FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE Contact: John Gillis
INDIANAPOLIS, IN (March 12, 2018) —LaFrancis Davis, the director of bands at Montgomery’s Carver High School, has been selected as the 2018 Section 3 recipient of the “National High School Heart of the Arts Award” by the National Federation of State High School Associations (NFHS). Cecelia Egan of Riverside (Rhode Island) St. Mary Academy-Bay View has been selected the 2018 national recipient of the “National High School Heart of the Arts Award” by the National Federation of State High School Associations (NFHS).
Davis will be recognized at the AHSAA Summer Conference Championship Coaches banquet on Friday night, July 20 at the Montgomery Renaissance Hotel and Convention Center.
The National High School Heart of the Arts Award was created by the NFHS to recognize those individuals who exemplify the ideals of the positive heart of the arts that represent the core mission of education-based activities. This is the fifth year that the National High School Heart of the Arts Award has been offered. Eight
Ever since he was a student at Slocomb High School, Davis has had a passion for music. However, he was also a tremendous athlete who excelled in football, basketball, baseball and track. As such, he often faced schedule conflicts between athletics and performing arts.
By the time he was a junior, Davis had developed into a very talented all-around athlete who emerged as one of the state’s best football running backs. Band director Debra Lynn Long encouraged Davis to keep playing football and to keep playing the trumpet. He would often gain several yards in the first half of a football game and then march in his football uniform in the Marching Red Top Band before returning to the backfield in the second half.
When Davis prepared to graduate, several college football programs vied for his services. While Davis really wanted to play college football, he also wanted to major in music. He chose to attend Alabama A&M University, which had an outstanding music program.
After graduation, he served in the U.S. Army for 10 years. After that, he was persuaded to become band director at Coffee Springs High School. After resurrecting a struggling program there, he moved to Geneva County High School. He had two more stops along the way before landing at Carver, where he encourages his students to not just “… love all music, but to love playing the music and singing the songs even more.”
He rejuvenated Carver’s struggling band program from less than 60 members to now more than 150. He also started a band program at its feeder middle school that now nearly 100 students involved as well.
INDIANAPOLIS, IN (March 12, 2018) — Mark Russell, a high school football official and president of the Huntsville (Alabama) City Council, has been selected as the 2018 Section 3 recipient of the “National High School Spirit of Sport Award” by the National Federation of State High School Associations (NFHS). Russell will be recognized at the AHSAA Summer Conference Championship Coaches awards banquet Friday night, July 20 at the Montgomery Renaissance Hotel and Convention Center.
The National High School Spirit of Sport Award was created by the NFHS to recognize those individuals who exemplify the ideals of the spirit of sport that represent the core mission of education-based athletics. Marissa Walker, a student-athlete at Waterford (Connecticut) High School, was selected the 2018 national recipient of the “National High School Spirit of Sport Award.” One recipient from each of the NFHS’s eight districts was selected for section recognition.
An Alabama High School Athletic Association (AHSAA) and youth league football official for more than 30 years, Russell has been a member of the Northeast Football Officials Association (NEFBOA) during most of that time. He has served as head of its nominating committee, as the leader of the local football association’s Fellowship of Christian Athletes group, and as chair of the NEFBOA’s benevolent committee projects. He has officiated several AHSAA state championship football games – most recently as a linesman at the 2017 Class 7A title game.
That seemingly innocuous officiating assignment was nothing less than a miracle. Just three months earlier on August 25, Russell was officiating a season-opening high school game between Alabama school Madison Academy and McCallie Academy from Tennessee. During the game, Russell collapsed on the field with heart failure. Paulette Berryman, a nurse who just happened to be working as the Madison Academy school photographer, was standing at the sidelines and quickly came to his aid performing CPR until he was revived. His heart had been stopped with no heartbeat for eight minutes while he lay unconscious on the ground in front of the packed stadium of fans.
He was then rushed by ambulance to Huntsville Hospital’s emergency ward. Within two hours, doctors stabilized him, implanted a stent, and he was sitting up with more than 40 officials who had rushed to the hospital ICU to pray for him and to support him during his time of need. Advised by the doctors to take some extended time off, Russell returned to football in less than a month for a coin toss, and then back as a linesman within six weeks.
By Bill Plott
To fully measure the impact of Alabama Sports Hall of Fame Class of 2018 inductee Randy Ragsdale, one needs to look past his 242 football coaching victories.
That’s the opinion who those who know him, including Trinity Presbyterian High School’s head of school Kerry Palmer. “There is so much more to ‘Coach Rags’ than metrics can measure,” Palmer said. “Randy Ragsdale is one of the finest human beings I have ever known. He truly loves and cares for all of the students at our school – not just ‘his boys’. He learns every name, knows every relationship and demonstrates real interest in each individual student. Randy’s positivity, enthusiasm and optimism are always present and are contagious.”
Ragsdale is being inducted into the Alabama High School Sports Hall of Fame as a member of the Class of 2018 at the Hall of Fame banquet March 19 at the Montgomery Renaissance Hotel and Convention Center.
A native of Coyners, a suburban city near Atlanta, Ragsdale attended Rockdale County High School, graduating in 1975.
After an outstanding high school career, he received a football scholarship to Jacksonville State University. At JSU he earned All-American honors starting at tackle for three years and played in the NCAA Division II National Championship game in 1978 as a senior.
Upon graduation the following spring, he accepted a position at north Clayton High School in Georgia where he was an assistant coach for three years. He then moved to Fayette County (GA) where he coached from 1982-85.
In 1985 he moved to Alabama and joined the Northview High School coaching staff as defensive coordinator at the Dothan school. His impact was felt immediately as Northview won the 1985 Class 6A state championship.
After four years at Northview, Ragsdale moved to Trinity Presbyterian as head football coach, a position he held through the 2016 season. Although he announced his retirement from coaching, he continues to serve in the Middle School Dean position he has held since 2006.
With his retirement from football, Ragsdale legacy includes:
· He compiled an overall head-coaching record of 242-86.
· His teams qualified for the state playoffs 25 times in 28 seasons.
· Trinity was 15-0 in 2003 and won the Class 4A state championship.
· The Wildcats compiled a 45-game regular-season win streak from 2000-05.
· His teams won 13 Region titles with an overall 116-23 region record.
· He served as a coach in the Alabama-Mississippi All-Star game, was head coach in the North-South All-Star Game in 2010 and assistant coach in 1997 and 2004; and also coached a team in the Down under Bowl in Australia.
· He was named 2003 State Coach of the Year and was selected three times Metro Coach of the Year.
· Received the prestigious Herman L. “Bubba” Scott Lifetime Achievement Award from the Fellowship of Christian Athletes in 2017 for his positive impact as a coach and commitment to his faith.
· The City of Montgomery proclaimed October 10, 2017, as Randy Ragsdale Day with commendations coming from the mayor’s office and the governor’s office.
“He makes our school better, and he makes the world better,” Palmer said. “Coach Ragsdale is not simply a colleague. He is a close personal friend and my brother in Christ.”
Todd Parsons, president of the Trinity Presbyterian Board of Trustees, added, “Coach Ragsdale put the Trinity football program on the map and compiled a record on the field of play that may never again be matched by a coach at a single school in Montgomery. Several members of our Trustee Board played for Coach Ragsdale and admire and respect him greatly.
“In fact, our board has voted to re-name our football field in honor of Coach Ragsdale. Our playing field will be known as Ragsdale-Boykin Field, honoring what we believe to be two of the finest men ever to serve this institution.“
In a 2014 interview with Duane Rankin of The Montgomery Advertiser, Ragsdale attributed part of his success to a simple motto his teams strived to live by: “Be accountable.”
“Our young men work to try to do what we ask them to do,” he said. “We repeat that over and over and over again. I think that comes with helping teach them to handle their own stuff. They’ve got to be personally accountable. And I say this in a positive way. We’re going to demand that out of them.”
Wilson Van Hooser, a former Trinity player who played collegiately at Tulane and Troy and received a tryout with the New England Patriots, was asked why Trinity has one of the best football programs in the state.
“I tell people this all the time,” he said, referring to what he learned as a member of a Randy Ragsdale-coached team. “We were a bunch of crazy, small guys out there. We weren’t the most athletic team out there. We had one or two (outstanding players) and my senior year we had three or four. (What we did have) was just a bunch out there who would lunge into people and knew how to play by the details.
We were relentless. We never let up. Whether we’re down or up, we (would) keep the pedal to the metal the whole game.”
Tuesday: Alvin Rauls – A trailblazer in high school athletics.
Longtime Deshler High School head football coach John Mothershed displayed an innate ability to connect with students – on and off the football field.
Current Deshler principal Russ Tate supports that assessment.
“Coach Mothershed was not only a winner on the football field, but also a great teacher,” Tate said. “I have been told by many former teachers and students about his amazing ability to connect with students first in the classroom and then on the field. His teaching ability was respected by all members of the faculty at Deshler High School.”
Mothershed is being inducted into the Alabama High School Sports Hall of Fame as a member of the Class of 2018 at the Hall of Fame banquet March 19 at the Montgomery Renaissance Hotel and Convention Center. He compiled a 201-53 head-coaching record at Deshler from 1995-2013.
Molding youngsters into men was his even bigger accomplishment, Tate said.
“While his athletic accomplishments are numerous and most deserving of this award, we must never forget why we are in this business of education, and that is to mold and develop the minds of our youth,” Tate said. “Coach Mothershed took the same principles that he taught to his players and used them to impact the entire school. He was a teacher first and coach second.”
A native of Florence, John Mothershed attended Sheffield High School where he lettered in football and wrestling. He was All-Area in football during his senior season and a state runner-up in wrestling in the 155-pound weight class.
After high school, he attended the University of North Alabama where he received his bachelor’s degree in 1985. While in college, he actually began his high school coaching career, serving as assistant wrestling coach. After graduation he returned to his alma mater as assistant football coach.
In 1987 he left Sheffield and accepted a position as teacher and assistant at Deshler High School. From 1987-94 he worked with Coach Tandy Gerelds, a 2016 Alabama High School Sports Hall of Fame inductee. During those eight years with Gerelds, Mothershed helped develop a program that was in the state playoffs every year, including 1990 when the Tigers won the state championship with a 15-0 record. Deshler was also runner-up the following year.
In 1995 he was promoted to head football coach and athletic director. He gave up the athletic director position in 2007 to concentrate on coaching, a role he held until 2013. Deshler won his 200th game in the final regular season game in 2013, a 49-20 win over North Jackson. During his career at Deshler, Mothershed had the following accomplishments:
· An overall record of 201-53, a 71% winning mark
· Class 4A State Championships in 1998 and 1999
· Class 4A runners-up in 2003, 2004, 2005, 2007 and 2010
· 13 Area and Region championships with a record of 103-13
· In the state playoffs each of his 19 years, advancing to the third round in all but three of those years, with an overall playoff record of 49-17
“(I think) every coach (at Deshler) will be measured against his success,” Tate said. “Coach Mothershed was a winner and invoked a winning attitude into every sport here at Deshler High School. I was lucky enough to watch from afar while Coach Mothershed was the head football coach, and it was one of the first scores I always tried to find on Friday night during football season.
“During Mothershed’s tenure as coach, he accumulated a multitude of playoff victories, won back-to-back state titles, finished as state runner-up numerous times, and concluded his coaching career with a 201-53 record. That is why every coach who will ever patrol the sidelines at Deshler High School will have a difficult challenge of measuring up to the standard that Coach Mothershed established.”
In a 2009 interview with Sean Lowery, Mothershed talked of his coaching philosophy.
“All eyes are on you, and the more successful your program, the more eyes are on you. It kind of goes to Matthew 5:14, ‘You are the light of the world.’ Those that are behind you look to you for leadership. Those that are against you watch closely to see if you stumble so they can pounce on that,” he said.
Asked how you handle that kind of pressure, Coach Mothershed said, “You just do what you can do. You’re just a man, and you’re not anything more than that. So, you just focus on your job and doing your job. You don’t get too excited when they are praising you, nor do you get too down when they are trashing you. You just go on and do your job.”
From 2001-03 he served as vice president of the Alabama High School Athletic Directors and Coaches Association He was president in 2004.
He was inducted into the Colbert County Sports Hall of Fame in 2012.
MONDAY: Randy Ragsdale – Much more to him than wins and losses.
By Bill Plott
Joe Manjone has been immersed in soccer for decades. He began officiating the sport as a teenager and has been involved in it as an official and administrator for more than 50 years. The 2018 Alabama High School Sports Hall of Fame selectee’s involvement has been far reaching as well – spanning more than seven states and two continents.
In Alabama, his service stretches over more than 30 years. Manjone is one of 11 selectees in the Class of 2018 who will be inducted into Alabama High School Sports Hall of Fame at a banquet set for 6:30 p.m., March 19, at the Montgomery Renaissance Hotel and Convention Center.
“Throughout my career in high school athletics, I have been privileged to work with some of the finest men and women in the field of high school athletics,” AHSAA Executive Director Steve Savarese said. “This group includes coaches, officials, administrators and AHSAA contributors who all have had one common trait – a desire to excel and to make a difference in the lives of those they serve.
“The epitome of those individuals is Joe Manjone, the AHSAA Soccer Director and former National Federation of State High Schools Association (NFHS) Soccer Rules Committee Chair. For over 30 years, Joe 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.”
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 a soccer official from 1959-72 for the Pennsylvania Interscholastic Athletic Association. In 1973 he officiated for United States high schools in Europe. From 1974-80 he was officiating in such diverse locations as Athens, GA; Greenville-Spartanburg, SC: Martinsburg, WV; and Hagerstown, MD.
In 1980 he came to Alabama, settling in Huntsville and established a high school soccer officials association in North Alabama. He has been involved with AHSAA soccer officiating and conducting rules clinics ever since. Over the years, some of his service have included: AHSAA State Rules Interpreter and AHSAA Championship Officials Coordinator (since 1991); 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.
Manjone has also served as a National Intercollegiate Soccer Officials Association Committee representative and NISOA Rules Committee and Executive Committee. He wrote the NISOA High School Soccer Officials Refresher Exam used through 2014. He was named the NISOA High School Official of the year in 2003 and induced into its Hall of Fame in 2013.
Manjone might be called a “Renaissance Man” of officiating because he has done it all. His baseball officiating and administrator work stretches from1960-2002; basketball (1960-2005); fast and slow-pitch softball (1967-2005); football (1960-2003); volleyball (1964-98); cross country/track and field (1967-74); and wrestling (1967-72).
While this unbelievable career of combined 272 officiating service years was ongoing, Manjone was also employed in a number of “day jobs.” He began as coach, girls’ athletic director, intramural sports director, teacher and boys’ and girls’ basketball coach at Lansdale Catholic High School from 1964-67. He taught physical education and was assistant director of intramural athletics at Penn State from 1967-73. He spent a year in Europe, directing comprehensive array of varsity sports, intramural athletics and fitness and wellness programs for U.S. military personnel and dependents in 18 military communities.
Returning to the United States, he subsequently held physical education, intramural and recreation positions at Lander College in South Carolina, Shepherd College in West Virginia, the University of Alabama-Huntsville, and Frostburg State University in Pennsylvania. He was Dean of Continuing Education and Distance Learning at the United States Sports Academy from 1998-2000, Executive Vice President and Provost for Academics at Columbia Southern University from 2000-2010, and President of Waldorf College in Forest City, Iowa, from 2009-11. He is current reaffiliated with Columbia Southern as Vice Provost of Student Affairs and Special Programs.
Mark A. Koski, Director of Sports, Events and Development for the NFHS, wrote of his relationship with Manjone:
By Bill Plott
Greg Brewer’s impact on raising the standards of officiating, especially for all high school sports, has been recognized on both local and national levels.
When he retired last year AHSAA Executive Director Steve Savarese said, “Mr. Brewer has been a trailblazer in the development of training for contest officials. He has dedicated himself to raising the competence across the board with contest officials in all sports He leaves some big shoes to be filled.”
That impact is being recognized by his peers in the AHSAA. He is being enshrined into the Alabama High School Sports Hall of Fame in the Class of 2018. The 2018 induction banquet will be March 19 at 6:30 p.m. at the Montgomery Renaissance Hotel and Convention Center.
Brewer’s legacy as AHSAA Director of Officials includes the following:
· He established statewide training camps for officials in all sports and set up the current District Director program that is used to rate and further train contest officials.
· He also developed and helped implement the AHSAA pitch count rule for baseball, which has been applauded around the nation by several national organizations, including Little League Baseball and USA Baseball.
· He created a sports officiating class for high school students. It has been approved by the Alabama State Department of Education and is being taught in more than 40 high schools across the state where students have the opportunity to learn to become certified officials.
“Greg Brewer represented the AHSAA with distinction while working with the National Federation of State High School Associations in many capacities,” said former AHSAA Executive Director Dan Washburn. “His contribution to the NFHS football and baseball rules was recognized nationally when he received the NFHS Section 3 Citation Award in 2006.”
In his home state, his work was equally important. “During the 31 years Greg served the Association, he pioneered the formation of District Directors for officials in each of eight districts within the state of Alabama,” Washburn said. “Greg developed an evaluation system for officials, which utilized the District Directors in evaluating and naming those officials to serve as game officials for the state playoffs in all sports.
“He facilitated and worked very closely with the executive director and AHSAA staff in each re-classification of schools. He communicated with officials’ associations and with individual officials on a daily basis.”
In an interview with al.com writer Josh Bean, Brewer explained some of the overriding philosophy of producing good officials:
“I have always maintained the position that I can’t open up your head and put rules in your head. You’ve got to do that. I can’t open up your head and give you good judgment. That comes with instinct and the development of experience. But I can give you common material that you can look at and study from – like our manual – and you will be calling everything as consistently in Huntsville as you would in Mobile, Birmingham, Anniston, wherever.”
A nominating letter from the 7th District Athletic Board of Officers, which includes current AHSAA Central Board of Control president principal John Hardin of Hackleburg, credited Brewer with playing “a leading role in advancing athletics in our state. He has introduced new ideas and methods that have made our officials some of the best in the nation.”
A native of Florence, Brewer attended Bradshaw High School in Florence where he served as Student Government Association president. He graduated in 1975.
He earned his bachelor’s degree in business administration and physical education from the University of North Alabama where he was an SGA representative and Jaycee Project Chairman of the Year for 1976-77.
He received his master’s degree from the University of Alabama where he was a graduate assistant in the Athletic Department and served as an academic assistant for baseball, arranging study halls and tutors for athletes. He also supervised intramurals. He taught a sports officiating class and individual sports. From 1980-2001 he was the official basketball scorer for the University of Alabama Sports Information Department.
He became associated with the Alabama High School Athletic Association in 1976, serving as a contest official in football, basketball and baseball through 1992. Brewer joined the AHSAA fulltime in 1985 as assistant director, serving until his retirement in 2017.
As Director of Officials with the Association, he was in charge of scheduling, budgeting, payroll and camps for officials. As Computer System Administrator, he oversaw purchasing and maintenance of the Office Automation System.
He also served as editor of the AHSAA Officials Guide and the AHSAA Mechanics Manual for all sports. He coordinated the bi-annual reclassification of member schools and coordinated and administered championship events in all sports.
He served numerous terms on National Federation committees on baseball and football rules and the equipment sub-committee. Brewer also received the Alabama Baseball Coaches Association’s Distinguished Service Award in 2012 and the Alabama State Association for Health, Physical Education, Recreation, and Dance Leader Award in 2015. He co-founded and is current board chairman of the Alabama Sports Officials Foundation, a non-profit foundation that helps secure educational scholarships at state schools for the children of sports officials.
He worked with the American Legion’s Boys State program as a staff member from 1981-92, was executive director of the Florence Little League program from 1977-79, and he served as official scorer or University of Alabama basketball for many years.
SATURDAY: Joe Manjone had major impact on soccer officiating nationally.
By Bill Plott
Coaching baseball was not William Booth’s first calling. A glance at his resume shows first choices as math teacher, assistant principal, advanced placement coordinator, transportation coordinator, and he also coaches baseball.
It can be said that he excelled in all of them. His baseball coaching has added up to an Alabama High School Sports Hall of Fame selection for Booth, the state’s all-time prep baseball wins leader. The Class of 2018 will be inducted March 19 at the banquet to be held at 6:30 p.m. at the Montgomery Renaissance Hotel and Convention Center.
“At the age of 42, he was called on to help out Hartselle High School’s baseball team. Without any previous experience in (high school) coaching, he walked on to the field and immediately started winning,” recalled his friend Don Logan, owner of the Birmingham Barons and B.A.S.S.
Despite his late start, Booth’s 30-year career as baseball coach at Hartselle has resulted in the following accomplishments for his storied program.
· A won-lost record of 1,025-431 through 2017, making him the all-time winningest coach among Alabama high school baseball coaches.
· Eight state championships (1990, 1991, 1992, 1994, 1999. 2000, 2009, 2013) and three runners-up (1993, 1998, 2010).
· Seven AHSAA final-four finishes, two final eight and six final 16.
· 20 Area championships and nine runner-up finishes.
· The 2009 team finished with a record of 50-9. Five other teams won 40 or more games while 15 won more than 30 games. There has only been one losing record (20-27) during his career.
· 101 players have received college baseball scholarships, including eight who went into professional baseball. Two of them, Steve Woodard and Chad Girodo, made it to the major leagues. Others have gone on to coaching careers.
He was also a Little League baseball coach for 10 years, winning two state championships and finishing second once. Booth was inducted into the Alabama Baseball Coaches Hall of Fame in 2004.
It was a success story that was, at first glance, an unlikely outcome of his being drafted to the position. When he started in 1988, his early practices were held on a field cut out on a cow pasture. Later he was able to transform the Hartselle gymnastics gym on the old campus into an indoor baseball/softball facility. Through fundraising for the baseball program, he was able to modernize Sparkman Park’s field to include reserved seating, a new scoreboard, remodeled dugouts and a backstop behind home plate.
A native of Hartselle, Booth graduated from Morgan County High School in 1962. He attended Athens College and Alabama A&M, earning degrees in math and administration.
He started his career with the Morgan County School System in 1966 at Morgan County High School. When Hartselle City Schools broke away from the county system in 1975, he remained with the high school which was renamed Hartselle High School.
Logan pointed out that Booth’s accomplishments have not been limited to the baseball field.
“He has also excelled in the important role of developing boys into men, and he has helped many earn college scholarships and quite a few more to sign contracts to play professional baseball, Logan said. “Outside of baseball, he set what might be another record, teaching thousands of students subjects such as calculus and higher mathematics for 50 years. He recently retired from the classroom, but at age 73 he hasn’t quit working with young people, on and off the field.
“Through the quality of his character, William also has earned the respect and affection of so many of his peers. I have the chance to meet a lot of baseball people from around the state from lifelong umpires to coaches in high school and college. And when they find out I’m from Hartselle, they all want to know if I know William Booth.
“They go on to tell me what a great coach he is, that he’s a man they all respect, and that he’s a guy that they want to call a friend. And they always ask me to tell him hello for them. Seldom does someone make an impact on a sport the way William has on baseball in the state of Alabama.”
Dr. Dee Dee Jones, superintendent of Hartselle City Schools, calls Coach Booth “the finest example of how to coach students on all levels – mentally, academically, athletically and personally.
“He continually goes beyond expectations to equip the students of Hartselle in whatever capacity he serves,” she stated in her nomination letter for his Hall of Fame selection. “During his 52 years in education – yes, I said 52 years – he has served as an advanced math teacher (49 years), Federal Programs Coordinator, Assistant Principal, Transportation Coordinator, Director of School Operations, and now as Assistant Superintendent. Over the past 30 years he has also served as the high school baseball coach. Mr. Booth has the distinct honor of being the winningest coach in Alabama.
“Even though Coach Booth instills strict discipline in his players, his initial focus is their path for academic success. Often times he takes part of his day to tutor students, athletes and non-athletes alike so that their academic success is first priority. His work ethic is second to none.
“In addition to his normal daily responsibilities, you will often find him driving a bus, assisting his workers with lawn care or mentoring other teachers and coaches inside and outside of our district. He approaches each task with a good sense of humor and a positive attitude.”
FRIDAY: Greg Brewer, retired AHSAA Assistant Director and Director of Officials
MONTGOMERY – Twenty-four seniors have been selected to represent Alabama in the 28th annual Alabama-Mississippi All-Star Basketball Games to be played at Mississippi College in Clinton (MS) on Friday, March 16.
The Alabama teams, comprised of 12 senior boys and 12 senior girls, were announced Wednesday by Alvin Briggs, Director of the Alabama High School Athletic Directors & Coaches Association (AHSADCA). The girls’ game will tip off at 5 p.m. and the boys’ game will follow at 7.
The games were played at Alabama State University last year with Mississippi winning two close contests. Mississippi’s girls took a 14-13 edge in the series with a 93-86 win over Alabama, and the Mississippi boys won 85-83. Alabama’s boys hold the same slim 14-13 edge in that series. Mississippi’s teams currently own two-game winning streaks in the series which dates back to 1991.
Coaches for Alabama’s boys are Plainview Coach Robi Coker and Cordova Coach Heath Burns. Bob Jones’ Luther Tiggs and Mountain Brook’s David Good will serve as administrative assistants. Coker, who owns a 136-54 coaching record after six seasons, guided Plainview to a 34-2 record and the Class 3A state championship in 2018. It was the first state basketball title since the school opened in 1958. Burns, 260-76 in 11 seasons, guided Cordova (27-8) to the 2018 Class 4A state crown, also the school’s first.
Tim Miller of Hazel Green and Ricky Austin of Spring Garden have been selected as the girls’ coaches. Cold Springs’ Tammy West is the administrative coach. Miller (542-92), became the first girls’ basketball coach in AHSAA history to guide three different schools to state title. He led Jeff Davis to the 6A title in 2006, led Bob Jones 6A titles in 2008, 2009 and 2011, and Hazel Green won the 6A championship this season. Austin (562-151) guided Spring Garden (32-3) to its sixth Class 1A state title in 2018. The Panthers have won two in the last three years and Austin has coached five of the overall state championships since 2004.
Headlining the boys’ squad are eight players who competed in the AHSAA’s 96th State Basketball Tournament last week. Among them are 6-foot-5 forward Diante Wood of Sacred Heart, who was named the MVP of the Class 1A state tournament in 2018. He plans to attend the University of Alabama next season. Isaac Chatman, a 6-6 forward at Cordova, was the Class 4A state tourney MVP. The others include all-tourney players: point guard Jeffery Armstrong of Class 3A state champion Plainview; guard Sean Elmore of Class 7A state champion Mountain Brook; 6-7 forward Anquaevious Pollard of Class 2A state champion Lanett; 6-9 center Dylan Robertson and 6-5 guard Jared Sherfield of Class 6A runner-up Paul Bryant; and 6-9 center Xavier Williams of semifinalist Parker. Elmore, a 6-1 guard, has signed with North Alabama, and Sherfield, who earned MVP honors leading Paul Bryant to the 2017 state title, will attend Tennessee Tech. Robertson is heading to Wingate University.
Rounding out the boys’ squad are Jamari Blackmon of Hoover, Travarus Carroll of Huffman, 6-9 forward Logan Dye of Haleyville and LaDarius Knight of Ashford. Dye is heading to Samford and Knight to Campbell University.
The Alabama girls’ roster also lists eight players who participated in last week’s state tourney. Two of the eight, Allie Craig Cruce of Lauderdale County and Caitlin Hose of Hazel Green, havd signed with SEC schools. Cruce is heading to Alabama and Hose signed with Georgia. The other six include Ajah Wayne of Ramsay, Karleigh Sledge of Deshler, Claire Holt of Class 7A state champ Spain Park, Brooke Hampel of Hazel Green, Zipporah Broughton of Lee-Montgomery and Daisha Bradford of LeFlore. Hampel, a Missouri-Kansas City signee, was selected MVP of the 6A state tourney, and Wayne, who is heading to Old Dominion, was MVP of the 6A tourney as a junior while playing at Homewood. Broughton signed with Rutgers.
Rounding out the girls’ squad are point guard and Alabama signee Hannah Barber of Homewood, 6-2 center Maya Buckhannon of Talladega, a Memphis signee, Jermecya Harris of Blount (Louisiana Tech) and Eboni Williams of Hoover (Tennessee-Chattanooga).
The teams report next Wednesday.
Complete rosters and series history are below:
2018 Alabama Boys All-Star Roster
Paul W Bryant
A. H. Parker
Luther Tiggs, Adm
David Good, Adm
2018 Alabama Girls All-Star Roster
R. E. Lee
Allie Craig Cruce
Missouri (Kansas City)
Mattie T. Blount
Tammy West, Adm.
Alabama-Mississippi Basketball All-Star Game History, 1991-2017
Alabama State U.
Miss. College, Clinton
Jackson State U.
North Alabama, Florence
Holmes JC, Goodman MS
Series record: Alabama 14 wins; Mississippi 13 wins
Holmes JC, Goodman, MS
Series record: Mississippi 14 wins Alabama 13 wins
When most people might while away slow time doodling, Ricky Allen found himself drawing house plans. He once mused that perhaps he should have been an architect.
Some say he was an architect in the way he built the girls’ basketball program at Albert Brewer High School in Morgan County. Over a 30-year career he constructed a program that produced more than 600 wins, a state championship – and an enthusiasm amongst his students that has created a passion for the sport at all levels of the community.
A native of Hartselle, Allen, who is being inducted into the Alabama Sports Hall of Fame in the Class of 2018 at the Montgomery Renaissance Hotel and Convention Center March 19, was in the first group of seniors at Brewer in 1973. He played on the school’s first basketball team, a squad that made it to the state tournament.
After graduation he went to Auburn University, first studying business, then education as he realized that teaching and coaching would be his calling. With a degree in hand, he returned to his alma mater as assistant football and boys’ basketball coach.
From 1978-81 he was girls’ basketball coach at Cotaco Junior High, compiling a record of 53-9. Then he spent two years at Union Hill Junior High, coaching the boys to a 23-11 record. Returning to Brewer in 1982, he coached JV basketball as well as volleyball and softball, leading the school to its first county championship in both sports. In 1985, he took over varsity girls’ basketball. Over the next 30 years it became one of the top programs in the state. Among the accomplishments:
· A record of 604-272
· One 5A state championship and one runner-up finish
· Five Region championships, 15 Area championships and 17 Morgan County Championships
· Nine All-State players and the 2012 5A state Coach-of-the-Year award.
Allen built the Brewer program by attracting elementary school girls to his basketball camps. He would go to their junior high games, watching the teams that fed into the high school and always standing under the goal rather than favoring one side or the other.
“I was like all the girls that played basketball at the feeder schools,” recalled Christy Thomaskutty, who went on to become a four-time All-State player. “We all wanted to be good enough to play at Brewer for Ricky Allen.”
His scouting often produced talent from unlikely sources.
“I was an insecure middle-school player that had no idea what it would be like to play at the high school level,” recalled Dr. Michele Edwards, principal at Vincent High School. “Coach Allen saw something in my ability that no one else had ever seen. I’ll never forget the moment that he walked me into the high school gym for the first time to show me the paintings of the girls that had played for him and made all-state in previous years. He said, ‘You have the talent to get there one day if you work hard and want it.’ I never looked back. He was my inspiration to coach and teach as a career. He gave me the confidence to know that I had a talent not only to play the game, but also to lead others. My story is just one of hundreds of young women that have been fortunate to enough to play for Coach Allen.”
Thomaskutty went on to play at Tulane, graduating magna cum laude in management. She is currently in her 14th year of coaching at NCAA Division II Emory University in Atlanta.
“Next to my dad, Ricky Allen is the most important person in my life. I can’t overstate his impact on me. It wasn’t just me. He had an impact on everybody that played for him. He was more than a coach to all of us,” she said.
Mark Edwards, sports editor at The Anniston Star, covered Brewer High School when he was at The Decatur Daily earlier. He wrote that what he was most impressed with in Ricky Allen was not the wins and losses but the coach’s character.
“He began coaching Brewer girls’ sports in the early 1980s when it wasn’t necessarily considered cool to coach girl sports,” Edwards said. “In North Alabama he helped make it cool. He never let a single one of his players think for an instant that their team and their games were any less important than the boys’ teams and games.
“He worked his players hard, but he treated them fairly. At a time when it seemed as if so many male coaches screamed theirs heads off at their players, Coach Allen did the opposite. I noticed he almost never yelled during games. When he did, it was because he needed to be heard over the noise of the large crowds that came to see his teams play. He managed with a caring, firm hand – not insults and derision.
“I noticed that in the last seven or eight years of Coach Allen’s career that many of the younger girls’ basketball coaches began copying his sideline demeanor. They would make their point, but they did so by speaking constructively to their players. Coach Allen’s style had spread to the point that in some cases, coaches who hadn’t even faced him were managing their teams like he did.”
Morgan County has always been a basketball hotbed. Allen retired as No. 4 on the list of winningest coaches. He is a member of the Morgan County Sports Hall of Fame.
Coach Allen has also been a Sunday School teacher for 25 years and has served on the board of directors of the North Alabama Fellowship of Christian Athletes.
THURSDAY: Hall of Fame Class of 20-18: William Booth, AHSAA’s winningest baseball coach.
MONTGOMERY – Four outstanding high school football coaches among the ranks of the AHSAA will be the keynote clinicians at the Alabama High School Athletic Directors & Coaches Association (AHSADCA) Lunch and Learn Mini-Clinic Friday, March 9, at the AHSAA Office.
Thompson head football coach Mark Freeman will open the mini-clinic at 9 a.m., discussing Thompson High School’s offensive philosophy. He will be followed in Session 2 by Bob Jones head coach Kevin Rose, who will address his staff’s coaching philosophy.
After lunch, Hillcrest-Evergreen head coach Clint Smith will discuss “Building a Championship Program from the Ground Up,” explaining how he took a team that finished 4-7 in 2014 and in just three years led them to a 14-1 season and Class 3A state championship.
Hoover High School’s Josh Niblett, one of the most sought after high school coach clinicians in the nation, will close out the day discussing “Hoover High School Football.”
High school and middle school coaches can still register for the Lunch & Learn by going to http://www.ahsaa.com/Coaches-ADs/Lunch-Learns/Lunch-Learn-Registration
Registration online is $30.00.