Friday, February 21, 2020






Vestavia Hills Coach Buddy Anderson Headlines 2018 Class of National High School Hall of Fame

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.

Alabama High School Hall of Fame Selects 11 for Class of 2018 Induction

     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).
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.

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.
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.  

ANN SCHILLING: Schilling, 53, who was named the NFHS National Volleyball Coach of the Year in 2010, has had an incredible run as head volleyball coach at Bayside Academy. Through the 2017 season, her teams have won 16 straight state championships and 23 titles overall. She has more than 1,400 wins, which places her among the leaders in the nation, and has been named State Coach of the Year by the Birmingham News five times (1992, 2000, 2007, 2011, 2012).
   The founder of the Eastern Shore Volleyball Club, Schilling was inducted into the Bayside Academy Sports Hall of Fame in 2004 and Mobile Sports Hall of Fame in 2017. Among her numerous honors are the R.L. Lindsay Service Award for volleyball (2006), the John L. Finley Award for Superb Achievement (2004 and 2014) and the Co-National coach of the year in 2009.
  Schilling graduated from McGill-Toolen Catholic High School in 1982 where she played volleyball for legendary coach Becky Dickinson, who is already a member of the AHSHOF. Schilling got her college degree at Auburn in 1987.
   She is a member of the American Volleyball Coaches Association and the AHSADCA. She is active in Christ the King Church.

JEROME TATE: Tate, 58, has spent almost his entire high school coaching career in East Central Alabama. After a one-year stint as head football coach at Keith High School in 1982-83, Tate moved to Lanett after two years as a college coach, and served the Panthers as head track coach and assistant football coach at Lanett through 1995.
   He became head football coach and athletic director at Loachapoka in 1997and remained in that capacity until he stepped down in 2017. His teams compiled a 152-98 record with four regional titles and played in the state playoffs in 17 of his 22 seasons, including 14 appearances in a row. Tate coached in the North-South All-Star Game in 1997 and 2010 and in the Alabama-Mississippi Game in 2005.
   He has been selected Opelika-Auburn News Coach of the Year, Montgomery Advertiser Coach of the Year, Alabama Football Coaches Association Coach of the Year and was inducted into the Alabama A&M Sports Hall of Fame in 2006.
   He received a Certificate of Commendation from the City of Lanett in 1995 and a Certificate of Commendation from the City of Huntsville in 2006.
   He coached numerous players who went on to excel in college and three (Josh Evans, Kenny Sanders and Tracy Brooks) that played professionally. Tate graduated from Selma High School in 1977 and Alabama A&M University in 1982, where he was an outstanding collegiate player.

Threadgill, 70, coached girls’ and boys’ basketball for 30 years including 22 at Notasulga High School while becoming one of the few coaches in AHSAA history to coach both teams to the state tournament. His boys won state titles in 1987 and 1992 and his girls’ team won a state title in 2001. He also coached two state runner-up teams and had nine Final Four appearances – including three in a row with his girls in 1995, 1996 and 1997. His teams combined to win more than 900 games. The gymnasium at Notasulga High School is named in his honor.
   He was named Class 1A State Coach of the Year for boys twice and for girls once and received six Opelika-Auburn area coach of the year awards for boys and girls.  He also had coaching stops at Tuskegee, D.C. Wolfe and Tuskegee Institute high schools.
   His family represents three generations in education and coaching with his father and mother career teachers, his brother Kenneth a teacher and coach and now his son, Obadiah IV, serving as a teacher and coach at LaFayette. Obadiah, at Notasulga, and Kenneth, at Livingston, became the first brothers to coach teams to the state championship game (1992) in the same year.
   Threadgill, who served in the Army with a tour of duty in Viet Nam, graduated from Sumter County Training High School in 1965 and Tuskegee University in 1970. He completed his masters at Auburn in 1980.

Wood, now deceased, coached at two schools in his teaching/coaching career, Marengo County (Dixons Mills) and Carver-Montgomery. Born on New Year’s Day in 1927, he was in his coaching prime when he succumbed to cancer in 1980 just eight days after his 53rd birthday.
    He made an impact quickly on the students of the schools where he worked. He coached all sports at Marengo County from 1954-59 with much success in football and basketball.
   He then moved home to Montgomery and became head boys’ basketball coach at Carver, where he remained until 1979. He compiled a 209-99 record from 1959-69 and finished his 13-year span with 310 wins. His teams won district championships in the AIAA from 1961-64 and reached the state tourney in ’64. When the AIAA merged with the AHSAA in 1968, Wood continued his success with a region title and trip to the state tourney in 1969’s first with all schools competing. His Wolverines also reached the state tourney four more times in the next five years.
    He recruited a young coach Dan Lewis to become his assistant coach and hand-picked Lewis to be his successor when he stepped down. Lewis credits Wood’s mentoring and example for his successes. Lewis, now retired, has already been inducted into the AHSHOF.
   The gymnasium at Carver is named in Wood’s honor.
   The Montgomery native graduated from Alabama State Laboratory School in 1945 and Alabama State University in 1954. He earned his masters from ASU in 1956. He attended Dexter Avenue King Memorial Church where he was a leader and community volunteer.

Alabama HS Sports Hall of Fame Inducts 12 for Class of 2017

     MONTGOMERY – Twelve major contributors to prep athletics in Alabama were inducted into the 27th class of the Alabama High School Sports Hall of Fame Monday night at the banquet held at the Renaissance Montgomery Hotel and Spa.
   Inducted were football coaches Peter Braasch of Vestavia Hills High School; Wayne Grant, Pike County High School; Danny Horn, Benjamin Russell High School; Russell Jacoway, Sand Rock High School; and Dwight Sanderson, most notably Notasulga High School; basketball coaches Wayne Bowling of Danville High School; Richard Carter, Lanett High School; Bob Harpe, Austin High School; volleyball and softball coach Rebecca Lee, Hatton High School; softball coach Tony Scarbrough, Baker High School; tennis coach David Bethea, Montgomery Academy; and coach/administrator Lorenzo Jackson, who was selected in the “old-timer” division. Jackson, who spent his entire teaching, coaching and administrative career in the Decatur School System, is deceased.
    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.
     Bethea will deliver resounding acceptance address for the Class of 2017 thank all who had a hand in molding the member of the class and helping them along the way. “The relationships we been fortunate to have are what has been most important,” Bethea told the crowd of more than 700 in attendance.
     The first class was inducted in 1991. These 12 new inductees will run the total enshrined into the Alabama High School Sports Hall of Fame to 332.
       A profile of each inductee:

DAVID BETHEA:  Montgomery Academy’s boys’ tennis coach since 1985, Bethea has carved a niche’ in state annals that includes 14 state championships, nine state runners-up, 32 sectional championships and an overall 878-145 head-coaching record.  He also served as MA boys basketball coach from 1986-90 has served as head junior high/middle school football coach since 1979. His junior high football teams have won 19 city championships and compiled a 191-81-3 record.
     Bethea, 61, is a 1973 graduate of Huntsville’s Butler High School. He received his degree from the University of North Alabama in 1977 and earned a Masters from South Alabama in 1979. He serves as department chair of physical education for the Montgomery Academy, where he has taught for 39 years. He is a member of Center Point Church.

Bowling, 75, was the boys’ basketball coach at Danville High School in Morgan County from 1963-2000. He also was head baseball coach from 1963-85.
    Considered one of the coaching leaders in North Alabama, Bowling compiled a 683-388 basketball coaching record that included four Morgan County championships (1965, 1985, 1988, 1992); 12 area championships; five regional championships; two sub-state titles (1991 and 1992); five state tournament appearances (1976, 1977, 1985, 1991, 1992);  and one state runner-up in 1992.
   He graduated from Austinville High School in 1959 and St. Bernard College in 1963 and began his high school teaching and coaching career immediately. He was inducted into the Morgan County Sports Hall of Fame in 2002. Highly respected by his coaching peers in Morgan County, the MVP Award for the Morgan County basketball tournament is named in his honor.
    He is a member of Central Park Baptist Church.

Braasch, 61, has been a teacher and coach at Vestavia Hills High School since 1977. He is the VHHS Physical Education Department chair.
    A longtime assistant coach, he served as defensive coordinator and assistant head coach alongside another Hall of Fame Coach, AHSAA’s all-time winningest football coach Buddy Anderson, since  1982. The Rebels won state championships in 1980 and 1998 and reached the finals in 1978 and 1979.
    Braasch also served as assistant head coach of the Rebels basketball alongside AHSAA HOF member Coach George Hatchett – winning state 6A titles in 1992 and 2009 and reaching the Final 48 State Tourney two more times (2000 and 2011). He was an assistant track coach from 1978-94 and won a 1993 state freshman championship as head coach of the VHHS ninth-grade team.
    One of the most highly-decorated “assistant” coaches in AHSAA history, Braasch was named Alabama Football Coaches Association assistant coach of the year in 2009; received the prestigious AHSAA “Making a Difference” Award for Class 6A in 2012; and was inducted into the Vestavia Hills Sports Hall of Fame in 2012.
    Braasch graduated from Homewood High School in 1973 and UAB in 1977. He earned a Masters at the University of Montevallo.

Growing up in Chambers County, Carter has spent most of his teaching and coaching career “at home,” serving as head boys’ basketball coach at Valley from 1975-99, and has been athletic director and head boys’ coach at Lanett since 2012. He began his coaching career at Bullock County in Union Springs where he was head football coach for three years (15-13). He also coached track.
    His overall basketball coaching record is 652-220 – including 301-62 at Valley and 150-27 at Lanett. He guided the Panthers to a 29-6 record and the Class 2A state championship in 2016. Lanett finished 25-7 in 2017 and won its second straight 2A state crown.
     Dedicated to molding the character of the young men he coaches, Carter has also served as a pastor for the past 42 years and is very active in civic affairs in East Alabama. He has mentored 75 members of his faith to become ministers themselves and has coached six players who went on to play in the NFL or NBA during his coaching career.
       Carter graduated from Rehobeth High School of Fairfax in 1965 and Alabama State University in 1969. He earned a masters from Troy University.

WAYNE GRANT: Grant, 61, is one of just seven high school football coaches in the AHSAA to coach at least five state championship teams. He accomplished the feat at Pike County High School during two tenures as head coach.
   Grant served as head coach at the Pike County from 1980-91 compiling a 97-33 record and winning the Brundidge school’s first two state titles in 1988 and 1989. He moved to Talladega High School from 1992-97 but returned in 1997 after the Bulldogs’ fortunes had fallen on hard times. Taking over a program that had gone 6-24 over the three previous seasons, he led Pike County back to prominence quickly with a winning season in 1999 and a state championship by 2003. The 2003 team, with just 18 players, rolled to a 14-1 record.  The Bulldogs also were 15-0 and state 3A champs in 2005 and won again in 2006. He was 100-19 in his second tenure to close out his coaching career with a 231-94 record.
    His Pike County teams were region champs 22 times, made 18 playoff appearances in 21 years, reached the quarterfinals 13 times and were 5-0 in Super 6 championship appearances.  His overall playoff record was 44-14 (76 percent). He coached in the Alabama-Mississippi All-Star Game twice and the North-South Game once with all three teams winning.
   Grant also coached two Mr. Football winners (Chris Nickson and Steven Coleman) and two that had stellar NFL careers (Fred Baxter and Cornelius Griffin).
    The 1972 Zion Chapel High School graduate earned his college degree and Masters at Troy University.

A native of basketball-crazy Morgan County, Harpe began his coaching career as the seventh-grade coach at Oak Park Middle School in his hometown of Decatur. That first team went undefeated and ignited a coaching career that led him to Austin High School from 1976-1998 and later at Arab High School from 2003-06. He also served as Austin head golf coach.
    Harpe’s teams compiled a 306-143 record and averaged over 21 wins per year. His 1996 team reached the AHSAA Final 48 State Tourney and his 1993 team won the state crown. Austin also reached the state tourney in 1987.
    More than 20 of his players signed college scholarships. Active on AHSAA basketball and golf committees, Harpe helped develop the Alabama-Mississippi All-Star Basketball Games and served as administrative coach from 1990-95. He also was a member of the District 8 Legislative Council for nine years (1990-98) and was selected to the Central Board of Control. He has also volunteered his time in his retirement to assist the AHSAA at its state tournament since 2010.
    Harpe graduated from Decatur High School in 1965 and Athens College in 1974. He earned a Masters from UAB.

DANNY HORN: Horn, 54, has served only two schools as head football coach in his 28 years as a head coach. Currently the head football coach and athletic director at Benjamin Russell, Horn is 55-39 in eight seasons (2009-16). His overall coaching record of 280-79 (78.1%) and 61-19 in the state playoffs includes an incredible 225-40 slate in 20 years at his alma mater, Clay County High School at Ashland.
   He served the Panthers as head coach from 1989-2008 capturing six state championships (1994, 1995, 1996, 2000, 2002, 2005) and posting a state-record 55-game winning streak that stretched from 1994-97.  The Panthers outscored opponents 1,974 to 194 during that streak with 34 shutouts and allowed only 3.2 points per game. 
   Horn’s 1994 team also outscored opponents 408-22 in 15 games and had 10 shutouts. His 1995 and 1996 teams allowed only 42 points in 15 games with 10 and 11 shutouts, respectively.
    He has coached in the Alabama-Mississippi All-Star Game twice (1994 and 2001), in the North-South game once (2007) and was named ASWA Coach of the Year three times.
    He graduated from Clay County High School in 1980, from Jacksonville State in 1984 and completed his Masters at JSU in 1989.

LORENZO JACKSON (OLD TIMER Division): Jackson, born in 1929, was selected to represent the “Old Timer” division in the Hall of Fame Class of 2007.
  He attended Decatur Negro High School graduating in 1947. He then got his degree from Alabama A&M in 1957. He also earned his Masters and AA.
   He was head football, basketball and track coach at Lakeside High School in Decatur from 1955-69. He was named the AIAA North Alabama High School Association Coach of the Year in 1958, 1959 and 1964.
   When Lakeside and Decatur merged following the 1968 Merger Act, Jackson served as assistant football and track coach at Austin High School for nine years. In 1977 he became the principal at Leon Sheffield Elementary School in Decatur where he serve through 1989.
   Active in civic affairs, he was a member of the Civitan Club and Alpha Phi Alpha fraternity, served as an elder at Macedonia Cumberland Presbyterian Church, was a member of the Decatur Planning Commission and Alabama Democratic Conference, and was instrumental registering voters in Morgan County. He also worked as a Decatur Parks/Recreation Aquatic Supervisor.
   Jackson, now deceased, has been inducted into the Morgan County Sports Hall of Fame and Athletic Booster Hall of Fame.

RUSSELL JACOWAY: The head football coach and athletic director at Sand Rock High School from 1983-2014, Jacoway began his coaching career in 1978 as an assistant coach at Early County High School in Blakely, Ga., where he remained for four years. He then moved to Smiths Station as an assistant coach for three.
    He came to Cherokee County’s Sand Rock High School in 1983 inheriting a team that went 1-9 in 1982. His first team in ’83 was 0-10. In his third season, however, the Wildcats were 15-0 and won the Class 1A state championship. That team outscored opponents 400-54. He went on to compile a 228-132 head-coaching record at Sand Rock over 32 seasons and reached the Super 6 2A finals at Legion Field in 1997.
    The football stadium at Sand Rock was named in his honor in 1999. A book chronicling Sand Rock’s 1985 championship,
Fire on the Mountain, was published in 2010, and he was inducted into the Cherokee County Sports Hall of fame in 2014. He coached in the North-South All-Star Game in 2002 and was named Coach of the Year by the Alabama Sportswriters Association in 1985 and 1997.
    He graduated from Collinsville High School in 1975 and Auburn University in 1978.

REBECCA LEE: Lee, 68, retired from coaching at Hatton High School with 1,320 varsity volleyball and softball wins to her credit. She began her teaching and coaching career at East Lawrence High School in 1978 where she compiled a 109-33 volleyball record over a five-year period. Her 1980 team was Class 2A state runner-up.
   She moved to her alma mater, Hatton High School, in 1983 where she remained until retiring from coaching in 2002. Her volleyball teams were 771-258 in 20 seasons with four Class 2A state championships in a row (1990, 1991, 1992 and 1993). She also became one of the top slow-pitch softball coaches in the AHSAA with her teams compiling a 400-177 record with state titles in 1992, 1993 and 1996. She was named NFHS National Slow-Pitch Coach of the Year in 2000.
Moulton Advertiser selected her Female Coach of the Decade for Lawrence County in 1990.
   She graduated from Hatton High School in 1966 and earned her degree from Athens State College in 1978. She became one of the state’s top volleyball officials during her retirement, serving as vice-president of the Quad-Cities Volleyball Officials Association for six years.

Sanderson, 75, spent 29 years teaching and coaching in the AHSAA. He spent 14 years as head football coach at Notasulga High School from 1967-81. His first four years notched only eight wins but provided the foundation for what would come over the next 10 years.
   The Blue Devils were 76-24-2 during that stretch with five state appearances. His 1977 team was Class 1A state runner-up. The early years were extremely important, however, since it came just as the AHSAA and AIAA merged. His leadership and direction helped the school move into the new era of integration smoothly.
    He had stops at Valley High School and Chambers County High School before retiring from Alabama in 1993. He then spent 13 years teaching in Georgia from 1994-2006.

Sanderson has been active in the community serving as a Sunday school teacher at New Site Methodist Church, a youth director in Ashland and working with senior citizens in Tallassee. He is a member of the Notasulga Lions Club.
    A 1959 graduate, he is one of two Clay County High School alumni to be selected for the Class of 2017 Hall of Fame. He earned his college degree from Jacksonville State in 1964 and a Masters at Troy University. 

TONY SCARBROUGH: The AHSAA’s winningest softball coach has been at Baker High School in Mobile as a teacher/coach since 1986.  His career high school softball-coaching record is 1,525 wins and 428 losses. His fast-pitch teams have compiled a 937-267 slate and slow-pitch teams (1987-1998) a 563-171 record. Scarbrough had coaching stops early in his career at Evangel Christian, Chickasaw Academy and Shaw High School in Alabama, Gautier (MS) and McLean County (KY).
   His slow-pitch teams won state championships in 1991, 1992, 1993 and were runners-up in 1989. The fast-pitch program captured state championships in 2003, 2005, 2007 and 2016. The Honey Bees have reached the fast-pitch state tournament 13 of the last 16 years. The 2007 team set a state record with 79 wins, which broke the previous record (78) set by Baker in 2005 that broke the previous mark (77) set by Baker in 2004.
    Scarbrough has been a leader among coaches serving on the AHSAA Softball Coaches Committee. He devised the basic plan to develop the very popular regional softball tournament format, a move that has improved softball throughout the state and has provided “state tournament” type experiences for a larger number of schools.
He was inducted into the Mobile Softball Hall of Fame in 1992 and was NFHS Section 3 Softball Coach of the Year in 2005 and 2015. He was named the Gulf Coast Writers Coach of the Year in 2015.
      Scarbrough is a graduate of Vigor High School (1967) and the University of South Alabama (1972).

AHSAA Hall of Fame Class of 2017 Tony Scarbrough’s Passion for Softball Has Changed the Sport in Alabama

        MONTGOMERY – Fast-pitch or slow-pitch, no one has loved the sport of softball more than Baker High School’s veteran coach Anthony “Tony” Scarbrough.
        His passion for the sport has made a tremendous difference for the student-athletes who play the game today in the AHSAA.

         Scarbrough is one of 12 individuals in the Class of 2017 being inducted into the Alabama High School Sports Hall of Fame. The Hall of Fame banquet will be Monday, March 20, at the Montgomery Renaissance Hotel and Convention Center.
      Scarbrough graduated from Prichard’s Vigor High School in 1967 and the University of South Alabama in 1972.

          He began his teaching and coaching career at Chickasaw Academy in 1970. He then taught at Evangel Christian and McLean County High School in Kentucky. At Evangel, he coached his first slow-pitch softball team, compiling 10-5 record.

Those 10 wins are the only ones not earned at Baker High School where his overall record was an outstanding 1,525 wins and just 438 losses heading into the 2017 AHSAA season.

After teaching at several others schools – Shaw High School, Belsaw Middle School, Gautier Junior High School and Alba High School – he accepted a position at Baker in 1986. He has been there ever since. 

For 12 years he produced some of the state’s best slow-pitch softball teams, compiling a record of 563-171.  His Honeybees were second in the start in 1989, then won three consecutive state championships from 1991-93. Baker also won nine area championships during that span.

He was instrumental in persuading the AHSAA to switch from slow-pitch to fast-pitch softball in the 1990s.  He quickly showed that the speed of the ball was irrelevant to his coaching skills. Over the past 17 years, he has produced the following marks at Baker:

--A fast pitch softball record of 937-267.

--State championships in 2003, 2005, 2007 and 2016. The most recent title was the first one awarded in the new Class 7A classification.    

--In one 16-year stretch, Baker has won 15 area championships and made 13 state tournament appearances.

--Baker holds the top four positions for the most wins in a season – 79 in 2007, 78 in 2005, 77 in 2004, and 69 in 2006.

          Baker athletic director Paul Agnew is amazed at Scarbrough’s foresight, enthusiasm and energy.
          “Coach Scarbrough is one of the most progressive, enthusiastic and compassionate coaches I have ever seen,” Agnew said. “He is everything that is right with high school athletics. His career record speaks for itself, but it is his impact on his athletes, his colleagues and his sport that makes him most deserving of this honor.

“Personally, I have learned the characteristic of positive coaching by watching Coach Scarbrough from the sidelines and by listening to the hidden wisdom in his numerous stories from his 40-plus-year coaching career. His passion for coaching is unmatched, his love for his girls is unwavering, and his commitment to the sport of softball is unsurpassed. The exuberance in the picture of Coach Scarbrough’s team winning the first 7A softball state championship is an indelible image for me. And, amazingly, this same exuberance is on display at each practice, each team meeting, each game and each tournament. He celebrates the fundamentally sound play by his JV shortstop with the same giddiness that he does the amazing diving catch to capture the state championship. He is nothing more than pure joy.”

Principal Clem Richardson agrees.
         “Tony has coached other sports, but his passion for female athletics, particularly softball, has won him local, state and national awards. He was well ahead of his time with incorporating increased reps into his practices and games,” said Richardson. “He always prefers to be the visitor in competition so he can be assured that his team gets to bat in the 7
th inning.
         “Being a math teacher, he is obsessed with statistics and tendencies. This is very evident in his coaching style. Softball players that leave Baker take with them his passion, desire for success and work ethic. His players truly love and respect him both on the field and off.”

Mobile sports writer Ben Thomas also noticed Scarbrough’s love of numbers.

“I believe coaching on this level – more than any other – is about building teenagers into responsible adults,” Thomas said. “I believe coaching is not only about winning but, in fact, primarily about instilling discipline and responsibility into young people, in many cases making a positive impact on them that will last a life time.

“That is what I believe Tony Scarbrough has done at Baker High School for more years than I have been a member of the working world. I have talked to many of his players who speak glowingly of him well after their Baker athletic careers were over.  This is a coach that cares so much about his players that he always has kept his own statistics – whether it was on the bench in basketball or in the third base coaching box in softball – every game. Now, that is caring!”

Scarbrough’s passion for softball includes sharing his knowledge with other coaches, even if they are competitors. Mary G. Montgomery High School softball coach Brenda Box shared her experience.
          “Not only did I play against him while in high school, but also I have had the privilege to coach against him the last 13 years,” she said. “Coach Scarborough was a wonderful mentor to me, a new coach. He helped me learn the ins and outs of the coaching world. I always knew if I had a question, I could call anytime.”

          As a member of the AHSAA Softball Coaches Committee, Scarbrough played a key role in developing the popular regional state softball playoff format used by the AHSAA.
      He was inducted into the Mobile Softball Hall of Fame in 1992. He also founded the Mobile Youth Umpires Association and served as a director for seven years. He also started Junior Girls Basketball in Mobile.


AHSAA Hall of Fame Class of 2017 Sanderson Played Pivotal Role in Notasulga’s ’10 Years of Glory’

        MONTGOMERY – Dwight Sanderson faced what seemed to be insurmountable odds when he became the head football coach at Notasulga High School in 1967.
       By the time his tenure at the school had concluded, however, the community would describe his time at the Macon County schools as “Ten Years of Glory.”
       Sanderson is one of 12 individuals in the Class of 2017 being inducted into the Alabama High School Sports Hall of Fame. The Hall of Fame banquet will be Monday, March 20, at the Montgomery Renaissance Hotel and Convention Center.
      He graduated from Clay County High School in 1959 and from Jacksonville State in 1964. He also earned a master’s degree in administration and supervision from Troy University.

After receiving his bachelor’s degree, he returned to his home town of Ashland to begin his teaching and coaching career. After two years as an assistant he went to Thompson High School in the same capacity.

In 1967 he accepted the head football coach position at Notasulga High School.  Few people ever started a head-coaching career under more difficult circumstances. Integration had come hard to the community. Just before the start of school in 1964, the Notasulga school was burned to the ground and the football season was cancelled.

The 1965 team failed to score a point in going 0-9. The 1966 team did score several times but finished 0-10. This was the climate Sanderson faced in 1967 – an athletic program in shambles and a community torn by racial divide. Macon County School Board member Karey M. Thompson recalled how Sanderson helped turn that bleak situation around. His first team won just one game.
         “When he came to Notasulga we were in the middle of integration,” Thompson said. “As I watched 50 State Trooper cars (two Troopers per car) line the street in front of the school four years earlier as black students were bussed in, then only weeks later the burning of the high school, I never dreamed we would continue past the sixth grade. As the school was built back, we became segregated again.

“Coach Sanderson arrived as I became a sophomore. He played a major role, along with some other teachers moving into integration, displaying the people person in him. He would pick up these black kids for football practice and take them home. Remember the circumstances – 100 Troopers, burning of the school earlier – this was a big issue. Black parents had to learn to trust him…He had a major role in taking two races and molding them into one student body in full harmony.”
          Thompson and Sanderson became good friends and fishing buddies over the years. They had many conversations about the needs of the students.
            “I remember something he said when talking about a certain player,” Thompson said. “You have to show them you love them. This player would not have played if it wasn’t for that. This player was Gerald Williams. He played for Auburn University and went on to the pros. Thinking back over my football years, we knew a lot of different sets. Being a small school, he would have to run an offense that fit the talent –  wishbone, I-formation, veer, T-formation, etc., My older brother would always say Coach Sanderson was an offensive genius, and I would have to agree.”

Gerald Robinson, who went on to become Auburn’s all-time sack leader and nine-year NFL player, also played for Sanderson at Notasulga.
         “I have played football basically all of my life,” Robinson said. “Coach Sanderson helped me grow as a person and as an athlete. I was awarded a football scholarship to Auburn University…Coach Sanderson played a major part. I have had plenty of good coaches, bad coaches and mediocre coaches. However, I have only had one great and unforgettable coach and that was Coach Sanderson.    “Coach Sanderson coached to win and no matter how hard we try, we can’t separate coaching from wins and losses. If you don’t win, it is hard to make the argument that you were a great coach. Coach Sanderson was a great and skillful man and had profound impact on the lives of those who played for him.”
          Robinson said Sanderson taught him about much more than playing football.
         “Outside of my immediate family, Coach Sanderson has had as much of an impact on my character development as anyone,” Robinson added. “He taught me how to be a man and how to win with grace and lose with grit and determination. I often thank God for putting Coach Sanderson in my path.”

Despite the healing efforts, it was a long struggle for Sanderson. His first four teams were 8-31. Then came 1971 and a 4-5-1 finish, the beginning of what some refer to as “Ten Years of Glory.” That nearly break-even season was followed by nine consecutive winning seasons and five trips to the state playoffs. The 1977 team was Class 1A state runner-up, setting a school record with 11 victories.

Sanderson’s overall record at Notasulga was 85-56-2.

Like any good coach, his influence was felt off the field and in the classroom as much as it was on the field. Another former student, Willie A. Cameron, described Sanderson’s impact on his life.
          “As an educator, Coach Sanderson expressed the importance of education in a community that was economically disadvantaged,” Cameron said. “Also, he instilled in the students and athletes a sense of power and confidence. Because of Coach Sanderson, many students excelled on a collegiate and professional level through education and athletics. He has made a positive impact in the community, state and country. Personally, under his direct influence, I was the first member of my family to obtain a college degree, followed by my three young siblings who have also obtained college degrees.”

In 1981 Sanderson moved to Valley High School and coached the Rams to a 15-15 record over three years. He then spent nine years at Chambers County High in Milltown before retiring from the Alabama system. His remaining career was spent in across the state border in Calhoun, GA.
    Sunday: The final installment of a 12-Part Hall of Fame series: Baker High School softball coach Tony Scarbrough.

AHSAA Hall of Fame Class of 2017 Lee’s Players Earned the Right to be a Hatton Lady Hornet

        MONTGOMERY – Hatton High School’s long-time volleyball and softball coach Rebecca Lee was a pioneer in girls’ high school athletics in Alabama. Her biggest contribution, her former players agree, was establishing expectations of excellence and commitment for the young ladies who participated.

       Lee is one of 12 individuals in the Class of 2017 being inducted into the Alabama High School Sports Hall of Fame. The Hall of Fame banquet will be Monday, March 20, at the Montgomery Renaissance Hotel and Convention Center.
      A native of Moulton, Rebecca Lee graduated from Hatton High School in 1966 and Athens State College in 1978.

          She began her teaching and coaching career at East Lawrence High School, where she started and coached the volleyball program for five seasons. Her 1980 team was the Class 2A runner-up and she coached two All State players and one state tournament MVP. Her overall record was 109-33 and included three county championships

           In 1983 she returned to her alma mater, Hatton, to coach both volleyball and slow pitch softball. Her record in both sports was outstanding. Her volleyball teams captured four consecutive Class 2A state championships in from 1990-1993 and were runners-up in six other seasons. She saw 36 players earn All-State recognition with three being named state-tournament MVPs.
          Her teams won 10 region, 19 area and 18 Lawrence County championships. Her career record at Hatton (1983-2002) was 771-258 and 880-291 overall. She received numerous state and local Coach-of-the-Year awards including the AHSAA Class 2A Coach of the Year in 2000 and the Moulton Advertiser Female Coach of the Decade in 1990.
         Lee’s slow-pitch softball programs was just as successful. Hatton won three Class 2A state softball championships – 1992, 1993 and 1996 and were runners-up in 1990 and 1997. Seven players earned all-state recognition and three were named state tournament MVPs. Her teams compiled an overall 400-177 record with nine region, 10 area and six Lawrence County championships. She was named the NFHS Slow Pitch Coach of the Year in 2000.

Barbie Terry, director of Development at the University of North Alabama, credits her current position to skills she learned under Coach Lee:

‘My aunt played softball and volleyball for Mrs. Lee in the ‘80s. I was a kid. I vividly remember the smell of her husband Mike’s pipe as he watched his wife change women’s sports in Alabama. She was fierce, determined and passionate. She produced winners. She didn’t care that so many opposed women’s sports or though that a woman shouldn’t be coaching. I couldn’t wait to ‘grow-up’ and play high school ball for Mrs. Lee, and I did.

“It was hard. She held us accountable and made sure we always, on and off the court, carried ourselves with grace and dignity. You didn’t have to have all of the skills, you just had to have the work ethic. You had to have the drive. If it were easy, everyone would do it. We wore our uniforms with pride. We earned the right to be a Lady Hornet…
           “People recognized us and they respected Coach Becky Lee.  Not everyone agreed with her coaching style, partly because she was a woman in a man’s world and probably because she was hard on us. Looking back, I see that Mrs. Lee wasn’t just hard on us. She loved us and she loved us as her own. Every single day that Mrs. Lee spent with us she was teaching us to respect ourselves as women, to never apologize for working hard and being successful, to always work for your goals – and achieve them.

“I can honestly say that I hold my position in large part because of Mrs. Lee. The path to my current position wasn’t easy…. I was a small-town girl lost in the mix with 16,000 others students at Mississippi State University. I stood outside my first class and wanted to quit and go home, but that wasn’t an option… If it were, none of us would have made it past the first volleyball or softball practice of the year. “
          She said her coach also taught the players to be humble in winning and defeat.
          “Mrs. Lee taught us when he got beat to get back up and prove that you are the best. Time after time in my career, I have re-lived moments on the field or court and taken steps according to Mrs. Lee’s lessons. Mrs. Lee instilled a work ethic in all her kids that I have told compares to no other. I incorporate the life lessons she taught me every day of my life. I catch myself using her phrases with my own kids. What I would give for her to coach my daughter!”
Current Hatton varsity girls’ basketball coach, Chaste H. Calmness, also attributes her success to Coach Lee.
           “Coach Lee played a huge role in the career path I have followed,” Calmness said. “She passed along to me her desire to help players and students be successful. Having her as coach, teacher and mentor through high school influenced me to become a teacher and coach. I truly believe my successes as coach and teacher can partially be attributed to the work ethic I was taught by Coach Lee. She was a great example and role model to us.”

Coach Lee was inducted into the Lawrence County Sports Hal of Fame in 2001.

She was co-coach of the North volleyball team for 2003 AHSAA All-Star Week. Upon retirement she moved into officiating and served six years as vice president of the Quad-Cities Volleyball Officials Association. 


    Saturday: Eleventh installment of the Hall of Fame series: Football Coach Dwight Sanderson.

AHSAA Hall of Fame Class of 2017 Football Coach Russell Jacoway Gave Students Something to Believe In

        MONTGOMERY – Football coach Russell Jacoway’s first football team at Sand Rock High School was 0-10 in 1983. That team, however, laid the groundwork for much better things to come.

       Two short years later the Wildcats rolled to a 15-0 record and the Class 1A state football championship. And for the rest of his head-coaching career, Jacoway’s teams became the model of consistency – being the best they could be year after year.
       Jacoway is one of 12 individuals in the Class of 2017 being inducted into the Alabama High School Sports Hall of Fame. The Hall of Fame banquet will be Monday, March 20, at the Montgomery Renaissance Hotel and Convention Center.
      A native of Fort Payne, Jacoway graduated from Collinsville High School in 1975 and Auburn University in 1978.

          He began his teaching and coaching career in Blakely (GA) in 1978. His first job was as a football and basketball assistant and head coach of girls track at Early County High School. From there he went to Smiths Station as head coach of boys’ junior high basketball and varsity assistant in football and basketball. That led to his first varsity head-coaching position two years later at Sand Rock High School. He went on to serve the Cherokee County school as head football coach, athletic director and physical education teacher for 32 years (1983-2014).
         His career was dotted by many superlatives including: 24 state playoff appearances and a 228-132 career football coaching record; the 1985 state championship and a 1997 Class 2A state runner-up; six seasons with 10 or more wins and only three losing seasons in 32 years.
         More than 50 players were named to All-State teams. Sand Rock’s football stadium was named Russell Jacoway Stadium in 1999.
         Sand Rock Principal Ben East said Jacoway’s example of excellence showed in the students he coached.
         “His energy, intensity, desire to be successful and concern for his players were just as strong last season as it was when he began his coaching career in 1983,” East said. “As athletic director for Sand Rock, Coach Jacoway has been a strong supporter of all school teams and athletes. I rarely remember attending a sporting event at Sand Rock where he was not in attendance. By example, he stressed academic success in the classroom and taught young men how to become successful husbands, fathers and productive members of the community.
         “I am honored to have worked with Coach Jacoway, and I consider him a personal friend who leads by example and models the values, beliefs and work ethic that makes our world a better place.”

Jim Tom Stimpson, a member of the 1985 state championship team, recalled Sand Rock as a place in need of focus and structure when Jacoway arrived in 1983.
           “Myself and many others desperately need structure,” he said. “(Coach Jacoway) was a fixed point, someone to anchor to. Qhoting Bill Curry’s high school football coach at College Park (GA), Bill Badgett, ‘Football is life marked off in 100 yards.’ This resonates with me and perfectly describes what Coach Jacoway means to our school and our community.”
         Stimpson said Jacoway installed a solid strength and conditioning program from the ground up when he arrived.
        ”We were using weights that were handmade and welded together in the school’s Ag shop.” He said, “They were weighed after they were built. None of them turned out to be even numbers. He helped get us standardized Olympic equipment, gave us a training program and a way to track improvement. He also implanted a nutrition program for athletes to promote optimal weight and strength levels for football. He gave us goals and pushed us.”
           Stimpson said Jacoway taught much, much more, however.
           “He taught us to excel at football, but that’s not what has enhanced my life and the lives of so many more student athletes,” Stimpson said. “He gave us the tools to do life, to deal with adversity, and to overcome disappointment and setback. He gave us the confidence to face adversity, not just on the field of play but the game of life. The intangibles he gave us can never be taken from us.
          “There are a handful of men that shaped and molded me into the man I am today, and Coach Jacoway is one of those men. He gave us something to believe in.”
          Stimpson recalled those early years with pride.
          “[In 1985] we were just two years removed from the 0-10 season. To position our team for success, you wouldn’t think at 140 pounds and 5-foot-5 I would have been the most likely selection for starting running back. But Coach believed in me. I think he believed in me before I believed in myself.
          “He made us all believe in each other and in the team. That’s the greatest gift he gave me and the greatest gift you can give any adolescent is to have them see that you believe in them. It literally can change their lives! God gave me the ability to run, and Coach Jacoway gave me the chance. I have also been the statistician for Coach Jacoway for 18 years, and I’ve seen him do it with student-athletes year in and year out. He could see potential even if you couldn’t, and he could get every bit of it out of you.”

Jacoway received statewide Coach of the Year awards in 1985, 1986 and 1997.  He was inducted into the Cherokee County Sports Hall of Fame in 2014. The success of the 1985 state championship team has been chronicled in a book entitled Fire on the Mountain by Douglass Scott Wright.
    Saturday: Eleventh installment of the Hall of Fame series: Football Coach Dwight Sanderson.

Lorenza Jackson Was Father Figure for Countless Decatur Youths

        MONTGOMERY – Long-time Decatur coach and administrator Lorenza Jackson’s role evolved to “father figure” for many of the students entrusted to him during his stellar career in education that lasted for half a century.
       Jackson, who died in 2004, is one of 12 individuals in the Class of 2017 being inducted into the Alabama High School Sports Hall of Fame. He is being enshrined in the “Old Timer” category. The Hall of Fame banquet will be Monday, March 20, at the Montgomery Renaissance Hotel and Convention Center.
      A native of Decatur, Lorenza Levi Jackson began his coaching and teacher career at his alma mater, Decatur Negro High School, in 1955. He graduated from the school in 1947 and from Alabama A&M College in 1957. He also earned a master’s degree and AA certification.
         Decatur Negro High School was later renamed Lakeside High School. Jackson served as the school’s head football, basketball and track coach as well as a classroom teacher until 1969 when integration closed the school. He then transferred to Austin High School where he was an assistant football and head track coach. His track teams won 11 district championships and his football teams won 75 percent their games at Lakeside. He had similar success at Austin.

           Jackson received several North Alabama Coach of the Year awards during his coaching career. Lakeside’s 1959 basketball team finished the regular season undefeated. Curtis Miller, one of the players on that team, said Jackson’s influence on and off the court was immeasurable.
          “Often when people think of coaches, they think of an individual whose sole purpose is to win ball games,” Miller said. “When people think of Lorenza Jackson, they think of an individual who cared deeply for the individuals whom he worked with and came in contact with. They think of him as an individual who was a teacher, not only in the classroom, but in many other aspects of this community’s development processes.

“Coach Jackson served as father figure not only for me but for many this community. We learned the art of competing in the different sports arenas, but more importantly he taught us the art of being men and community leaders.”
            Miller was a key member of that 1959 team at Lakeside. He also was a three-year starter for Jackson’s football team and also was an outstanding track runner.
            “I can honestly say that I reached my full potential as an athlete under Coach Jackson,” he said. “As a successfully retired adult, as a devout member of my church family, and as a dedicated father and husband, I can say with all sincerity that Coach Jackson left an indelible mark on my life.”

          Sports writer Deangelo McDaniel, in an interview with Jackson in The Decatur Daily in 2000, wrote: “He accomplished about everything a black coach could accomplish during segregation. He won district championships. He carried teams to state tournaments. His players got scholarships. But most importantly, he made the boys he coached better men.”

          When integration came Jackson decided to move into administration after seeing his coaching duties become more limited. In 1974 he became a full-time administrator when he was named assistant principal at Austin. Three years later he was named principal at Leon Sheffield Elementary School where he remained until his retirement in 1989.

He earned the respect of his peers, helping the community work through the difficult days of integration. In a letter supporting Jackson’s nomination to the Hall of Fame, Decatur Superintendent Ed Nichols Jr. described his perception of Jackson’s many contributions.
          “Mr. Jackson was a servant leader in the education community for many years,” Nichols said. “His leadership in the challenging and historic segregation period within the city of Decatur is without equal. Mr. Jackson served as a teacher, administrator and coach as our community and state worked through the integration process and did so with, pride, humility and a positive attitude.

“His teachers and students described him as a man of great integrity, a model of leadership and a community leader for all people. Current teachers who worked under him share stories of his understanding attitude to meet their needs and the changing needs of students across the changing social times. He is a man who brought diverse communities together.

“Mr. Jackson is a model of the leadership one would expect and desire in an educator of the students of yesterday and today. His legacy lives in the students he taught and coached, who speak fondly of him, and the teachers he supervised, who continue to practice the leadership model and communication that the fostered in them.”

          Jackson was inducted into the Athletic Boosters Club Sports Hall of Fame and was named the city’s Educator of the Year in 1989.

          Among his many civic and community activities were the Civitan Club, Decatur City Planning Commission, Decatur Parks and Recreation aquatic supervisor, Decatur General Foundation Board and  an elder at Macedonia Cumberland Presbyterian Church.


Friday: Ninth and tenth installments of the Hall of Fame series: Sand Rock football coach Russell Jacoway and Hatton volleyball coach Rebecca Lee.

AHSAA Hall of Fame Class of 2017 Danny Horn’s Clay County Teams Are Best Remembered by the ‘Streak’

        MONTGOMERY –

 Horn is one of 12 individuals in the Class of 2017 being inducted into the Alabama High School Sports Hall of Fame. The Hall of Fame banquet will be Monday, March 20, at the Montgomery Renaissance Hotel and Convention Center.
       A native of Ashland, Daniel Lowell Horn graduated from Clay County High School in 1980 and Jacksonville State University in 1984. He also holds a master’s degree from Jacksonville State.

          He started his teaching and coaching career at Randolph County High School, serving as head basketball coach and defensive coordinator in football. His basketball record was 65-29 and his honors included County Coach of the Year. He also coached baseball and guided his team to the state playoffs in 1988.

          In 1989 he returned to his alma mater, Clay County High School, as head coach in football, girls’ basketball and baseball. While he was a credit to every sport he coached, it was in football that he earned a status as one of the state’s all-time top coaches.
          Over 20 years at Clay County he produced an overall record of 225-40 – an amazing 85% winning rate. His teams reached the state football finals eight times resulting in six state championships and two runners-up; four other teams reached the state playoff semifinals; 14 won area/region championships; 19 of his 20 teams reached the state playoffs; and from 1994-97, his teams won an AHSAA state-record 55 games win a row.
         That streak results in three consecutive state championships. His 1994 team lost its season opener 3-0 to Cleburne County and then reeled off 14 straight wins and allowed only two touchdowns to win the school’s first state title. The Panthers  outscored opponents 408-22 and began a streak that resulted in 10 shutouts in ’94, nine in 1995, 11 in 1996 and four in 1997. It took a 21-14 overtime loss in the playoffs to finally end the streak.
         His 1996 squad opened the season with seven consecutive shutouts on the way to a 15-0 season and state-record 11 shutouts. That team outscored opponents 613-42 and allowing only three touchdowns in the regular season. From 1994-97 Clay County outscored opponents 1,974 to 194 – allowing an average of 3.4 points per game while shutting out 34 opponents while going 55-2.
         In 2009 he moved to Benjamin Russell High School. His eight-year record in Alexander City is 55-30 with four seasons with 10 or more wins. Five teams have been in the playoffs. The 2015 squad advanced to the semifinals, losing to eventual champion Spanish Fort by just four points.          

Horn’s overall record in 28 seasons is 280-79. He is eighth on the AHSAA all-time football wins list second in playoff wins owns a 61-19 playoff record over 25 appearances with six state championships. He and Hoover’s Josh Niblett are the only head coaches in AHSAA history to win six state titles.

Former coach Jerry Weems, a 2011 Hall of Fame inductee, served as Horn’s defensive coordinator at Clay County.
           “As a longtime member of the Alabama High School Athletic Association, Mr. Horn has distinguished himself in many way ways,” Weems said. “Not only has he received many personal honors and awards, but also he has brought distinction and integrity to the schools and communities in which he has coached, particularly while at Clay County High School.  More importantly than [his] records, his teams always performed with the class and sportsmanship that is desired and coveted by the AHSAA.

“Even though Coach Horn now coaches at Benjamin Russell High School, his influence and impact on Clay County High School and the City of Ashland will be felt for many years to come. Not only did he achieve significant recognition in football, he also started the girls’ high school basketball program at Clay County and led the baseball team to several playoff appearances.

“Coach Horn’s impact is also seen in the number of former players he coached that have entered into the coaching ranks. These (individuals) are scattered throughout all parts of Alabama and each would tell you that he had a definite impact on the direction of their careers.”
          Weems, who coached Clay County to back-to-back state basketball championship in 1991 and 1992, said Horn also had a major impact on his coaching career.
         “I had the honor to work and coach with him throughout all of his years at Clay County,” he said. “The integrity he demonstrated with his work ethic has been one of the strongest influences during the years I have served in the education field.”

Another Hall of Fame inductee, Ron Watters (2010), gave Horn his first coaching job at Randolph County. He saw something special in Horn from the get-go.
       “The most important thing I can say about Danny is his impeccable character,” Watters said. “He is a devoted husband and father. His Christian influence at home and school speaks for itself. He began his coaching career with me at Randolph County High School in 1984, quickly distinguishing himself as an outstanding teacher, coach and leader.”   

Steve Giddens was Horn’s high school classmate. He later became his coaching adversary at arch-rival Lineville before becoming principal at Clay County Central when the two neighboring schools merged into one. The Lineville-Clay County rivalry was judged by USA Today in the 1990s as one of the nation’s Top 10 high school football rivalries. The two schools met in the Class 2A state finals in 1996 – the first year of the then Super 6 State Championships at Birmingham’s Legion Field.
       “I have known Dan for 48 years,” Giddens said. “We grew up together in Ashland and his passion for sports was evident even then. His leadership abilities made everyone around him better. He was and still is an extremely hard worker. This rubs off on those around him. He expects excellence out of himself and those around him. No shortcuts to success.

“One trait that I admire about Dan the most is his loyalty to the people he loves and represents. For all the years I coached against him, we never allowed that to compromise our relationship. He was always willing to help me be successful. I saw that with all the people in his life. He is a dedicated family man and with Debbie, they have raised three outstanding children who make this world a better place.

“Dan realizes that coaching is more than winning ball games. He teaches his players how to win at life. This is a true Hall of Famer. Dan is a winner on the field but more importantly, he is a winner in life.”

He was selected to coach in the AHSAA North-South All-Star game in 2007 and has also coached in the Alabama-Mississippi All-Star Game.

Thursday: Eighth installment of the Hall of Fame series: Decatur coach & administrator Lorenzo Jackson.

AHSAA Hall of Fame Class of 2017 Bob Harpe Taught Student-Athletes Integrity on and off the Court

        MONTGOMERY – Coach Robert “Bob” Harpe saw a teaching opportunity in every practice or game. He made sure the lessons learned would be positive ones.
       Harpe spent most of his teaching and coaching career in his home town of Decatur where he guided Austin boys’ basketball to great heights. It was his personal impact on the student-athletes, however, that his former players and peers remember most. Harpe is one of 12 individuals in the Class of 2017 being inducted into the Alabama High School Sports Hall of Fame. The Hall of Fame banquet will be Monday, March 20, at the Montgomery Renaissance Hotel and Convention Center.
       Harpe graduated from Decatur High School in 1965 and from Athens College in 1974. He also has a master’s degree from the University of Alabama at Birmingham. He began his teaching and coaching career in 1975 at Oak Park Middle School in Decatur where his seventh-grade team posted an undefeated season. The following year he moved over to Austin High School as assistant junior high football coach and head varsity golf coach.  He held those positions for seven years, taking the golf team to the state tournament numerous times.

In 1983 he was named head basketball coach at Austin, a position he would hold for 15 years with great success. When he left Austin, his legacy was a record of never having a losing season and an average of 21 wins per year. His teams made three trips to Class 6A state tournament. The 1993 team won the state championship and the 1996 team made the semifinals. He was named The Decatur Daily Large School Coach of the Year four times and more than 20 of his players signed college scholarships.

In 1998 he left education and went into private business. He returned to education in 2003 with the Arab City School System, serving as athletic director and head basketball coach. His teams won the county championship once and were runners-up twice. He compiled an overall 306-143 won-loss record as a head coach.

Following in his footsteps at Austin is one of his former players and current head coach Jakes Miles.

“I have known Coach Harpe for many years and I can say, without a shadow of a doubt, he has given his life to Austin High School and the game of basketball,” Miles said. “As a former player of his, he pushed us to be the best we could possibly be both on and off the court and challenged us to be as good off the court as we were on the court. He wanted good basketball players on his team, but he wanted better people first.

“Coach Bob Harpe has set the standard for basketball coaches in north Alabama…. He pushed his players and made average players special people. I personally look up to Coach Harpe and thank him quite often for the life lessons he instilled in me.  As the present coach for Austin High School, we still follow in the traditions and guidelines that he established in his tenure at the school. I can also feel the support he has for me and Austin High School as he comes to support me, my program and our school.”

Former Austin Principal Richard Pace said that under Harpe’s leadership many student-athletes went on to become successful college athletes and productive citizens in their communities.
           “Coach Harpe set high goals for himself and those students in his program,” Pace said. “He expected to achieve those goals through hard work. Not only did he expect students to work hard, but also he was committed to outworking everyone else.

“As a coach, he was a friend, mentor and supporter of all student-athletes. Many times he went to the gym at all hours to help students with personal problems. He constantly worked to improve the facilities and conditions under which students participated. It was important to him that athletes performed well in the classroom, so he monitored student progress and provided opportunities for study and to make up class assignments.

“Coach Harpe did not limit himself to school affairs only. He has been active in church, civic and community affairs and continues to support young athletes by working in basketball camps and providing support to local and state athletic organizations.”

 Former Birmingham-Southern College Coach Duane Reboul is reminded of Harpe’s example of integrity in the coaching profession.
           “I have watched his teams play, have recruited his players and have had numerous discussions concerning the game of basketball with Bob,” Reboul said. “There is no question in my mind that he is one of the very best basketball coaches that I have encountered during my career in coaching, which spans 35 years and three states.

“His teams, coaches and players always conducted themselves with discipline and class while playing with intensity and confidence. He not only prepared his players for all aspects of the game, but he demanded excellence without demeaning his players. He was a teacher and a coach that any parent would like to have their son play for.

“He has also been a leader and active member of the community. He has been an outstanding role model for his players as a husband, parents and as a professional.” 

Harpe’s work with the AHSAA has included serving on the Basketball Coaches Committee and the Golf Coaches Committee. He was involved in the development of the Alabama-Mississippi All-Star game and served as boys’ administrative coach from 1990-95. He was on the Legislative Council from 1990-98 and also served on the Central Board of Control. From 2010-15 he was a volunteer with the regional and state basketball tournaments.

Thursday: Eighth installment of the Hall of Fame series: Decatur coach & administrator Lorenzo Jackson.