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AHSAA Mourns Death of Official Stewart Stephenson

 MONTGOMERY – The Alabama High School Athletic Association was saddened to learn of the death of long-time AHSAA contest official Stewart Stephenson of Decatur.
    “We pray God will sustain the Stephenson family in their time of need,” said AHSAA Executive Director Steve Savarese.
      Visitation will be Tuesday, July 17 from 3:30 to 6 p.m., at the Church of Stone River, in Decatur. A memorial service will immediately follow.
        In lieu of flowers, the family requests that donations be made to the Church of Stone River or the Committee on Church Cooperation.


AHSAA Mourns Death of Amanda Thrasher

 MONTGOMERY – The Alabama High School Athletic Association was saddened to learn of the death of Amanda Kaye Haynes Thrasher, 49, the wife of AHSAA District Softball Director Keith, coach and teacher Keith Thrasher. She died Saturday, July 14, at her home.
    “Our prayers go out to Keith and the Thrasher family,” said AHSAA Executive Director Steve Savarese, “and pray God will sustain them in their time of need.”
    Visitation will be Monday, July 16, at St. John’s Evangelical Protestant Church in Cullman from 6 to 8 p.m. Her service will be Tuesday, July 17, at 10 a.m., at St. John’s Evangelical Protestant Church, Rev. John Richter will officiate. Burial will be at Bowman’s Chapel Cemetery.
Cullman Heritage Funeral Home is directing.

Vestavia Hills Coach Buddy Anderson Inducted into NFHS National Hall of Fame

     CHICAGO, IL – Coach Dovey “Buddy” Anderson, the winningest high school football coach in Alabama High School Athletic Association (AHSAA) state history, was inducted into the National Federation of State High School Association (NFHS) Hall of Fame Monday night a banquet at the Chicago Marriott Downtown Hotel that closed the 99th Summer Meeting.
    Anderson, who is beginning his 41st season as head football coach at Vestavia Hills in August, became the 12th individuals from  Alabama be enshrined in the nation’s National Hall of Fame.  He was enshrined  along with 11 others from across the U.S., including track athlete Dick Fosbury (Oregon); former Nebraska head football coach Tom Osborne (athlete); former WNBA and Stanford basketball star Nicole Powell (Arizona), distance runner Carrie Tollefson (Minnesota); soccer coach Miller Bugliari (New Jersey); swimming coach Jeff Meister (Hawaii); basketball coach William O’Neil (Vermont); contest official Roger “Smokey” Barr (Iowa); retired Massachusetts Interscholastic Athletic Association Executive Director Richard Neal; and choral coach William Zurkey (Ohio).
     Anderson’s wife Linda, their children and grandchildren where among a large contingent on hand Monday night for the induction. He has compiled a 329-146 overall head-coaching record in 40 seasons at Vestavia Hills winning the Class 4A state title in 1980 and the Class 6A state championship going 15-0 in 1997. His teams have advanced to the state playoffs 30 times with a 47-28 playoff mark and have won nine or more games 22 times in the AHSAA’s large-school class. Anderson’s father Dovey Anderson was 182-81-5 as a prep head football coach in 31 seasons, all at Thomasville.
Both dad and son are in the AHSAA Sports Hall of Fame and won 511 football games between them, most in state history. Both attended Samford University (dad when the school was Howard College) and Dovey, Sr., competed
in the first game ever played at Legion Field in 1927.
     Buddy was hired as an assistant coach at Vestavia in 1972 and was elevated to head coach in 1978.
     “Buddy Anderson is a man of faith and character who has been an important mentor to many others along the way,” said AHSAA Executive Director Steve Savarese. “He is a shining example of the kind of positive impact coaches have on the lives of the student-athletes they serve.”
     Anderson, who received the Alabama Sports Hall of Fame’s “Frank ‘Pig’ House Award in 2014 and the Fellowship of Christian Athletes’ Herman L. “Bubba” Scott Award in 2016, was humbled by the Monday night’s induction.
      “I was very fortunate to grow up in a coach’s home,” he said. “My father was a high school a high school football coach for 31 years. I saw the relationship my dad had with his players, his fellow coaches and teachers. I just went to my own 50th high school reunion and picked right up where I left off with my classmates and those I played sports with. Seeing them, all now in their sixties, and seeing the kind of men they grew unto reminded me of the coaches I worked with (at Vestavia Hills), most of them for more than 30 years and the many players I have had the opportunity to coach. It also reiterated that we are in the relationship business.”
 Anderson, the only coach in AHSAA history to win 300 games at one school, is the second AHSAA football coach from the state to be enshrined in the National High School Hall of Fame. Glenn Daniel, who was the AHSAA’s first 300-game winner (at Pine Hill and Luverne), was inducted in 1999. Track coach Jim Tate of St. Paul’s Episcopal in Mobile, was the last coach from Alabama to be enshrined (2013).  Basketball coach Mickey “Guy” O’Brien, a Dadeville native who coached at Geraldine and Scottsboro, was inducted in 1992.
    Alabamians currently in the NFHS HOF include:

ALABAMIANS IN THE NFHS NATIONAL HALL OF FAME
Year    Name                                      High School                                       College
Administrators
1987: Cliff Harper                              Moore Academy (Pineapple)                  Birmingham-Southern
1990: Herman L. “Bubba” Scott        Autauga County (Prattville)                   Troy State
2011: Dan Washburn                          LaFayette                                            Chattanooga

Coaches
1992: Mickey “Guy” O’Brien            Tallapoosa County (Dadeville)     Auburn                        1999: Glenn Daniel                           A.A. Parrish (Selma)                          Livingston

2013: James “Jim” Tate                      UMS (Mobile)                                     Citadel
2018: Dovey “Buddy” Anderson       Thomasville                                        Samford

Athletes
1989: Bart Starr (Athlete)                   Sidney Lanier (Montgomery)             Alabama         
2012: Pat Sullivan (Athlete)               John Carroll (Birmingham)             Auburn

2014: Ozzie Newsome (Athlete)        Colbert County (Leighton)                   Alabama
Officials
1988: Dan Gaylord                             Central (Phillips, B’ham)                        Howard College
2007: Sam Short                                 West End (B’ham)                                  Western Kentucky
 


AHSAA Soccer Official Joe Manjone Receives NFHS Citation for Officiating

CHICAGO, IL – Alabama High School Athletic Association (AHSAA) soccer official Joe Manjone, a veteran of more than 50 years of service to the sport worldwide, was honored Sunday at the National Federation of State High School Association (NFHS) 99th Summer Meeting as the 2018 Citation Award recipient Officiating.
    Manjone was on hand at the luncheon held at the Chicago Downtown Hyatt Hotel to receive the award presented annually to only one contest official nationally. The NFHS also presented eight Citations, one in each of the NFHS’s eight sections, to individuals who made contributions to the NFHS, state high school associations, coaching, officiating and performance arts.
     Vestavia Hills High School football coach Buddy Anderson will also be inducted Monday night into the National High School Sports Hall of Fame as the NFHS Summer Meeting concludes. Anderson was on hand at the Hall of Fame press conference Sunday afternoon.
    Manjone, who began officiating soccer as a teenager, has been involved in the sport as an official and administrator for more than 50 years.  His influence in the sport has been has been far reaching – spanning more the nation and two continents.
          In Alabama, his service stretches over more than 30 years. The AHSAA Soccer Director and former National Federation of State High Schools Association (NFHS) Soccer Rules Committee Chair has served the AHSAA in numerous soccer roles from officiating to rules interpreter.
        “Not only has Joe always been an outstanding official, officiating other sports besides soccer, but also he has been a dedicated professional and a true credit to this Association,” said AHSAA Executive Director Steve Savarese.
        Manjone ’s contributions have not gone unnoticed. He was recently named the recipient of the NFHS’s prestigious Citation for Officials for 2017, which is presented annually to only one contest official nationwide.
          “Among Joe’s prestigious accomplishments is the AHSAA Distinguished Service Award for service as an official,” Savarese said. “His greatest contribution has been his outstanding leadership exemplified to officials statewide while maintaining the relevance of high school athletics. He is a great ambassador for this Association and the entire Alabama high school sports community.”

          A native of Hazelton, Pennsylvania, Manjone attended Black Creek Township High School, graduating in 1959.

He attended Penn State University, graduating in 1963 with a bachelor’s degree. He later earned additional education degrees from the University of Georgia and Penn State. He was inducted into the NISOA Hall of Fame in 2013 and the Alabama High School Sports Hall of Fame earlier this year.
        Manjone is the seventh AHSAA representative to receive the NFHS Citation and the third contest official. Other include:

1992 – Herman L. “Bubba” Scott (NFHS Award of Merit)*

2000 – Ken Blankenship (NFHS Coach Citation)

2006 – Greg Brewer (NFHS State Association Citation)
2010 – Houston Young (NFHS Officials Citation)

2011 – Alan Mitchell (NFHS State Association Citation)
2014 – Jeff Hilyer (NFHS Officials Citation)

2015 – Wanda Gilliland (NFHS State Association Citation)
2016 – Richard Robertson (NFHS Coach Citation)
2018 – Joe Mangone (NFHS Officials Citation)
*-This special award is presented to special individuals who major a lasting impact on the NFHS and all its member schools. Recipients have included former President Gerald R. Ford, former Major League Baseball Commissioner Bowie Kuhn, former NCAA Executive Directors Walter Byars and Myles Brand. This award is not presented annually.


U.S. District Court Denies St. Paul’s Episcopal School’s Injunction Request

    Today, Wednesday, June 27,  the U.S. District Court for the Southern District of Alabama entered an order denying St. Paul’s Episcopal School’s request for a preliminary injunction to set aside the classification and sports team alignment of member private schools using the competitive balance formula and 1.35 multiplier approved by the Central Board of Control last November.
    Legal counsel for St. Paul’s Episcopal School filed a lawsuit and a request for preliminary injunction in the U.S. District Court in Mobile on May 24, and AHSAA legal counsel responded quickly filing a response asking the court to deny the preliminary injunction. The AHSAA’s legal counsel also filed a motion last week to dismiss the case completely.
     The Court announced it will enter a briefing schedule on defendants’ Motion to Dismiss forthwith.
     “We are pleased to have this initial phase of the lawsuit resolved,” Savarese said.  “We are still in litigation with this lawsuit; therefore, the AHSAA will have no other comment at this time.” 

AHSAA Mourns Death of Former Brantley Student Alexis Wilcox

    MONTGOMERY – The Alabama High School Athletic Association is saddened to learn of the death of former Brantley High School student-athlete Alexis “Alex” Wilcox, 18. She passed away at home on Monday, June 25, after an extended illness.

    Miss Wilcox, the recipient of the 2017 Class 1A Bryant-Jordan Student Achievement Award, was an outstanding softball, volleyball and basketball player in high school who just completed her freshman softball season at Mississippi State University. She inspired young and old alike with her faith and courage as she raised awareness of ovarian cancer while battling the disease.
     A visitation will be held at Brantley High School’s gymnasium Wednesday, June 27, from 6 to 9 p.m. A memorial service will be held at the gymnasium on Thursday, June 28, at 2 p.m., with interment to follow in Dozier Cemetery. Turner’s Funeral Home of Luverne is directing.  Miss Wilcox was also a lifelong member of Brantley United Methodist Church.
    Her former teammates and coaches from Brantley High School and Mississippi State University will serve as honorary pallbearers. The family requests that any memorial donations be made to either The Alex Strong Memorial Scholarship Fund, ℅ of Brantley Bank & Trust, P. O. Box 25, Brantley, AL, 36009, or to Geaux Teal, P.O. Box 82778, Baton Rouge, Louisiana, 70884.


NFHS Network to Stream Summer Meeting Events

INDIANAPOLIS, IN (June 21, 2018) — The National High School Hall of Fame Induction Ceremony on July 2 and Hall of Fame Press Conference on July 1 are among several events at the 2018 Summer Meeting of the National Federation of State High School Associations (NFHS) in Chicago that will be streamed live on the NFHS Network. All Summer Meeting events can be accessed on the NFHS Network at no cost.

The Hall of Fame Press Conference will be held at 1:45 p.m. CDT (2:45 p.m. Eastern time) on Sunday, July 1, at the Chicago Marriott Downtown Magnificent Mile in Chicago, Illinois, followed by the 36th annual induction ceremony at 6 p.m. CDT (7 p.m. Eastern time) on Monday, July 2.

The Hall of Fame Press Conference will be available at no cost on the NFHS Network at http://www.nfhsnetwork.com/events/nfhs/evt885743f5e9 and the Hall of Fame Induction Ceremony can be accessed at http://www.nfhsnetwork.com/events/nfhs/evt7f107de5cd .

All 12 inductees will be on hand at the press conference and induction ceremony, including Vestavia Hills High School’s Buddy Anderson, the winningest high school football coach in AHSAA state history.

In addition, four other events during the June 28-July 2 NFHS Summer Meeting will be streamed live on the NFHS Network. The “We Are High School” Opening Ceremony at 3:00 p.m. June 29 can be accessed at http://www.nfhsnetwork.com/events/nfhs/evtfb164fb09f, followed by the First General Session (http://www.nfhsnetwork.com/events/nfhs/evtedfb7a7e16) at 4:15 p.m.

At the Opening Ceremony, Marissa Walker of Waterford (Connecticut) High School will receive the National High School Spirit of Sport Award, and Cecelia Egan of Riverside St. Mary Academy-Bay View (Rhode Island) will receive the National High School Heart of the Arts Award.

Other NFHS Summer Meeting events available on the NFHS Network are the Second General Session at 9 a.m. June 30 (http://www.nfhsnetwork.com/events/nfhs/evtbd8da74ebb) and the Awards Luncheon at 12 p.m. July 1 (http://www.nfhsnetwork.com/events/nfhs/evt105b20b485).  

The Awards Luncheon will feature the presentation of NFHS Citations to 12 individuals, including AHSAA Soccer official Joe Manjone, who will receive the NFHS Officials Association Citation.  

Information on all NFHS Summer Meeting activities, the Hall of Fame Press Conference and the Hall of Fame Induction Ceremony is contained in the accompanying releases.


Anderson to be Inducted into National High School Sports Hall of Fame at 99th Annual NFHS Summer Meeting in Chicago

INDIANAPOLIS, IN (June 20, 2018) — The 99th annual National Federation of State High School Associations (NFHS) Summer Meeting will be held June 28-July 2 at the Chicago Marriott Downtown Magnificent Mile in Chicago, Illinois. The NFHS is the national leadership organization for high school athletic and performing arts activities and is composed of state high school associations in the 50 states plus the District of Columbia.

More than 800 individuals are expected to attend the Summer Meeting, including staff members and board members from the 51-member associations.

The 36th annual induction ceremony of the National High School Hall of Fame and discussion of several key issues affecting high school sports and performing arts highlight this year’s agenda.  The NFHS Network will be live-streaming the Hall of Fame press conference and Hall of Fame banquet ceremonies. For more information, check for details at www.nfhsnetwork.com.

Twelve individuals will be inducted into the National High School Hall of Fame, including Alabama’s own Buddy Anderson, Nebraska’s Tom Osborne and Oregon’s Dick Fosbury.        Anderson is the AHSAA’s winningest football coach in Alabama history with a 329-146 record over the past 40 years at Vestavia Hills High School. Anderson was also a standout tight end at Thomasville High School and was played on the offensive line at Samford University. He becomes the 12th individual to be inducted into the National High School Hall of Fame from Alabama. The others include: former AHSAA Executive Directors Cliff Harper (1987); Herman L. “Bubba” Scott (1990); and Dan Washburn (2011); basketball coach Wallace “Mickey Guy” O’Brien (1992); football coach Glenn Daniel (1999); track and cross country coach Jim Tate (2013); athletes Bart Starr (1989); Pat Sullivan (2012); and Ozzie Newsome (2014); and contest officials Dan Gaylord (1988); and Sam Short (2007). 
          In addition, AHSAA Soccer Rules interpreter and state Other Citation recipients are Joe Manjone of Alabama (NFHS Officials Association), Scott Evans of New Mexico (NFHS Coaches Association), Alan Greiner of Iowa (NFHS Music Association) and Tara Tate of Illinois (NFHS Speech/Debate/Theatre Association).  Manjone, who has spent more than 50 years in sports officiating, has served as AHSAA State Rules Interpreter and  AHSAA Championship Officials Coordinator since 1991 and has been an NFHS Soccer Rules Committee member beginning in 2000. He has served as rules committee chairman and is the current NFHS rules consultant and interpreter. In 2012 he received the NFHS Sports Officials Association Contributor of the Year Award.

Osborne was a three-sport standout (football, basketball, track and field) at Hastings (Nebraska) High School in the early 1950s before becoming one of the most successful coaches in college 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.

Other former high school athletes in 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.

Four other outstanding coaches will be inducted with Anderson in the 2018 class, including Miller Bugliari, No. 2 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 earlier this year.

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.

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.

Among the topics that will be discussed at the 52 workshops during the NFHS Summer Meeting are esports, recruiting and retaining officials, overuse and sport specialization, crowd control, social media, inclusion, digital ticketing, and participation by students in home, charter and virtual schools.

In addition, the Legal/Sports Medicine Workshop will be held at 1:00 p.m. on June 30. This event provides an ideal opportunity to discuss current legal and medical issues, as well as an open exchange among the attendees.

The Summer Meeting will kick off on June 29 with the Opening General Session featuring Mark Wood, original member and string master of the Trans-Siberian Orchestra. Along with the 11th annual National High School Spirit of Sport Award ceremony, the NFHS will present its performing arts counterpart – the National High School Heart of the Arts Award – for the fifth time.

Marissa Walker of Waterford (Connecticut) High School will receive the National High School Spirit of Sport Award, and Cecelia Egan of Riverside St. Mary Academy-Bay View (Rhode Island) will receive the National High School Heart of the Arts Award.

The Second General Session on June 30 will feature NFHS President Jerome Singleton and NFHS Executive Director Bob Gardner, and the Closing General Session on July 2 will feature speaker and author, Aaron Davis.

The Summer Meeting Luncheon will be held at 12 p.m. on July 1 and will feature the presentation of NFHS Citations to 12 individuals. State association honorees include Steve Timko of New Jersey, Melissa Mertz of Pennsylvania, Keith Alexander of Louisiana, Craig Ihnen of Iowa, David Cherry of Kansas, T.J. Parks of New Mexico, Becky Anderson of Utah and Trevor Wilson of Wyoming.

The NFHS Summer Meeting will conclude at 6 p.m. July 2 with the induction of the 2018 class of the National High School Hall of Fame.


Bayside Academy’s Sam Koby Uses Lessons Learned From Prep Sports to Aid Community

Bayside Academy’s Sam Koby Uses Lessons Learned

From Prep Sports to Aid Community

 

DAPHNE, Ala. – Bayside Academy rising senior Sam Koby doesn’t consider himself a “superior volunteer,” but a look at his extracurricular activities calendar shows otherwise.

 

The president of the Daphne school’s student government association plays point guard for the Admirals’ basketball team and he’s a strong safety on the football squad. Koby is a member of the 2018 Alabama High School Athletic Association Student Leadership Group, one of two members chosen to represent the state at a national conference in Indianapolis in July.

 

The 17-year-old is one of thousands of Alabama High School Athletic Association athletes who give of themselves to their communities during the summer and throughout the year, using lessons learned at home and as part of prep team sports.

 

Koby shares his love for basketball by serving as a coach and mentor at camps for players as young as second grade.

 

Koby also volunteers at two food banks – the Prodisee Pantry and Feeding the Gulf Coast – in the metro Mobile area and has volunteered at a nearby nursing home.

 

“I wouldn’t call myself a ‘superior volunteer,’” Koby said. “I’ve helped at the food banks, the nursing home, during intramural basketball and I volunteered at an art festival and some other little things. Being so busy, I don’t do them on a weekly basis – just when I have time.”

 

With Feeding the Gulf Coast, which has offices in Alabama, Mississippi and Florida, Koby said he has worked as a donation collector, standing outside during food drives. “My dad (Roger Koby) does some fundraising events with them,” he said.

 

Prodisee Pantry is a faith-based non-profit that provides emergency food and disaster relief. According to its website, it has provided assistance to more than “110,000 Baldwin County families facing hardship stemming from job loss, medical expenses, natural disasters and other crises.”

 

“I’m more hands-on with Prodisee Pantry,” Koby said. “I sort food and have even had days when I load carts and take food to people’s cars.”

 

Koby said all the students at Bayside are encouraged to share their skills in the community. “The school does a really good job offering opportunities to volunteer, and my parents encourage me to help others,” he said. “I try to be a role model. I want to help and do the right things so younger kids know.”

 

Playing a team sport also works to help students stay on the right path, Koby said. “I definitely think there’s a family kind of atmosphere that you create with a team,” he said. “The bonds you make with people that are bigger than just hanging out on the weekend. You play together to accomplish something with everybody working together. Even people you might not be friends with – it’s cool how people you’ve never known get attached and grow together.

“Another thing that team sports does is it adds structure. If you have practice in the morning, you can’t just sleep in. Lastly, and one of the biggest things for me, is the leadership you learn. In sports, I’ve always wanted to be a leader. It has helped me to step up when I need to and develop my leadership skills.”

 

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The Alabama High School Athletic Association, founded in 1921, is a private agency organized by its member schools to control and promote their athletic programs. The purpose of the AHSAA is to regulate, coordinate and promote the interscholastic athletic programs among its member schools, which include public, private and parochial institutions. 


AHSAA Announces Recipients for 2018 ‘Making a Difference’ Award

        MONTGOMERY – Seven individuals who have made an impact as exemplary role models have been selected as the 2018 Making a Difference Award recipients by the Alabama High School Athletic Association (AHSAA) and the Alabama High School Athletic Directors & Coaches Association (AHSADCA).
        One recipient from each of the AHSAA’s seven classifications was chosen from nominations submitted by AHSAA member schools and other support organizations. 
        This year’s recipients are Jack Hayes, Brilliant High School (1A); JimBob Striplin, Geneva County High School (2A); Anthony McCall, Montgomery Academy (3A); Frances Dunn, Greensboro High School (4A); Stanley Johnson, Lawrence County High School (5A); Pam Robinson, Benjamin Russell High School (6A); and Clem Richardson, Baker High School (7A).
        The honorees will be recognized during the Championship Coaches Banquet at the Renaissance Montgomery Convention Center July 20. The 6 p.m. event will close out the 2018 AHSAA Summer Conference and All-Star Sports Week for member schools. The Officials’ Awards luncheon will officially close out the week on Saturday, July 21, at the Renaissance at 11:30 a.m.
        The Making a Difference Award was established in 2011 by the AHSAA and AHSADCA to recognize individuals who go beyond their normal duties as a coach, teacher or administrator to make a positive impact in their schools and communities. This year’s recipients include two principals, three athletic directors, one basketball and one track coach.  One of the athletic directors also serves as head football coach, one is a head volleyball coach and the other is a head basketball coach.
        “The recipients in this 2018 Making a Difference class are excellent examples of men and women who take their positions as role models for their students, faculty and community very seriously. Each has had a major positive impact in their communities and schools and across the state and are excellent choices for what this award stands for," said AHSAA Executive Director Steve Savarese. 
        “This award is the most important honor a professional educator in our state can receive. Characteristics considered for this prestigious award include the recipient’s character, integrity and service, all of which have enabled these individuals to have a life-changing impact on the community or school where they serve,” he added.
        Savarese said this special award exemplifies what makes education-based sports so important.
        “This is one way we can honor them for the examples they set and the life lessons they teach on a daily basis,” he said.
        Following is a brief synopsis of the Making a Difference recipients for 2018:


CLASS 1A

JACK HAYES, BRILLIANT HIGH SCHOOL – A longtime coach, teacher and administrator who is much loved by his students and community, Hayes has served Brilliant High School for the last 38 years. He was a teacher and coach from 1980-1997, was head baseball coach for 12 years, head football coach and athletic director for four years and head boys’ basketball coach for seven years. He has been the school’s principal since 1997 and is retiring at the end of June.
         He grew up in Marion County, graduating from Phillips High School in 1974, and graduated from the University of Alabama in 1979.  His has served as a member of the District 7 Board and on the AHSAA Legislative Council representing District 7 since 2004. Although his high school is one of the smallest in the AHSAA, he has worked tirelessly to provide his students with opportunities. He has been the Bryant-Jordan Student Scholarship Program Area and Region Chairperson for two decades and has chaired the University of Alabama’s Commitment to Teaching Committee since 2003. He is also a member of the UA College of Education 21st Century College Circle. He also served as area or region coordinator for football, basketball, volleyball and baseball since 1969.
    He was inducted into the Marion County Sports Hall of Fame as a player (2006) and in a special category for his leadership in 2004. He was also recognized as Brilliant High School Teacher of the Year in 1991-92 and Marion County Secondary School Teacher of the Year that same year.
    He has dedicated his life to training young men and young women to be successful in the classroom and in the athletic arena and has emphasized the importance of teamwork and responsibility in each person’s daily life.

CLASS 2A
JIMBOB STRIPLIN, GENEVA COUNTY HIGH SCHOOL –
A former college quarterback at Auburn University, Striplin has spent his coaching career at smaller schools where he has mastered the art of taking  over struggling programs and building them into competitive teams year-in and year-out. He is always striving to find a way to include more students.
     For instance, at New Brockton he started the student band program and mentored students outside sports. His overall football coaching record is 41-44, including 10-11 in two years at Geneva County. He inherited a New Brockton team that was 2-8 in 2006 and led them to a 7-4 record in 2009. At Hartford, he took over a team that won just two games in 2015 and led them to the playoffs each of the last two years.
      His leadership and involvement with youth transcends the school setting to his church and community commitment.
      Now at Geneva County, his alma mater, his role as a mentor has evolved for students and parents alike. As an AD, he reinstated volleyball as a girls’ sport, has coached girls’ basketball and track and constantly walks the halls encouraging students to try some extracurricular activity. He also has such a passion about the influence coaches and teachers had on his life that he found time to author and have published a novel about a coach who makes a difference.  He is one of the AHSAA’s prize resources and with his humility, you would never know it, said the nominator.


CLASS 3A
ANTHONY McCALL, MONTGOMERY ACADEMY –
Praised as a strong administrator, McCall has proven to be an excellent head coach and example for students and coaches alike. He has also been an outspoken leader in promoting the educational mission for member schools in the AHSAA – taking his stance to the legislature at times on behalf of the member schools.
   An outstanding student-athlete at Sidney Lanier High School and later Auburn University, McCall returned to Montgomery in 1992 and joined the Montgomery Academy faculty where he has been the last 27 years.   He has served as the school’s athletic director for much of that time, helping build the Eagles’ girls’ and boys’ program into one of the strongest and most respected overall athletic programs in the state.  His football program was 39-18 in five seasons, compiling a 32-5 record over his last three seasons (2013-15). His basketball teams were very competitive and had a strong reputation of taking on the toughest challengers available.
     It is his personal desire to reach every student that grabbed one nominator’s attention. She wrote of his kindness and ability to find those struggling students and help them grow into strong, confident adults.
    He recently resigned to take a similar position at a school in Florida.
   

CLASS 4A
FRANCES DUNN, GREENSBORO HIGH SCHOOL –  
Mrs. Dunn has spent 35 years teaching and coaching in Hale County – and has served the last 13 years as head girls basketball and volleyball coach for the Lady Raiders, compiling a 301-91 record in basketball. Her teams are always competitive, reaching AHSAA State semifinals the last two seasons, and also tenacious and most respectful of the rules of the game, their opponents and each other.
    She works diligently with her girls on and off the court to make them the best they can be. She helps them set high standards for their lives and then equips them with ideals and tools that help them reach those standards they set.
    At Greensboro, Mrs. Dunn has become an institution. She is a Francis Marion High School graduate and a prize pupil of FM principal legend and former Central Board member Mrs. Maxine Coley.

CLASS 5A
STANLEY JOHNSON, LAWRENCE COUNTY HIGH SCHOOL --
This tireless coach has not only taught his teams to be champions but also at the same time has taken over the State CC Championships, molded the community together to provide a state championship event for all students in the state.
    Johnson, who also serves as assistant principal at Moulton Middle School and director of city’s “Strawberry Festival,” was named "Citizen of the Year" at the annual Lawrence County Chamber of Commerce banquet last January. Johnson was nominated for that prestigious honor by Lawrence County District Attorney Errek Jett for his contributions to the community as an educator, boys’ and girls' cross country coach and director of the annual festival.
    "Stanley has a genuine love for Lawrence County," Jett said. "I'm proud to say I'm not only a personal friend of Stanley, but draw inspiration and stand amazed at all he does. He places our children and community before himself. He gives significant time and resources to that effort while wanting to be in the shadows instead of the spotlight. Lawrence County is better for having him as a citizen here."
    Johnson has been one of the AHSAA’s most successful cross country coaches, guiding Lawrence County to boys’ and girls’ state cross country titles in 2015, 2014 and 2003. He coached the 2014 and 2015 championships while also organizing and managing the state meet for all runners and teams in every classification.  His track and cross country programs are among some of the largest in the AHSAA – involving many students that were introduced to educational athletics for the first time by Johnson.
    The NFHS honored Johnson as the Alabama Cross Country Coach of the Year in 2015 and the Section 3 Cross Country Coach of the Year in 2001. He was one of eight recipients nationally of the prestigious Section honor.


 



CLASS 6A
PAM ROBINSON, BENJAMIN RUSSELL HIGH SCHOOL –
The Benjamin Russell High School athletic director has proven herself as a teacher, coach and administrator over the last three decades by displaying toughness and compassion. She has contributed her leadership to all the children of Alex City and still finds the time to work with AHSAA in such capacities as the Medical Advisory Committee. Her passion for the children is most evident.
    The Wildcats’ head volleyball coach for the past 25 years, Robinson also coached softball and for the last several years served as the school’s AD. She recently stepped down from coaching volleyball to devote all her time to her athletic director duties and to her grandson.
    Her impact has gone well beyond the playing field or gymnasium. She has been a constant leader and mentor for students and teachers alike.
    “The greatest thing about coaching is being able to get to know the kids,” Robinson recently told the Alexander City Outlook. “You get to know them in the classroom, but when you’re coaching them, you’re around them more than their parents are. With summer workouts, practices every day, games, time on the bus, it really is fun.”



CLASS 7A
CLEM RICHARDSON, BAKER HIGH SCHOOL –
The principal at Baker High School since 2003, Richardson attended and graduated from Baker HS in 1974 – playing on the Hornets’ first state baseball championship team. He has seen the school and community grow from a rural Class 2A/3A size school to now one of the largest schools in the AHSAA.
     Students and teachers alike point out that Richardson has always had a compassion for students who need “a little nudge or extra guidance.” 
     He graduated from Troy University in 1978 and received a master’s degree in Mental Retardation from South Alabama in 1984. He earned a second masters in Educational Leadership from USA in 1994.
    He served as special education teacher and coach at Baker from 1981-1996, then served as assistant principal at Williamson and Theodore before becoming the Mobile County Schools athletic director from 2001-2003. He was named principal at Baker in 2003 and has served in that role ever since. He recently announced his plans to retire this summer
    He was an assistant coach on Baker’s 1990 state baseball championship team. More important, however, he has been one of Mobile County’s most prominent administrators, sharing his leadership skills--always offering a well thought-out approach to most problems. He has also served in a leadership capacity in District I and in the AHSAA.