MONTGOMERY – AHSAA member school coaches, administrators and contest officials will gather next week (July 17-21) at the Montgomery Renaissance Hotel and Convention Center beginning Tuesday for the 21th annual Alabama High School Athletic Association (AHSAA) Summer Conference and All-Star Sports competition.
Alabama High School Athletic Directors & Coaches Association (AHSADCA) Director Alvin Briggs said he is pleased with the line-up of speakers scheduled this week.
“We think we have an outstanding list of clinicians who are very knowledgeable of the best practices in their sports concerning topics ranging from offensive and defensive schemes to current health and safety issues,” Briggs said.
The conference is expected to have 4,000 in attendance and will include eight all-star competitions, more than 300 all-star student-athletes and coaches, approximately 100 professional development sessions, eight rules clinics, three luncheons, one night banquet, 92 speakers, 51 moderators and a golf tournament and cookout hosted by the AHSADCA.
Among the speakers set to address basketball coaches on Wednesday are SEC men’s coaches: Auburn University’s Bruce Pearl, University of Alabama’s Avery Johnson, and Georgia’s Mark Fox. Also speaking are Georgia Tech men’s basketball coach Josh Pastner, the 2017 Atlantic Coast Conference (ACC) Coach of the year, Troy University’s Phil Cunningham and Scott Groninger, West Georgia’s women’s coach.
Among the list of other top clinicians set to speak are: (Baseball) Perry Roth, the hitting coach for UAB; (Softball) former University of South Carolina collegiate All-American Karen Johns, Wallace-Hanceville coach A.J. Daugherty, John Garris of Southern University and Carie Dever-Boaz of West Alabama; (Track) Troy University’s Mark Davis and Huntingdon College’s Dan August; (volleyball) Josh Lauer of Troy University and Ryan Roberson, Brooks High Schoo;l; (Soccer) Ged O’Connor of Troy University; (Golf) Matt Luther of South Alabama and Brendan Ryan of Golf Placement Services; (Wrestling) Craig Duncan, Huntingdon College and Jeremy Waters, Trackwrestling.
Football clinicians will be some of the state’s top high school head and assistant coaches, including: 2016 Class 2A state championship coach Paul Benefield of Fyffe, Phil Lazenby of Bayside Academy, Fred Yancey of Briarwood Christian, Shawn Raney of Spain Park, Josh Niblett and Adrian Adams of Hoover, former college quarterbacks and current head coaches Patrick Nix of Pinson Valley and Jeff Kelly of Saraland, Smitty Grider of Park Crossing, Andro Williams of W.S. Neal, Terry Curtis of UMS-Wright, Earnest Hill of McGill-Toolen, Chris Yeager of Mountain Brook, Caleb Ross of Opelika, Fred Riley of Davidson, David Faulkner of Enterprise and Steve Mask of St. Paul’s Episcopal.
The completing Coaching School schedule and list of speakers can be found at:
AHSAA Executive Director Steve Savarese and Medical Advisory Committee co-chairmen Dr. Lawrence Lemak and Dr. James Robinson will address principals and athletic directors Friday along with a host of high school administrators.
Former Denver Broncos head coach Dan Reeves will be the key speaker at the Fellowship of Christian Athletes Luncheon on Thursday. The week concludes Friday with two banquets, the AHSAA Sportsmanship Luncheon at noon and the AHSAA Championship Coaches banquet Friday night. Russellville baseball coach Chris Heaps will address the 107 schools that were fine and ejection free at the Sportsmanship Luncheon, and State Senator Jabo Waggoner will address the Coaches’ Awards Banquet.
The AHSAA Officials Awards banquet will be Saturday morning. All will be at the Renaissance.
ALL-STAR GAMES BEGIN TUESDAY: Football teams reported Sunday to begin preparations for the 58th annual North –South All-Star Game set for Thursday night at Cramton Bowl. The North-South Baseball All-Star doubleheader will be played Tuesday at 4 p.m. Tuesday at Riverwalk Stadium. The Soccer North-South Girls’ All-Star match will be played at Emory Folmar Stadium at the AUM YMCA complex at 5 p.m. The boys will play at 7. And the North-South softball competition will play two games at Lagoon Park with first pitch set for 5 p.m.
The North-South girls’ and boys’ basketball games will be Wednesday night at Auburn-Montgomery Basketball Complex at 6 and 8 p.m., and the North-South volleyball competition will be Thursday afternoon at 4 p.m. at AUM.
NFHS NETWORK: All all-star competition will be webcast live over the NFHS TV Network. Links and instructions on how to subscribe can be found at www.ahsaa.com. The All-Star Football Game will also be broadcast live by the AHSAA Radio Network.
The week’s festivities can also be found on the new AHSAA Mobile App, which can be downloaded free at Apple and Google stores online or by going to the following link:
MONTGOMERY – Several roster changes have been made as North-South teams prepare to report Sunday for the 58th North-South All-Star Football Game to be played at Cramton Bowl next week. The game will kick off at 7 p.m., June 20, as the 2017 All-Star Sports Week competition concludes for the 21th annual AHSAA All-Star Week and Summer Conference hosted by the Alabama High School Athletic Directors & Coaches Association.
A total of 20 players have been replaced on the South squad and 18 on the North squad from the original rosters announced earlier this spring. Both squads will check in Sunday at Auburn-Montgomery University. Andre Robinson of Birmingham’s Parker High School is the North head coach while Scott Horne of Skipperville’s G.W. Long High School will be coaching the South team.
All-Star competition is being held in seven different sports at various locations across the city of Montgomery. Baseball, basketball, softball and soccer squads report Monday with North-South competition set for all but basketball on Tuesday. Cross country and volleyball squads check in Tuesday.
The Baseball all-stars will play a doubleheader beginning at 4 p.m., girls’ and boys’ soccer all-star teams will play at 5 and 7 p.m., at Emory Folmar Soccer Complex and the fast-pitch all-star doubleheader will be at Lagoon Park starting at 5 p.m.
Cross country is being added for the first time with the girls’ race at 7:30 a.m., Wednesday at the cross country course on the AUM campus. The boys’ race will follow at 8 a.m. The girls’ and boys’ basketball competition will be Wednesday night at Auburn University-Montgomery’s Basketball Complex with the girls’ game at 6 p.m. and the boys at 8 p.m. The North-South volleyball competition will be Thursday at 4 p.m. at AUM’s Complex. The basketball competition, originally scheduled for Alabama State University’s Dunn-Oliver Arena, was moved earlier this week due to some facility issues.
The AHSAA Summer Conference gets underway Monday at the Montgomery Renaissance Hotel and Convention Center with sessions for bowling and golf. More than 4,000 coaches, administrators, contest officials, all-star players and others are expected to attend the conference, which will provide extensive professional development for AHSAA member schools.
The Summer Conference will conclude Friday, July 21, with two mandatory sessions for member schools as well as the 10th annual AHSAA Sportsmanship Luncheon honoring 107 schools that were fine and ejection free in 2016-17 and the 21st annual Coaches Awards Banquet Friday night. The Officials Awards Luncheon will be held Saturday at 11:30 a.m.
Robinson’s North football coaching staff includes Michael Robinson of Hokes Bluff, Bill Smith of Munford, Mark Heaton of Russellville, Richard Dutton of Lawrence County, Kelvis White of James Clemens and Scott Sharp of Madison County. Cedric Brown of Southside-Selma is the administrative coach.
Horne’s South staff lists Jason Massey of Leroy, Wesley Sims of J.U. Blacksher, Lee Carter of Jeff Davis, Pat Thompson of Sweet Water, Tim Perry of Wetumpka and James Lucas of LaFayette. Michael Summers of Alabama Christian is the administrative coach.
Horne has a 74-20 career record in eight years as G.W. Long’s head coach. His teams have compiled a 55-7 slate averaging 11 wins per season over the last five years. Long has reached the 2A semifinals each of the last two years going 12-1 each year and currently owns a 25-game region winning streak. Robinson, now in his second tenure as Parker’s head coach, is 64-55 overall in 15 years. He coached the Thundering Herd from 1997-2003 before becoming a college assistant coach, then returned to the high school ranks in 2013 at Birmingham Carver, moved back to Parker in 2014 and has guided the Herd to a 22-11 slate the last three years.
The South holds a 30-25-2 edge in the North-South series which began in 1948. The North won 14-0 last year in a game called due to inclement weather in the second quarter.
The AHSADCA operates under the auspices of the Alabama High School Athletic Association. Membership includes coaches of all AHSAA sports as well as administrators of member schools.
NFHS NETWORK: All all-star competition will be live-streamed over the NFHS TV Network. Links and instructions on how to subscribe can be found at www.ahsaa.com. The All-Star Football Game will also be broadcast live by the AHSAA Radio Network.
The week’s festivities can also be found on the new AHSAA Mobile App, which can be downloaded free at Apple and Google stores online or by going to the following link: https://admin.mycaboodleevents.com/event/detail/79/ahsaa-2017-ahsaa-summer-conference
The updated numerical rosters for the 2017 North-South All-Star football game are listed.
2017 NORTH - SOUTH FOOTBALL GAME
NORTH ROSTER (Updated)
Lee - Huntsville
A. H. Parker, Head
Southside - Selma, Adm.
SOUTH ROSTER (Updated)
G. W. Long
Lee - Montgomery
Southside - Selma
J. U. Blacksher
B. T. Washington
G. W. Long (Head Coach)
Alabama Christian, Administrative Coach
MONTGOMERY – Seven individuals who have made an impact as exemplary role models have been selected as the 2017 Making a Difference Award recipients by the Alabama High School Athletic Association (AHSAA) and the Alabama High School Athletic Directors & Coaches Association (AHSADCA).
One recipient from each of the AHSAA’s seven classifications was chosen from nominations submitted by AHSAA member schools and other support organizations. This year’s recipients are Alan Beckett, Winterboro High School (1A); Lamar Brooks, G.W. Long High School (2A); Bobby Tittle, Ohatchee High School (3A); Charles McCaleb, Bibb County High School (4A); Richard Dutton, Lawrence County High School (5A); Janiece Calhoun, Chelsea High School (6A); and Alvin Rauls, Buckhorn High School (7A).
The honorees will be recognized at the Championship Coaches Banquet at the Renaissance Montgomery Convention Center July 21. The 6 p.m. event will close out the 2017 AHSAA Summer Conference and All-Star Sports Week for member schools. The Officials’ Awards luncheon will officially close out the week on Saturday, July 22, at the Renaissance at 11:30 a.m.
The Making a Difference Award was established in 2011 by the AHSAA and AHSADCA to recognize individuals who go beyond their normal duties as a coach, teacher or administrator to make a positive impact in their schools and communities. This year’s recipients include one principal, two head football coaches, head softball coach, two athletic administrators and an associate superintendent of education for the Dale County school system.
“The recipients in this 2017 Making a Difference class are excellent examples of men and women who take their positions as role models for their students, faculty and community very seriously. They are each outstanding choices for what this award stands for. Each have had a major positive impact in their communities and schools and across the state," said AHSAA Executive Director Steve Savarese. “This award is the most important honor a professional educator in our state can receive. Characteristics considered for this prestigious award include the recipient’s character, integrity and service, all of which have enabled these individuals to have a life-changing impact on the community or school where they serve.”
Savarese said this special award exemplifies what makes education-based sports so important.
“This is one way we can honor them for the examples they set and the life lessons they teach on a daily basis,” he said.
Following is a brief synopsis of the Making a Difference recipients for 2017:
ALAN BECKETT, WINTERBORO HIGH SCHOOL – Winterboro’s head football and baseball coach is described as a man of strong character and tireless work ethic. Beginning his fifth year at Winterboro, Beckett guided the Bulldogs from an 0-10 start his first year to two straight winning seasons the last two years. He has been a head football coach for 11 years, including six at Collinsville, and has compiled a 59-48 overall record.
He personally has helped many of his student-athletes through hard times –whether it be a dysfunctional home situation or a problem dealing with other off-the-field difficulties. He personally insures each student can get home from practice – driving countless miles himself to insure they get home safely.
Short-staffed for many years, this son of a coach has had to carry the weight of rebuilding this school’s struggling athletic program and has done the job well -- with a smile on his face and never complaining. Active in FCA, he does not tolerate cursing or bullying and shows impeccable character in his everyday dealings with students, said principal Emily Harris.
She said he is constantly providing a vision for his student athletes, then shows them how to fulfill that vision. Harris sums him up, “He is a father to the fatherless, and a mentor to those who need a mentor.”
LAMAR BROOKS, DALE COUNTY SCHOOLS (G.W. LONG HS) – Brooks, who recently retired as Associate Superintendent of Dale County Schools, spent 40 years in education. He has been a teacher, coach, principal, associate superintendent and has served on the District 2 Board, Legislative Council and the AHSAA Central Board of Control, where he served as president from 2013-15.
“Mr. Brooks has gone above and beyond to serve the students in our community, school and state,” said G.W. Long principal Jason Steed.
Brooks taught and coached at Abbeville and Ashford before moving into administration. He then served as assistant principal at Ashford, then moved to Carroll-Ozark as assistant principal for nine years and career tech director for another four. He then became principal at G.W. Long 1998-2004 and then became Associate Superintendent of Dale County Schools in 2005.
An invaluable member of the AHSAA’s core leadership, his maturity, compassion and understanding of the educational mission of high school athletics has helped the AHSAA move forward in addressing such national issues as: Football contact limitations, health and safety issues in all sports, non-tradition student eligibility issues and good sportsmanship.
He is also a servant in the community – seen regularly at school events, he is also a board member for the Echo Rescue and Fire Squad.
BOBBY TITTLE, OHATCHEE HIGH SCHOOL – Tittle has spent the last decade as an administrator and the last six as principal at Ohatchee. He has worked tirelessly to bring back the tradition in sports and academics that OHS once stood for. His leadership, said assistant principal Michael Graham, has brought back a real sense of pride in the community. The fans now flock to sporting events at this small Calhoun County school for all sports. The football team reached the semifinals of the state playoffs for the first time in 40 years last season finishing 12-2. Academics, other sports and extracurricular activities are thriving as well. The school received an A+ College Ready Grant – a grant totaling more than $240,000 for his school. Tittle has turned the community’s perception of the school around - making a lasting difference.
Tittle graduated from Jacksonville State in 1999 and immediately began teaching music education and serving as band director at Carbon Hill High School. He later held the same positions at Walter Wellborn and Clay County. He moved into administration as assistant principal at Talladega in 2007, became principal in 2010 and moved to Ohatchee in 2012. He is active in CLAS and is a University of Alabama ACCESS instructor.
CHARLES McCALEB, BIBB COUNTY – Charles McCaleb knows Bibb County basketball better than anybody. He grew up in Bibb County graduating from the school in Centreville in 1968. He returned after college at Alabama to become a teacher and coach and has worked at the school every year but two since 1973. Always willing to serve wherever he could, he has held the positions of boys’ and girls’ basketball coach and has also served as athletic director, softball coach and was even head football coach in 2004 when the head coach left for another job. To those in the know, he is “Mr. Bibb County High School”. He was the point guard on the first Bibb County team to make the state tournament in 1967, made it back as a boys’ assistant in 1976 and did it again with three Final Four appearances in four years from 1989-1992 as the boys’ head coach with one state championship. After a two-year retirement from the school after the 1996-97 season, he returned for the 1999-2000 school year as the girls’ head coach, leading them to their most successful run in team history for 10 seasons. Forty-eight of his players signed college scholarships.
He retired again in 2010 after years in education and returned as AD in 2012 where he has served ever since.
He works daily to make sure the school has the best programs possible and has mentored dozens of coaches – including 2017 Class 6A Making a Difference recipient Janiece Calhoun.
RICHARD “RICH” DUTTON, LAWRENCE COUNTY – Rich Dutton is beginning his sixth season as head coach at Lawrence County High School. He graduated from Lawrence County in 1994. He played football, basketball, baseball, and ran track and cross-country to become a rare five-sport standout who played football on Friday nights and then ran cross country the next day. He received his B.S. in Spanish from UNA in 1998 where he ran track and cross-country. He coached at Lawrence County as an assistant from 1999-2005. He was the head cross-country coach in 1999-2000. He has served as assistant football, basketball and baseball coach and as head softball coach at Lawrence County. He also coached at Speake, Russellville and Austin. He served as defensive coordinator, assistant coach and head softball coach at Austin High School from 2008-2011.
His nominator, Denton Bowling, a coach at a Hatton High School, wrote about his friend and former coach. “When playing for Coach Dutton, he not only served as a coach but a mentor as well. He always made time to talk to me as a player regarding athletics, academics and life. He has continued that practice, and I have seen first-hand the difference he has made in so many lives.”
Fluent in Spanish, Dutton is often called on by local law enforcement to become an interpreter in the growing Hispanic community. As head football coach, he has taken the Red Devils from an 0-10 start in his first year (2012) to the school’s first playoff in decade by emphasizing team-building activities. One was having his players dress like super heroes while attending the Lawrence County Special Olympics – creating priceless smiles and joy for the participants and football players alike.
JANIECE CALHOUN, CHELSEA HIGH SCHOOL – Coach Calhoun has spent more than 22 of her 24 years in education at Chelsea where she has coached basketball, softball and volleyball. She is currently serving as assistant athletic director. Principal Wayne Trucks estimates more than 10,000 student-athletes have been affected positively by her leadership and example during this time – and she continues to make a difference each new day, he said.
The Thompson High School and University of Montevallo graduate is known for her “look” or pat on the back that helps guide students in a positive direction. Trucks added, “She always puts the needs of our student-athletes first and always wants what is best for them. She also handles all eligibility reports, scheduling for games and practices, tickets and transportation, drives a bus when called upon and can be found at the end of the night sweeping the gym or lending her ear to someone who has a question.”
She now mentors younger coaches – something she said she learned from this year’s Class 4A Making a Difference recipient Charles McCaleb at Bibb County High School where she got her first job as a teacher and coach.
AL RAULS, BUCKHORN HIGH SCHOOL – This former Central Board member has been a trailblazer of sorts as a teacher/coach and is one of the most respected coaches in his district (8) – serving on the Legislative Council and District Board. He has been an outstanding role model for all students and is well respected by his peers. Coach Rauls, a strong advocate for good sportsmanship, became the first black head coach to win an AHSAA state baseball championship when he led New Hope to the 1992 state 3A championship. In 2017 he guided Buckhorn to the Class 7A state softball championship – becoming the first black head coach to win a fast-pitch softball title in the AHSAA. He is also just the second coach in AHSAA history to win baseball and fast-pitch softball titles.
A native of Albany, Ga., Rauls attended college at Florida A&M playing second base on the Rattlers’ baseball team with former teammate and Hall of Famer Andre Dawson.
He moved to Madison County after college and became the Director of Parks and Recreation at Triana and the first black parks and recreation director in Alabama. He has also served as Alabama A&M head baseball coach, has been an AHSAA basketball official and has had coaching stints at Butler, Sparkman and Bob Jones. His teams have won more than 300 baseball games and 345 softball games.
BIRMINGHAM – The Board of Directors of the State of Alabama Sports Hall of Fame is pleased to announce that Emanuel “Tubb” Bell IV will be the recipient of the Frank “Pig” House Award at the 49th Annual State of Alabama Sports Hall of Fame Induction Banquet on Saturday, May 13, 2017.
The Frank "Pig" House Award is given to someone that the Hall of Fame considers has performed outstanding service to sports in Alabama and the Board of Directors feels is worthy of special recognition. The award is named after the Alabama Sports Hall of Fame’s First Chairman of the Board who was instrumental in the founding of the Hall of Fame.
A native of Birmingham, “Tubb” as he is affectionately known graduated from Wenonah High School in 1973 and earned a football scholarship to Lane College in Jackson, TN. Bell has been the Head Women’s Basketball Coach at Wenonah High School for the past 20 years. His overall record is 485-178. His girls’ basketball team has made it to the Girls State Final Four eight times and has won the state championship five times. They have won the state championship in Class 5A the past four consecutive years. During his 20-year career at Wenonah he has been honored as the Birmingham City School Coach of Year, Birmingham Tip-Off Club Coach of the Year and the Alabama Sportswriters Coach of Year.
He formed a professional Women’s basketball team called the Birmingham Power. He also formed the Alabama Roadrunners AAU Girls Basketball program in 1995. It was a Nike Grassroots program for 10 years. He has coached three McDonalds All-Americans. Several of his former players either played or are now playing in the WNBA.
Former recipients of the Frank “Pig” House Award include Sammy Dunn (2004), Dr. Avalee Willoughby (2007) and Buddy Anderson (2014).
For ticket information to the May13th Induction Banquet at the Sheraton Birmingham Hotel, call the Alabama Sports Hall of Fame at 205-323-6665.
Story on Coach Sewell
AL – The Alabama High School Athletic Association (AHSAA) Central Board of
Control approved Wednesday to move the start date for the 50% Rule at its
Spring Meeting Wednesday at the AHSAA Office.
50% Rule currently goes into effect on the first day allowed for Fall Sports
practice. The Central Board voted to change the date to the first Fall Sports
contest date allowed (excluding football’s zero week). For the 2017-18 school
year, that date will be Thursday, Aug. 24.
change brings the 50% Rule more in line with the AHSAA Outside Participation
Rule,” said AHSAA Executive Director Steve Savarese. “It will provide the
opportunity for student-athletes, especially in smaller towns, to participate
in more recreation events during August.”
action was taken at the Spring Meeting of the Central Board of Control. The
Legislative Council also met Wednesday. The 32-member council voted on 15
legislative proposals, but none received the required minimum two-thirds (22)
votes to be ratified.
also announced the 2016 Football Playoffs took in more than $2 million for the
second year in a row and for just the third time in AHSAA history.
“We also had great
financial reports from the winter sports, and if we can have a strong finish
with our spring championships, we hope we can reach our goal of distributing
for the first time $2 million back to our member schools through revenue
sharing this school year,” Savarese said. “Member schools have already received
approximately $1.4 million in stipends from the football revenue for the 2016
season,” he said. The AHSAA has paid out approximately $10 million in revenue
sharing to its member schools over the last seven years.
The Central Board also
elected current vice president John Hardin, principal at Hackleburg High
School, as president for the 2017-18 school year and Keith Bender, Oneonta
Schools, as the new vice president. Both will take office at the July
meeting. Spring Garden principal Mike Welsh has served as president the
last two years.
Other Central Board action included:
-- Approved the 2016 Football Playoff Audit, the 2017 Bowling, Wrestling,
Indoor Track, Regional and State Basketball Financial Reports.
-- Approved expenses for the AHSAA’s new Video Wall.
-- Heard a
report on the Medical Advisory Committee winter meeting and approved permitting
the new 2017-18 required Concussion and Permission forms to be made available
on-line May 22.
expenses for the National Federation Summer Meeting scheduled for June at
Providence, Rhode Island.
-- Approved the AHSAA 2017-18 Calendar of Events and Sports Calendar, the AHSAA
5-year Calendar, and dates for Central Board regular meetings for the 2017-18
-- Heard a
presentation by Baker High School concerning transfers enrolled in the AP
Capstone Program and denied the request.
-- Heard a report from
AHSADCA Director Alvin Briggs concerning the Summer Conference and All-Star
BIRMINGHAM - The Board of Directors for the State of Alabama Sports Hall of Fame is pleased to announce that Ron Ingram will be recognized as the Mel Allen Media Award recipient at the 49th Annual State of Alabama Sports Hall of Fame Induction Banquet on Saturday May 13th, 2017.
The Mel Allen Award was created to honor media members in the state who have made a lifetime contribution to sports through their work as a media member. The award is named after 1974 Hall of Fame Inductee Mel Allen from Birmingham who was known as the “Voice of the New York Yankees” for two decades; as well as narrated a weekly thirty minute television show in the 1960’s and 1970’s called “This Week in Major League Baseball.”
Ron Ingram graduated from the University of Alabama in 1974 with a degree in Journalism and a minor in Radio and Television. He served as a sports editor of the Dothan Progress from 1975-1981, then as sports editor of the Dothan Eagle from 1981-1984. He went on to become the prep sports editor of the Birmingham News in 1984 and remained there for 24 years. He then joined the Alabama High School Athletic Association (AHSAA) as an assistant director in 2007. He has been named the Alabama Sports Writers Association Sports Writer of the Year and has captured the ASWA’s sweepstakes writing award in both 1987 and 1994.
In 2009, Ingram was inducted into the Wiregrass Sports Hall of Fame. He was also inducted into the Alabama Sports Writers Association Hall of Fame in 2013 and the Alabama High School Sports Hall of Fame in 2015. Auburn University recognized him as the Alabama Community Journalist of the Year in 2012.
Former recipients of the Mel Allen award include John Pruitt (2014), George Smith (2014), and Tom Roberts (2015).
For ticket information to the Induction Banquet on Saturday, May 13th, at the Sheraton Birmingham Hotel, call the Alabama Sports Hall of Fame at 205-323-6665.
BIRMINGHAM – Opelika High School’s RaKavius Chambers and Elkmont High School’s Leah Seibert were named the overall winners at the 32st annual Bryant-Jordan Student Athlete Awards Banquet Monday night at the Birmingham Sheraton Hotel as 104 high school regional senior honorees were recognized and awarded more than $300,000 in scholarships.
Chambers, a senior football standout, was the recipient of the Larry D. Striplin, Jr., Scholar-Athlete of the Year Award. Seibert, who participated in softball and was a cheerleader, at Southeastern, received the Ken and Betty Joy Blankenship Student Achievement Athlete of the Year Award.
The program, named in honor of the late coaches Paul "Bear" Bryant of Alabama and Ralph "Shug" Jordan of Auburn, recognized 52 regional scholar-athlete winners selected for their excellence in athletics and academics and 52 achievement winners chosen for their ability to overcome major obstacles during their high school athletic careers.
“I am truly humbled,” Chambers said. The 6-foot-4, 300-pound lineman helped his Opelika football team reach the Super 7 Class 6A state finals last season as a standout lineman. The Duke University football signee has a 4.33 grade-point average, a 32 on his ACT test and ranks second in his graduating class of 248.
“I want to thank the Bryant-Jordan Foundation, my family, my coaches and my teachers for what they have all done for me at this important junction of my life,” Chambers said. “I am also thankful to have the opportunity to attend a school and play for a football staff that allowed me to pursue my interest in band, choir and acting.
“My work ethic comes from my grandfather. Although he only has a seventh-grade education, he is the hardest-working many that I have ever known.”
Already named the National Federation of High School Associations (NFHS) “Heart of the Arts” Award Section 3 recipient for the Southeastern states for his balance between his love for sports and the arts, Chambers was also the recipient of the Watkins Award, which is awarded annually to the top Afro-American high school student-athlete in the U.S. as selected by the national committee.
A leader in all aspects of his life, he plans to study medicine at Duke University with his goal of becoming a cardiac surgeon. He helped Opelika High School capture first place in the state high school theatrical competition at Florence – playing the role of “God” in the play “Children of Eden.”.
He is also a member of the OHS Show Choir and Symphonic Band.
His athletic exploits earned him Team Captain, All-State and All-America honors as a senior.
Seibert has been a cheerleader and softball player at Elkmont High School in Limestone County. She has a 4.14 GPA on a 4.0 scale. Leah was diagnosed with Rhabdomyosarcoma, a rare form of childhood cancer, which has required her to face many obstacles during her high school years. Even when she couldn’t participate, she was there cheering her teammates on and giving them her full support. Her positive attitude has brought her community together in support for her as she has battled through her illness.
“I thank my teachers and coaches at Elkmont for helping make me the best person that I can be,” Seibert said. Described as a natural leader, Seibert added, “It is an honor for me to receive this award. I thank the Elkmont community for always being there for me.”
Chambers and Seibert were each awarded scholarships totaling $8,500. Each regional winner received $2,500 and each class winner an additional $3,000. The state winners also received an additional $3,000. More than $10 million has been distributed to student-athletes through the Bryant-Jordan Program since its inception in 1986.
2017 Class winners in the Student Athlete division were: Alex Wilcox, Brantley (1A); Hallee Lightsey, Fayetteville (2A); Leah Seibert, Elkmont (3A); Carson Hall, Randolph (4A); Joseph Holbrook, Boaz (5A); Weldrin Ford, Opelika (6A); and Josh Stevens, Vestavia Hills, (7A).
Class winners in the Scholar Athlete division included: C.J. Lecroy, Isabella (1A); Shelby Wales, Fayetteville (2A); Taylor Hayes, Piedmont (3A); Samuel Plash, UMS-Wright (4A); Samantha Slaughter, Shelby County (5A); RaKavius Chambers, Opelika (6A); and Taelor Allen Huffman (7A).
Several special scholarships were also presented to some of the regional winners, including:
Herman L. “Bubba” Scott Coaching Scholarship: Jordan Pendley, Brookwood; Alabama “A” Club Educational & Charitable Foundation Scholarships: A.J. Robbins, Marion County and Monica McNeil, Central-Phenix City; Auburn Football Lettermen Club Scholarships: Andrew Moore, Covenant Christian School and Samantha Slaughter, Shelby County; Dr. Gaylon McCollough Medical Scholarship: Braden Garrison, Sparkman; United Methodist Children’s Home Scholarship: D.J. Pope, Gaston High School and Hallee Lightsey, Fayetteville High School.
The complete list of regional winners honored Monday night were:
2017 BRYANT-JORDAN REGION WINNERS
Bryant-Jordan Student-Athlete Achievement Award
Region 1: Phillip “P.J.” Collins, Kinston HS
Region 2: Alexis “Alex” Wilcox, Brantley HS
Region 3: Chance Boggs, Wadley HS
Region 4: Marcus McMeans, Winterboro HS
Region 5: Joe Rogers, Spring Garden HS
Region 6: Anthony “A.J.” Robbins, Marion County HS
Region 7: Cherilyn Todd, Phillips HS
Region 8: Andrew Lawrence Moore, Covenant Christian HS
Region 1: Curtis Michael Anderson, Washington County HS
Region 2: Mary Lacy Lusk, Elba HS
Region 3: Terrence L. Hollins, Jr., Abbeville HS
Region 4: Brandon Lee Heard, Horseshoe Bend HS
Region 5: Hallee Lightsey, Fayetteville HS
Region 6: Davarius “D.J.” Pope, Gaston HS
Region 7: Hayden Tate Ozbirn, Red Vay HS
Region 8: Kyle Kirkland Parker, Hatton HS
Region 1: Steven Boatwright, Excel HS
Region 2: Blaise A. Van Hoose, Slocomb HS
Region 3: Shania Sharneise Tuck, Central Coosa HS
Region 4: Mikayla McElroy, Fultondale HS
Region 5: Connor Blake Usery, Weaver HS
Region 6: Garrett Scott Martin, Oakman HS
Region 7: Austin Cyle Smith, Pisgah HS
Region 8: Leah Joy Seibert, Elkmont HS
Region 1: Clara Locke, Monroe County HS
Region 2: Dylan Deloney, Dale County HS
Region 3: Easterling Carpenter, Elmore County HS
Region 4: Andrew Kilgore, Saks HS
Region 5: Haleigh Jayne-Taylor Warren, Ashville HS
Region 6: Will Evans, Haleyville HS
Region 7: Carson Hall, Randolph HS
Region 8: Demareous Smith, Rogers HS
Region 1: Tucker Batley, Jackson HS
Region 2: Dalton Green, Brewbaker Tech HS
Region 3: Lindsey McIlwain, Dallas County HS
Region 4: Ronnie “R.J. Cox, Jr., Demopolis HS
Region 5: Macie Abigail Freeman, Central-Clay County HS
Region 6: Lucas Jeffrey McCaleb, Corner HS
Region 7: Joseph Hobrook, Boaz HS
Region 8: Erin Wales, Ardmore HS
Region 1: Andrew Mitchell, Gulf Shores HS
Region 2: Alexis Nicole Danzey, Northview HS
Region 3: Weldrin Ford, Opelika HS
Region 4: Jordan Pendley, Brookwood HS
Region 5: Melissa Pontius, McAdory HS
Region 6: Steven David-Henry Soles, Jr., Center Point HS
Region 7: Noah Fondren, Cullman HS
Region 8: Myron Dwight McDaniel, Jr., Florence HS
Region 1: Claire Kengeye, Davidson HS
Region 2: Monica McNeil, Central-Phenix City HS
Region 3: Josh Stevens, Vestavia Hills HS
Region 4: Charissa Roth, Bob Jones HS
Bryant-Jordan Scholar-Athlete Award
Region 1: Michael Hunter Ward, Pleasant Home HS
Region 2: Tomysha Danielle Boykin, Linden HS
Region 3: Clifford “C.J.” Lecroy, Isabella HS
Region 4: Benjamin Weir, Victory Christian HS
Region 5: Shea James Buckner, Donoho HS
Region 6: Garrett Alan Cooper, Marion County HS
Region 7: Katie Nicole Holcomb, Hackleburg HS
Region 8: Anna Melinda Persell, Athens Bible HS
Region 1: Kristen Noel Gulsby, J.U. Blacksher HS
Region 2: Molly McDaniel, New Brockton HS
Region 3: Nikki T. Hughes, Goshen HS
Region 4: Kaitlin Baker, Reeltown HS
Region 5: Shelby Wales, Fayetteville HS
Region 6: Race Clausen, Sand Rock HS
Region 7: Morgan Faith Pearce, Red Bay HS
Region 8: Colby Cochran, Fyffe HS
Region 1: Allison Nelson, T.R. Miller HS
Region 2: Ben Beachamp, Houston Academy
Region 3: Peri LeeAnn Greene, Prattville Christian HS
Region 4: Kelvin Valladares, Fultondale HS
Region 5: Taylor Hayes, Piedmont HS
Region 6: Lauren Anne McHan, J.B. Pennington HS
Region 7: Tanner Chase Atchley, North Sand Mountain HS
Region 8: Wesley James Smith, Lauderdale County HS
Region 1: Samuel Plash, UMS-Wright HS
Region 2: Mary Conley Teel, Trinity Presbyterian HS
Region 3: Hannah Traylor Elmore County HS
Region 4: Destinee Faithe Sellers, Handley HS
Region 5: Dawson Anderson, Leeds HS
Region 6: Thomas Jacob Graves, Oakman HS
Region 7: Christopher Johnson, Westminster Christian HS
Region 8: Maria Mask, Wilson HS
Region 1: Williams David Raybon, Jackson HS
Region 2: Taylor Frances Adams, Carroll HS
Region 3: Taylor Moore, Dallas County HS
Region 4: Samantha Kay Slaughter, Shelby County HS
Region 5: Lauren Brown, Cleburne County HS
Region 6: Brooke Henson, Mortimer Jordan HS
Region 7: Peyton Nance, Etowah HS
Region 8: Nathaniel Ford, Lawrence County HS
Region 1: Madelyn Wells, Robertsdale HS
Region 2: Serin Baek, Dothan HS
Region 3: Rakavius Chambers, Opelika HS
Region 4: Marjorie Ann Blanton, Helena HS
Region 5: Antonio Stanton, Jr., Bessemer City HS
Region 6: Holley Beth Spivey, Walker HS
Region 7: Ann Carol Braswell, Cullman HS
Region 8: George Brown, Decatur HS
Region 1: Emma Bearden, Murphy HS
Region 2: Kayleigh Green, Smiths Station HS
Region 3: Taelor Allen, Huffman HS
Region 4: Braden Garrison, Sparkman HS