Red Bay's Roberts Notches 800th Career Victory


                                                           By KEITH LETBETTER
                                              Red Bay News (Special to the AHSAA)

    Red Bay High School girls coach Donnie Roberts notched the 800th win of his long prep basketball coaching career Jan. 25 as the Lady Tigers beat Colbert Heights 64-37. The Lady Tigers improved to 22-2 this season with the win.
    Roberts, who has compiled an 800-346 overall record in his 41-year coaching career, is now the state’s career wins leader for girls basketball and the first in state history to win 800 games.  He will be inducted into the Alabama High School Athletic Association Sports Hall of Fame in March as a member of the Class of 2014.

   “It’s not about me,” he said. “It’s about how fortunate my career has been at Red Bay and the 10 years Icoached at Tremont (Ms.). All I can do is thank the kids that played for me. They had a lot more to do with it than Idid.

   After earning a Master’s Degree from Mississippi State University, he returned to his alma mater, Tremont High School just across the state line from Red Bay and compiled a 142-127 record in the next 10 seasons. Roberts moved to Red Bay in 1983 and began working on the goal of making that first trip to Birmingham for the state playoffs.
    “I came here and took over a team that was 9-11 the year before. We had a real good year that first year and we went 19-5,” Roberts said.

    Roberts, who owns a 658-219 girls coaching record at Red Bay, led the Lady Tigers to state championships in 1987, 1993, 2001 and most recently directed Red Bay to the 2012 Class 2A state finals, a 54-49 loss to Section. Last year Roberts’ team won the Northwest Regional again and lost in the Final 48 semifinals.
     “It takes a combination of things to have a state championship program. It does take coaching, but it also takes pride in our program from our girls.”

      Roberts said that it also takes the involvement of the community.

“Everybody here is involved in it,”said Roberts. They back us and support us. The community likes to see us do well.

      Roberts said that over the years some of the best memories he has is that of having the opportunity to coach both of his daughters, Laura Beth and Leah.

“I think it’s rare to have coached two daughters and to have those two daughters on two different teams win state championships. I can tell you it’s a great experience.”

Carver, Valley Placed On Restrictive Probation

     The boys basketball programs at Carver and Valley high schools have been put on restrictive probation, effectively immediately, because of the incident at the Regional Basketball Tournament Tuesday, AHSAA Executive Director Steve Savarese announced at a press conference here Wednesday.
Restrictive probation limits those programs to only regular season play and prohibits any participation in the boys’ basketball championship program. Both schools are removed from the Regional Tournament and Talladega High School, the other Class 5A boys’ team participating to the finals, will advance to the Final48 State Tournament next week in Birmingham.
This is an ongoing investigation and additional actions could be taken in the days ahead.
We have studied some video of the incident and met with school and law enforcement officials.  We appreciate the cooperation of Montgomery School Superintendent John Dilworth, Carver principal Garry Hall and Coach James Jackson, Chambers County Assistant Superintendent George McCullough, Valley principal Larry McQuiston and Coach Marshon Harper, members of the Montgomery Police Department, and staff members of Alabama State University.
“We’re very disappointed for the student-athletes of our state,” said Savarese. “This is not what we’ve taught and stressed in our sportsmanship emphasis over the last three years,” This emphasis is so important to our program that our Central Board made the online STAR Sportsmanship program a mandatory eligibility requirement for all students involved in athletics at all our member schools.
     “We have made a remarkable improvement statewide as evidenced by the significant reduction in the number of sports ejections over the last three years, and then this unfortunate incident occurs,” he said. “The 55 percent fewer player and coach ejections we have had is credited to the commitment of the state’s education leadership, athletic directors and coaches in using the mandated STAR Sportsmanship program.
     “We will continue to put sportsmanship at the forefront of our program and hope we do not have any more incidents like this to cast a negative shadow on the progress of our efforts,” he added. “We will not tolerate this type of behavior in our program.
     “I want us not to forget all our member schools who conduct themselves in a manner that represents the mission of the AHSAA where sportsmanship and behavior is always at the forefront.”