helping the school achieve initial accreditation from SACS. In 2007, he returned to the Jefferson County School System in 2007 as Athletic Director where he has remained ever since. He retired earlier this month.
He earned a reputation of being an excellent judge of personnel as he helped Jeffco Schools fill countless coaching positions during his tenure. Also, during his tenure, the school system won multiple state championships in softball, football and basketball along with several runners-up. He instituted the Jefferson County Cheer competition and helped develop the Jefferson-Shelby Hoops tournament for boys and girls featuring Jefferson County Schools vs. Shelby County Schools.
Storie also achieved a major overhaul of the system’s coaching supplement structure while assisting in upgrades to athletic facilities at virtually all Jefferson County high schools and also wrote a district wide athletic finance manual that has been instrumental in helping the schools’ athletic programs be financially solvent.
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