MONTGOMERY –In Coach Wayne Grant’s first tenure as head football coach Pike County High School, he taught the players how to become a champion. When he returned a second time after a six-year hiatus, he did it again.
His extraordinary ability to mold youngsters into greatness is a chief reason he is one of 12 individuals being inducted in the Class of 2017 at this year’s banquet March 20 at the Montgomery Renaissance Hotel and Convention Center at 6:30 p.m.
A native of Jack in Coffee County just outside Troy, Grant graduated from Zion Chapel High School in 1972 and Troy University in 1976. He was an outstanding football player at both institutions. He also holds a master’s degree in biology education and AA certificate in biology from Troy.
He began his teaching and coaching career at his alma mater at Zion Chapel in 1976, serving as a varsity football assistant. He spent 1977 at Louisville High School in the same position. In 1978 he went to Lowndes Academy as head coach and compiled a 7-3 record. In 1979 he returned to college, completing his master’s degree.
His career took off in earnest in 1980 when he accepted an assistant football coaching positon at Pike County High school. After two years, he was promoted to head coach. He would spend a total of 19 years in that job, first a 10-year term and then returning later for an additional nine years. The result was a record of 197-52 and five state championships.
His second year at Pike County he also served as junior high school coach, producing a record of 7-0. It was a sign of things to come
Over the next 10 years he had nine winning seasons, including five with 10 or more wins. The 1988 and 1989 teams both finished with 13-2 records and back-to-back state championships – the first in Pike County High School history.
In 1992 he moved to Talladega High School where he remained for six years, compiling three winning seasons and an overall record of 27-37.
After a year at Goshen as an assistant, he returned to Pike County. All nine of his teams had winning records, with six of them winning 11 or more games. The 2003 and 2006 state champion teams finished with 14-1 records. The 2005 team ran the table at 15-0. Coach Grant’s overall record for the second stay at Pike County was 100-19.
His AHSAA totals were 231-93, 11 seasons with 10 or more wins, 11 region championships and 19 postseason appearances. His playoff record was 44-14. He also coached in three all-star games, winning all three.
Brundidge Mayor James R. Ramage III said that when Coach Grant came to the city in 1980, it was after a difficult transition period in the 1970s. He said the community was “together but really we were still separate.” Grant helped change that.
“His leadership qualities were soon appreciated as he became the head football coach and our school took pride in the product they saw on Friday nights. Our entire school system began to raise the bar of achievement not only on the field but also in the classroom. This pride took roots in our town as we became one in support of our school.
“During Coach Grant’s tenure, our community’s discipline issue in our youth began to improve. The chief of police and I have discussed many times that we did not and still do not have the problems some communities are experiencing in this area. We have seen many of our students that were lost socially and behind in their education began to take pride in themselves and make good decisions for their future. We now have a large group of students and players that are productive citizens became they crossed Coach Grant’s path.
“The impact that Coach Wayne Grant had on Brundidge cannot be expressed in a letter, but I hope it gives the sense of what this man has done for our school and city. We see the results every day as we interact with his former students, some doctors, lawyers, teachers, members of our armed forces, and, of course, our citizens that make our city function.”
Dr. Clint T. Foster cited Grant’s influence on students in the classroom:
“I have had the opportunity to serve with Coach Grant in many capacities. First and foremost, he was an excellent science teacher. He, along with other science teachers, played a significant role in a plethora of students, including myself, to pursue science careers at every level, [including] medical research-oriented doctors, nurses and other related fields.
“Secondly, I had the opportunity to participate in football under his leadership. As an athlete I learned early to respect others and have the same respect for my school and community. Growing up in a small town with limited resources, it was easy to find trouble. More specifically, it was easier to follow in the footsteps of older individuals and give in to drugs and alcohol. Football in Brundidge was sub-par at best and had limited interest from student-athletes and the community. Simply put, we were the laughing stock of football in the entire state…. Coach Grant and his staff changed the complexity of football and other athletics in Brundidge. Since the tenure of Coach Grant as athletic director and head football coach, Pike County High School has been recognized and respected by every classification throughout the state in football and athletics.”
Wednesday: Sixth & seventh installments of the Hall of Fame series: Austin Basketball Coach Bob Harpe and Benjamin Russell Football Coach Danny Horn.
MONTGOMERY – When Richard Roosevelt Carter was attending Rehobeth High School in Fairfax back in the 1960s, he realized God called him to serve two ministries.
Now, more than 50 years later, Reverend Carter is still following God’s unique plan for his life. That plan has also led Coach Carter to the Alabama High School Sports Hall of Fame. The Lanett High School boys’ basketball coach is one of 12 individuals being inducted in the Class of 2017 at this year’s banquet March 20 at the Montgomery Renaissance Hotel and Convention Center at 6:30 p.m.
Born across the state line in Georgia, Carter grew up in the Valley area. It was while he was attending Rehobeth High School in Chambers County that his dual path as coach and pastor was started. He served as the varsity basketball team’s manager, but his role became much more than handing out towels.
“Coach Arthur, who was the Rehobeth coach, many times would have other things to do after school, so he would allow me to run basketball practices,” Carter recalled in an interview. With the practice schedule in hand, “I would run them through the drills and the rest of practice.”
With his career path developing, Coach Carter took notes and learned all he could from the coach before heading off to college. And along the way, he found strength in his religious faith that would also lead to a career path for him.
“I probably chose two of the most difficult, yet rewarding professions,” he said.” For me, coaching is a ministry. It’s an avenue for me to lead young men to Christ. I cannot tell you how many young men that I have coached over the years who are now in the ministry as stewards, deacons or members of the choir in the churches. What a reward.”
He started his teaching and coaching career at Bullock County High School in Union Springs in 1969. He remained there five years, serving as head football and baseball varsity coach and junior varsity basketball coach.
In 1975 he moved to Chambers County to coach football, basketball and tennis at Valley High School. His basketball record from 1975-99 was 301-62. He had multiple 20-win seasons and carried three teams to the semifinals of the state tournament.
After spending several years in Georgia, Coach Carter returned to Chambers County, taking the head basketball position at Lanett High School. With more than 100 wins to his credit at Lanett, his teams have won 20 or more games each season he has been there. The 2011-12 and 2013-14 teams, both with 25-5 regular season records, made it to the semifinals of the State Finals in Birmingham. His 2016 and 2017 teams won back-to-back Class 2A state championships going 29-6 and 25-7 respectively. His career record after the 2017 season was 555-120.
Overall in his half-century coaching career, he has had 15 teams make it to the semifinals. That was the kind of success story that appealed to Lanett City Schools Superintendent Phillip Johnson when he hired Carter:
“I envisioned a basketball program for Lanett High School that only would be known for a winning spirit, but also would be known for developing a spirit of strong character and civic responsibility in our players,” said Johnson. “Since implementing a program geared to teaching and mentoring students on and off the court, Coach Carter’s impact is evident in our players. Academics and character are stressed in practice, workouts and on the court. He holds players accountable for their grades, conduct and integrity, and he provides the example for which they can grow into men of character.
“His noteworthy coaching accomplishments highlight a career of devotion to athletes in our region. He is respected throughout the community in both public and private school settings and in various churches as a man who can teach our students to be productive citizens.”
Lanett head football coach Clifford Story, Jr., said Coach Carter’s influence reached beyond the basketball court to other sports as well.
“Richard’s enthusiasm is contagious to our players, and he is a big reason why our numbers [have grown] from year to year in students signing athletic scholarships in all sports offered at Lanett High School’: Story said. “He can get players to push beyond their perceived limit. His passion for the game of basketball is easily recognizable.
“Leadership has also been a very integral part of what Richard has contributed to Lanett High. This year he helped introduce our athletes to our new character education program. Richard taught lessons about leadership and responsibilities which made a profound difference in the attitude of our program. He was the perfect instructor because of how genuine he is with the students.“
“But he has not limited himself to just excelling his professional life. He is a great family man with a loving wife, children, and grandchildren. His family is one of the most important things in his life, and he is a committed husband and father.”
Lanett Principal Jennifer Boyd said Carter’s special traits of mentorship and focus on building character are impressive. He has made character building an intricate part of his coaching style.”
He was named the Chambers County Teacher of the Year in 1995.
He is pastor of Jones Chapel African Methodist Episcopal Church in Fairfield. He has been a volunteer in the Jones Valley Feed the Hungry Program and in Alzheimer, cancer and sickle cell anemia programs.
Tuesday: Fifth installment of the Hall of Fame series: Pike County Football Coach Wayne Grant.
MONTGOMERY – Norman Wayne Bowling grew up in basketball-crazy Morgan County, graduating from Austinville High School in 1959.
He and his Austinville teammates raised the bar even higher.
Bowling was a stand out on the school’s Class A state championship basketball team of ’59, then followed that with a successful career at St. Bernard College in nearby Cullman County, graduating in 1963.
When he graduated he transitioned from playing basketball to coaching basketball when he accepted a job back in Morgan County at Danville High School. His entire teaching and coaching career was spent at Danville where he served as head boys’ basketball coach from 1963-2000, a total of 37 years. He was also the school’s head baseball coach from 1963-85.
And much like his career as a player, his basketball coaching accomplishments raised the bar even higher in Morgan County.
Among his basketball accomplishments he became the career high school coaching wins leader in Morgan County with a career record of 683-388. His coaching tenure also included five state tournament appearances (1977, 1978, 1985, 1991 and 1992) with his ‘92 team advancing to the finals. His Hawks won two sub-state championships, Five Regional and 12 Area championships.
Equally important to Morgan County schools, his teams won the Morgan County championship in 1965, 1985, 1988 and 1992. His legacy includes having the Morgan County tournament Most Valuable Player Award being named in his honor.
Bowling’s teams were noted for their shooting skills. The 1995 team remains one of the highest-scoring in state history scoring 100 or more points 12 times with a season high of 124.
Those records resulted from Bowling’s skill as a basketball player and coach and from his ability to instill his own competitive spirit in the legion of players who wore the Danville jersey.
Coach Lynn Holladay wrote in 2015 of Bowling’s love for the game of basketball letter of recommendation to the Hall of Fame selection committee.
“Today at age 73, Wayne still plays basketball several times per week at a very high skill level,” said Holladay. “If there were an Alabama Small College Basketball Hall of Fame, Wayne would be one of the first inductees. I know Wayne’s skill level because I played against him at the collegiate level. I also played with him and against him in varying levels of competition after college for all most 50 years. Wayne was one of the most competitive players that I have played against.”
Holladay said Bowling’s better than 60% winning record is even more remarkable when considering that for approximately the first 20 years of Wayne’s coaching career Danville was a 1A school and his schedule was comprised of many larger schools such as Austin, Decatur, Hartselle, Brewer, Lawrence County and East Lawrence.
Holladay, who is writing a book on Morgan County’s outstanding basketball history, credits Bowling with introducing the fast-break style of basketball that he had played at St. Bernard, to Morgan County.
“His first team at Danville averaged over 76 points per game, which was almost six points more than any Morgan County team had ever averaged,” He said. “Within two years, Wayne’s style of play had spread to almost all other teams in Morgan County, and all of them were suddenly averaging about six to eight points more than they ever had. The style of play employed by Wayne at Danville soon crossed the county borders into the adjoining counties. The tempo of the game had spread tremendously.”
Morgan County School Superintendent Bill W. Hopkins Jr., who played and coached against Bowling, recalled going to watch Bowling’s teams play as a child.
“I then had the honor of playing against his teams in varsity basketball and baseball,” he continued. “When I became a young coach, I had the privilege of coaching against his teams. Later when I became an administrator I was able to watch his teams compete against other teams. I was always amazed how he took what seemed like less talent than others and molded them into successful winning teams. The discipline of his teams became his trademark.”
Bowling also made a difference off the court. One of his former players, Joe D. Bailey said he is a prime example of that influence.
“Coach Bowling, I know I have told you before, but I wanted to put in writing how much you mean to me,” he wrote. “I want you to know how much I appreciate all that you did for me. You drove me to be the best player and person I could be, and I still see results from that today.
“You taught me more than anyone how to compete. You are still the most competitive person I know, and you helped me learn how to compete at a high level. We won a lot of games, and I am proud of that as I know you are. But, I also know that’s not why you coached. You coached to make a difference in the lives of young men, and you did that. You did that not just in my life but in (the lives of) so many others.
“I will always be grateful for your leadership. I am glad to be a small part of your successful career. It was a joy and honor to play for you. Thank you for being disciplined and stern with us—we needed it. I want you to take comfort in knowing that you had a huge impact on one player’s life.”
David Bethea wanted to be a teacher. Little did he realize that his best classroom would turn out to be the tennis court!
Bethea is one of 12 individuals being inducted into the Class of 2017 of the Alabama High School Sports Hall of Fame. The induction banquet will be March 20 at the Montgomery Renaissance Hotel and Convention Center.
The graduate of Huntsville’s Butler High School earned his college degree at the University of North Alabama and received his Masters from the University of South Alabama. Joining the faculty of Montgomery Academy in 1979, he has spent his entire teaching and coaching career at the private school where he has served as head coach of the boys’ tennis program and the junior high/middle school football program.
His junior high football coaching record (191-83-3) includes 19 city championships. He was also Montgomery Academy head basketball coach from 1986-90, compiling a record of 33-36.
It was tennis, however, that propelled Bethea to the forefront among AHSAA coaches. Adding tennis to his duties in 1983, his record remarkable ever since. Currently in his 35th season as the head coach, he has compiled an 878=175 dual match record through the 2016 season. That total included 14 state championships, nine runners-up and 32 Section Championships. He was also named the 2014 NFHS Sooth Section Tennis Coach of the Year.
As with so many coaches, however, it is not just impressive numbers that mark his success.
“Coach Bethea’s real impact has not been in winning in athletics, but in winning in the game of life,” wrote former Saint James head football coach Robert Johnson. “He is one of the best Christian leaders I have ever known. Always putting his faith before anything else, he has led many people to Christ through his amazing testimony and how he lives his life.”
Johnson, a long-time friend and former student of Bethea, added, “He is the most positive person I know. He is an amazing motivator and is always smiling and encouraging others. He is always concerned about others and how he can help them. He challenges people in their spiritual life, academics and athletics. Coach Bethea has personally impacted my life in tremendous ways. First, he was my junior high coach as a 7th grader. I was in awe of this man with long hair that loved Jesus.
“As an 8th grader he cut me from the football team. Looking back, it was a pivotal moment in my life. He encouraged me all year to work hard and come back out. He did not give up on me. His love and motivation changed my life, and I made the team as a 9th grader…. I went on to make All State and played on a state championship team as a senior because of his motivation. My last year in college, Coach Bethea asked me to be his assistant on the junior high team. This again was a pivotal moment in my life, changing my career. I ended up becoming a teacher and coach because of this man. I only hope that I have made a small portion of the impact on lives like David Bethea has.”
Jim Tuley, former coach at Robert E. Lee and Trinity Presbyterian, described Bethea as gentle with a calm compassion.
“His love for the students, parents, the game and the team he
“His love for the students, parents, the game and the team he is competing against is always there,” Tuley said. “He makes it fun to play his teams. As a person on the other sideline, it was always a pleasure to play the teams he coached. They were always ready to play to their best and, win or lose, they were always gentlemen. He has not only won on the field, but also is a great ambassador for high school sports
“When I served at Trinity (for 17 years), I saw David build a dynasty in boys’ tennis at MA. He gave young players a chance and gave the young men who stayed around a chance to play and contribute. He has the rare ability to make each person he coaches feel important.”
MONTGOMERY – Twelve major contributors to prep athletics in Alabama have been selected from an outstanding field of 50 nominations for induction into the 27th class of the Alabama High School Sports Hall of Fame next March.
The 2017 class, which includes an “old-timer,” will be inducted at the 27th annual banquet at the Renaissance Montgomery Hotel and Spa, March 20, 2017, at 6:30 p.m.
Selected for induction are football coaches Peter Braasch, Wayne Grant, Danny Horn, Russell Jacoway and Dwight Sanderson; basketball coaches Wayne Bowling, Richard Carter, Bob Harpe; volleyball and softball coach Rebecca Lee; softball coach Tony Scarbrough; tennis coach David Bethea; and coach/administrator Lorenzo Jackson, who was selected in the “old-timer” division. Jackson is deceased.
Sponsors of the Hall of Fame program are the Alabama High School Athletic Directors & Coaches Association (AHSADCA) and the AHSAA. The corporate sponsors include Alabama Power, ALFA, Cadence Bank, Coca-Cola, Encore Rehabilitation, Jack’s, Russell Athletic, TeamIP and Wilson Sporting Goods.
Veteran sportscaster Jeff Shearer will emcee the banquet. The NFHS Network is scheduled to live-stream the banquet.
The first class was inducted in 1991. These 12 new inductees will run the total enshrined into the Alabama High School Sports Hall of Fame to 332.
A profile of each selectee:
DAVID BETHEA: Montgomery Academy’s boys’ tennis coach since 1985, Bethea has carved a niche’ in state annals that includes 14 state championships, nine state runners-up, 32 sectional championships and an overall 878-145 head-coaching record. He also served as MA boys basketball coach from 1986-90 compiling a 33-36 record and has served as head junior high/middle school football coach since 1979. His football teams have won 19 city championships and compiled a 191-81-3 record.
Bethea, 61, is a 1973 graduate of Huntsville’s Butler High School. He received his degree from the University of North Alabama in 1977 and earned a Masters from South Alabama in 1979. He serves as department chair of physical education for the Montgomery Academy. He is a member of Center Point Church.
WAYNE BOWLING: Bowling, 75, was the boys’ basketball coach at Danville High School in Morgan County from 1963-2000. He also was head baseball coach from 1963-85.
Considered one of the coaching leaders in North Alabama, Bowling compiled a 683-388 basketball coaching record that included four Morgan County championships (1965, 1985, 1988, 1992); 12 area championships; five regional championships; two sub-state titles (1991 and 1992); five state tournament appearances (1976, 1977, 1985, 1991, 1992); and one state runner-up in 1992.
He graduated from Austinville High School in 1959 and St. Bernard College in 1963 and began his high school teaching and coaching career immediately. He was inducted into the Morgan County Sports Hall of Fame in 2002. Highly respected by his coaching peers in Morgan County, the MVP Award for the Morgan County basketball tournament is named in his honor.
He is a member of Central Park Baptist Church.
PETER BRAASCH: Braasch, 61, has been a teacher and coach at Vestavia Hills High School since 1977. He is the VHHS Physical Education Department chair.
A longtime assistant coach, he served as defensive coordinator and assistant head coach alongside another Hall of Fame Coach, AHSAA’s all-time winningest football coach Buddy Anderson, since 1982. The Rebels won state championships in 1980 and 1998 and reached the finals in 1978 and 1979.
Braasch also served as assistant head coach of the Rebels basketball alongside AHSAA HOF member Coach George Hatchett – winning state 6A titles in 1992 and 2009 and reaching the Final 48 State Tourney two more times (2000 and 2011. He was an assistant track coach from 1978-94 and won a 1993 state freshman championship as head coach of the VHHS ninth-grade team.
One of the most highly-decorated “assistant” coaches in AHSAA history, Braasch was named Alabama Football Coaches Association assistant coach of the year in 2009; received the prestigious AHSAA “Making a Difference” Award for Class 6A in 2012; and was inducted into the Vestavia Hills Sports Hall of Fame in 2012.
Braasch graduated from Homewood High School in 1973 and UAB in 1977. He earned a Masters at the University of Montevallo.
RICHARD CARTER: Growing up in Chambers County, Carter has spent most of his teaching and coaching career “at home,” serving as head boys’ basketball coach at Valley from 1975-99, and has been athletic director and head boys’ coach at Lanett since 2012. He began his coaching career at Bullock County in Union Springs where he was head football coach for three years (15-13). He also coached track.
His overall basketball coaching record is 534-111 – including 301-62 at Valley and 125-20 at Lanett. He guided the Panthers to a 29-6 record and the Class 2A state championship in 2016 with a 73-48 win over St. Luke’s Episcopal in the finals. It was Carter’s first state title as head coach.
Dedicated to molding the character of the young men he coaches, Carter has also served as a pastor for the past 42 years and is very active in civic affairs in East Alabama. He has mentored 75 members of his faith to become ministers themselves and has coached six players who went on to play in the NFL or NBA during his coaching career.
Carter graduated from Rehobeth High School of Fairfax in 1965 and Alabama State University in 1969. He earned a masters from Troy University.
WAYNE GRANT: Grant, 61, is one of just seven high school football coaches in the AHSAA to coach at least five state championship teams. He accomplished the feat at Pike County High School during two tenures as head coach.
Grant served as head coach at the Pike County from 1980-91 compiling a 97-33 record and winning the Brundidge school’s first two state titles in 1988 and 1989. He moved to Talladega High School from 1992-97 but returned in 1997 after the Bulldogs’ fortunes had fallen on hard times. Taking over a program that had gone 6-24 over the three previous seasons, he led Pike County back to prominence quickly with a winning season in 1999 and a state championship by 2003. The 2003 team, with just 18 players, rolled to a 14-1 record. The Bulldogs also were 15-0 and state 3A champs in 2005 and won again in 2006. He was 100-19 in his second tenure to close out his coaching career with a 231-94 record.
His Pike County teams were region champs 22 times, made 18 playoff appearances in 21 years, reached the quarterfinals 13 times and were 5-0 in Super 6 championship appearances. His overall playoff record was 44-14 (76 percent). He coached in the Alabama-Mississippi All-Star Game twice and the North-South Game once with all three teams winning.
Grant also coached two Mr. Football winners (Chris Nickson and Steven Coleman) and two that had stellar NFL careers (Fred Baxter and Cornelius Griffin).
The 1972 Zion Chapel High School graduate earned his college degree and Masters at Troy University.
BOB HARPE: A native of basketball-crazy Morgan County, Harpe began his coaching career as the seventh-grade coach at Oak Park Middle School in his hometown of Decatur. That first team went undefeated and ignited a coaching career that led him to Austin High School from 1976-1998 and later at Arab High School from 2003-06. He also served as Austin head golf coach.
Harpe’s teams compiled a 306-143 record and averaged over 21 wins per year. His 1996 team reached the AHSAA Final 48 State Tourney and his 1993 team won the state crown. Austin also reached the state tourney in 1987.
More than 20 of his players signed college scholarships. Active on AHSAA basketball and golf committees, Harpe helped develop the Alabama-Mississippi All-Star Basketball Games and served as administrative coach from 1990-95. He also was a member of the District 8 Legislative Council for nine years (1990-98) and was selected to the Central Board of Control. He has also volunteered his time in his retirement to assist the AHSAA at its state tournament since 2010,
Harpe graduated from Decatur High School in 1965 and Athens College in 1974. He earned a Masters from UAB.
DANNY HORN: Horn, 54, has served only two schools as head football coach in his 28 years as a head coach. Currently the head football coach and athletic director at Benjamin Russell, Horn is 55-39 in eight seasons (2009-16). His overall coaching record of 280-79 (78.1%) and 61-19 in the state playoffs includes an incredible 225-40 slate in 20 years at his alma mater, Clay County High School at Ashland.
He served the Panthers as head coach from 1989-2008 capturing six state championships (1994, 1995, 1996, 2000, 2002, 2005) and posting a state-record 55-game winning streak that stretched from 1994-97. The Panthers outscored opponents 1,974 to 194 during that streak with 34 shutouts and allowed only 3.2 points per game.
Horn’s 1994 team also outscored opponents 408-22 in 15 games and had 10 shutouts. His 1995 and 1996 teams allowed only 42 points in 15 games with 10 and 11 shutouts, respectively.
He has coached in the Alabama-Mississippi All-Star Game twice (1994 and 2001), in the North-South game once (2007) and was named ASWA Coach of the Year three times.
He graduated from Clay County High School in 1980, from Jacksonville State in 1984 and completed his Masters at JSU in 1989.
LORENZO JACKSON (OLD TIMER Division): Jackson, born in 1929, was selected to represent the “Old Timer” division in the Hall of Fame Class of 2007.
He attended Decatur Negro High School graduating in 1947. He then got his degree from Alabama A&M in 1957. He also earned his Masters and AA.
He was head football, basketball and track coach at Lakeside High School in Decatur from 1955-69. He was named the AIAA North Alabama High School Association Coach of the Year in 1958, 1959 and 1964.
When Lakeside and Decatur merged following the 1968 Merger Act, Jackson served as assistant football and track coach at Austin High School for nine years. In 1977 he became the principal at Leon Sheffield Elementary School in Decatur where he serve through 1989.
Active in civic affairs, he was a member of the Civitan Club and Alpha Phi Alpha fraternity, served as an elder at Macedonia Cumberland Presbyterian Church, was a member of the Decatur Planning Commission and Alabama Democratic Conference, and was instrumental registering voters in Morgan County. He also worked as a Decatur Parks/Recreation Aquatic Supervisor.
Jackson, now deceased, has been inducted into the Morgan County Sports Hall of Fame and Athletic Booster Hall of Fame.
RUSSELL JACOWAY: The head football coach and athletic director at Sand Rock High School from 1983-2014, Jacoway began his coaching career in 1978 as an assistant coach at Early County High School in Blakely, Ga., where he remained for four years. He then moved to Smiths Station as an assistant coach for three.
He came to Cherokee County’s Sand Rock High School in 1983 inheriting a team that went 1-9 in 1982. His first team in ’83 was 0-10. His third season, however, the Wildcats were 15-0 and won the Class 1A state championship. That team outscored opponents 400-54. He went on to compile a 228-132 head-coaching record at Sand Rock over 32 seasons and reached the Super 6 2A finals at Legion Field in 1997.
The football stadium at Sand Rock was named in his honor in 1999. A book chronicling his 1985 championship was published in 2010, and he was inducted into the Cherokee County Sports Hall of fame in 2014. He coached in the North-South All-Star Game in 2002 and was named Coach of the Year by the Alabama Sportswriters Association in 1985 and 1997.
He graduated from Collinsville High School in 1975 and Auburn University in 1978.
REBECCA LEE: Lee, 68, retired from coaching at Hatton High School with 1,320 varsity volleyball and softball wins to her credit. She began her teaching and coaching career at East Lawrence High School in 1978 where she compiled a 109-33 volleyball record over a five-year period. Her 1980 team was Class 2A state runner-up.
She moved to her alma mater, Hatton High School, in 1983 where she remained until retiring from coaching in 2002. Her volleyball teams were 771-258 in 20 seasons with four Class 2A state championships in a row (1990, 1991, 1992 and 1993). She also became one of the top slow-pitch softball coaches in the AHSAA with her teams compiling a 400-177 record with state titles in 1992, 1993 and 1996. She was named NFHS Slow-Pitch Coach of the Year in 2000.
The Moulton Advertiser selected her Female Coach of the Decade for Lawrence County in 1990.
She graduated from Hatton High School 1966 and earned her degree from Athens State College in 1978. She became one of the state’s top volleyball officials during her retirement, serving as vice-president of the Quad-Cities Volleyball Officials Association for six years.
DWIGHT SANDERSON: Sanderson, 75, spent 29 years teaching and coaching in the AHSAA. He spent 14 years as head football coach at Notasulga High School from 1967-81. His first four years notched only eight wins but provided the foundation for what would come over the next 10 years.
The Blue Devils were 76-24-2 during that stretch with five state appearances. His 1977 team was Class 1A state runner-up. The early years were extremely important, however, since it came just as the AHSAA and AIAA merged. His leadership and direction helped the school move into the new era smoothly.
He had stops at Valley High School and Chambers County High School before retiring from Alabama in 1993. He then spent 13 years teaching in Georgia from 1994-2006.
Sanderson has been active in the community serving as a Sunday school teacher at New Site Methodist Church, a youth director in Ashland and working with senior citizens in Tallassee. He is a member of the Notasulga Lions Club.
A 1959 graduate, he is one of two Clay County High School alumni to be selected for the Class of 2017 Hall of Fame. He earned his college degree from Jacksonville State in 1964 and a Masters at Troy University.
TONY SCARBROUGH: The AHSAA’s winningest softball coach has been at Baker High School in Mobile as a teacher/coach since 1986. His career high school softball-coaching record is 1,525 wins and 428 losses. His fast-pitch teams have compiled a 937-267 slate and slow-pitch teams (1987-1998) a 563-171 record. Scarbrough had coaching stops early in his career at Evangel Christian, Chickasaw Academy and Shaw High School in Alabama and Gautier (MS) and McLean County (KY).
His slow-pitch teams won state championships in 1991, 1992, 1993 and was runner-up in 1989. The fast-pitch program captured state championships in 2003, 2005, 2007 and 2016. The Honey Bees have reached the fast-pitch state tournament 13 of the last 16 years. The 2007 team set a state record with 79 wins, which broke the previous record (78) set by Baker in 2005 that broke the previous mark (77) set by Baker in 2004.
Scarbrough has been a leader among coaches serving on the AHSAA Softball Coaches Committee. He devised the basic plan to develop the very popular regional softball tournament format, a move that has improved softball throughout the state and has provided “state tournament” type experiences for a larger number of schools.
He was inducted into the Mobile Softball Hall of Fame in 1992 and was NFHS Section 3 Softball Coach of the Year in 2005 and 2015. He was named the Gulf Coast Writers Coach of the Year in 2015.
Scarbrough is a graduate of Vigor High School (1967) and the University of South Alabama (1972).