MONTGOMERY – North-South all-star squads for the 61th AHSAA North-South All-Star Football Game scheduled to be played Thursday, July 16 at Cramton Bowl, have been selected. The two 37-member teams comprised of 2020 graduating seniors were announced by Jamie Lee Director of the Alabama High School Athletic Directors & Coaches Association (AHSADCA) Thursday.
The AHSADCA, which operates under the auspices of the Alabama High School Athletic Association (AHSAA) also plans to host all-star games in baseball, softball, boys’ and girls’ soccer, boys’ and girls’ basketball, volleyball, and boys’ and girls’ cross country during the All-Star Week. All-Star Sports Week is currently scheduled for July 13-18 in conjunction with the AHSAA Summer Conference.
Lee said school deadline for submitting North-South all-star nominations for the sports of baseball, softball, soccer, golf and tennis is April 17.
The South holds a 31-27-2 edge in the North-South series which began in 1948. The South won 22-19 last July to snap a four-game winning North win streak.
Head coach for the North for the upcoming North-South Classic is Walter Wellborn’s Jeff Smith. South head coach is Earnest Hill of McGill-Toolen High School.
The North coaching staff includes Don Dover, Fultondale; Chris Elmore, Fort Payne; Rod Isaac, Midfield; Heath Lauderdale, Susan Moore; Ryan Lolley, Gordo; Chis Musso, Haleyville; and Andy Lambert, Haleyville, the administrative coach.
The South coaching staff includes Matt Geohagan, Bibb County; Anthony Jones, Notasulga; Josh McClendon, Greenville; Brian Seymore, Demopolis; and Mark Heaton, Baldwin County, the administrative coach.
The North-South All-Star rosters include
2020 NORTH-SOUTH ALL-STAR ROSTERS
Central, Clay County
NORTH ALL-STAR COACHES
R. E. Lee
T. R. Miller
SOUTH ALL-STAR COACHES
2019 North-South All-Star Results
and all-time series records
South 22, North 19 (South leads series 31-27-2)
Girls: North 58.5, South 55.5 (North leads series 1-0)
Boys: North 63.5, South 50.5 (North leads series 1-0)
Girls: North 8, South 1 (North leads series 1-0)
Boys: North 8, South 1 (North leads series 1-0)
South 3, North 0 (25-17, 25-23, 25-18) – (North leads series 14-8)
Game 1: South 5-6, North 4-2 (North leads series 25-22-3)
Girls: South 3, North 1 (North leads series 15-3-1)
Boys: North 3, South 0, (North leads series s 12-4-1)
Girls: North 65, South 56 (North leads series 20-3)
Boys: South 88, North 75 (North leads series 48-29)
South 16-18, North 7-16 (North leads series 23-14-1)
South Girls 19, North Girls 36 (South leads series 2-1)
North Boys 27, South Boys 28 (North leads series 2-1)
NATIONAL FEDERATION OF STATE HIGH SCHOOL ASSOCIATIONS
NFHS Learning Center Unveils School Honor Roll Program
FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE Contact: Dan Schuster
INDIANAPOLIS, IN (April 1, 2020) — The National Federation of State High School Associations (NFHS) has created the NFHS School Honor Roll, a national recognition program designed to promote professional development for high school coaches through the completion of specific courses through the NFHS Learning Center at www.NFHSLearn.com.
“Education-based programs provide ongoing learning for participating students, and the NFHS School Honor Roll program provides a pathway for coaches within schools to be honored for their involvement in professional development,” said Dan Schuster, NFHS Director of Educational Services.
After filling out an online application, schools can achieve three levels of merit within the NFHS School Honor Roll, which are obtained once 90 percent of a school’s coaches – excluding volunteer coaches – complete various course combinations. Participating institutions that earn Level 1, 2 or 3 distinctions receive a large display banner commemorating their accomplishments and their dedication to professional development and education-based athletics.
Three free offerings from the Learning Center – “Concussion in Sports,” “Sudden Cardiac Arrest” and “Protecting Students from Abuse” – as well as “Fundamentals of Coaching” comprise the required courses for Level 1. To earn the Level 2 title, coaches must navigate the courses that pertain specifically to their sports, as well as “First Aid, Health and Safety,” “Heat Illness Prevention” and “Student Mental Health and Suicide Prevention.” Finally, a Level 3 banner can be attained for schools that reach 90-percent completion for the “Sportsmanship,” “Strength and Conditioning,” “Teaching and Modeling Behavior,” “Engaging Effectively with Parents” and “Bullying, Hazing, and Inappropriate Behaviors” courses.
“We all strive to hang banners in our schools for achievements,” said Schuster. “Earning this banner is a symbol that your school and your coaches are committed to providing a great experience for young people, and it’s something that everyone can be proud of within their communities.”
For more information on the NFHS School Honor Roll and to apply for participation in the program during the 2020-21 school year, please visit https://nfhslearn.com/home/administrators.
Promotional Video: https://nfhslearn.com/library/videos/nfhs-school-honor-roll.
Direct link to application page: https://nfhsschoolhonorroll.formstack.com/forms/application.
About the National Federation of State High School Associations (NFHS)
The NFHS, based in Indianapolis, Indiana, is the national leadership organization for high school sports and performing arts activities. Since 1920, the NFHS has led the development of education-based interscholastic sports and performing arts activities that help students succeed in their lives. The NFHS sets direction for the future by building awareness and support, improving the participation experience, establishing consistent standards and rules for competition, and helping those who oversee high school sports and activities. The NFHS writes playing rules for 17 sports for boys and girls at the high school level. Through its 50 member state associations and the District of Columbia, the NFHS reaches more than 19,500 high schools and 12 million participants in high school activity programs, including more than 7.9 million in high school sports. As the recognized national authority on interscholastic activity programs, the NFHS conducts national meetings; sanctions interstate events; offers online publications and services for high school coaches and officials; sponsors professional organizations for high school coaches, officials, speech and debate coaches, and music adjudicators; serves as the national source for interscholastic coach training; and serves as a national information resource of interscholastic athletics and activities. For more information, visit the NFHS website at www.nfhs.org.
MEDIA CONTACTS: Bruce Howard, 317-972-6900
Director of Publications and Communications
National Federation of State High School Associations
Chris Boone, 317-972-6900
Assistant Director of Publications and Communications
Risk Minimization Remains Theme of 2020-21 High School Spirit Rules Changes
FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE Contact: James Weaver
INDIANAPOLIS, IN (March 26, 2020) — High school spirit rules changes for the 2020-21 school year remain centered on increasing safety for cheerleading and dance teams across the country.
This year, minimizing injury risk for stunting personnel and during inversions and releases were among the 16 rules changes recommended by the National Federation of State High School Associations (NFHS) Spirit Rules Committee, which met February 10-11 in Orlando, Florida. All changes recommended by the committee were approved by the NFHS Board of Directors.
“The committee has been working for years to make spirit activities safer for our student participants, while maintaining a high level of competition and crowd leading,” said James Weaver, NFHS director of performing arts and sports. “This will continue to be a primary focus of the Spirit Rules Committee.”
Stunting personnel safety was addressed in Rule 3-2-1c, a new addition to the NFHS Spirit Rules Book. The rule states that bases may not hold signs or other objects while supporting an extended stunt, which allows them to focus on providing stability for those at the top of the stunt.
Modifications to inversions constituted a large portion of the 2020-21 rules changes, highlighted by Rule 3-3-6c1 and Rule 3-3-6c2 (cheer), and Rule 4-3-6c1 and Rule 4-3-6c2 (dance).
Under Rule 3-3-6c2/4-3-6c2, a spotter has been added as a point of sufficient contact for a top person who is inverted, and the required contact with the top person has been changed to any part of the body. Prior to this change, only a base and the top person’s upper body were listed as viable contact points.
Three more inversion-related changes were made to Rules 3-3-5a, 3-3-5g and 3-3-5h, which deal with acceptable conditions for braced flips within a pyramid. The change to 3-3-5a mandates that in situations where a single bracer is used for a braced flip, there must now be a hand/arm connection between both hands/arms of the top and bracer. A top person may now perform up to one complete twist within a braced flip as described in 3-3-5g, which is an increase from a half-twist in the previous version of the rule. Finally, in order to limit the movement of the top person around the bracers while performing a flipping inversion in a pyramid, 3-3-5h was edited such that a released top person may make no more than a one-quarter turn around the bracer.
A change to Rule 3-3-6a added further specifications to other inversions. Top people performing released inversions must now be released to the original base(s) and are now permitted to twist a maximum of one-quarter turn.
A new rule regarding tumbling was added for both cheer and dance. When executing airborne skills, actions that require hip-over-head rotation may no longer be connected to one another. The basis for this rule is to eliminate standing tucks where athletes connect arms and simultaneously do a standing tuck, which puts the connected participant at serious risk for a head/neck injury.
Regarding drops in cheer and dance, participants are now permitted to land in a pushup position from a handspring; however, doing so from a flip is still prohibited. This alteration clarifies that a drop is a landing on the performing surface from an airborne position.
There were two rules changes to Rule 3-5-5. When releasing from a horizontal or cradle position, the top person is now permitted to go to a stunt at any level to the original bases and may perform up to one-quarter twist. The change aligns this rule with its inversion equivalent. In addition, when a braced released top person lands in a cradle position, the connection between the top and bracer may be hand to foot.
A complete listing of the spirit rules changes, including edited term definitions, will be available on the NFHS website at www.nfhs.org. Click on “Activities & Sports” at the top of the home page and select “Spirit.”
Competitive spirit ranks ninth in participants for girls with 161,358 in 7,214 schools.
The NFHS, based in Indianapolis, Indiana, is the national leadership organization for high school sports and performing arts activities. Since 1920, the NFHS has led the development of education-based interscholastic sports and performing arts activities that help students succeed in their lives. The NFHS sets direction for the future by building awareness and support, improving the participation experience, establishing consistent standards and rules for competition, and helping those who oversee high school sports and activities. The NFHS writes playing rules for 17 sports for boys and girls at the high school level. Through its 50-member state associations and the District of Columbia, the NFHS reaches more than 19,500 high schools and 12 million participants in high school activity programs, including more than 7.9 million in high school sports. As the recognized national authority on interscholastic activity programs, the NFHS conducts national meetings; sanctions interstate events; offers online publications and services for high school coaches and officials; sponsors professional organizations for high school coaches, officials, speech and debate coaches, and music adjudicators; serves as the national source for interscholastic coach training; and serves as a national information resource of interscholastic athletics and activities. For more information, visit the NFHS website at www.nfhs.org.
MEDIA CONTACTS: Bruce Howard, 317-972-6900
NATIONAL FEDERATION OF STATE
HIGH SCHOOL ASSOCIATIONS
Officiating Courses Available for Free Through July 1
on the NFHS Learning Center
FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE Contact: Dan Schuster
INDIANAPOLIS, IN (March 24, 2020) — Current high school sports officials, as well as individuals interested in joining the officiating ranks, will be able to access online education courses on the NFHS Learning Center for free through July 1.
Since many individuals are at home for an indefinite period of time due to the current worldwide health crisis, the NFHS has decided to make its 11 sports officiating courses available for free on the Learning Center at www.NFHSLearn.com.
“Everyone is looking for positive things to do at home during this difficult period of time, so we thought it would be a good opportunity for officials to take courses on the Learning Center to brush up on their skills,” said Dr. Karissa Niehoff, NFHS executive director. “As a means of encouraging more people to take advantage of this time at home, the NFHS is offering officiating courses for free until July 1.
“In addition to current officials, those individuals interested in pursuing officiating can access these courses. We know that a number of high school seniors will be unable to participate in spring sports this year due to the Coronavirus pandemic. Officiating could provide an opportunity for high school seniors to stay involved in sports and taking some of these courses during this down time for free could help to determine their interest level.“
After taking any of these courses, individuals interested in becoming an official could access the website at www.HighSchoolOfficials.com for more information. In the past three years, more than 35,000 individuals have signed up to become officials through the NFHS’ #BecomeAnOfficial campaign to recruit high school officials.
Officiating courses are available on the Learning Center in the sports of basketball, football, soccer, swimming and diving, volleyball, wrestling and softball, in addition to a general course titled “Interscholastic Officiating.” Multiple courses are offered in basketball, soccer and volleyball, and all these courses are available free of charge through July 1.
The Learning Center was founded as the online Coach Education Program in 2007 with two courses – “Fundamentals of Coaching” and “First Aid, Health and Safety” – and now has more than 70 online courses. Earlier this year, the NFHS surpassed 10 million courses taken by coaches, officials, administrators, students, parents, performing arts educators and others.
“We all are trying to find the best ways possible to deal with this unprecedented crisis facing our country,” Niehoff said. “We are pleased to be able to make the Learning Center available to more people interested in officiating.”
Chris Boone, 317-972-6900
35th Annual Banquet Canceled Due to COVID 19 Virus Crisis
MONTGOMERY – Due to the recent developments in the ongoing COVID 19 virus crisis, the Center of Disease Control (CDC) is recommending that all events of 50 or more people be cancelled for the next eight weeks. Unfortunately, these parameters include the 35th Bryant-Jordan Scholarship Awards Banquet scheduled for April 13 at the Birmingham Sheraton Hotel.
In lieu of a banquet, however, the Bryant-Jordan Foundation plans to produce a television and online event announcing the region, class and overall 2020 Bryant-Jordan scholarship recipients as well as a number of other special scholarships provided by various organizations.
The Bryant-Jordan Foundation has worked out an agreement with WOTM TV to produce a television show which and will be broadcast over the AHSAA TV Network and the NFHS Network. The feed will be made available free to all cable providers and will also be available at the following convenient links:
The show will air on April 13 beginning at 6 p.m., same time as the banquet’s original start time. The Bryant-Jordan Awards Banquet emcee Chris Stewart will serve as the host of the broadcast.
The AHSAA TV Network and NFHS Network had already planned to televise the banquet with WOTM TV Vincent Earley serving as executive producer.
“While we are very disappointed that our annual banquet must be canceled, we are very thankful that technology will allow us to still showcase these incredible student-athletes and announce the overall scholarship recipients via television and on-line viewing,” said Edgar Welden, Chairman and President of the Bryant-Jordan Foundation.
The Bryant-Jordan Program, named in honor of legendary coaches Paul “Bear” Bryant and Ralph “Shug” Jordan, has annually recognizes 52 senior student-athletes, one from each of the eight AHSAA districts in Classes 1A-6A and one from each of the four districts in Class 7A in the Bryant-Jordan Achievement Award category and the Bryant-Jordan Scholar-Athlete category.
Each regional winner is presented a $3,000 scholarship to the college of their choice from the Bryant-Jordan Foundation. During the broadcast, the seven Scholar-Athlete Class winners and seven Achievement Award Class winners will be announced. Each will receive an additional $3,500 scholarship. The Larry D. Striplin, Jr. Scholar-Athlete of the Year recipient and the Ken and Betty Joe Blankenship Achievement Award Student-Athlete of the Year recipient will also be announced. Each will each receive an additional $4,000 scholarship.
The Bryant-Jordan Awards Banquet has been held annually since 1986 with more than $10.8 million in scholarship funding distributed to 3,222 student recipients since its inception.
“We know this has been an emotional time for everyone,” said Welden. “We sincerely hope that everyone will tune in to this online/TV broadcast as we celebrate the achievements of some of the smartest and most courageous student-athletes in our state and nation.”
MONTGOMERY – The Alabama High School Athletic Association (AHSAA) and DragonFly Athletics announced today its new technology partner is making available online webinar training for member schools.
The AHSAA Central Board approved a transition from C2C Schools to DragonFly Content Management Software for member schools at its winter meeting last January. DragonFly will take over its role as the AHSAA’s technology partner to streamline administration of school sports and activities beginning June 1 for the upcoming 2020-2021 school year.
Member schools can sign up for online webinar training at the following link:
The AHSAA and member schools will use DragonFly's comprehensive management software for school and student eligibility and registration, medical records, communications, team rosters, team scheduling and credentialing for all interscholastic activities.
One of the core objectives of the partnership is to eliminate excessive paperwork and processes. DragonFly is a single, centralized platform to handle all the AHSAA’s administrative needs.
“We are excited to be able to make DragonFly technology available to AHSAA member schools,” said AHSAA Executive Director Steve Savarese. "This will create a one-stop portal for our member schools and our contest officials. We believe DragonFly is the perfect fit for the AHSAA and look forward to getting DragonFly up and running for our member schools. "
Dragonfly technology will provide a communication tool that will notify schools, officials, parents and fans when contests are scheduled or when necessary, the contests are changed or postponed. It will also provide schools the technology to pay contest officials online.
"DragonFly is much more than a technology company,” said Kirk Miller, chief executive officer of Dragonfly. “We’re invested in youth sports and want to help the AHSAA in every facet of communication. Our software will give administrators the data they need in a timely fashion so they may improve the safety and experience of students."
The new partnership is expected to be beneficial for everyone connected to sports and activities in Alabama.
“There are key people who make sports and activities possible, including administrators, teachers and coaches, healthcare providers, contest officials and parents,” said Miller. “Our software provides tools for all of them – while creating simplified and positive experience around previously mundane processes like paperwork. We’re especially proud that our technologies give athletic directors and coaches more of their time back to invest in students.”
To learn more about Dragonfly Athletics visit www.dragonflymax.com or download the Dragonfly Max App from the App Store or Google Play.
MONTGOMERY – North-South all-star squads for the upcoming AHSAA North-South All-Star Girls’ and Boys’ Basketball Games have been selected. The two 15-memeber teams comprised of 2021 rising seniors were announced by Jamie Lee, Director of the Alabama High School Athletic Directors & Coaches Association (AHSADCA) Wednesday.
The AHSADCA, which operates under the auspices of the Alabama High School Athletic Association (AHSAA) will also host all-star games in football, baseball, softball, volleyball, boys’ and girls’ soccer, boys’ and girls’ cross country, tennis and golf during the All-Star Week. Those teams will be announced at a later date.
Coaches for the All-Star Basketball squads include:
(North Girls) Craig Thomas, Phil Campbell; Walter Hicks, Pleasant Grove; and Brant Llewellyn, Lauderdale County; (South Girls) Carolyn Wright, Central-Phenix City; Sally Jeter, Foley; and administrative coach Nigel Card, Saint James, , Elmore County; and administrative coach Virginia Franklin, Carver-Montgomery. Wright was inducted into the Alabama High School Sports Hall of Fame in the Class of 2019. She and her husband Bobby Wright (HOF Class of 2015) are the only husband and wife basketball coaches inducted into the Hall of Fame.
(North Boys) Justin Taylor, West Limestone; Torriana Brown, Anniston; and administrative coach Brant Llewellyn, Lauderdale County; (South Boys) Jazmin Mitchell, Sumter Central; Joseph Turman, Florala; and administrative coach Nigel Card, Saint James.
The North-South All-Star Basketball Games will be played Tuesday, July 14 in Montgomery. The site has not been determined. Both contests will be live-streamed by the NFHS Network.
Among the players selected are Jerdarrian “J.D.” Davison of Calhoun and Karoline Striplin of Geneva County – on the South boys’ and girls’ squad, respectively. Davison earned Class 2A state tourney MVP honors in February canning a 3-pointer with 1.6 seconds left to give the Tigers a 64-61 win over Barbour County. Striplin, who earned Class state tourney MVP as an eighth grader in 2017, has already committed to the University of Tennessee. Both players are among the top Class of 2021 prospects in the nation.
Headlining the North squads are 2020 Class 4A girls’ state tourney MVP Allasha Dudley of Anniston Center Point 6-4 guard Jordan Chatman, who has led the Eagles to two straight Class 5A state championship games.
The South won last year’s boys’ game 88-75 with Sidney Lanier’s Antwan Burnett having a double-double – 16 points and 10 rebounds – to earn MVP honors in the 77th North-South Game. The North holds a 48-29 edge in the series, which played its first all-star game in 1953. Burnett also earned team MVP honors in the 30th annual Alabama-Mississippi Classic 118-97 win at Clinton (MS) March 13. He had 25 points and 10 rebounds in that win to sweep MVP honors in both all-star games.
The North won last year 65-56 and holds a 20-3 edge in the North-South Girls’ All-Star game, which was played for the first time in 1997.
All-Star rosters include:
2020 NORTH-SOUTH ALL-STAR
NORTH GIRLS' ALL-STARS
Lauderdale County - Admin.
SOUTH GIRLS' ALL-STARS
Carver - Montgomery
Central - Phenix City
Saint James - Admin.
NORTH BOYS' ALL-STARS
Lee - Huntsville
SOUTH BOYS' ALL-STARS
Lee - Montgomery
BY BILL PLOTT
Final segment in a 12-part series on the Alabama HOF Class of 2020
MONTGOMERY – Coach Hamp Lyon’s teams at Alexander City High School in the 1940s, 1950s and 1960s learned how to win. But never did they learn to win at cost. In fact, winning was a result of his real passion – teaching young men how to be outstanding adults.
Tonight, Coach Lyon’s efforts will be recognized when he is inducted into the Alabama High School Sports Hall of Fame as a member of the Class of 2020. Lyon, now deceased, is going in as a selection from the “Old Timer” division. Also being inducted are: Carrol Cox, Joe Desaro, Aaron Goode, Rick Grammer, Luke Hallmark, Tommy Lewis, Steve Mask, Toney Pugh, Michelle Simmons, Keith Wilemon and Fred Yancey. Lyon’s daughter Elizabeth Burns, will represent Coach Lyon at the induction ceremony.
A press conference on Monday, June 22 will be held at 5:30 p.m., and the banquet will follow at 6:30 at the Montgomery Renaissance Hotel and Convention Center. Both events will be televised live over the AHSAA TV Network and live-streamed over the NFHS Network. WOTM TV’s Vince Earley will be producing the event for TV.
Lyon, who was born in Meridian (MS) and spent his high school years in Evansville (TN), graduated from Benjamin Bosse High School in 1932. He then attended the University of Alabama graduating in 1937. He was a tackle on the 1935 Crimson Tide team that beat Stanford 29-13 in the Rose Bowl and on the 1936 team that went 10-0 under Coach Frank Thomas.
After graduation from Alabama, he accepted the head football coach position at Alexander City High School (late renamed Benjamin Russell High School) in 1937 and served in that position two different times. The first was from 1937-41, the second from 1946-57. World War II interrupted his tenure.
During his first tenure, the team went 33-9-3 with back-to-back 8-1 seasons in 1938 and 1939. The only points given up by the 1938 team was a lone touchdown in a 6-0 loss to Tallassee. During those early years Coach Lyon organized a booster club that eventually became the Alexander City Quarterback Club.
When World War II broke out, he entered military service with the U. S. Army, serving in the Europe Theater from 1941-45. The proud soldier returned to Alex City after the war ended and picked up where he left off – with one exception. He threw out the Notre Dame Box offense he had used before the war and installed the more modern “T” formation. His first post-war team went 5-3-1. Over the next 12 years he had 10 winning season including the 9-0-1 squad in 1953. That team was recognized one of The Birmingham News’ District state championships.
When he retired from coaching after the 1957 season, his overall record was 107-47-10. But he was not retired from sports. Taking over as athletic director, he served in that position until 1971. The football stadium was later named in his honor.
He wasn’t just about football, however. In 1947, he developed a Red Cross water safety program that had served more than 30,000 people with swimming lessons, water safety instruction and other activities by the late 1970s.
When he died in 1973, sportswriter Ronald Weathers interviewed many who had worked with Coach Lyon and knew him best. One of those was I. I. Fox, chairman of the city’s Park and Recreation Board. He told Weathers, “Hamp succeeded me as coach in 1937. He coached everything here at one time or another or saw that the coaching was done. There is no way to describe Alexander City’s loss of Coach Lyon. He was as wonderful an influence on the young people of this town for 36 years as anyone I can think of.
“He had the kind of influence and leadership of the young people that you would want for your own children. His coaching philosophy was wonderful. He wanted to win – yes, but never at the risk of harming any boy involved.”
Bettye Britton, wife of Gene Britton, a former Lyon player and later Benjamin Russell wrestling coach, recalled growing up around Coach Lyon. “I was one of four children,” she said. We never had a whole lot. But Coach Lyon took me under his wing as he did so many other boys and girls. He would take me on trips with his family. He taught me to swim and guided so many of us through the Red Cross program. He always said Alex City was a gold mine for children to grow up in. He believed in the city.”
Weathers reported that Benjamin Russell’s teams became one of the first in the nation to display players’ names on the jerseys. He helped developed programs not only football, basketball, track and baseball but also wrestling, boys and girls tennis, girls track and swimming.
Former player William D. Waites recalled a personal relationship between Coach Lyon and his family.
“My mother and I lived with my grandfather and grandmother,” he said. “They had a gas station and country store. Coach Lyon and his family moved in next door. Since my uncle played football with him at Alabama, friendships were already established. My mother and I moved, leaving my elderly grandparents alone. She was a severe diabetic. Coach Lyon took on the task of giving insulin shots. He helped in many other ways and was with her when she died. This was the kind of man he was with people and young men who played football for him.
“I played football under him for four years. Due to events in my teenage years, I can honestly say that football and the Navy kept me from turning out to be a very bad person. Coach Lyon had two sayings that I applied to my life: A winner never quits and quitter never wins and ‘It is not whether you win or lose, it is how you play the game.
“I feel I speak for the doctors, lawyers, retired military, heads of companies, coaches, teachers, successful businessmen and everyone else who played for him, when I tell you he had a very positive influence on their lives.”
Bill Plott is a veteran journalist and state sports historian who has covered the Alabama High School Sports Hall of Fame since its inception in 1991.
MONTGOMERY – North-South all-star squads for the upcoming 4th annual AHSAA North-South All-Star Cross Country races have been selected North-South All-Star Week scheduled for July 13-17. The two 10-member teams comprised of 2021 rising seniors were announced by Jamie Lee, Director of the Alabama High School Athletic Directors & Coaches Association (AHSADCA) Monday.
The AHSADCA, which operates under the auspices of the Alabama High School Athletic Association (AHSAA) will also host North-South all-star games in football, baseball, softball, volleyball, boys’ and girls’ soccer, boys’ and girls’ basketball, cross country, tennis and golf during the All-Star Week. The volleyball all-star teams have already been released. The remaining all-star teams will be announced at a later date.
Coaches for the All-Star Cross Country squads include: (North Girls) Sandra Lunch, Florence; (North Boys) John Moore, White Plains; Michael McGovern, Mountain Brook, administrative coach for both teams; (South Girls) Hollis Johnson, Montgomery Catholic; (South Boys) Cliff Carter, Providence Christian; Ron Peters, Smiths Station, administrative coach for both teams.
Leading the South girls will be Saint James’ Presley Miles, the Class 3A two-time defending state champion with a winning time of 17:48.56 and Brenda Ellis of UMS-Wright, who finished fourth in the 2019 AHSAA Class 4A state cross country championships. Faith Academy’s Bailey Lansdown finished fifth in Class 4A and Providence Christian’s Grace Crim finished fifth in Class 3A.
The runners for the North girls that had the best state meet finishes last season are: Yarahy Marcelino of West Morgan, Camilla Chambers of Holly Pond and Beth Ann Tucker of Springville. Marcelino and Chambers finished second in Class 4A and 3A, respectively, and Tucker took third place in Class 5A.
Among the North boys’ all-stars are Collin Mayfield of Geraldine, Walker Cole of Oak Mountain and Jake Moore of White Plains. Mayfield won the 3A state cross country championship last season clocking 16:16.50 in the 3.1-mile race. Cole was second in Class 7A with a time of 15:24.35 and Moore was second in Class 4A crossing the finish line in 16:02.51.
Hollis Johnson Jr., of Montgomery Catholic and Gunnar Smith of Houston Academy finished sixth and 7th, respectively, in the Class 4A and 3A state championships last season. Johnson’s time was 16:38.21 and Smith (17:13.61). The South All-Star best time in last year’s state meet is Auburn’s Stewart Brown, who ran a 16:02.36 to finish 12th in Class 7A.
The North-South Cross Country races will be held at the Auburn University-Montgomery cross country course on Wednesday morning, July 15. The South girls won last year’s race 19-36 and now own a 2-1 edge in the North-South series. The North boys upped their lead to 2-1 with a one-point 27-28 win over the South last year.
The complete rosters include:
Mountain Brook - Admin.
St. Michael Catholic
Hollis Johnson, Jr.
John Michael Romanos
St. Paul's Episcopal
Smiths Station - Admin.
Mary Claire Ridgeway
Beth Ann Tucker
Mary Elizabeth Hill
11th in a 12-part series on the Alabama HOF Class of 2020
MONTGOMERY – When Carrol Cox arrived at Bessemer’s Jess Lanier High School from Samford University in 1973, he promised one thing. His student-athletes would be taught the fundamentals of football … and life.
Now, 47 years later, all who know him agree he was true to his word.
Cox, who grew up in Bogalusa (LA), devoted 27 years of his career to the students at Jess Lanier High School, 21 of them as head football coach and athletic director.
It is that devotion and detailed attention Cox gave to each student that the primary reason he is being inducted into the Alabama High School Sports Hall of Fame. He is one of 12 outstanding individuals in the Class of 2020 being honored at the banquet which starts at 6:30 p.m., Monday night, June 22, at the Montgomery Renaissance Hotel and Convention Center.
After graduating high school in Jackson (LA), Cox attended Southwest Mississippi Junior College and Samford University on football scholarships. He graduated from Samford in 1973 and later earned a master’s degree in school administration from the University of Montevallo.
He went to Bessemer in 1973, accepting a position as assistant football coach and social studies teacher at Jess Lanier High School. When he retired 27 years later, he was the winningest coach in school history, having surpassed legendary Alabama High School Hall of Fame Coach Euil “Snitz” Snider (Class of 1991).
Cox, who was 162-77-2 overall at Jess Lanier, had only one losing season in 21 years as head coach. Six teams won 10 or more games. The 1990 team finished 12-3 winning the Class 6A state championship. The Tigers started that season with a 7-0 shutout win over Lee-Montgomery, and ended it with a 35-0 shutout win over Hewitt-Trussville in the semifinals and a 22-0 victory over Murphy in the 6A finals at Legion Field. Of the three losses, two came by just one point and the other by six points. Lanier lost 17-16 to 1990 GHSA state champion Valdosta (GA) on the road. His 1986 team lost to Lee-Montgomery 13-7 in the 6A finals and his 1997 squad reached the semifinals falling to Tuscaloosa County 14-13. His Tigers beat the Wildcats 14-7 during the regular season, however.
is Tig Twelve other Cox teams made the state playoffs and compiled a 22-13 playoff record. His teams also were 54-25 in region play. , compiling a record of 22-13. Cox coached the Alabama All-Stars in the 1990 Alabama-Mississippi All-Star Game. Cox had more than 50 players named to All-State football teams, nine to Super All-State teams, and two selected as high school All-Americans. He also had numerous players who participated in the North-South and Alabama-Mississippi All-Star games. Two players, Kerry Rhodes and Demeco Ryans, also played in the NFL.
Former Bessemer school superintendent Larry O. Wilson said Cox had a knack for reaching hard-to-reach kids.
“Coach Cox built the program under extremely difficult circumstances in a school system that was economically and culturally deprived and could not afford many of the amenities that other programs had,” Wilson said. “Coach Cox worked extremely well with the many educationally deprived students that made up a good percentage of the Jess Lanier student body and encouraged them to achieve at a higher level. His impact and influence on the lives of many young men in the field of athletics and the state of Alabama is deserving of his nomination and election to the Hall of Fame.”
Grover Dunn served as principal at Jess Lanier from 1989-1993. He said he recognized Cox’s leadership very quickly. “I recognized his desire to promote excellence, and I saw his love for children the very first time I observed him on the practice field.”
James M. Howell, another former Jess Lanier principal, also saw Cox up close and personal. “Coach Cox’s teams were always well coached and competitive,” said Howell. “He not only coached football but also coached the players as individuals. Many of the student-athletes have made the City of Bessemer proud in their accomplishments, not only on the field in college and the National Football League, but also in later life as outstanding citizens of the communities in which they work.”
Pelham schools administrator Robert Lavett, a former Jess Lanier assistant coach, said Cox set the bar high for those who worked with him. “When I worked with Coach Cox and observed him performing his many duties,” Lavett said. “I saw a person with great skills, true character, high ethical standards, outstanding work ethic, and a person that has a great heart for young people, public education, football and athletics. Coach Cox has always demonstrated and put into use good common sense, high values and teamwork. He provided an atmosphere that promotes high levels of commitment and work. Coach Cox has demonstrated genuine concern that allowed him to relate to the diversity of his students in a highly effective and productive manner.”
One quality that stood out, said Lavett, was Cox’s emphasis on loyalty.
“He gave back the same loyalty he demanded from his fellow coaches and players,” Lavett said. “Upon this foundation, much was accomplished. Another trait was his ability to teach the players good, solid fundamentals. He taught fundamentals of the game of football as well as fundamentals of life.
“These fundamentals included teamwork, team rules that applied to every player. Simple things like school came first. Good behavior at school was required. And a very basic fact that if you were the best at your position, you would play that position. Parents knew these facts and there was never any misunderstanding in these areas.”
Coach Cox retired at Jess Lanier after the 1999 season. He then moved to Campbell High School in Smyrna (GA) where he remained until he retired for good.
Bill Plott is a veteran journalist and state sports historian who has covered the Alabama High School Sports Hall of Fame since its inception in 1991.
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