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AHSAA football coaches excited to welcome Instant Replay experiment this fall

April 19, 2018

 

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE

Contact: Mike Perrin | 205-969-1331 | 205-540-7721 | mike@dcwins.com

 

AHSAA football coaches excited to welcome

Instant Replay experiment this fall

 

MONTGOMERY, Ala. – Alabama High School Athletic Association football coaches expressed excitement about the newly approved instant replay option for all regular-season games beginning in this fall.

 

The AHSAA received permission from the National Federation of State High School Associations (NFHS) to provide instant replay in the regular season and postseason as an experiment beginning in the 2018 football season. The experimental period can be for up to three years. Current NFHS football rules prohibit the use of instant replay. Minnesota and New Jersey have also been granted permission for use during championship games.

The AHSAA has partnered with instant replay technology leader DVSport to provide Instant Replay Solution for its member schools. Participation by member schools is optional.

Clifford Story is a 20-year coaching veteran headed into his 10th year as head football coach at Lanett High School in Chambers County on the Alabama-Georgia border. His Panthers, the 2017 Class 2A state champions, are moving from Class 2A to 1A next season – and he’s eager to put the new technology to use.

 

“I think it’s a great thing for the Alabama High School Athletic Association,” Story said. “I’m very excited for it. My staff is excited for it. I know the way the Association works. I know the way the Alabama High School Athletic Association runs things, they will make it cost-effective for 1A through 7A.

 

“We had a representative from DVSport come to look at our stadium to talk to us about how it would work,” he said. “I told our administration if we need to, I’m willing to give up a lot of other things to be able to get it at our school. I want to make sure it’s something we can get done at Lanett High School. It will make football even better.”

 

At Birmingham City School Jackson-Olin High, head coach Tim Vakakes said he called DVSport the first day he heard the AHSAA’s announcement of the instant replay experimental period.

 

“We’re going to have it,” said Vakakes, who is headed into his sixth season at J-O. “I think it will help the referees get it right, and I don’t think it will slow the game down. You’ve got to be sure before you drop that (challenge) flag.”

 

Sideline video for coaching staffs was approved by the NFHS in 2013, but officials were not allowed to use those videos for replay. Vakakes’ Class 6A Mustangs have been using computer tablets on their sidelines.

 

“We already have a way to watch the game on the sideline with iPads and TVs,” he said. “A lot of times we’ve been able to realize that there was not a good call, but now that it’s reviewable it will be nice to have a way to get the call right.

 

“I think it’s going to be a good thing. What’s going to determine it is how many angles the cameras have. The more cameras, the more efficient it will be.”

Andalusia High School’s Trent Taylor, 218-127 in 30 years as a head coach, is proud that Alabama is at the forefront on instant replay. “A lot of our game is influenced by what the NFL and the colleges are doing,” Taylor said. “I felt it is was just a matter of time before instant replay filtered down to the high schools. I am proud that Alabama is the first state to bring it to the regular season for all schools that wish to participate.

“I have thought about it a lot but last season, I can’t think of a single time that I would have challenged a call. The year before, however, we had three or four. This gives us an opportunity to improve the game. Obviously, we will have to educate officials and educate our coaches, too, on how to use the system.  From my standpoint, I see nothing but positives.”

Fred Riley, head coach and athletic director at Davidson High School in Mobile for the past 14 years, is for instant replay for one simple reason: Officials want it.

“I like it,” he said. “The officials association endorsed it, and that was my reason for supporting it. I was on the committee that finalized approval from our coaches association. Everyone now has some type of replay even if it is on their phones. That makes it very tough on the officials.”

Like Taylor, he doesn’t expect a lot of challenges. “Our officials get it right much more often than they get credit for,” he said. “I think the goal is to overturn the obvious mistakes that can be reviewed that impacts outcome. I do not see challenge flags flying all over the place. Our officials do not miss many of those.”

The Alabama High School Athletic Association, founded in 1921, is a private agency organized by its member schools to control and promote their athletic programs. The purpose of the AHSAA is to regulate, coordinate and promote the interscholastic athletic programs among its member schools, which include public, private and parochial institutions. It is a member of the NFHS.


Central Board Approves E-Sports, Instant Replay for Football at April Board Meeting

 

   MONTGOMERY – The Alabama High School Athletic Association (AHSAA) Central Board of Control approved E-Sports competition for member schools and Instant Replay for football games at its board meeting at the AHSAA Office Thursday.
    The AHSAA Legislative Council also met Thursday afternoon and ratified four legislative proposals – which go into effect for the 2018-19 school year.
    The AHSAA received permission from the NFHS to begin instant replay for regular-season varsity football games beginning next season. The permission grants up to three years of experimentation. DVSport Inc., the nation’s top instant replay company, is partnering with the AHSAA on the project. A separate news release outlining the Instant Replay was sent out Thursday following a press conference that was held at the AHSAA Office.
    E-Sports is a new online gaming activity that allows students to compete with other schools and will now be offered to AHSAA member school students. The Central Board approved a two-year experiment for E-Sports. The program is being provided by NFHS Network Partner PlayVS.
   The Central Board also approved limiting high school basketball teams to 30 games in the regular season, including tournaments, and lifted the restriction on the number of tournaments a team can play in. The 2017-18 rule allowed varsity teams to play 20 regular-season games and three regular-season tournaments with two being played with no loss of school time. Junior high and middle schools will be allowed to play 24 games total.
    The Board voted to move the site of the South Regional Basketball Tournament, which had been at the Dothan Civic Center the last six years, to Montgomery. The new format will have two regionals at Montgomery – at Alabama State University’s Oliver-Dunn Acadome and the new site, Garrett Coliseum, which seats 8,500 with the ability to add an additional 4,000 seats. The regionals will be renamed Southeast and Southwest. The Northeast Regional will remain at Jacksonville State and the Northwest Regional will remain at Wallace-Hanceville.
      University Charter School of Livingston was approved for membership into the AHSAA, making it the first public charter school member in AHSAA history.
      Current Central Board president John Hardin, Hackleburg High School principal, and vice president Keith Bender, Oneonta City Schools, were re-elected by the Central Board to serve for the 2018-19 school year. Past president Mike Welsh of Spring Garden, who finished a two-year term at the end of the 2016-17 school year, received a plaque of appreciation from the Central Board and Executive Director Steve Savarese.
Legislative Council Ratifies Four Proposals
     Proposals No. 6, 9, 13 and 19 were passed by the 32-member Legislative Council:
     No. 6 – Amends the current ejection policy to remove fines from ejections that occur due to NFHS rules that call for ejections based on game rules and are not conduct related.
    No. 9 – Amends Rule 1, Section 6 to allow individual sports (Bowling, Cross Country, Swimming, Wrestling, Tennis, Golf and Track) to be exempt from the AHSAA 50% rule.
   No. 13 – Changed the punishment for a first time violation of the outside participation rule to the athlete serving restitution. A second violation would result in loss of eligibility.
 No. 19 – Will allow two additional days for all sports to compete at in-state college and university team camps that occur outside the allowable three weeks of summer competition. If a team chooses to attend an in-state camp during these two days, the team will lose two days from the allowable time period.
In other board action:
-- Approved Grace Lutheran School for associate membership.
-- Approved 2018 financial reports Regional and State Bowling, Dual, Super Section and State Wrestling, Indoor Track and Regional Basketball.
-- Approved 2017 State Football Playoff Audit.
-- Approved 2018 basketball Finals Audit.
-- Heard an update from the AHSAA Medical Advisory Committee.
-- Approved 2018-198 Required Forms and release date of forms.
-- Approved ECSI – CPR and AED Certification.
-- Approved the 2018-19 Calendar of Events, 2018-19 Sports Calendar and AHSAA 5-Year Calendar.
-- Approved 2018 NFHS Summer Meeting expenses
-- Heard a report from AHSADCA Director Alvin Briggs on the AHSADCA Summer Conference and All-Star Sports Week.
-- Approved providing only football playoff on-line ticket sales for visiting teams.
-- Approved New Board Member Orientation (June 14, 2018), if needed.
-- Approved Regional Cheerleader competition to be held at Mobile Civic Center (Nov. 7, 2018) and Birmingham CrossPlex (Nov. 15, 2018) and State Cheer Competition will remain at Wallace-Hanceville (Dec. 15, 2018).
-- Approved bracket rotation – home team listing consistency for all sports.
-- Approved standardizing Officials District Director salaries.
-- Approved 2018-19 school year Central Board meetings (July 25, 2018, October 17, 2018, and January 30, 2019).


AHSAA & DVSport to Provide Instant Replay for Member Schools in 2018 Football Season

MONTGOMERY – The Alabama High School Athletic Association (AHSAA) has received permission from the National Federation of State High School Associations (NFHS) to provide instant replay for member schools for up to three years beginning with the upcoming 2018 football season.
      The AHSAA is partnering with DVSport, Inc., a Pittsburgh (PA) based Software Company, which has provided Instant Replay Solutions in NCAA college football since 2005. The AHSAA Central Board of Control approved the partnership and project at its quarterly board meeting Thursday.  Participation is optional for member schools.
     Most of the NCAA’s major conferences use DVSport Instant Replay Solutions  including the Southeastern Conference, Atlantic Coast Conference, Big Ten, Big 12, Pac 12, Ohio Valley, Sunbelt, SWAC, Missouri Valley, Mountain West, Big South, Big Sky, Colonial, MAC and MEAC conferences. DVSport also provides instant replay for the College Football Playoffs, FCS, D-II, D-III playoffs and NAIA championship game.
     AHSAA Executive Director Steve Savarese said, “We are grateful to the NFHS for approving our request. This gives our officials the opportunity to use the same technology coaches have been equipped with on their sidelines to get the call right.” 
    “While this replay process is in the initial stages of development, the AHSAA is committed to working with DVSport and the NFHS to develop a cost effective process to assist both our coaches and officials In addition, all football state championship games will use the same replay fan experience DVSport provides for SEC contests.”
     NFHS Executive Director Bob Gardner said the NFHS permits state associations to experiment in certain situations to determine the future viability of rules changes.  “As technology improvements evolve, the use of instant replay is an area of interest for the NFHS Football Rules Committee,” he said. “We welcome the Alabama High School Athletic Association’s experiment in use of replay in the 2018 season.  We hope to learn the advantages as well as any problems associated with replay from the use in Alabama.”
     The AHSAA, which has been actively studying instant replay options for the last five years, along with DVSport Instant Replay Solutions, will collect and study the data over the next year with a possibility of three years of experimentation.
     "Alabama is at the forefront of using cutting-edge-technology in the high school athletics setting and with its deep football roots, it is a perfect place for this partnership to begin." stated DVSport CEO Brian Lowe.
    DVSport Replay technology gives officials the ability to review video from multiple camera angles within seconds of the play happening. Once a coach challenges a play, the on-field referee will be able to review a play on a system located on the sideline.

    No stranger to replay solutions, DVSport has been the leading provider of Instant Replay Solutions since 2005 in both the professional and intercollegiate sports markets. DVSport’s replay solutions have been used in over 400 venues, 10,000 collegiate football games, 20,000 collegiate basketball games, and 1,500 professional games to complete more than 100,000 reviews.
    
The AHSAA’s protocol will be as follows:
    Section 1. Instant replay is a process whereby video review is used to let stand or reverse certain on-field decisions made by game officials.
     Section 2. The instant replay process operates under the assumption that the official’s ruling on the field is correct. The replay official may reverse a ruling only if the video evidence convinces him or her beyond all doubt that the ruling on the field was incorrect. Without indisputable video evidence that the ruling on the field was incorrect, the ruling will stand as called.
     Instant replay will be available at schools that use DVSport Instant Replay’s system. No other instant replay system will be allowed, according to the AHSAA protocol.
     Complete details of the AHSAA Instant Replay protocol can be found at www.ahsaa.com.

 About the AHSAA
 
The AHSAA serves 414 senior high and an approximately 335 junior high and middle school members with more than 150,000 students participating in 24 championship programs for boys and girls. Since 1921, the AHSAA has provided not only opportunities for interscholastic athletic competition, but also a platform for student-athletes to gain life-long memories and experience important life lessons through mentorship, teachers, coaches and administration.
        

About DVSport

    DVSport, Inc. is a software company founded in Pittsburgh, PA specializing in digital video acquisition, analysis, and play-back software designed specifically for the sports market. DVSport has provided Instant Replay Solutions in college football since 2005 and college basketball since 2010.
   DVSport is the current provider of Instant Replay for NCAA college football for the ACC, American, Big Ten, Big-12, Big South, Big Sky, Colonial, MAC, MEAC, Mountain West, Missouri Valley, OVC, Pac-12, SEC, Sun Belt and SWAC conferences. In addition, DVSport has been the exclusive postseason Replay Solution provider for the College Football Playoff (“CFP”), FCS, D-II, D-III playoffs and the NAIA championship game.

 


Reeltown’s Cody Argo, Mountain Brook’s Hamp Sisson Named Top 2018 Bryant-Jordan Winners

        BIRMINGHAM – Reeltown High School’s Cody Argo and Mountain Brook High School’s Hamp Sisson were named the overall winners at the 33rd annual Bryant-Jordan Student Athlete Awards Banquet Monday night at the Birmingham Sheraton Hotel. A total of 104 high school regional senior honorees were recognized and awarded more than $300,000 in scholarships.
        Sisson, a four-sport standout at Mountain Brook, was the recipient of the Larry D. Striplin, Jr., Scholar-Athlete of the Year Award. Argo, who participated in baseball and basketball at Reeltown, 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 careers.
   “He seeks out the best in people, and he brings out the best in them for the good of the team,” Mountain Brook principal Amanda Hood said. “Our school is better because Hamp was here.”
   He quarterbacked the Spartans football team the last three seasons, was a member of the Mountain Brook Class 2017 and 2018 Class 7A state champion basketball team. He also runs track and played baseball for the Spartans as a freshman. A National Merit Semifinalist with a 4.47 weighted grade-point average on a 4.0 scale. Sisson scored 35 on the ACT college entrance exam. He is a member of the National Honor Society and Mu Alpha Theta. He earned Eagle Scout as a member of Troop 63, founded KICK MS in 2013 and is the founder and a director for Raise Mountain Brook organization. He is active in his church youth group, is First Priority Outreach Coordinator and has worked with Habitat for Humanity and Relay for Life.
    Spartans athletic director and head football coach Chris Yeager added, “He is the best young person I have ever met at seeing the needs of people and also seeing the best in them at the same time.”
    Sisson, who was also named the Class 7A Bryant-Jordan Scholar-Athlete of the Year, thanked the Bryant-Jordan Foundation for recognizing me. He also had a message for the rest of the regional recipients on hand. “You are an amazing group,” he said. “I am so thankful for the opportunities and for those who have invested so much of themselves in me.”
      Argo, who also was named the overall Class 2A Student-Achievement recipient, was burned over more than 70 percent of his body from his waist to his head in a trash fire accident when he was only 3. He has undergone more than 50 surgeries since and spent much of his early years in and out of hospitals.
    He began participating in physical education classes in the third, tried his hand at sports and has spent his high school years as a member and leader of Reeltown High School’s baseball and basketball teams. Argo has also maintained a 3.55 grade-point average and has become an inspiration to teammates and opponents alike.
     He is a member of the Reeltown High School Beta Club, the Scholars Bowl team and was on the school’s Law Enforcement/Forensic Science team that won the state championship three years. He also serves as a children’s counselor at the Camp Conquest, a summer camp for adolescent burn victims at Children’s Harbor.
    “It is an honor to accept this award,” Argo said. “I thank God for what I have been put through because it has made me a better person. I thank my coaches and teachers and I thank my family.”
Sisson and Argo 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. The Student Achievement program was added in 1989.
   The 2018 Bryant-Jordan Student Achievement Award Class winners were: (1A) Olivia Nelson, McKenzie High School; (2A) Cody Argo, Reeltown High School; (3A) Anna Bryant, Pleasant Valley High School; (4A) Zoe Portis, Trinity Presbyterian School; (5A) Myles Williamson, Guntersville High School; (6A) Benjamin Hendrix, Benjamin Russell High School; (7A) Thierry Havah, Huffman High School.
   The 2018 Bryant-Jordan Scholar Athlete Award Class winners: (1A) Hannah Tarwater, Whitesburg Christian Academy; (2A) Cade Worthy, Horseshoe Bend High School; (3A) Hannah Mason, Lauderdale County High School; (4A) Benjamin Buck, Holtville High School; (5A) Abbie Barron, Charles Henderson High School; (6A) Emily Pinkston, Wetumpka High School; (7A) Hamp Sisson, Mountain Brook High School.
     Several special scholarships were also presented to some of the regional winners, including: Herman L. “Bubba” Scott Coaching Scholarship: Malachi Beverly, Wadley High School; Alabama “A” Club Educational & Charitable Foundation Scholarships: JoHannah Daughdrill, Vincent High School, and Benjamin Hendrix, Benjamin Russell High School; Auburn Football Lettermen Club Scholarships: Margaret Steely Ruzic, T.R. Miller High School, and Lauryn Malone, Buckhorn High School; Dr. Gaylon McCollough Medical Scholarship: Emily Pinkston, Wetumpka High School;  United Methodist Children’s Home Scholarships: Zoe Portis, Trinity Presbyterian School, and Devionte Williams, Abbeville High School.
   The complete list of regional winners honored Monday night were:

2018 Bryant-Jordan Scholar-Athlete Regional Winners
CLASS 1A
Region 1:
Baylee Holley, Kinston
Region 2:
Ethan Flowers, Brantley
Region 3:
Malachi Beverly, Wadley
Region 4:
Camila Lemons, Westminster-Oak Mountain
Region 5:
Maggie Herron, Berry
Region 6:
Hayden Bryant, Brilliant
Region 7:
Gage Mallard, Phillips
Region 8:
Hannah Tarwater, Whitesburg Christian

CLASS 2A
Region 1:
Madison Howard, Washington County
Region 2:
James Ethan Greggs, Geneva County
Region 3:
Brock Snyder, Goshen
Region 4:
Cade Worthy, Horseshoe Bend
Region 5:
Samuel Jackson, Ranburne
Region 6:
Savannah Blackwell, Sand Rock
Region 7:
Riley Byars, Sulligent
Region 8:
Seth Swinea, Mars Hill Bible

CLASS 3A
Region 1:
Margaret Ruzic, T.R. Miller
Region 2:
Cody Davis, Opp
Region 3:
Austyn Barnes, Montgomery Academy
Region 4:
Collin Herring, Gordo
Region 5:
Rachel Faucett, Pleasant Valley
Region 6:
Natalie Morton, Susan Moore
Region 7:
Benjamin Hembree, Pisgah
Region 8:
Hannah Beth Mason, Lauderdale County

CLASS 4A
Region 1:
Caitlin McIlwain, UMS-Wright
Region 2:
Corey Jerkins, Ashford
Region 3:
Benjman Buck, Holtville
Region 4:
Robert Burchfield, Oak Grove
Region 5:
Kate Kent, Good Hope
Region 6:
Beck Wilkes, Winfield
Region 7:
Matthew Estopinal, Randolph
Region 8:
Tucker Brown, Wilson

CLASS 5A
Region 1:
Emme Fraser, Jackson
Region 2:
Abbie Barron, Charles Henderson
Region 3:
Noah Glenn, Jemison
Region 4:
Gabriel Russell, Briarwood Christian
Region 5:
Cole Burns, Cental-Clay County
Region 6:
Rikyia Riddlesprigger, St. Clair County
Region 7:
Kayleigh Rogers, Douglas
Region 8:
Ashton Moore, Russellville

CLASS 6A
Region 1:
William Dobbins, Baldwin County
Region 2:
Mason Wakefield, Northview
Region 3:
Emily Pinkston, Wetumpka
Region 4:
Gracyn LeSueur, Pelham
Region 5:
Katharine Lightfoot, Shades Valley
Region 6:
Michael Crowder, Gardendale
Region 7:
Presley Johnson, Southside-Gadsden
Region 8:
Grant Brown, Florence

CLASS 7A
Region 1:
Brooks Green, McGill-Toolen Catholic
Region 2:
Madison Northington, Prattville
Region 3:
Hamp Sisson, Mountain Brook
Region 4:
Lauryn Malone, Buckhorn

2018 Bryant-Jordan Achievement Award Regional Winners
CLASS 1A
Region 1:
Dallas Eastman, Florala
Region 2:
Olivia Nelson, McKenzie
Region 3: Quay Porter-Scott, Loachapoka
Region 4: R.J. Burns, Winterboro
Region 5: Montana Huie, Faith Christian
Region 6:
Amanda Pettry, Southeastern
Region 7:
Britney Todd, Phillips
Region 8: Denver Benjamin, Cherokee

CLASS 2A
Region 1:
K.D. Floyd, St. Luke’s Episcopal
Region 2:
Emmy Reid, Samson
Region 3:
Devionte Williams, Abbeville
Region 4: Cody Argo, Reeltown
Region 5:
JoHannah Daughdrill, Vincent
Region 6: Nathan Stephens, Cleveland
Region 7:
Andrew Sweeney, St. Bernard
Region 8:
Autumn Fox, Fyffe

CLASS 3A
Region 1:
Joshua Jolly, T.R. Miller
Region 2:
Cade Wood, Wicksburg
Region 3:
Brody Wortham, Randolph County
Region 4:
Joshua Stanton, Fultondale
Region 5:
Anna Bryant, Pleasant Valley
Region 6:
Kylie Bolton, Oakman
Region 7:
Kline DeWolfe, Plainview
Region 8:
Kaleb Fletcher, Clements

CLASS 4A
Region 1:
Terica Curtis, Monroe County
Region 2:
Zoe Portis, Trinity Presbyterian
Region 3:
Caden Kilpatrick, Tallassee
Region 4:
Tyler Blair, Northside
Region 5: Giovanna Martinez, Leeds
Region 6: Christopher Trejo, Winfield
Region 7:
Jasmine Baker, Madison County
Region 8:
Rhett Powers, Rogers

CLASS 5A
Region 1:
LaVonta Hunt, Vigor
Region 2:
Payton Robinson, Charles Henderson
Region 3:
Artasiz Cannon, Marbury
Region 4:
Bailey Adams, Moody
Region 5: Attalina Edmondson-Jimenez, Central-Clay County
Region 6:
Hunter Appling, West Point
Region 7:
Myles Williamson, Guntersville
Region 8:
Brenan Ashmore, East Limestone

CLASS 6A
Region 1:
Ren Magtanong, Robertsdale
Region 2:
Kim Kern, Russell County
Region 3:
Benjamin Hendrix, Benjamin Russellville
Region 4: Cameron Crouse, Northridge
Region 5:
Kayla Davis, Hueytown
Region 6:
Bria Berry, Center Point
Region 7:
Zack Self, Brewer
Region 8:
Darryl Pointer, Austin

CLASS 7A
Region 1:
Jeremiah De’Irish, Fairhope
Region 2:
Davornne Lindo, Central-Phenix City
Region 3:
Thiery Havah, Huffman
Region 4:
Taylor Davis, Sparkman

Alabama HS Sports Hall of Fame Inducts 11 into Class of 2018

     MONTGOMERY – Eleven major contributors to prep athletics in Alabama were inducted into the 28th class of the Alabama High School Sports Hall of Fame Monday night at the banquet held at the Renaissance Montgomery Hotel and Convention Center.
     Inducted were: (football coaches) John Mothershed, Deshler; Randy Ragsdale, Trinity Presbyterian; Jerome Tate, Loachapoka; (basketball coaches) Ricky Allen, Brewer; Obadiah Threadgill III, Notasulga; and Ed Wood, now deceased, who was elected in the “Old Timer” category from Carver-Montgomery; (volleyball coach) Ann Schilling, Bayside Academy; (baseball coaches) William Booth, Hartselle; Al Rauls, Buckhorn, who also coached softball; (administrator) Greg Brewer, AHSAA; and (official) long-time soccer official Joe Manjone.
   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.
     Rauls delivered a poignant acceptance address for the Class of 2018, thanking those who helped guide them along the way.
    Veteran sportscaster Jeff Shearer emceed the banquet attended by more than 700. The Goshen High School NFHS School Broadcast Program live-streamed the banquet over NFHS Network under the guidance of Stephanie Snyder.     The first class was inducted in 1991. These 11 new inductees will run the total enshrined into the Alabama High School Sports Hall of Fame to 343.
     The first class was inducted in 1991. These 11 new inductees will run the total enshrined into the Alabama High School Sports Hall of Fame to 343.
       A profile of each inductee:      
RICKY ALLEN: Allen, 62, graduated from Brewer High School in Somerville in 1973, earned his college degree at Auburn University and then returned to Morgan County in 1977 where he remained as a teacher and coach for 34 years. He served in various assistant coaching roles at Brewer and head-coaching roles at nearby Cotaco and Union Hill junior high schools before taking over the girls’ program at Brewer in 1985.
    He became Brewer High School’s girls’ head basketball coach in 1985 where he remained through 2015. Allen compiled a 30-year record of 604-272 with one state title (Class 5A in 2012) and one state runner-up (2009). His teams reached the State Championships five times, made 15 Northwest Regional tournament appearances winning five times. His teams won 17 Morgan County championships.
    Brewer also served in various other head-coaching roles including volleyball and softball. In high school he was a member of the school’s first graduating class helping Brewer reach the state boys’ basketball tournament in 1973 for the only time in school history while averaging 13 points and 12 rebounds.
    A local church leader, he has taught Sunday School for 25 years and served as a member of the Board of Directors for the Fellowship of Christian Athletes (FCA).
   
WILLIAM BOOTH:
Booth, 73, a veteran of 52 years in education, got a late start in coaching at Hartselle High School. However, he made up for lost time quickly. Over the last 30 years he has become the state’s all-time career wins leader for baseball, compiling a 1,025-431 record with eight state championships and three runner-up trophies. 
    He coached his first times on a field he described as a “cow pasture” and but now plays and practices at Sparkman Park, one of the finest high school facilities in the nation. He has seen 101 of his former players sign college scholarships and eight played professionally. Two, Steven Woodard and Chad Girodo, reached the major league. He was recognized by the Alabama State Senate and his hometown last May for his career achievements at a special ceremony at Sparkman Park.
     He served 10 years as a little league coach, leading teams to two state titles and one state runner-up. He graduated in 1962 from Morgan County High School and got his undergraduate and masters’ degrees from Athens State and Alabama A&M. Teaching advanced math for almost 50 years, Booth served as interim Superintendent of Education in the summer of 2017 and is now serving as assistant superintendent while continuing to coach baseball.
    

GREG BREWER:
Brewer, 61, rose from the ranks of officiating to become the AHSAA’s Director of Officials while serving as an assistant director from 1985-2016. A 1975 graduate of Bradshaw High School in Florence, he earned his college degree from the University of North Alabama in 1980 and a master from the University of Alabama in 1983.
   He began officiating with the AHSAA in 1976. While at UA he became active as a contest official rising to supervisor of intramural officials in 1982. He also served as official scorer for basketball at UA for 22 years.
   As Director of Officials with the AHSAA, Brewer served on various NFHS rules committees including serving as chairman of the NFHS Baseball Rules Committee from 2000-2006. He also served on the NFHS Football Rules Committee from 1998-2016 and also served on the NFHS Football Manual Committee and Football Rule Editorial Committee.
   An innovator who worked diligently to improve officiating in the AHSAA, he developed the AHSAA district director program, the AHSAA Pitch Count Rule for baseball, which has been lauded as one of the best in the nation, and created a sports officiating course approved by the ASDE that is now being taught in high schools that will serve as a recruiting tool to help recruit future officials.
   He also served as a Boys State staff member from 1981-92, was the NFOSA state director from 1990-2001 and was on the Jimmy Hitchcock Selection Committee for nine years.
   The NFHS honored him with the Section 3 Citation Award for his contributions in 2006 and received the Alabama Baseball Coaches Association Distinguished Service Award in 2012. He co-founded the Alabama Sports Officials Foundation in 2016.
  
    
JOSEPH “JOE” MANJONE:
A native of Pennsylvania, Joe, 75, has served as been a soccer official for the past 58 years.  He became the AHSAA’s soccer rules interpreter in 1991, a position he still holds. His work with soccer officiating in Alabama has helped the sport flourish over the last 30 years.
   He joined the NFHS Soccer Rules Committee as the AHSAA representative in 2000 and has been the AHSAA state soccer championships officials’ coordinator since its inception in 1991.
    He received the AHSAA Distinguished Service Award for Officiating in 2010, was selected the NFHS Sports Official Contributor of the Year in 2012 and was inducted into the NISOA Hall of Fame in 2013.
   A native of Pennsylvania, he graduated from Black Creek Township High School in 1959 and Penn State University in 1963. He earned several post-graduate degrees from Penn State and the University of Georgia. He came to Alabama in 1980 where he worked through 1996 with the University of Alabama-Huntsville as Director of Sports and Fitness. He has spent most of his professional life working in some capacity in college education and served as president of Waldorf College from 2009-11.

JOHN MOTHERSHED: Mothershed, 54, served as head football coach at Deshler High School from 1995-2013 and was athletic director from 1995-2007. His teams compiled a 201-53 record during that span. Prior to becoming head coach, he served on Coach Tandy Gereld’s staff for eight years. Gerelds was inducted into the AHSHOF last year.
   The Tigers won state titles in 1998 and 1999 under Mothershed’s direction and reached the Super 6 state finals in 2003, 2004, 2005, 2007 and 2010. His teams compiled a 49-17 playoff record in 19 appearances and was 102-13 in region games. Eleven of his teams won 10 or more games.
   A graduate of Sheffield High School (1981) and the University of North Alabama (1985), he has been active in the Alabama High School Athletic Directors & Coaches Association (AHSADCA) serving as president in 2004 and as a vice president from 2001-03. He has been inducted into the Colbert County Sports Hall of Fame.

RANDY RAGSDALE: Ragsdale, 60, served as head football coach at Trinity Presbyterian High School in Montgomery from 1989-2017. The Wildcats compiled a 242-86 record during that span with a 45-game regular-season winning streak from 2000-05. His 2003 team won the Class 4A state championship going undefeated at 15-0.
    His teams reached the state playoffs in 25 of the 28 seasons and compiled a 116-23 region record. He began his coaching career as an assistant coach in Georgia and joined the Northview staff in Dothan in 1985.As defensive coordinator, he helped the Cougars win a state crown in 1985.
    Ragsdale coached in the 1997 and 2004 North-South All-Star Games, was head coach in 2010 and was named ASWA Coach of the Year in 2003.  He currently serves as a board member of the District 3 Fellowship of Christian Athletes and received the Herman L. Scott Distinguished Service Award in 2017 for his faith-based coaching leadership.
   He coached a team of Alabama all-stars in the Down Under Bowl in Australia in 1999 and 2000. As a player he earned All-America honors as an offensive lineman at Jacksonville State and played in the NCAA Division II championship game in 1978.
   The Rockdale County (GA) graduate attended Jacksonville State University on football scholarship graduating in 1979. He earned his masters from JSU in 1984. He and his family attend Ray Thorington Road Baptist Church.

ALVIN RAULS: Rauls, 62, has served in various capacities as a high school teacher and coach at Madison County and Huntsville city schools. As a baseball coach at he guided New Hope to the 1992 Class 3A state baseball crown and his 1990 and 1994 teams finished runner-up. With stops at Sparkman, Butler and Bob Jones, his teams won over 350 games. He moved to Buckhorn in 2007 where he has coached softball teams to more than 300 victories over the last 11 years. He guided the Lady Bucks to the state championship in 2017. He is only the second coach in AHSAA history to coach state titles in both sports.
  He coached American Legion baseball for many years winning numerous state titles.
  Rauls has also served on the AHSAA District 8 Board and Legislative Council and on the AHSAA Central Board of Control. He graduated from Monroe High School in Albany (GA) in 1972 and from Florida A&M, where he was on baseball scholarship, in 1977. 

ANN SCHILLING: Schilling, 53, who was named the NFHS National Volleyball Coach of the Year in 2010, has had an incredible run as head volleyball coach at Bayside Academy. Through the 2017 season, her teams have won 16 straight state championships and 23 titles overall. She has more than 1,400 wins which places her among the leaders in the nation, and has been named State Coach of the Year by the Birmingham News five times (1992, 2000, 2007, 2011, 2012.
   The founded the Eastern Shore Volleyball Club, Schilling was inducted into the Bayside Academy Sports Hall of Fame in 2004 and Mobile Sports Hall of Fame in 2017. Among her numerous honors was receiving the R.L. Lindsay Service Award for volleyball (2006), the John L. Finley Award for Superb Achievement (2004 and 2014) and the prepvolleyball.com Co-National coach of the year in 2009.
  Schilling graduated from McGill-Toolen Catholic High School in 1982 where she played volleyball for legendary coach Becky Dickinson, who is already inducted into the AHSHOF. Schilling got her college degree at Auburn in 1987.”
   She is a member of the American Volleyball Coaches Association and the AHSADCA. She is active in Christ the King Church.

JEROME TATE: Tate, 58, has spent almost his entire high school coaching career in East Central Alabama. After a one-year stint as head football coach at Keith High School in 1982-83, Tate moved to Lanett after two years as a college coach, and served the Panthers as head track coach and assistant football coach at Lanett through 1995.
   He became head football coach and athletic director at Loachapoka in 1997and remained in that capacity until he stepped down in 2017. His teams compiled a 152-98 record with four regional titles and played in the state playoffs in 17 of his 22 seasons, including 14 appearances in a row. Tate coached in the North-South All-Star Game in 1997 and 2010 and in the Alabama-Mississippi Game in 2005.
   He has been selected Opelika-Auburn News Coach of the Year, Montgomery Advertiser Coach of the Year, Alabama Football Coaches Association Coach of the Year and was inducted into the Alabama A&M Sports Hall of Fame in 2006.
   He received a Certificate of Commendation from the City of Lanett in 1995 and a Certificate of Commendation from the City of Huntsville in 2006.
   He coached numerous players who went to excel in college and three (Josh Evans, Kenny Sander and Tracy Brooks) that played professionally. Tate graduated from Selma High School in 1977 and Alabama A&M University in 1982, where he was an outstanding collegiate player.

OBADIAH THREADGILL III:
Threadgill, 70, coached girls’ and boys’ basketball for 30 years including 22 at Notasulga High School – becoming one of the few coaches in AHSAA history to coach both teams to the state tournament. His boys won state titles in 1987 and 1992 and his girls’ team won a state title in 2001. He also coached two state runner-up teams and had nine Final Four appearances – including three in a row with his girls in 1995, 1996 and 1997. His teams combined to win more than 900 games. The gymnasium at Notasulga is named in his honor.
   He was named Class 1A State Coach of the Year for boys twice and for girls once and received six Opelika-Auburn area coach of the year awards for boys and girls.  He also had coaching stops at Tuskegee, D.C. Wolfe and Tuskegee Institute high schools.
   His family represents three generations in education and coaching with his father and mother career teachers, his brother Kenneth a teacher and coach and now his son, Obadiah IV serving as a teacher and coach at LaFayette. Obadiah, at Notasulga, and Kenneth, at Livingston, became the first brothers to coach tams to the state championship game (1992) in the same year.
   Threadgill, who served in the Army with a tour of duty in Viet Nam, graduated from Sumter County Training High School in 1965 and Tuskegee University in 1970. He completed his masters at Auburn in 1980.


EDWARD WOOD (OLD TIMER Division):
Wood, now deceased, coached at two schools in his teaching/coaching career, Marengo County (Dixons Mills) and Carver-Montgomery. Born on New Year’s Day in 1927, he was in his coaching prime when succumbed to cancer in 1980 just eight days after his 53rd birthday.
    He made an impact quickly on the students of the schools where he worked. He coached all sports at Marengo County from 1954-59 with much success in football and basketball.
   He then moved home to Montgomery become head boys’ basketball coach at Carver, where he remained until 1979. He compiled a 209-99 record from 1959-69 and finished his 13-year span with 310 wins. His teams won district championships in the AIAA from 1961-64 and reached the state tourney in ’64. When the AIAA merged with the AHSAA in 1968, Wood continued his success with a region title and trip to the state tourney in 1969’s first with all schools competing. His Wolverines also reached the state tourney four more times in the next five years.
    He recruited a young coach Dan Lewis to become his assistant coach and hand-picked Lewis to be his success when he stepped down. Lewis, credits Wood’s mentoring and example for his successes. Lewis, how retired, has already been inducted into the AHSHOF.
   The gymnasium at Carver is named in Wood’s honor.
   The Montgomery native graduated from Alabama State Laboratory School in 1945 and Alabama State University in 1954. He earned his masters from ASU in 1956. He attended Dexter Avenue King Memorial Church where he was a leader and community volunteer.


Carver Coach Edward Wood’s Impact, Legacy is Still Strong after Four Decades

                               By Bill Plott

                                                         AHSAA Historian
           Veteran Carver-Montgomery High School boys’ basketball coach Edward Wood lost his battle with cancer much too young. However, his legacy and impact still live on in his hometown of Montgomery.
           The Carver gymnasium bears his name, and students who attended the school during his tenure in the 1960s and 1970s will forever carry his memory in their hearts. And so will the Alabama High School Sports Hall of Fame. Coach Wood is being inducted into the Hall’s Class of 2018.
          Wood attended high school at Alabama State Laboratory High School in Montgomery, graduating in 1945. He played basketball for Coach Hubert “Prof” Lockhart, a 2003 Hall of Fame inductee. Wood was named to the All-Tournament team in the 1944 AIAA state tournament.

After graduation, he moved across campus to Alabama State College where he would receive his bachelor’s degree in 1954. His college career, however, had been deferred for three years while he served in the United States Navy. He later returned to ASU again to earn a master’s degree.

His first of just two high school coaching/teaching job was at Dixon’s Mills in Marengo County where he coached and taught math. He was there from 1954-59.

In 1959 he moved back home to Carver High School in Montgomery as math teacher and coach. For the first 10 years, his teams played in the Alabama Interscholastic Athletic Association. His record at Carver during that period was 209-99. The 1963 team was runner-up in the state tournament. In 1968 the AIAA was merged with Alabama High School Athletic Association and he finished his career in the unified organization.

In 11 years in the AHSAA, Wood’s record was 164-114. There were five consecutive 20-plus win seasons, including four state tournament appearances.

Coach Dan Lewis, Wood’s longtime assistant and successor at Carver, said those AIAA teams were “some of the best-coached in the state.” When the merger came, Carver played in the three consecutive AHSAA state tournaments.
          Lewis further recalled: “Everything I know and have experienced with Coach Wood is positive, uplifting and inspiring. I had the rewarding opportunity to work and serve as Coach Wood’s assistant for eight years. What an honor and privilege to work under a coach who was well organized and believed in structure and organization.
           “The success I had as head coach at Carver, following Coach Wood as my mentor, enabled Carver to win back-to-back state championships in 1982 and 1983. I bestow Coach Wood a lot of credit for helping me to develop my own coaching philosophy. Coach Wood believed in developing character and discipline in the lives of every young man whom he coached. All of his team members exuded extreme character and sportsmanship.

“Coach Wood affected the lives of many young people on the west side of Montgomery. Some of the young men whose lives he touched went on to become doctors, lawyers, educators, businessmen, political officials, coaches and professional basketball players. I am immensely proud to have been influenced by Coach Edward L. Wood.”

Christine E. Williams and Dorothy Wright Pleasant, writing on behalf of the Class of 1965, said:

“The class of 1965 had a special relationship with Coach Edward Wood. He came to Carver in the fall of 1959, and we started seventh grade in junior high school. Therefore, the nomination journey has been a time of many reflections on Coach Wood and his lasting influence on our young lives.

“Coach had chances for advancement but turned down colleges time and time again to remain at Carver. Why? We believe the root of all his actions was his dedication to his players. His most important concern was the welfare of his players as future men in the community. Coach instilled in his players and mathematics students the values of an education, work ethic and community involvement.

“For those of us that attended Carver in the ‘60s and ‘70s, Coach Wood’s voice is still resonant. We recall many inspirational and motivational speeches he gave to the student body at pep rallies that kept us calm during the turbulent start of integration.”

Coach Wood died in 1980 at just age 54 after a four-year battle with cancer. He had already turned his coaching duties over to Lewis, his personal choice to take over the program. Lewis would go on to lead Carver to a then school record 30- and 31-win seasons. For the last 32 years, Wood’s family has awarded the Edward L. Wood Scholarship to the most outstanding Carver basketball player. In 1982 the school gymnasium was dedicated as the Edward L. Wood Gymnasium. His son Ed went on to play college basketball at Auburn University.

Another former student, U. S. Army Maj (ret) Abraham McCall Jr., was very specific about Wood’s influence in his life:

“Coach Wood became part of my life at a most pivotal point. Had it not been for the Lord, my parents and Coach Wood, I honestly don’t know where I would be. The Lord gave me grace and mercy. My parents game me my birth rights.

 “Coach Wood gave me an opportunity to attend college. He wrote, called and carried me to visit with the staff at Mississippi Valley State College for me to attend their school. For the things that he did, I am forever grateful.

“He did more than just rolling basketballs out on the court for me. He instilled those things in me that would propel me to become the person that I am today. He taught me about discipline, hard work, and sacrifice. Other things that I learned from him were leadership, commitment, service and family.

“All of the aforementioned have helped me have two long and successful careers. One was 22 years in the military, of which I retired as a field grade officer. The second career was that of public educator, of which I retired as a high school administrator. As you can see, Coach Wood gave me and others immeasurable opportunities at having a chance at success in life.”


THE TRUTH ABOUT SPORTS SCHOLARSHIPS

By Bob Gardner, Executive Director of the National Federation of State High School Associations and Steve Savarese, Executive Director of the Alabama High School Athletic Association.


Many parents are trying to live the dream through their sons and daughters – the dream of landing a college athletic scholarship by specializing in a sport year-round. Unfortunately, most of these dreams are never realized.

The odds of a sports scholarship paying for even a portion of a student’s college education are miniscule. 

The College Board, a not-for-profit organization comprised of 6,000 of the world’s leading educational institutions, reports that a moderate cost for college students who attend a public university in their state of residence is $25,290 per year. The annual cost at a private college averages $50,900.

Meanwhile, the most recent data from the NCAA reveals that the average Division I athletic scholarship is worth only $10,400.  More significantly, the same study shows that fewer than two percent of all high school athletes (1 in 54) ever wear the uniform of an NCAA Division I school.

Even if the dream is realized, parents likely will spend more money for club sports than they ever regain through college athletic scholarships. Thanks to the costs of club fees, equipment, summer camps, playing in out-of-state tournaments and private coaching, youth sports has become a $15 billion-per-year industry.

There is an option, and it’s a financially viable one: Encourage your sons and daughters to play sports at their high school.

In education-based high school sports, student-athletes are taught, as the term implies, that grades come first. The real-life lessons that students experientially learn offer insights into leadership, overcoming adversity and mutual respect that cannot be learned anywhere else. Unlike club sports, coaches in an education-based school setting are held accountable by the guiding principles and goals of their school district. And the cost of participating in high school sports is minimal in most cases. 

While there is a belief that the only way to get noticed by college coaches is to play on non-school travel teams year-round, many Division I football and basketball coaches recently have stated that they are committed to recruiting students who have played multiple sports within the high school setting.

In addition, by focusing on academics while playing sports within the school setting, students can earn scholarships for academics and other talents—skill sets oftentimes nurtured while participating in high school activities. These scholarships are more accessible and worth more money than athletic scholarships. While $3 billion per year is available for athletic scholarships, more than $11 billion is awarded for academic scholarships and other financial assistance.

Without a doubt, your sons and daughters will have more fun, make more friends and be better prepared for life beyond sport by participating in multiple sports and activities offered by the high school in your community. 


Obadiah Threadgill Legacy Stretches Four Generations with Sumter County family

                          By Bill Plott
                                          AHSAA Historian

        

        Retired Notasulga High School basketball coach Obadiah Threadgill III was born into a family of educators. Both of his parents were teachers, and his father, Obadiah Threadgill II, coached and officiated in the Sumter County area.
         In addition, his brother Kenneth Threadgill taught and coached basketball at Livingston High School, winning a state championship in 2003.  Another brother, Reginald Threadgill, is a longtime basketball official in the Jefferson County area.

          That legacy has now extended into a fourth generation. Obadiah’s wife Joyce is a career elementary school teacher. Their son, Obadiah Threadgill IV, the head boys’ basketball coach at LaFayette High School, has already coached a state championship team at LaFayette, and his wife Shernika is cheerleader coach.
          It all started with Obadiah Threadgill I, said Obadiah III, who has been selected to be enshrined into the Alabama High School Sports Hall of Fame’s Class of 2018. “He was the son of slaves,” he said, “and a God-fearing man who knew the importance of getting an education.”

          Pam Langford, Dadeville High School administrator and a former Notasulga teacher, in her letter nominating Threadgill for the Hall of Fame, said there is still another legacy.

“Athletics serve an important role in the lives of many young people,” Langford said. “Coach Threadgill has used his love of basketball and his coaching ability to give many student-athletes an opportunity to be successful. However, as a school principal, parent and friend, it is his character that I admire and appreciate the most! Not only did Coach Threadgill teach kids to be winners on the court, he taught them to be winners in life.
            “His examples of integrity, work ethic, perseverance and compassion were so important for our students. Now, thousands of his students and athletes are adults. It warms my heart to know that those characteristics have helped them be successful in life.”
           Langford said Threadgill’s influence didn’t top there.
           “I see [them] instilling those winning characteristics in their own children,” she said. “Coach Threadgill’s positive impact will go on forever.”
           Threadgill attend Sumter County Training School, graduating in 1965. He attended Tuskegee University, graduating in 1970. He later earned a master’s degree from Auburn University in 1980.

          A Vietnam veteran, Threadgill went into military service after his graduation from Tuskegee. He served from 1970-72. Out of the Army, he returned home to Sumter County and accepted the position of director of the Sumter County Head Start Center.

In 1973 he moved to Macon County, first as teacher and coach at Tuskegee Public Middle School from 1973-74, and then at Deborah C. Wolfe High School from 1974-77. From 1977-81 he held a similar position at Tuskegee Institute High School.

In 1981 he accepted the position of teacher and head basketball coach at Notasulga High School where he served through 2002.

Notasulga in the 1960s and 1970s was a town with difficult integration issues. Those issues were overcome by a community that came together. Macon County Board of Education member Karey Thompson recalled that situation in his letter.

“Dwight Sanderson and Buddy Knapp, along with Principal Robert Anderson, became legendary leaders at Notasulga, having navigated an uncharted journey of school desegregation in the early 1970s not only in the athletic program but also in academic achievement and positive community relations. In 1974 a television crew (BBC/England) visited the campus of NHS, recording the school’s story and later aired to a national and international audience, a documentary of Notasulga’s success.

“In Notasulga, Coach Threadgill is viewed much the same as Sanderson-Knapp-Anderson. If the Blue Devils had a Mt. Rushmore, the four mentioned would receive priority placement. In 2014, in a combined project, by act of the Macon County Commission, Macon County Board of Education and Town of Notasulga, Notasulga High School honored the legendary coaches by naming the football stadium Sanderson-Knapp Football Stadium and the gym Obadiah Threadgill Gymnasium. NHS Principal Robert Anderson (deceased) will receive special recognition at a later date.”
            When he retired after a 30-year teaching and coaching career, Threadgill’s coaching legacy included:

·         More than 900 wins coaching boys’ and girls’ basketball at varsity and JV levels.

·         Two boys’ state championships in 1987 and 1992; one girls’ state championship in 2001; two state tournament runners-up.

·         Nine Final 48 appearances, including three in a row in girls’ basketball.

·         Nine consecutive Southeast Region appearances.

·         State Coach of the Year for boys in 1987 and 1992 and for girls in 2001,  and six Region Coach of the Year awards in boys’ basketball and six in girls’ basketball.

·         Coached both boys’ and girls’ teams in the Alabama-Mississippi All-Star Game.

·         Notasulga High School Gymnasium was named in his honor.

 

Dr. Lenda Jo Connell, wife of principal Anderson, said Threadgill’s strong character was the key.
         “Character can be formed in many ways,” she said. “Coach Threadgill’s unshakeable character came from a rock-solid family who valued faith, family and education leveled with a good dose of humor! This is a dedicated, strong family that has left their mark and continues to leave their mark on high school athletics in the state of Alabama.

“Coach Threadgill is the type of gentleman whom you want influencing young people. A humble man, I never heard him say ‘I’. It was always ‘We’ when referring to his many successful endeavors. Because of his commitment, dedication, and willingness to work together, Notasulga High School stands today as a testament to men like Coach Threadgill, who believed that (education-based) athletics could build young men and women and community.”  
SATURDAY: Edward Wood’s impact still strong after four decades.


Loachapoka Coach Jerome Tate Taught Players to be Physically and Mentally Tough

                          By Bill Plott
                                          AHSAA Historian

          When Jerome Tate came out of college, he was a big man with big plans. And he would take that plan to the small Lee County community of Loachapoka where he spent more than two decades instilling big dreams in the student-athletes he taught.
          A native of Selma, Tate is being inducted into Alabama High School Sports Hall of Fame’s Class of 2018. He graduated from Selma High School in 1977 as an All-State offensive and defensive lineman and was selected to play in the AHSAA North-South All-Star Game.  He attended Alabama A&M University, where he continued his on-the-field success and graduated in 1982 with a bachelor’s degree in health, physical education and recreation.

          His first job out of college was at Keith High in Orrville where he served as head football and assistant basketball coach. He taught physical education and health, subjects that he taught at each stop in his career.

          For the next two years he coached at the college level, first at Alabama A&M and then at Tuskegee University.  He was defensive line coach at A&M. At Tuskegee he served as an assistant football coach, and head strength and conditioning coach. However, he knew in his heart that he belonged back in high school.
          In 1990 he moved to Lanett High School where he spent 10 years as defensive coordinator, linebackers coach and offensive line coach. He also was head track coach from 1990-95 at Lanett.

          When Tate left Lanett to accept the athletic director and head football coach position at Loachapoka High School, sportswriter Todd Brooks wrote of his impact at Lanett.

“Perhaps the thing I noticed most about Jerome in the past four years I’ve known him is not how well he coached, but how well he got along with the students,” Brooks said. “Anyone who has seen the man in a school setting can tell that he cares. When (coach) Billy Kinnard left (Lanett) in 1993, it was Tate who led the team until a new coach was found. He, along with the other coaches, took them through spring training and kept them together until Lee Gilliland was hired.

“I have never seen players respond to a coach the way the Panthers have responded to Tate. When I interviewed Cliff Jackson about being selected to the state’s Super 12 team, I asked him about who he credits for his success. Jackson immediately spoke the name of Jerome Tate. ‘He’s my biggest fan, my biggest buddy.’ That’s pretty impressive to hear a 17-year-old kid speaking so highly of an adult these days.”

Tate went to Loachapoka in 1995. Over the next 22 years he compiled a record of 152-98 and won four region titles and become the school’s all-time wins leader. The Indians were in the state playoffs 17 times in 22 years, including a string of 14 straight appearances.

          His coaching accomplishments and honors include:

·         15 winning football seasons in 22 years at Loachapoka. Seventeen of his 22 teams made the state playoffs.

·         Led his 2004 team to an undefeated regular season and finished 12-1 overall. The 12 wins is a single season is a school record.

·          Finished 11-2 in 2009, tied a school record for wins and advanced to the playoff semifinals.

·         All-time winningest coach in Lee County.

·         Coach of the Year awards in 1997, 2004, 2005 and 2009.

·         Played in the North South All-Star Game and later coached in both the  North-South and the Alabama-Mississippi all-star games.

 

          Eleven of his players at Lanett and 16 at Loachapoka went on to play at the collegiate level. Three of them played professionally: Josh Evans with the Houston Oilers, Tennessee Titans and New York Jets; Kenny Sander with the New York Giants; and Tracy Brooks with the Salina Liberty of the Championship Indoor Football League.
           Long-time coaching rival and friend Jackie O’Neal, a 2012 Hall of Fame inductee, admired Coach Tate’s work ethic.

“He was focused and driven to develop his teams to be tough mentally and physically on the football field,” O’Neal said. “Through his mentorship and life of integrity, Coach Tate has positively impacted student athletes for over three decades…. He is a true professional, along with being one of the most honest and upstanding people I know. I truly call him a friend.”

Former AHSAA Executive Director Dan Washburn mentored Tate at Lanett and wrote the following:

“I have been associated with Jerome for 35 years. I hired Coach Tate as an assistant coach at Lanett High School during my tenure as superintendent of Lanett City schools. I have witnessed first-hand his love and passion for the game of football. Jerome demonstrates professional integrity, outstanding character and is a true professional in everything he undertakes.
          “Being a former coach, I have experienced how difficult it is to maintain a quality program over a period of many years. Jerome is the winningest coach in Lee County…. Every year we have numerous coaches who have qualifications to be part of this most prestigious hall of fame, but there are some outstanding individuals who simply stand above and beyond other nominees. Jerome Tate is definitely one of these.”

Coach Jim Hubbert, a 2006 Hall of Fame inductee, also wrote a letter endorsing Tate’s nomination. Hhe said, “I have known Coach Jerome Tate for over 30 years – as a college recruiting coach, as one of my assistant coaches, as a head coach and opponent, and mostly as a colleague and a friend. Jerome is the type of coach any father would love his son and grandson to have lead them. I was fortunate enough to have Coach Tate as one of my son’s coaches, and for that I am extremely thankful.

 “His teams always have been respected as hard-nosed, disciplined and respectful of opponents. Those positive attributes are the results of Coach Tate leading his teams to exhibit good moral and ethical standards, to demonstrate leadership qualities, and to display good sportsmanship. Because of Coach Tate’s leadership, his teams have always brought a source of pride and respect to his school and community.”

Tate was inducted into the Alabama A&M Sports Hall of Fame in 2006.

Friday: Obadiah Threadgill Legacy stretches over four generations.


Perseverance and Passion Has Highlighted Ann Schilling’s Journey to Hall of Fame

                                                       By Bill Plott

                                                   AHSAA Historian
         Ann Schilling’s journey to the Alabama High School Sports Hall of Fame started at the hands of a master. The Class of 2018 inductee played under the renowned Coach Becky Dickinson at McGill-Toolen Catholic High School. Coach Dickinson was in the very first class of inductees in 1991.

          In a letter nominating Schilling to the Hall of Fame, Coach Dickinson wrote:

“Before her high school tenure with me even began, Ann fell during summer team camp and broke her right arm. Other athletes might have let that discourage them, but not Ann. She stayed at summer camp and continued to work out. She came to every volleyball practice and game, taking statistics and stepping in wherever she could. She even taught herself to shoot a basketball left-handed.

“She had her silly moments, too. When she was still a freshman, our basketball team played an area championship, and I watched as my starting players fouled out one by one, clearing my bench until I was left with Ann. When I put her in the game, I called a time-out and shared the game plan with my players. We were ahead and time was running out. They were to maintain possession of the ball. We didn’t need any baskets, so they weren’t to shoot.
           “Ann Stepped out onto the court and received the ball out in Timbuctoo. She didn’t’ dribble. She didn’t pass. She didn’t’ fake her opponent.  No, that 14-year-old kid launched the ball toward our goal, and – swoosh! – made it. After the game, I told her had her ill-advised shot missed, she would never have seen playing time on one of my teams again.

“But she hadn’t missed. And perhaps she had learned something about strategy, something that came in handy for her as she played at Auburn or as she began her own coaching career at Bayside Academy.”

A native of Mobile, Schilling went from McGill-Toolen to Auburn University where she played basketball for four years, walking on and earning a scholarship by her sophomore year. She stayed a fifth year at Auburn to play volleyball when the program was reinstated.

With college-level varsity experience in basketball and volleyball under her belt, she accepted the position of physical education teacher, basketball and volleyball coach at Bayside Academy in 1987. It was a perfect union. Schilling is now in her 31st season of teaching and coaching at Bayside.

That career, by the numbers, includes the following:

·         23 state volleyball championships, four runners-up

·         16 consecutive state champions 2002-2017, an Alabama record and second in the nation, and 19 in 20 years since 1998

·         More than 1,400 wins, first among state active coaches and second in the state all-time

·         6 Mobile Press Register Super 12 Coach of the Year awards

·         5 Birmingham News Coach of the Year awards

·         7 selections as AHSAA all-star coach

·         National Federation of High Schools Volleyball Coach of the Year award in 2010

Additionally, Schilling has received two John L. Finley Awards for Superb Achievement as a coach and an R. L. Lindsay Service Award for club volleyball. She is founder and director of the Eastern Shore Volleyball Club.

She was elected to the Bayside Academy Hall of Fame in 2004 and to the Mobile Sports Hall of Fame in 2017.

Nancy Shoquist, varsity volleyball coach at Mary G. Montgomery High School and a Hall of Fame inductee in 2014, wrote of her long association and friendship with Schilling:

“I truly feel Ann is the smartest high school volleyball coach in Alabama,” she said. “She studies the game, wanting always to learn new ideas and strategies which will give her an advantage. Her career record, state championships and state tournament appearances speak loads of her success.

“She will continue to be successful in volleyball because of the work ethic, love of her teams and lover of the game.”

Bayside Head of School Michael Papa spoke to the intangibles in Schilling’s career.

“Ann plays a huge role in the character development of the young ladies she coaches,” he said. “She instills good sportsmanship and the importance of teamwork in her players, regardless of the outcome of the game. Ann’s players respect her, and they want to work hard to win under her direction.”

Coach Dickinson said she saw Schilling develop and grow into a superb leader.

“Looking back at her outstanding career, it may come as a surprise that Ann was not a born leader,” Dickinson said. “During her senior year, the captain of the volleyball team missed one of our tournaments, and I watched as my team floundered, leaderless.   A few timeouts later, when I asked Ann and her fellow senior to take charge, I watched her step onto the court and step into her own. After that, nothing Ann did surprised me.
           “I was not surprised when she started and didn’t stop winning state championships. I was not surprised when Ann’s peers repeatedly recognized her coaching ability by voting her Coach of the Year. I was not surprised that she learned to take relatively unskilled young women and teach them game skills while building their confidence and leadership skills.”
         And it is no surprise that Ann Schilling is now being inducted into the AHSAA Sports Hall of Fame in the Class of 2018.
THURSDAY: Jerome Tate taught his players to be mentally tough.