Wednesday, February 19, 2020






Seven Receive “Making A Difference” Awards At AHSAA 2017 Coaches’ Awards Banquet

MONTGOMERY – Seven individuals were recognized Friday night at the AHSAA’s 21st annual Coaches’ Awards Banquet as recipients of the prestigious “Making A Difference” Award as the 2017 AHSAA Summer Conference concluded at the Montgomery Renaissance Hotel and Convention Center.
    The week-long conference, which attracted approximately 5,000 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 10 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 and football. The North beat the South 14-13 in the 58th playing of the North-South football all-star game to close out all-star play Thursday night.
    Friday’s awards banquet recognized a total of 112 state championship coaches who led teams to state titles in the AHSAA’s championship programs in 2016-17 as well as honoring several others for outstanding service or accomplishment.  Among them was Jim Tate of St. Paul’s Episcopal High School in Mobile. Tate, who has been enshrined into the Alabama High School Hall of Fame and National High School Hall of Fame, directed the Saints to the Class 5A state girls’ cross country and Class 4A/5A girls’ state indoor track titles  in 2016-17 to become the first head coach in AHSAA history to capture 100 state crowns. Since 1983, he has led St. Paul’s track and cross country teams to 101 titles overall in his legendary career. His teams have also recorded 51 runner-up finishes.
    Jack Doss also became the first boys’ basketball coach in the AHSAA to capture 10 state titles with Mae Jemison winning the 5A state championship last March at the BJCC. Doss has won state championships at four different schools since 1981. He directed Butler to five championships, Hayes and J.O. Johnson to two each.
    Alabama State Senator Jabo Waggoner was the keynote speaker.
   The highlight was the “Making A Difference” Award, however, now in its seventh year. One AHSAA member school coach or administrator 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: head football coach Alan Beckett, Winterboro High School (1A); recently retired Associate Superintendent Lamar Brooks, Dale County Schools (2A); principal Bobby Tittle, Ohatchee High School (3A); athletic director Charles McCaleb, Bibb County High School (4A); head football coach Richard Dutton, Lawrence County High School (5A); athletic director Janeice Calhoun, Chelsea High School (6A); head softball coach Alvin Rauls, Buckhorn (7A).
Several other special awards were presented including AHSADCA Athletic Director of the Year presented to McGill-Toolen Catholic AD Bill Griffin. The ADSADCA Past President’s Award was presented to former Opelika football coach Brian Blackmon.
    Swimming Coach Michael Gunner of Bob Jones High School was also recognized as the NFHS National Swimming Coach of the Year.  Student-athletes Hasaan Hawthorne of Pelham High School and RaKavius Chambers of Opelika high School were also recognized at NFHS Section 3 “Spirit of Sport” and “Heart of the Arts” Award recipients. Hawthorne, who had both legs amputated when he was an infant, graduated in 2016 and is now attending college in Idaho. He captured the Class 6A 145-pound state wrestling championship at 38-0 – Section 3 includes the states of Alabama, Florida, Georgia, Louisiana, Mississippi, North Carolina, South Carolina and Tennessee. Chambers, also the recipient of the Watkins Award as the top black student-athlete in the nation, is a Duke University football signee. He was an All-America prep football standout who also shared a passion for the arts – participating in theatre, show choir and symphonic band in high school. He was also selected the 2017 Bryant-Jordan Scholar-Athlete of the Year in the AHSAA.
NFHS Section 3 Coaches of the Year: Six AHSAA coaches were named 2016 NFHS Section 3 Coaches of the Year, including: Stanley Johnson, Lawrence County (girls’ cross country); Meridy Jones, UMS-Wright (girls’ tennis); Brigid Littleton, Vestavia Hills (girls’ golf); Steve Reaves, Winfield (boys’ track & field); and Bobby Wright, Central-Phenix City (boys’ basketball).
NFHS State Coaches of the Year: Fourteen AHSAA coaches were selected 2016 NFHS state coach of the year in their respective sports: Emanuel Bell, Wenonah (girls’ basketball); Gretchen Boykin, Spanish Fort (volleyball); Eddie Brundidge, T.R. Miller (girls’ track & field); Claborn Campbell, Cold Springs (boys’ cross country); Isabella Coffell, Sparkman (girls’ bowling); Jeff Dellinger, Auburn (girls’ swimming); Dan DeMasters, Oak Mountain (boys’ soccer); Susan Farlow, Mountain Brook (boys’ tennis); Stephen Gaydosh, Vestavia Hills (wrestling); Cindy Hawthorne, Brantley (softball); Stephen Hobbs, Vestavia Hills (boys’ bowling); Emory Latta, Providence Christian (boys’ golf); Clifford Pate, St. John Paul II Catholic (girls’ golf); and Steve Smith, Piedmont (football).
AHSADCA Coaches’ 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: Heaven Rozier, Jackson High School; Alexandria Wiggins, Enterprise High School; Bailey Ryan Price, Chilton County High School; Jessica Norris, LAMP Magnet High School; Bailee Simmons, Elmore County High School; Mary Elizabeth Laatsch, Helena High School; Shelby Hicks, Oxford High School; Reagan MaKinley Smothers, Addison High School; Michael Drew Statom, Deshler High School; and Jadie Burney, Huntsville High School.
Eight Receive Sportsmanship Grants: Eight high schools that attended Friday’s 10th annual Media Group as recipients of a $1,000 Sportsmanship Grant., in support of good sportsmanship, has provided $80,000 over the last 10 years – proving one scholarship to a fine and ejection-free school each from all eight of the AHSAA’s districts.
   The recipients this year were: Blount (District 1); Red Level (District 2); Linden (District 3); Holtville (District 4); Pleasant Grove (District 5); Ranburne (District 6); Hubbertville(District 7); and West Point (District 8).  The schools were selected from the 107 that completed the 2016-17 school fine and ejection free.
   A total of 107 high schools finished the year with no fine or ejection and were recognized at Friday’s luncheon, up from 32 from 2015-16 when 75 reached that goal. Chris Heaps, the head baseball coach at Russellville High School, was the keynote speaker. Russellville, which has won the Class 5A state baseball championship the last three seasons, was one of the schools recognized for its outstanding sportsmanship record of no fines or ejections.
AHSAA Welcomes New Sportsmanship Sponsor: The AHSAA also welcomed a new sponsor for the annual Sportsmanship Banquet Friday, Patterson Properties which produces high school preseason football magazines for Georgia and Alabama.
Herman L. “Bubba” Scott Lifetime Achievement Award: Longtime head football coach Randy Ragsdale was recognized by the Fellowship of Christian Athletes with its most prestigious award Thursday at the annual FCA Luncheon. Ragsdale who compiled a 242-86 career record in 28 seasons as head coach at Trinity Presbyterian in Montgomery received the Herman L. “Bubba” Scott Lifetime Achievement Award for his lifetime commitment to serving his faith and serving young people. The award is named in honor of Scott, former AHSAA Executive Director. Scott helped bring FCA to Alabama schools more than 40 years ago. Scott is now deceased.

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