Steve Savarese, Executive Director of the Alabama High School Athletic Association, is one of eight selected to be inducted into the State of Alabama Sports Hall of Fame. The Board of Directors of the ASHOF announced the Class of 2019 Wednesday morning. The class will be inducted into the Alabama Sports Hall of Fame at its induction banquet on April 27, 2019.
The Class was selected by ballot through a statewide selection committee; votes were tabulated by the firm of PricewaterhouseCoopers.
The newly elected inductees for the Class of 2019 are as follows:
CATHERINE REDDICK WHITEHILL
Starting with the first class in 1969, this will be the 51st Class inducted into the Alabama Sports Hall of Fame. The eight newly elected inductees will bring the total number of inductees to 361.
The 51st Induction Banquet and Ceremony will be held in the Birmingham Ballroom, at the Sheraton Birmingham Hotel, on April 27, 2019. For more information please contact the Alabama Sports Hall of Fame Museum at (205) 323-6665.
Savarese is being inducted in the administrator category. Others with AHSAA ties include football standouts Tommie Agee, who is a Maplesville High School graduate, and Antonio Langham, who graduated from Hazlewood High School in Town Creek; former coach Bill Burgess, a Banks High School graduate; track Olympian Willie Davenport of Troy; and soccer star Catherine Reddick Whitehill, who attended Briarwood Christian School in Shelby County.
Savarese was born October 16, 1952 in Glencoe, NY. Savarese grew up in Leeds, Alabama and graduated from Southwestern College in Kansas. After a very successful high school coaching career for more than three decades, he became just the fourth AHSAA Executive Director in the history of the AHSAA serving in that capacity since 2007.
He introduced several major changes at the AHSAA including rotating the Super 7 State Football Championships between Auburn and Tuscaloosa; expanding other championship sports such as softball, volleyball, swimming, wrestling, cross country and golf to include regional/sectional competition leading to more opportunities for participation for student-athletes. He introduced a revenue-sharing plan and sportsmanship initiatives that have made a significant impact on high school sports in the State of Alabama.
He currently serves on the NFHS Board of Directors and is chairman of the NFHS Network Board of Directors. Before joining the AHSAA, he coached a high state football championship in Kansas (Douglass) in 1978, in Alabama (Daphne) in 2001 and had successful tenues at Ensley, Benjamin Russell and McGill-Toolen as well.
Bios of of all the inductees are below:
CLASS OF 2019 BIOGRAPHIES:
TOMMIE AGEE | FOOTBALL Born February 22, 1964 in Maplesville, AL. Agee played football at Auburn University where he was a four-year starter at fullback as lead blocker for Bo Jackson. He finished his college career with 356 carries, 1,733 rushing yards, and 13 touchdowns. He was drafted by the Seattle Seahawks in the 5th Round of the 1987 NFL Draft. He played one year for the Seahawks, one year for the Kansas City Chiefs, and five years for the Dallas Cowboys. While he was with the Cowboys, they won two consecutive Super Bowl Championships (Super Bowl XXVII and XXVIII).
BILL BURGESS | FOOTBALL - COACHING Born January 26, 1941 in Birmingham, AL. Burgess was a letterman at fullback for Auburn University in 1962. He began his coaching career as a football assistant at Banks High School in Birmingham before accepting the head coach position at Woodlawn High School in 1966. Following his time at Woodlawn he coached the Oxford Yellow Jackets to nine playoff appearances, four area titles, and four regional titles. In 1985, he was named head coach at Jacksonville State University. Under Burgess, JSU won the 1988 Gulf South Conference and the 1992 NCAA Division II National Championship. Burgess was honored as the Gulf South Conference Coach of the Year three times and was named the 1992 NCAA Division II National Coach of the Year. His tenure as head coach at Jacksonville State spanned 12 seasons from 1985-1996; and he finished his college career with an 84-49-4 record. He has been inducted into the Jacksonville State University Athletic Hall of Fame and the NCAA Division II Football Hall of Fame.
WILLIE DAVENPORT | TRACK & FIELD Born June 8, 1943 in Troy, AL. Davenport competed in the 110-meter hurdles at the 1964, 1968, 1972 and 1976 Summer Olympics. After the 1964 Summer Olympics, he enrolled at Southern University and won the AAU outdoor title outright in 1965, 1966, and 1967; he tied for first place in 1969. At the 1968 Summer Olympics in Mexico City, he won a gold medal in the 110-meter hurdles. Eight years later, he won the bronze medal in the same event at the 1976 Summer Olympics in Montreal. At the 1980 Winter Olympics in Lake Placid, Davenport and one of his bobsled teammates, Jeff Gadley, became the first two African-Americans to represent the United States at any Winter Olympics. Davenport is one of only ten Americans to compete in both the Summer and Winter Games. He was inducted into the USA Track & Field Hall of Fame in 1982 and the U.S. Olympic Hall of Fame in 1990.
LUIS GONZALEZ | BASEBALL Born September 3, 1967 in Tampa, FL. Gonzalez attended the University of South Alabama where he was named to Baseball America’s All-Freshman Second Team. He was drafted by the Houston Astros in the 4th Round of the 1988 MLB Draft. He played 18 seasons for seven different teams. In 2001, he was a member of the Arizona Diamondbacks’ only World Series championship team to date. His game-winning hit in Game 7 clinched the title for the Diamondbacks. He was a five-time All-Star, and won the Home Run Derby and Silver Slugger Award in 2001. He ended his career with a .283 BA, .479 SLG, .845 OPS, and 354 home runs. His No. 20 was the first Diamondback number to be retired. In 2005, he won the Branch Rickey Award for his community service after Hurricane Katrina. He was inducted into the Hispanic Heritage Baseball Museum Hall of Fame in 2011.
BUD MOORE | FOOTBALL - COACHING Born October 16, 1939 in Jasper, AL. He played collegiately at the University of Alabama in both football and baseball. After his college career, he had coaching stints at Alabama, Kentucky, Texas A&M and North Carolina. In 1975, he became Head Coach at the University of Kansas and was named Big Eight Coach of the Year by the AP and UPI after taking the Jayhawks to a 7-5 record. He was named District Six Coach of the Year by the American Football Coaches Association. In 1996 he was named recipient of the Paul W. Bryant Alumni-Athlete Award.
ANTONIO LANGHAM | FOOTBALL Born July 31, 1972 in Town Creek, AL. Langham played collegiately at the University of Alabama, where he was a three-year starter at left cornerback for the Crimson Tide. He holds the school record with 19 career interceptions. As a junior, he was recognized as a consensus first-team All-American. His senior season he was a consensus First-Team All-American and won the Jim Thorpe Award and the Jack Tatum Trophy, both of which are awarded to the nation’s top defensive back. Drafted in 1994 in the 1st Round (9th overall) by the Cleveland Browns, he was named 1994 NFL Rookie Defensive Player of the Year. He played two seasons with the Browns and also played with the Baltimore Ravens, San Francisco 49ers and New England Patriots over a seven-year career.
STEVE SAVARESE | ADMINISTRATION Born October 16, 1952 in Glencoe, NY. Savarese grew up in Leeds, Alabama and graduated from Southwestern College in Kansas. After a very successful high school coaching career for more than three decades, he became just the fourth AHSAA Executive Director in the history of the AHSAA serving in that capacity since 2007. He introduced several major changes at the AHSAA including rotating the Super 7 State Football Championships between Auburn and Tuscaloosa; expanding other championship sports such as softball, volleyball, swimming, wrestling, cross country and golf to include regional/sectional competition leading to more opportunities for participation for student-athletes. He introduced a revenue-sharing plan and sportsmanship initiatives that have made a significant impact on high school sports in the State of Alabama. He currently serves on the NFHS Board of Directors and is chairman of the NFHS Network Board of Directors. Before joining the AHSAA, he coached a high state football championship in Kansas (Douglass) in 1978, in Alabama (Daphne) in 2001 and had successful tenures at Ensley, Benjamin Russell and McGill-Toolen as well.
CATHERINE REDDICK WHITEHILL | SOCCER Born February 10, 1982, in Richmond, VA. She started her soccer career at Briarwood Christian School in Birmingham, AL. She played four seasons at the University of North Carolina where she won four national championships and was named to the NCAA All-Tournament Team four times. She was named NCAA Final Four Defensive MVP twice, NSCAA First-Team All-American twice and First-Team All-ACC three times. In 2003, her final season at UNC, she won the prestigious MAC Hermann Trophy and the Honda Sports Award, both of which are awarded to the best female player in college soccer. She played for the U.S. Women’s National Team from 2000-2010 where she scored 11 goals in 134 appearances. Whitehill played professional soccer in the United States from 2009-2015. She has also established a successful career in broadcasting, serving as a color commentator on television broadcasts.
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