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Ike Grant Has Achieved as a Teacher, Coach, Administrator and Contest Official

 

     Ike Grant has worn many different hats during his long teaching and coaching career.
     He has excelled as a teacher, coach, administrator and contest official. His impact has been far reaching --a chief reason he was selected to be inducted into the Alabama High School Sports Hall of Fame.
     Grant will be inducted into the Alabama High School Sports Hall of Fame as a member of the Class of 2016 at a banquet Monday night, March 21. The induction banquet, hosted by the Alabama High School Athletic Association (AHSAA) and Alabama High School Athletic Directors & Coaches Association (AHSADCA), will be at the Montgomery Renaissance Hotel and Convention Center at 6:30 p.m. A press conference introducing the 26th Class will be held at 5:30 at the Renaissance.
     Other members of the Class of 2016 include fellow football coaches Richard Beverly and Tandy Gerelds; basketball coaches Mike Cochran and Jerome Sanders; volleyball coaches Frances Crapet and Brenda Mayes; baseball coach Earl Miller; wrestling coach and official Dwight Buzbee; volleyball official Apple Kridakorn and coach/administrator Alfred Peavy, who was selected in the “old-timer” division. Peavy and Gerelds are deceased.
     One of two inductees in this class from Alexander City, Ike Grant was graduated from Benjamin Russell High School in 1972. Fellow inductee Dwight Buzbee was a teammate of his and graduated from Benjamin Russell a year earlier in 1971.
     Grant went on to earn a bachelor’s degree from Alabama State University in 1976.  He began his teaching and coaching career at LaFayette High School in 1978 when he was named head football coach and athletic director. He served from 1979-86, compiling a record of 35-45 with one trip to the state playoffs. It was the first time LaFayette had been in the football playoffs.

     He returned to the head football coach position in 2001 after the LaFayette football program had gone through some lean years. On his return he compiled a record of 50-44 and carried three teams to the playoffs. His 2003 and 2005 teams finished with 9-1 regular season records, setting school standards for most wins in a season. Both teams extended that record to 10 wins with victories in the first round of the state playoffs. The 2005 team won LaFayette’s first region championship.
     The 85 wins he counted in his two different terms as head coach make him the winningest football coach in LaFayette High School history. Grant was selected as a South assistant coach in the 2003 North-South All-Star Football Game hosted by the AHSADCA and also was an assistant in the 2005 Alabama-Mississippi All-Star game. His teams won both games.
     Chambers County School Superintendent Dr. Kelli M. Hodge said Grant continues to remain an influence in their school system.  “Coach Grant (as he will always affectionately be called) is a role model and mentor for students, teachers and coaches alike,” Hodge said. “He has been a dedicated employee of Chambers County School System for 38 years. He has always been a team player and has been a motivator and encourager to his fellow coworkers.
    “Coach Grant continues to influence the students and adults in the Chambers County School System and the community even though he no longer coaches. He will always be someone we can all reach out to.”
     Former Assistant Superintendent Dr. George C. McCulloch described Grant as “a man of integrity…respected by his peers, his students and former and present athletes. I’ve known Mr. Grant for more than 25 years. I worked with him as a fellow teacher in the Chambers County School System and finally as his supervisor prior to my retiring. We’ve had numerous conversations over the years about his students and the athletic program at LaFayette High School.
    “His desire is and has always been that we work with the children that we serve to help them to achieve their academic and athletic goals. He is a champion for all students. The football program at LaFayette High School is one that has achieved success in its class and is recognized by its competitors as a team that you do not take for granted. Mr. Grant moved them into this direction when they made the playoffs in 1986.
    “Mr. Grant has garnered a list of achievements throughout his career as a coach, athletic director and football official. Yet, with all of his achievements he still remains humble, always looking for the best for those who cross his path. He a mentor for those who are currently in school and for those who have graduated.”
     Coach John Tatum, a 2015 Hall of Fame inductee, admired Grant’s leadership as a coach.
     “I have known and competed against Ike for a number of years,” said Tatum. “I have a found him to be an “old school” coach, one that cares a tremendous amount about his players. We had some fiercely competitive games over the years, and I have always found him to be the utmost in sportsmanship, along with his players. There is no amount of words I could use to describe the qualities of Ike Grant.”
       Grant was named Opelika-Auburn News and Valley Times News Coach of the Year in 1980.  Other Coach of the Year honors have come from The Birmingham News and the AHSADCA.

       He has been an Alabama High School Athletic Association certified official since 1987 with membership in the Alabama-Georgia Association and the Big East Officiating Association. Entering the 2015 season he had officiated in nine state playoff games including one Super Six Championship game.

       In the AHSAA he has served on the football committee, the Fourth District Athletic Board and the Central Board of Control. A crowning moment in his career came when his son Corey, a standout running back at Auburn University, reached the NFL as a member of the Jacksonville Jaguars in 2015.
THURSDAY: The AHSHOF Class of 2016 series continues with installments 7 and 8 (volleyball official Apple Kridakorn and volleyball coach Brenda Mayes).

 

 

Tandy Gerelds’ Impact Has Touched The Nation Through the Movie “Woodlawn”

 

       Former Woodlawn High School football coach Tandy Gerelds’ impact was felt by thousands during the tumultuous transition of integration in his native city of Birmingham, and more recently, thanks to the American cinema, the nation is also seeing that impact up close and personal.
      Coach Gerelds was as successful on the field as he was in relationships. His Woodlawn teams compiled a 36-14 record over four years. His 1974 team was 9-1 and met Banks in a Legion Field clash that attracted the largest single crowd (42,000) in AHSAA history. That game was chronicled in the inspirational Woodlawn movie.

     Gerelds, who graduated from Woodlawn in 1960, will be inducted next Monday, March 21, into the Alabama High School Sports Hall of Fame as a member of the Class of 2016.
      Gerelds, now deceased, will be represented by his son Todd at the induction of the 26th Class of the HOF. The induction banquet, hosted by the Alabama High School Athletic Association (AHSAA) and Alabama High School Athletic Directors & Coaches Association (AHSADCA), will be at the Montgomery Renaissance Hotel and Convention Center at 6:30 p.m. A press conference introducing the 26th Class will be held at 5:30 at the Renaissance.
     Other members of the Class of 2016 include fellow football coaches Richard Beverly and Ike Grant; basketball coaches Mike Cochran and Jerome Sanders; volleyball coaches Frances Crapet and Brenda Mayes; baseball coach Earl Miller; wrestling coach and official Dwight Buzbee; volleyball official Apple Kridakorn and coach/administrator Alfred Peavy, who was selected in the “old-timer” division. Peavy is also deceased.
     Gerelds received his bachelor’s degree from Auburn University in 1965 and returned to his high school alma mater to begin his teaching and coaching career. His first coaching assignment was baseball, which he did for six years.
      In 1971, he became head football coach serving for years during a tumultuous period in Woodlawn’s history. It was the time of difficult integration, but Gerelds helped guide Woodlawn through it. The story of those years and his star running back Tony Nathan have been dramatized in the recently-released film Woodlawn.
     After the 1975 season, he left education to enter the insurance business. He pursued that profession for10 years, but he could not escape his calling as a teacher and coach. He returned to his career in education in 1984 when he accepted the position of head football coach and athletic director at Deshler High School in Tuscumbia. Reviving a program that had struggled for several years, he developed a Class 4A powerhouse. It was another major highlight of his career.
      Among his achievements at Deshler were:
      --  The 1990 Class 4A state football championship and a perfect 15-0 record.
      --  A 1991 runner-up finish in Class 4A with a 13-1 record. The 1987 team also made the
           semifinals with a record of 11-2.
      --  Eight Area and Region championships and an overall area/region record of 34-3.
      --  Each of his Deshler football teams made the state playoffs, compiling a 22-10 playoff
           record and an overall 101-36 slate over 11 seasons.
     When he left Deshler he was the school’s all-time winningest coach, a record surpassed by only John Mothershed, who followed Gerelds.
      Tandy also coached golf at Deshler for three years, winning the 1997 4A state championship after finishing second in 1996.
      “Coach Gerelds was not only a great coach but a great educator and leader,” said Deshler Principal Russ Tate.  “His powerful example of love and dedication to his players is still very strong, not only in the city of Tuscumbia and at Deshler High School but statewide as well. His influence over the many young men that he coached is evident still today in the way that these men conduct their lives.”
      Former player Jamie Shaw wrote a college essay on the impact Coach Gerelds has had on his life. Among his observations:
      “Thanks to Coach Gerelds I am a better person. He taught me to conduct myself as a responsible person,” Shaw revealed. “He knew the game of football well. Not once did we question his strict tactics. He always made sense in what he was teaching us. Coach Gerelds was more than a football coach. He was more like a philosopher of football.”
      In 1997 he left Deshler to become principal at Shoals Christian School. He started the football program, serving as head coach and athletic director was well as continuing his administrative duties.
      Anxious to get back into full-time coaching, he moved to Belmont High School in Mississippi in 2001. As he was preparing for 2002 season, he learned that had cancer.
      “He came to me and told me he had an illness,” Belmont Principal Malcolm Kuykendall said. “He thought it was serious, but he wanted to coach. He said, ‘I will do the job a lot through my assistants, because I will have them ready to do what has to be done. I’ll be here all I can, but when I can’t be here, the job will still get done.’ I felt like the job got done. I felt like he poised his assistants to be in the place to where the job got done.”
     The Belmont players, caught up in Gerelds’ determination as he underwent radiation and chemo therapy, shaved their heads prior to the season opener. “The boys were just showing him their dedication and their loyalty to him,” said Kuykendall. “He was a great man, and this community really rallied around Coach Gerelds.”
     Belmont, 2-7 in his first year, made the state playoffs in ’02. Gerelds died a few weeks after the season ended.
THURSDAY: The AHSHOF Class of 2016 series continues with installments 7 and 8 (volleyball official Apple Kridakorn and volleyball coach Brenda Mayes).