MONTGOMERY – Alabama and Mississippi All-Star head coaches Josh Niblett of Hoover and Henry Johnson of Clarksdale (MS) agree on one things after two practice sessions. Both teams are talented and both teams reported with one main goal – to win next Monday’s 32nd annual Alabama-Mississippi All-Star Football Classic. The kicks off a 6:30 p.m., and will be televised over Raycom’s affiliate stations in Alabama, Mississippi, Columbus (GA) and Memphis (TN) as well as other stations outside Raycom in cities like Mobile.
“We coaches have been impressed by the players’ attitudes,” Niblett said of his Alabama squad. “The players all seem to be very respectful of the coaches, their teammates and the other team. We know we have a lot to teach in a short time. We had a very good practice yesterday and again (Thursday morning). I told our players that we need them to get better every practice. We know they have talent, and we know they were all selected for their outstanding work ethic. My goal is to have them peaking at the right time – next Monday night. This game is also about relationships … some that will go with these kids for a lifetime.”
Niblett said some players are already showing great leadership. “It starts at quarterback and (Pinson Valley’s) Bo Nix is showing great leadership. The other players are looking to him and he is acting like a field leader.
“We have others like linebackers LaVonta Bentley of Jackson-Olin and Kendall McCallum of Oxford are intense … they are alpha dogs out there.”
Mississippi’s Johnson said his team’s leaders are also stepping forward. He mentioned quarterback John Rhys Plumlee of Oak Grove is very vocal. He is a take-charge kind of player. And linebacker Nakobe Dean of Horn Lake is much quieter but leads just the same. He leads by his actions. He’s got a 4.35 GPA and is one of the smartest kids I have ever seen.
“He doesn’t say much. He lets his actions on and off the field do the talking for him.” Johnson also said the players are reacting well to the coaching staff. “They are picking up what we are trying to teach them really well. That’s always encouraging.”
Johnson said his team’s talented defensive front four also stand out. They’re big, strong and fast and are showing a great attitude.”
The teams were scheduled to go to the Hyundai Plant for a tour Thursday night after the afternoon practice. Both teams will have workouts from 9 to 11 a.m., Friday with Alabama at Faulkner University and Mississippi at Huntingdon College. They will practice again from 1:30 to 3:30 p.m., Friday afternoon before departing for dinner and then participation in the Raycom Camellia Bowl Parade. The squads will practice again Saturday morning with the players attending the Camellia Bowl at Cramton Bowl Saturday afternoon. NFL standout Roman Harper will then speak to the squads at a dinner set for Wynlakes Country Club Saturday night.
Alabama holds a 22-9 edge and is 5-0 in games played at Cramton Bowl. Mississippi is 2-0 in games played at Hattiesburg, including last year’s 42-7 win.
The game is an event hosted by the Alabama High School Athletic Directors & Coaches Association (AHSADCA) in conjunction with the AHSAA. Alabama’s All-Stars hold a 22-9 edge in the series which began in 1988 at Ladd-Peebles Stadium and moved to Cramton Bowl in 2011. It also started a rotation in 2015 with the game being hosted every other year by the Mississippi Association of Coaches (MAC).
The AHSAA Radio Network plans to broadcast the game live over its statewide network of radio and internet affiliates. The link will be available at www.ahsaa.com.
AUBURN – UMS-Wright High School’s girls captured the AHSAA Class 1A-5A State Swimming championship and Westminster Christian captured the Class 6A-7A girls’ state crown Saturday as the 2018 State Swimming and Diving Championships concluded at James E. Martin Aquatic Center on the Auburn University campus Saturday.
Boaz and T.R. Miller tied with 161 points each to share the Class 1A-5A boys’ state title, and Huntsville captured the Class 6A-7A championship for the third year in a row.
UMS-Wright totaled 285 points to claim the first girls swimming crown since 1997. Whitesburg Christian was second with 209 points and Scottsboro was third at 149. Madison Academy finished fourth with 130 points and Briarwood Christian was fifth with 106. Sarak Kate Sligh, of St. Michael’s Catholic, won gold in the 50 Free and 100 Breatstroke PARA events.
In the girls’ Class 6A-7A competition, Westminster Christian posted 265 points to win its thirst consecutive crown. The Wildcats won the Class 1A-5A state championship in 2016 and 2017 but moved up to Class 6A-7A this season. Spanish Fort finished second with 198 points, followed by Grissom (163), James Clemens (162) and defending champion Auburn (150) to round out the top five finishers.
The 1A-5A boys’ state championship was the first for Boaz and T.R. Miller. St. Michael Catholic was third with 149 points, Jasper was fourth (140.50) and Scottsboro (122) finished fifth. Huntsville totaled 309 points to win the 6A-7A boys’ state title. The championship was the Panthers’ 15th overall, tying the state record set by Grissom from 1984-1999. Huntsville has also won the AHSAA crown five times in the last seven years. Daphne was second with 262 points, Auburn was third with 216, followed by Spain Park (179) and Davidson (164).
Several records fell in AHSAA’s 59th State Championships in the 6A-7A division but no records fell in the 1A-5A division.
Class 6A-7A Boys
200-Yard Medley Relay: Daphne set a Class 6A-7A record in the prelims clocking 1:35.81 and then topped that mark in the finals with a 1:1:35.07. The team was comprised of senior Will Robinson, junior Trey Sheils, senior Graham Jenkins and senior Tyler Bailey.
100-Yard Breaststroke: Daphne’s Sheils set a new all-time record in the prelims swimming a 55.39 time, and he then topped that mark in the finals with a 55.34.
50-Yard Freestyle: Wen Zheng of Northview broke the record he set as a sophomore in 2016 (20.56) with a 20.47 time in Saturday’s finals.
100-Yard Freestyle: Zhang also broke the 6A-7A record (44.78) he set in 2016 with a winning time of 44.24 in Saturday’s finals.
500-Yard Freestyle: Spain Park junior Ward Lockhart set the 6A-7A record with a 4:37.02 time in the prelims. He won the finals by breaking that mark clocking 4:36.87.
Class 6A-7A Girls
200-Yard Freestyle: Sophomore Rebekah Hamilton of Westminster Christian swam the distance in 1:49.45 to set the mark for 6A-7A. She set the 1A-5A division record (1:50.35) in 2016 and now holds both marks.
200-Yard IM: Letitia Sim, a sophomore from Spanish Fort, set a new Class 6A-7A and record with a 2:01.64 time. Mallory Underwood of Athens set the record previously with a 2:03.60 time in the 2016 state meet.
100-Yard Breaststroke: Sim set her second record of the 2018 meet with a 1:01.64 time in the breaststroke race. The old mark (1:02.13) was set by Megan Molnar of Auburn in 2010.
50-Yard Freestyle: Sophomore Eboni McCarty of Westminster Christian set a record (22.86) in the prelims Friday and topped that mark in the finals swimming a 22:81 time.
100-Yard Freestyle: McCarty clocked 50.41 seconds to set a new mark in the 6A-7A division.
Complete results can be found at:
FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE Contact: John Gillis
INDIANAPOLIS, IN (March 12, 2018) —LaFrancis Davis, the director of bands at Montgomery’s Carver High School, has been selected as the 2018 Section 3 recipient of the “National High School Heart of the Arts Award” by the National Federation of State High School Associations (NFHS). Cecelia Egan of Riverside (Rhode Island) St. Mary Academy-Bay View has been selected the 2018 national recipient of the “National High School Heart of the Arts Award” by the National Federation of State High School Associations (NFHS).
Davis will be recognized at the AHSAA Summer Conference Championship Coaches banquet on Friday night, July 20 at the Montgomery Renaissance Hotel and Convention Center.
The National High School Heart of the Arts Award was created by the NFHS to recognize those individuals who exemplify the ideals of the positive heart of the arts that represent the core mission of education-based activities. This is the fifth year that the National High School Heart of the Arts Award has been offered. Eight
Ever since he was a student at Slocomb High School, Davis has had a passion for music. However, he was also a tremendous athlete who excelled in football, basketball, baseball and track. As such, he often faced schedule conflicts between athletics and performing arts.
By the time he was a junior, Davis had developed into a very talented all-around athlete who emerged as one of the state’s best football running backs. Band director Debra Lynn Long encouraged Davis to keep playing football and to keep playing the trumpet. He would often gain several yards in the first half of a football game and then march in his football uniform in the Marching Red Top Band before returning to the backfield in the second half.
When Davis prepared to graduate, several college football programs vied for his services. While Davis really wanted to play college football, he also wanted to major in music. He chose to attend Alabama A&M University, which had an outstanding music program.
After graduation, he served in the U.S. Army for 10 years. After that, he was persuaded to become band director at Coffee Springs High School. After resurrecting a struggling program there, he moved to Geneva County High School. He had two more stops along the way before landing at Carver, where he encourages his students to not just “… love all music, but to love playing the music and singing the songs even more.”
He rejuvenated Carver’s struggling band program from less than 60 members to now more than 150. He also started a band program at its feeder middle school that now nearly 100 students involved as well.
INDIANAPOLIS, IN (March 12, 2018) — Mark Russell, a high school football official and president of the Huntsville (Alabama) City Council, has been selected as the 2018 Section 3 recipient of the “National High School Spirit of Sport Award” by the National Federation of State High School Associations (NFHS). Russell will be recognized at the AHSAA Summer Conference Championship Coaches awards banquet Friday night, July 20 at the Montgomery Renaissance Hotel and Convention Center.
The National High School Spirit of Sport Award was created by the NFHS to recognize those individuals who exemplify the ideals of the spirit of sport that represent the core mission of education-based athletics. Marissa Walker, a student-athlete at Waterford (Connecticut) High School, was selected the 2018 national recipient of the “National High School Spirit of Sport Award.” One recipient from each of the NFHS’s eight districts was selected for section recognition.
An Alabama High School Athletic Association (AHSAA) and youth league football official for more than 30 years, Russell has been a member of the Northeast Football Officials Association (NEFBOA) during most of that time. He has served as head of its nominating committee, as the leader of the local football association’s Fellowship of Christian Athletes group, and as chair of the NEFBOA’s benevolent committee projects. He has officiated several AHSAA state championship football games – most recently as a linesman at the 2017 Class 7A title game.
That seemingly innocuous officiating assignment was nothing less than a miracle. Just three months earlier on August 25, Russell was officiating a season-opening high school game between Alabama school Madison Academy and McCallie Academy from Tennessee. During the game, Russell collapsed on the field with heart failure. Paulette Berryman, a nurse who just happened to be working as the Madison Academy school photographer, was standing at the sidelines and quickly came to his aid performing CPR until he was revived. His heart had been stopped with no heartbeat for eight minutes while he lay unconscious on the ground in front of the packed stadium of fans.
He was then rushed by ambulance to Huntsville Hospital’s emergency ward. Within two hours, doctors stabilized him, implanted a stent, and he was sitting up with more than 40 officials who had rushed to the hospital ICU to pray for him and to support him during his time of need. Advised by the doctors to take some extended time off, Russell returned to football in less than a month for a coin toss, and then back as a linesman within six weeks.
MONTGOMERY — Buddy Anderson, the AHSAA’s career football-coaching wins leader, headlines the 2018 class of the National High School Hall of Fame administered by the National Federation of State High School Associations.
Anderson joins a class of 12 that includes Tom Osborne, the 1955 Nebraska High School Athlete of the Year who later led the University of Nebraska to three national football championships in 25 years as the school’s coach; and Dick Fosbury, who revolutionized the high jump as a high school athlete in Oregon when he developed a technique that became known as the “Fosbury Flop” were selected as athletes in Class of 2018.
Vestavia Hills’ legendary coach, one of five coaches selected, will be beginning his 41st year as the Rebels’ head football coach next fall. His overall 329-146 coaching record ranks is the most wins of any high school football coach in state history.
A strong man of faith and character, he guided the Rebels to state football titles in 1980 and 1998. His teams have compiled a 47-28 playoff record in 29 appearances. He had a stretch from 1993 to 2004 with 12 straight playoff appearances and his teams have missed the playoffs in back-to-back years just once since 1984. Anderson and his father Dovey Anderson became the first father-son coaching tandem to be inducted into the Alabama High School Sports Hall of Fame. Dovey, who spent his entire coaching career at Thomasville High School, was inducted into the charter class in 1991. Buddy, who has spent his entire coaching career at Vestavia Hills, was inducted in 2003.
“Buddy Anderson is an outstanding football coach, but more importantly, he is a role model all coaches can emulate. His influence as a teacher and coach will have a positive impact for student-athletes and coaches in this state for many years to come,” said AHSAA Executive Director Steve Savarese. “Buddy is just the fourth coach from our state to be selected for induction into this prestigious hall of fame. Through his strong commitment to faith and character, he exemplifies all the right lessons that participation in educational-based athletics can teach. ”
The Class of 2018 will be inducted into the National Federation of State High School Associations (NFHS) National High School Hall of Fame July 2 at the Chicago Marriott Downtown Magnificent Mile in Chicago, Illinois. The 36th Hall of Fame Induction Ceremony will be the closing event of the 99th annual NFHS Summer Meeting.
Anderson will become the fourth high school coach from the state and 12th Alabamian to be enshrined. Others include: former AHSAA Executive Directors Cliff Harper (1987), Herman L. “Bubba” Scott (1990) and Dan Washburn (2011); coaches Glenn Daniel (1999); Wallace Guy O’Brien (1992) and Jim Tate (2013); athletes Bart Starr (1989), Pat Sullivan (2012) and Ozzie Newsome (2014); and contest officials Dan Gaylord (1988) and Sam Short (2007). Two other athletes, Olympic Gold Medal track stars Jesse Owens and Harrison Dillard, were born in Alabama and both moved as youngsters to Cleveland (Ohio) and attended the same high school in that state.
Osborne was a three-sport standout (football, basketball, track and field) at Hastings (Nebraska) football history. Fosbury developed the upside-down, back-layout leap known as the Fosbury Flop at Medford (Oregon) High School and later perfected it by winning the gold medal at the 1968 Olympics in Mexico City.
The other outstanding coaches selected for the 2018 class, include Miller Bugliari, the all-time leader nationally in boys soccer coaching victories with a 850-116-75 record in 58 years at The Pingry School in Basking Ridge, New Jersey, and Dorothy Gaters, the Illinois state leader with 1,106 career victories in 42 years as girls basketball coach at John Marshall High School in Chicago who won her ninth Illinois High School Association state title last weekend.
Other coaches who will be honored this year are Jeff Meister, girls and boys swimming coach at Punahou School in Honolulu, Hawaii, who has led his teams to a combined 34 Hawaii High School Athletic Association state championships; and Bill O’Neil, who retired last year after winning almost 1,300 games as the boys ice hockey, girls soccer and girls softball coach at Essex High School in Essex Junction, Vermont.
Other former high school athletes chosen for the 2018 class are Nicole Powell, one of Arizona’s top all-time girls basketball players during her days at Mountain Pointe High School in Phoenix who later excelled at Stanford University and in the WNBA, and Carrie Tollefson, who won five state cross country championships and eight individual track titles at Dawson-Boyd High School in Dawson, Minnesota, before winning individual and team NCAA titles while competing at Villanova University and qualifying for the 2004 U.S. Olympic team.
The other three members of the 2018 class are Roger Barr, who retired in 2015 after a 43-year career in high school officiating in Iowa, including the final 13 years as director of officials for the Iowa High School Athletic Association; Dick Neal, who retired in 2013 after a 34-year career as executive director of the Massachusetts Interscholastic Athletic Association; and Bill Zurkey, who retired in 2012 after an outstanding 35-year career as a choral director in three Ohio schools, including the final 25 years at Avon Lake High School.
These four athletes, five coaches, one contest official, one administrator and one performing arts director will be inducted into the National Federation of State High School Associations (NFHS) National High School Hall of Fame July 2 at the Chicago Marriott Downtown Magnificent Mile in Chicago, Illinois. The 36th Hall of Fame Induction Ceremony will be the closing event of the 99th annual NFHS Summer Meeting.
The National High School Hall of Fame was started in 1982 by the NFHS to honor high school athletes, coaches, contest officials, administrators, performing arts coaches/directors and others for their extraordinary achievements and accomplishments in high school sports and performing arts programs. This year’s class increases the number of individuals in the Hall of Fame to 470.
The 12 individuals were chosen after a two-level selection process involving a screening committee composed of active high school state association administrators, coaches and officials, and a final selection committee composed of coaches, former athletes, state association officials, media representatives and educational leaders. Nominations were made through NFHS member associations.
Following is biographical information on the 12 individuals in the 2018 class of the National High School Hall of Fame.
Buddy Anderson is Alabama’s all-time winningest football coach – at any level. Not only is he the top high school football coach with 329 victories in 40 years at Vestavia Hills High School, he has more wins than college coaches Paul “Bear” Bryant (323), Nick Saban (216), Ralph “Shug” Jordan (176) and Pat Dye (153). Anderson’s teams have won 16 area and region championships and made 30 state playoff appearances, including state championships in 1980 and 1998, when his team finished 15-0 and was ranked nationally. Despite the demands of being a head football coach, Anderson has also served as the school’s athletic director for 40 years, and the school’s teams have won 66 state championships during his tenure, including 14 state wrestling titles and nine state baseball championships. Anderson was selected Alabama Coach of the Year three times, and he was inducted into the Alabama High School Sports Hall of Fame in 2003.
Miller Bugliari is an icon at The Pingry School in Basking Ridge, New Jersey, where he has been the school’s boys soccer coach since 1960. The 82-year-old Bugliari has amassed a national record 850 victories and led his teams to 26 Prep A and New Jersey State Interscholastic Athletic Association state championships. His teams have registered 20 undefeated seasons and won 27 county championships. Bugliari has been named New Jersey State Coach of the Year seven times, and he has earned four National Coach of the Year awards. He is a former president of the National Soccer Coaches Association of America and was inducted into the NSCAA Hall of Fame and the National Soccer Hall of Fame in 2006. Bugliari was a teacher in the Science Department at Pingry for many years and now is Special Assistant to the Headmaster.
Dorothy Gaters is the Illinois High School Association’s (IHSA) career leader in basketball coaching victories – for both boys and girls. After completing a 22-7 season at John Marshall High School in Chicago last weekend and winning her ninth IHSA state girls basketball championship, Gaters’ record stands at 1,106-198. Her teams won the Class AA title in 1982, 1985, 1989, 1990, 1992, 1993 and 1999, and the Class 3A title in 2008. Gaters’ teams at John Marshall have finished second three other times and third on six other occasions. During her 42-year career at John Marshall, her teams have won 24 Chicago Public Schools championships and qualified for the IHSA state finals 26 times. Gaters was inducted into the Illinois Basketball Coaches Association Hall of Fame in 1996 and the prestigious Women’s Basketball Hall of Fame in 2000. She was selected as a coach for the Junior Olympic team in 2000 and the McDonald’s All-American Game in 2011.
Jeff Meister has become one of the top swimming coaches in the nation during the past 30 years at Punahou School in Honolulu, Hawaii. Taking over the Punahou swimming program in 1988, Meister has led the boys and girls teams to 34 Hawaii High School Athletic Association (HHSAA) state championships – 16 boys and 18 girls – including 2018 titles for both squads last month. Although the Punahou program had enjoyed success in swimming prior to Meister’s arrival (47 all-time boys state titles, 51 all-time girls state titles), he has taken the program to another level and is the winningest high school swimming coach in state history. Meister’s teams have won 34 Interscholastic League of Honolulu (ILH) championships, and he has been named ILH Coach of the Year 24 times. Meister has also served as the school’s athletic director for nine years after 11 years as associate athletic director. In addition, he has served as HHSAA State Track and Field Coordinator for 14 years and State Swimming Coordinator for eight years. Meister is currently serving a term on the NFHS Swimming and Diving Rules Committee.
Bill O’Neil was one of the top multi-sport coaches in Vermont history – and perhaps nationally – during his 45-year coaching career at Essex High School. O’Neil compiled a 396-176-52 record in 37 years (1979-2015) as girls soccer coach, a 636-292-33 record in 44 years (1973-2017) as the boys ice hockey coach and a 261-124 record in 22 years (1979, 1992-2012) as the girls softball coach. This rather unique girls-and-boys sport combination yielded an overall record of 1,293-592-32, which is almost 2,000 varsity games coached at Essex. O’Neil led his various teams to 24 Vermont Principals’ Association state championships – 14 in hockey, six in girls soccer and four in girls softball. He has received numerous coach-of-the-year awards in all three sports. Though he has retired from his coaching duties, O’Neil continues to serve as an English teacher at Essex High School, which he has done since joining the faculty in 1965.
Dick Fosbury revolutionized the high jump when, as a sophomore at Medford (Oregon) High School in 1963, he used his new technique which became known as the Fosbury Flop. The upside-down, back-layout style became the standard as all records around the world have been established by athletes using the Fosbury Flop. Using his new method, Fosbury improved his jumps from 5-4 as a sophomore to 6-5½ as a senior and placed second in the state meet. He continued to perfect the “Flop” at Oregon State University, where he claimed the NCAA high jump title in 1968 with a 7-2¼ effort. That same year, Fosbury won the gold medal at the 1968 Olympics in Mexico City with a 7-4¼ jump, which broke both the Olympic and American records. Fosbury was named to the USA Track and Field Hall of Fame, the U.S. Olympic Hall of Fame and the Oregon Sports Hall of Fame. He retired in 2011 after 30 years as a civil engineer in Idaho, but he continues to coach athletes at Dick Fosbury Track Camps in Maine and Idaho.
Tom Osborne was one of Nebraska’s top high school athletes during his days at Hastings High School from 1951 to 1955. He was the starting quarterback on the football team and helped the basketball team to the Class A state championship in 1954. In track and field, Osborne was state champion in the discus and runner-up in the 440-yard dash. In addition, he played American Legion baseball and helped his 1954 team to a second-place finish in the state tournament as a third baseman and pitcher. Osborne earned all-state honors in basketball and football and was named Nebraska High School Athlete of the Year in 1955. After an outstanding career at Hastings College and a few years in the National Football League, Osborne began his college coaching career. In 25 years as football coach at the University of Nebraska, Osborne compiled a 255-49-3 record, with 25 consecutive bowl appearances, 13 conference titles and three national championships. Following his coaching career, Osborne was elected to the U.S. Congress, and then returned to Lincoln in 2007 to serve as the Nebraska athletic director for five years.
Nicole Powell was one of the top basketball players in Arizona history during her four years (1996-2000) at Mountain Pointe High School in Phoenix. She collected 1,820 rebounds (eighth all-time nationally) and scored 2,486 points – second highest in state history. She helped her teams to three second-place finishes in the Arizona Interscholastic Association state tournament. As a senior, Powell also won the state discus event in track and field and the singles state title in badminton, and she also participated in tennis and cross country. Powell continued to excel at the next level, leading Stanford University to four Pacific-10 Conference basketball titles. She averaged more than 17 points and almost 10 rebounds per game and was named Pac-10 Player of the Year two times. Powell was the No. 3 overall selection in the 2004 WNBA draft and played 11 seasons with five teams. After her playing career ended, Powell became assistant women’s basketball coach at the University of Oregon before being named head women’s basketball coach at Grand Canyon University in Phoenix in April 2017.
Carrie Tollefson won five Minnesota State High School League state cross country championships at Dawson-Boyd High School from 1990 to 1994, including the first as an eighth-grader. She also won eight individual track and field titles in the 1600 and 3200 meters, and she set a state record in the 3200 meters in 1994 with a time of 10:30.28. Tollefson’s 13 individual titles in cross country and track are the most ever in the state. Tollefson’s dominance continued at Villanova University, where she won five individual NCAA titles – the indoor and outdoor 3K, the outdoor 5K and two cross country titles – and helped her team to the 1999 NCAA team championship. She was a 10-time All-American and the 1998 NCAA Indoor Track Athlete of the Year. Tollefson made the 2004 U.S. Olympic team and participated in the 1500 meters in Athens, Greece. Since her competitive days concluded, Tollefson has conducted distance running camps and served as a motivational speaker and clinic presenter, and she hosts a weekly online show on running and fitness entitled “C Tolle Run.”
Roger Barr devoted 43 years of his life to the avocation of officiating – first as a high school football, basketball and baseball official in Iowa for 30 years, followed by 13 years as director of officials for the Iowa High School Athletic Association (IHSAA). Barr was one of the top-rated officials in all three sports throughout his career, which earned him numerous playoff assignments. In football, Barr officiated 30 state tournaments, including 10 championship games. In baseball, he worked 26 state tournaments, including 24 championship contests. And in basketball, he officiated 26 state boys tournaments and 27 state girls tournaments, which included a total of 22 championship games. Barr conducted rules interpretation meetings in all three sports throughout the state during his officiating days, and in 2003, he joined the IHSAA staff as director of officials. He conducted rules meetings and clinics for the IHSAA for 13 years before retiring in December 2015.
Dick Neal retired in 2013 after 34 years as executive director of the Massachusetts Interscholastic Athletic Association (MIAA). At the time of his retirement, Neal was the longest-tenured active director of a state high school association. He also served as chief executive officer of the Massachusetts Secondary School Administrators Association (MSSAA) for 34 years. During his tenure as MIAA executive director, Neal was responsible for initiating the effort to increase leadership of both women and minorities in high school sports in Massachusetts, and he wrote and recommended the amendment that created the MIAA Standing Committee on Sportsmanship, Integrity and Ethics. Neal served a term on the NFHS Executive Committee from 1989 to 1992 and was vice president during his final year. He also served as a member of the NFHS Strategic Planning Committee and director of the NFHS Fund Administrators Association. Neal previously received the NFHS Citation and the National Interscholastic Athletic Administrators Association (NIAAA) Distinguished Service Award.
Bill Zurkey had a profound impact on thousands of young people during his career as a choral music director at three Ohio high schools. After 10 years at Toledo DeVilbiss High School and Vermillion High School, Zurkey moved to Avon Lake High School in 1987 to rejuvenate a music program that was spiraling downward. In a short time, Zurkey expanded the choral program from less than 100 singers to more than 400. His squads won Ohio Music Education Association superior ratings for 20 years. Despite his full load of music classes, including teaching AP Music Theory and serving as chair of the Fine Arts Department, Zurkey was the eighth-grade football coach for 24 years, as he helped build a program which led to Avon Lake High School winning the Ohio High School Athletic Association state football title in 2003. Since his retirement in 2012, Zurkey has been a teacher at Cleveland State University and is in his sixth year as director of the Cleveland Pops Chorus. Zurkey is the 13th individual to be inducted in the Performing Arts category in the National High School Hall of Fame.
PELHAM – Vestavia Hills High School’s boys and Thompson’s girls took the early lead after two rounds of three traditional bowling rounds Thursday in the seeding round of the third annual AHSAA State Boys’ and Girls” Bowling Championships, which got under way Thursday at Pelham’s Oak Mountain Lanes, at 12:30 p.m..
Vestavia Hills rolled 1,027 and 1,010 for a two-game total of 2,037 pins to take a 67-pin lead over Buckhorn, which was second at 1,970 with one round remaining Thursday. Thompson led Stanhope Elmore by a slimmer 34-pin margin after completing two of the three seeding rounds. The Lady Rebels had a two-game 1,730 total and Stanhope Elmore was second at 1,696.
After Thursday’s competition, each school will be seeded for Friday’s Championship Bracket.
A total of 16 boys’ teams and 16 girls’ teams are competing in each division with the eight teams qualifying from each of last week’s regional qualifying tournaments. Today’s round consists of three traditional games by each team (five players) with the total pins for each team deciding Friday’s championship bracket head-to-head Baker format bowling. All 16 teams in each division will be seeded based on total pins from today’s traditional three-game series bowling. Friday’s first round of the championship bracket starts at 8 a.m. The quarterfinals, semifinals and finals will follow with the championship matches for boys and girls scheduled for Friday afternoon.
Cullman High School’s NFHS Network School Broadcast Program directed by John Drake will provide the video live-streaming of the finals Friday. The link for the NFHS Network’s subscriber-based live video stream is: http://www.nfhsnetwork.com/events/ahsaa/85d72a726d
Information on how to sign up can be found at www.nfhsnetwork.com.
Junior Beau Reed was red-hot for Vestavia Hills, coached by Todd Evans, in Thursday’s first two rounds. He rolled games of 34 and 247 for a two-game total of 481 to post an 11-pin lead over Nathan Shutt of Hartselle, who had a 202-268—470. Brendan Ferris of East Limestone was third at 469 with a high game of 247. A total of 32 boys bowled 200 or higher in the first round with Jalen Johnson of Spain Park scoring a 279 for the best game. Shutt’s 268 led the second round, which listed 24 boys’ scores at 200 or better.
Thompson Coach Chris Hollingsworth’s Lady Warriors built their early led in large part on the performance of sophomore Gillian Baker. She recorded games of 256 and 264 in the first two traditional rounds to carry a 520 series into Thursday’s final round, which was still underway. Both scores bested the current high game (245) in the AHSAA playoffs set by Morgan Mullinax of Pelham in the 2016 South Regional. Meghan Best of Stanhope Elmore was second to Baker Thursday after two solid games of 221 and 208 for a 429 total. Five girls had 200 or better scores in the first round Thursday, and six topped 200 in the second round. The girls’ third round was also still underway at 3:30.
Complete team and individual results can be found at www.ahsaa.com under the bowling section of in-season sports.
AHSAA STATE BOWLING CHAMPIONSHIPS
Oak Mountain Lanes, Pelham
Team Scores after 2 of 3 traditional rounds
Vestavia Hills 2,037
Spain Park 1,923
James Clemens 1,878
Stanhope Elmore 1,797
East Limestone 1,760
Gadsden City 1,520
Stanhope Elmore 1,696
Pinson Valley 1,360
Capitol School 1,282
Mary Montgomery 1,278
Pleasant Grove 1,251
East Limestone 1,250
INDIVIDUAL LEADERS (After 2 rounds)
Beau Reed, Vestavia Hills 234-247—481
Nathan Shutt, Hartselle 202-268—470
Brendan Ferris, East Limestone 247-222—469
Landon Masters, Thompson 223-229—452
Jackson Stiles, Buckhorn 257-294—451
Justin Byrd, Buckhorn 236-209—445
Ian Coleman, Hartselle 236-204—440
Jalen Johnson, Spain Park 279-161—440
Peyton Hughes, Buckhorn 222-216—438
Kenny Ealy, Hoover 245-186—431
Josh Wilson, Stanhope Elmore 245-186—431
Gillian Baker, Thompson 256-264—520
Meghan Best, Stanhope Elmore 221-208—429
Kaitlin Blackmon, Beauregard 164-221—385
Hallie Herring, Grissom 223-154—377
T’Krah Gibbs, Etowah 192-176—368
Jessica Clontz, Southside-Gad. 173-194—367
Jacqueline Beard, Sparkman 172-183—355
Michaela Simon, Satsuma 178-176—354
Macy Fields, Capitol School 214-135—349
Camille Mask, M. Montgomery 133-214—347
MONTGOMERY – Eleven major contributors to prep athletics in Alabama have been selected from a field 51 nominations for induction into the 28th class of the Alabama High School Sports Hall of Fame next March.
The 2018 class, which includes coaches, administrators, officials and an “oldtimer,” will be inducted at a banquet at the Renaissance Hotel and Convention Center in Montgomery, March 19, 2017, at 6:30 p.m.
Selected for induction are football coaches John Mothershed, Randy Ragsdale and Jerome Tate; basketball coaches Ricky Allen and Obadiah Threadgill III; baseball coach William Booth; softball coach Alvin Rauls; volleyball coach Ann Schilling; soccer official and rules interpreter Joe Manjone; former AHSAA assistant director Greg Brewer, selected in the contributor category; and basketball coach Edward Wood, now deceased, who was chosen in the ‘old-timer’ category.
Sponsors of the Hall of Fame program are the Alabama High School Athletic Directors & Coaches Association (AHSADCA) and the AHSAA. The corporate sponsors include Alabama Power, ALFA, Cadence Bank, Coca-Cola, Encore Rehabilitation, Jack’s, Russell Athletic, TeamIP and Wilson Sporting Goods.
Veteran sportscaster Jeff Shearer will emcee the banquet. The NFHS Network is scheduled to live-stream the event.
Since the inaugural class induction in 1991, these 11 new inductees will run the total enshrined into the Alabama High School Sports Hall of Fame to 343.
A profile of each selectee:
RICKY ALLEN: Allen, 62, graduated from Brewer High School in Somerville in 1973, earned his college degree at Auburn University and then returned to Morgan County in 1977 where he remained a teacher and coach for 34 years. He served in various assistant coaching roles at Brewer and head-coaching roles at nearby Cotaco and Union Hill junior high schools before taking over the girls’ program at Brewer in 1985.
He became Brewer High School’s girls’ head basketball coach in 1985 where he remained through 2015. Allen compiled a 30-year record of 604-272 with one state title (Class 5A in 2012) and one state runner-up (2009) finish. His teams reached the State Championships five times, made 15 Northwest Regional tournament appearances winning five times. His teams won 17 Morgan County championships.
Brewer also served in other head-coaching roles including volleyball and softball. In high school he was a member of the school’s first graduating class helping Brewer reach the state boys’ basketball tournament in 1973 for the only time in school history while averaging 13 points and 12 rebounds.
A local church leader, he has taught Sunday School for 25 years and served as a member of the Board of Directors for the Fellowship of Christian Athletes (FCA).
WILLIAM BOOTH: Booth, 73, a veteran of 52 years in education, got a late start in coaching at Hartselle High School. However, he made up for lost time quickly. Over the last 30 years he has become the state’s all-time career wins leader for baseball, compiling a 1,025-431 record with eight state championships and three runner-up trophies.
He coached his first time on a field he described as a “cow pasture” and but now plays and practices at Sparkman Park, one of the finest high school facilities in the nation. He has seen 101 of his former players sign college scholarships and eight played professionally. Two, Steven Woodard and Chad Girodo, reached the major league. He was recognized by the Alabama State Senate and his hometown last May for his career achievements at a special ceremony at Sparkman Park.
He served 10 years as a little league coach, leading teams to two state titles and one state runner-up. He graduated in 1962 from Morgan County High School and got his undergraduate and masters’ degrees from Athens State and Alabama A&M. Teaching advanced math for almost 50 years, Booth served as interim Superintendent of Education in the summer of 2017 and is now serving as assistant superintendent while continuing to coach baseball.
GREG BREWER: Brewer, 61, rose from the ranks of officiating to become the AHSAA’s Director of Officials while serving as an assistant director from 1985-2016. A 1975 graduate of Bradshaw High School in Florence, he earned his college degree from the University of North Alabama in 1980 and a master’s from the University of Alabama in 1983.
He began officiating with the AHSAA in 1976. While at UA he became active as a contest official rising to supervisor of intramural officials in 1982. He also served as official scorer for basketball at UA for 22 years.
As Director of Officials with the AHSAA, Brewer served on various NFHS rules committees including serving as chairman of the NFHS Baseball Rules Committee from 2000-2006. He also served on the NFHS Football Rules Committee from 1998-2016 and also on the NFHS Football Manual Committee and Football Rule Editorial Committee.
An innovator who worked diligently to improve officiating in the AHSAA, he developed the AHSAA district director program, the AHSAA Pitch Count Rule for baseball -- lauded as one of the best in the nation, and created a sports officiating course approved by the ASDE that is now being taught in high schools that will serve as a recruiting tool for future officials.
He also served as a Boys State staff member from 1981-92, was the NFOSA state director from 1990-2001 and was on the Jimmy Hitchcock Selection Committee for nine years.
The NFHS honored him with the Section 3 Citation Award for his contributions in 2006 and received the Alabama Baseball Coaches Association Distinguished Service Award in 2012. He co-founded the Alabama Sports Officials Foundation in 2016.
JOSEPH “JOE” MANJONE: A native of Pennsylvania, Joe, 75, has served as been a soccer official for the past 58 years. He became the AHSAA’s soccer rules interpreter in 1991, a position he still holds. His work with soccer officiating in Alabama has helped the sport flourish over the last 30 years.
He joined the NFHS Soccer Rules Committee as the AHSAA representative in 2000 and has been the AHSAA state soccer championships officials’ coordinator since its inception in 1991.
He received the AHSAA Distinguished Service Award for Officiating in 2010, was selected the NFHS Sports Official Contributor of the Year in 2012 and was inducted into the NISOA Hall of Fame in 2013.
A native of Pennsylvania, he graduated from Black Creek Township High School in 1959 and Penn State University in 1963. He earned several post-graduate degrees from Penn State and the University of Georgia. He came to Alabama in 1980 where he worked through 1996 with the University of Alabama-Huntsville as Director of Sports and Fitness. He has spent most of his professional life working in some capacity in college education and served as president of Waldorf College from 2009-11.
JOHN MOTHERSHED: Mothershed, 54, served as head football coach at Deshler High School from 1995-2013 and was athletic director from 1995-2007. His teams compiled a 201-53 record during that span. Prior to becoming head coach, he served on Coach Tandy Gereld’s staff for eight years. Gerelds was inducted into the AHSHOF last year.
The Tigers won state titles in 1998 and 1999 under Mothershed’s direction and reached the Super 6 state finals in 2003, 2004, 2005, 2007 and 2010. His teams compiled a 49-17 playoff record in 19 appearances and was 102-13 in region games. Eleven of his teams won 10 or more games.
A graduate of Sheffield High School (1981) and the University of North Alabama (1985), he has been active in the Alabama High School Athletic Directors & Coaches Association (AHSADCA) serving as president in 2004 and as a vice president from 2001-03. He has been inducted into the Colbert County Sports Hall of Fame.
RANDY RAGSDALE: Ragsdale, 60, served as head football coach at Trinity Presbyterian High School in Montgomery from 1989-2017. The Wildcats compiled a 242-86 record during that span with a 45-game regular-season winning streak from 2000-05. His 2003 team won the Class 4A state championship going undefeated at 15-0.
His teams reached the state playoffs in 25 of the 28 seasons and compiled a 116-23 region record. He began his coaching career as an assistant coach in Georgia and joined the Northview staff in Dothan in 1985. As defensive coordinator, he helped the Cougars win a state crown in 1985.
Ragsdale coached in the 1997 and 2004 North-South All-Star Games, was head coach in 2010 and was named ASWA Coach of the Year in 2003. He currently serves as a board member of the District 3 Fellowship of Christian Athletes and received the Herman L. Scott Distinguished Service Award in 2017 for his faith-based coaching leadership.
He coached a team of Alabama all-stars in the Down Under Bowl in Australia in 1999 and 2000. As a player he earned All-America honors as an offensive lineman at Jacksonville State played in the NCAA Division II championship game in 1978.
The Rockdale County (GA) graduate attended Jacksonville State University on football scholarship graduating in 1979. He earned his masters from JSU in 1984. He and his family attend Ray Thorington Road Baptist Church.
ALVIN RAULS: Rauls, 62, has served in various capacities as a high school teacher and coach at Madison County and Huntsville city schools. As a baseball coach he guided New Hope to the 1992 Class 3A state baseball crown and his 1990 and 1994 teams finished runner-up. With stops at Sparkman, Butler and Bob Jones, his teams won over 350 games. He moved to Buckhorn in 2007 where he has coached softball teams to more than 300 victories over the last 11 years. He guided the Lady Bucks to the state championship in 2017. He is only the second coach in AHSAA history to coach state titles in both sports.
He coached American Legion baseball for many years winning numerous state titles.
Rauls has also served on the AHSAA District 8 Board and Legislative Council and on the AHSAA Central Board of Control. He graduated from Monroe High School in Albany (GA) in 1972 and from Florida A&M, where he was on baseball scholarship, in 1977.
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