MONTGOMERY – Eleven major contributors to prep athletics in Alabama have been selected from a field 59 nominations to be inducted into the 26th class of the Alabama High School Sports Hall of Fame next March.
The 2016 class, which includes coaches, administrators, officials, media and an “oldtimer,” will be inducted at the 26th annual banquet at the Renaissance Hotel and Convention Center at Montgomery, March 21, 2016, at 6:30 p.m.
Selected for induction are football coaches Richard Beverly, Tandy Gerelds and Ike Grant, basketball coaches Mike Cochran and Jerome Sanders, volleyball coaches Frances Crapet and Brenda Mayes, baseball coach Earl Miller, wrestling coach Dwight Buzbee, volleyball official Apple Kridakorn and coach/administrator Alfred Peavy, who was selected in the “oldtimer” division. Peavy and Gerelds are 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, Coca-Cola, Encore Rehabilitation, Russell Athletic, TeamIP, Wilson Sporting Goods, Cadence Bank and TNT Fireworks.
WSFA TV sports director Jeff Shearer will emcee the banquet. The NFHS Network is scheduled to live-stream the banquet.
The first class was inducted in 1991. These 11 new inductees will run the total enshrined into the Alabama High School Sports Hall of Fame to 320.
A profile of each selectee:
RICHARD BEVERLY: A long-time football coach and administrator, Beverly’s career spanned 42 years. He compiled a 145-78-4 record as head football coach at Clay County High School from 1967-1988. His 1968 team went 10-0 in the regular season and then played St. Jude at Cramton Bowl in the first integrated AHSAA playoff game following the Merger of the AHSAA and AIAA. He served as principal at Wadley High School from 1988-92 and then worked as an assistant coach at Smiths Station High School and Russell County High School.
Beverly, 72, graduated from Handley High School in 1961 and Auburn University in 1966.
DWIGHT BUZBEE: The Alexander City native returned to his alma mater in 1977 working at Alex City Junior High. He moved to Benjamin Russell High School in 1978, serving as teacher, assistant football and head wrestling coach. In eight seasons as wrestling coach, the Wildcats won three AHSAA state team titles with seven individuals winning state weight-class championships. He served as athletic director for Alexander City Schools from 2001-09 and retired after 37 years of teaching and coaching in 2014. He has been one of the AHSAA’s top wrestling officials for the last 32 years. Buzbee, 62, played football and wrestled at Benjamin Russell High School, finishing second individually in his weight class as a senior for Coach Charles Lee, already a member of the Alabama High School Sports Hall of Fame.
Buzbee graduated from high school in 1971 and Auburn University in 1977.
MIKE COCHRAN: Cochran, 54, became one of the state’s most successful girls’ basketball coaches during his 28-year head-coaching career at Fyffe High School. He guided the Lady Red Devils to a 627-226 record with seven state championships–including four in a row (1994-97) in the first four years of the AHSAA Final Four state tournament at the BJCC. His teams won 16 DeKalb County championships, 14 area championships and had one state runner-up finish. He coached in the Alabama-Mississippi All-Star Classic four times and saw his teams average 30-plus wins during the decade of the 1990s (302 victories). He was inducted into the DeKalb County Sports Hall of Fame in 2013.
Cochran graduated from Fyffe High School in 1979 and earned his college degree and Masters in English from the University of Alabama.
FRANCES CRAPET: The Birmingham native returned to her roots and became one of the AHSAA’s top volleyball and softball coaches. She began her teaching and coaching career at W.A. Berry High School in 1984 but moved to John Carroll Catholic High School in 1986 where she has served as athletic director since 2014. Crapet compiled a 635-415 volleyball coaching record with state championships in 1996 and 1997 and state runner-up finishes in 1998 and 1999. Her softball teams were 294-208 from 1987-2004 with three trips to the state tournament. Several of her former students have followed her into coaching.
Crapet, who is a Eucharistic Minister at Our Lady of the Lake Church, graduated from Ensley High School in1976 and the University of Montevallo in 1980.
TANDY GERELDS: Gerelds, now deceased, was a high school teacher and coach for more than 25 years with stops at Woodlawn and Deshler in Alabama and closed out his coaching at Belmont, MS. He also served as principal at Shoals Christian. He compiled a 101-36 coaching record at Deshler with state 4A championship in 1990 and runner-up in 1991. After stepping down as head football coach, he guided the Deshler boys’ golf team to a 1996 state runner-up finish in Class 4A and a state championship in 1997. He began his coaching career at his own alma mater, Woodlawn High School in Birmingham, as baseball coach for three years. He became head football coach in 1971 and coached the Colonels to a 36-14 record over the next five years. His strong faith-based approach helped Woodlawn overcome racial strife to become one of the top programs in the state – culminating with more than 42,000 fans attending the 1974 Woodlawn versus Banks football game at Legion Field. That inspirational saga was made into a popular movie, “Woodlawn,” which chronicles those times and the life of star player Tony Nathan and is currently showing in theatres across the nation.
The 1960 Woodlawn graduate earned his college degree at Auburn in 1965.
IKE GRANT: One of two Benjamin Russell High School graduates in this year’s class, Grant, 62, has spent his entire teaching and coaching career in Chambers County as head football coach and athletic director for a total of 17 years. He served for 10 years from 1978-1986 as head coach and again from 2001-2009 and compiled an overall 85-89 record and four trips to the state playoffs. His 2003 and 2005 teams were 10-2. He has coached in the Alabama-Mississippi Football All-Star Game and North-South All-Star Game. Grant has also served as a football official since 1987 and is currently serving on the AHSAA Central Board of Control.
He graduated from Benjamin Russell in 1972 and Alabama State University in 1976.
KITTILAX “APPLE” KRIDAKORN: Born in Bangkok, Thailand, in 1947, Kridakorn, 68, has worked as an AHSAA volleyball official for more than 45 years. She served as state tournament referee coordinator and the AHSAA state volleyball rules interpreter for 15 years. Considered an influential teacher, mentor and visionary for volleyball officials, she has served as a camp instructor for a decade. Kridakorn has also officiated college volleyball for 30 years, including the 2015 NAIA National Championship, and USA Volleyball for 20. She received the NFHS Section 3 Distinguished Service Award in 2011, the AHSAA Distinguished Service Award in 2004 and the PAVO Excellence in Service Award in 2011. She was also named Southeast District Volleyball Official of the Year in 2013.
She served as Tri-County coordinator for Special Olympics from 1993-98. Kridakorn graduated from Ramsay High School in 1966 and the University of Montevallo in 1970. She earned her Masters from Auburn in 1975 and a Doctorate of Education from Auburn in 1983.
BRENDA MAYES: A coaching icon in the Shoals area for the past 28 years, Mayes, 52, has served as associate athletic director, head volleyball and girls’ basketball coach during her teaching/coaching career that spanned from 1987 through 2015 at Muscle Shoals High School. Her volleyball teams compiled a 1,143-368 record with four state titles from 1998-2001. Her basketball teams were 359-348 and qualified for the Northwest Regional tournament twice. She was named Regional and NFHS National Volleyball Coach of the Year in 2001. Mayes, who also has coached track and softball during her tenure, served on the AHSAA Central Board of Control, has been a key volunteer for the AHSADCA’s all-star competitions and is considered a mentor to numerous current coaches and teachers. She was named the AHSAA Class 6A Making A Difference Award recipient in 2015.
An outstanding high school and college basketball player in her own right, Mayes has been inducted into the Mississippi Community/Junior College Sports Hall of Fame, Northeast Mississippi Community College Sports Hall of Fame, University of North Alabama Athletic Hall of Fame and Colbert County Sports Hall of Fame. She is a 1980 graduate of Biggersville (MS) High School and 1986 graduate of the University of North Alabama.
EARL MILLER: One of the state’s most successful high school baseball coaches, Miller, 62, led G.W. Long High School’s program from 1991-2005. The Rebels compiled a 407-133 record during that span with 14 playoff trips in 26 years. Miller’s teams won seven Class 1A state baseball championships and three Class 2A state titles in that stretch. His team won six state crowns in a row in the 1990s. He was inducted into the Alabama Baseball Coaches Hall of Fame in in 2003. His program produced two Mr. Baseball recipients and 23 all-state selections. His son Drew followed his dad as head baseball coach at G.W. Long.
Miller graduated from Escambia County High School in 1971 and Troy University in 1976.
JEROME SANDERS: The long-time boys’ head basketball coach and athletic director at J.F. Shields High School compiled a 465-151 career record with a 359-158 slate at his alma mater from 1995-2014. He also coached at Dozier, Luverne and Monroe County in a career that spanned 30 years. His Shields teams won three state titles, finished second twice and reached the AHSAA State Tournament semifinals seven times. His teams won seven regional titles. He coached in the Alabama-Mississippi All-Star Game twice. He received the NFHS Section 3 Coach of the Year in 2007 and was the AHSAA Class 1A Making A Difference Award recipient in 2014.
Sanders was a senior member of J.F. Shields’ 1972 Class 2A state championship team. He earned his college degree from Daniel Payne College in 1976.
ALFRED PEAVY: Selected in the “Old Timer” category, Peavy, now deceased, served as a teacher, coach and administrator in Alabama schools from 1956-1991. One of the young leaders of the AIAA when it merged with the AHSAA in 1968, Peavy led Coppinville High School to a 9-0 record in 1968. He compiled 96-42 football coaching record and 200-75 basketball coaching record at Coffee Country Training and Coppinville from 1956-69. He was also an outstanding track coach with four championships and four runner-up finishes. He moved to Enterprise Junior High in 1970 as a coach, then to Enterprise High School in 1971 and became assistant principal in 1975 – serving in that capacity until his retirement in 1991. He served on the AHSAA Central Board of Control for eight years and the District 2 Board for 14 years. He was honored with the AHSAA Distinguished Service Award in 1991. He also was named the recipient of the Martin Luther King Community Awareness Award in 1995 and was inducted into the Wiregrass Sports Hall of Fame in 1998. Peavy Park in Enterprise was named in his honor in 1986.
Peavy was a 1948 graduate of Clarke County Training School and 1856 graduate of Alabama State University. He earned his Masters from Troy University in 1975.