By Sue Marshall
Former Athletic Administrator and Varsity Coach at Randolph School, Huntsville
and Major Lane
Principal at Goshen High School
The Alabama High School Athletic Association is made up of more than 400 high schools, along with 300 junior highs and middle schools. These schools are as varied as the thousands of students who walk their halls and run the athletics courts and fields all across the state.
Members include public, private and parochial schools that can have a vastly different focus on their shared mission of educating their students. There is one thing that those 700-plus schools have in common: an athletics organization built on a foundation of fairness and service.
The AHSAA operates based on rules and regulations formulated by its members. Any member school can propose a new rule or a rules change. The new rule gets distributed to all members and there’s a survey vote. From there, a 32-member Legislative Council – four members from each district – votes on the proposal. A two-thirds vote is required to ratify the new rule. It’s democracy – and fairness – in action.
During my career as a coach and athletic administrator in north Alabama, I witnessed numerous significant changes that were a result of rule proposals that were designed to support the needs, interests and safety of student-athletes across the state. I am proud of the consistent effort of the AHSAA to be responsive to concerns and suggestions of the many men and women who strive to make high school athletics a meaningful experience for student-athletes.
At Randolph School, an independent school in Huntsville, we have a proud tradition of academic and athletic excellence as well as a strong commitment to community involvement. In order to help prepare our students for their future in an uncertain world, our faculty, coaches and administrators encourage our student-athletes to be their best in the classroom, on the athletic fields, in their dealings with their peers and in the broader world beyond our campus.
In athletics, as in academics, Randolph coaches work to make sure our students are prepared for tough competition because facing and overcoming challenges strengthens their resolve to do their best – no matter what. We value the opportunity to compete against strong competition throughout the state through the AHSAA. We also find in the AHSAA like-minded institutions led by executives and officials with uncompromising integrity.
Our athletics programs at Randolph School are outstanding, and an important part of our mission to instruct the entire student – mentally, physically and emotionally. We are very proud of our winning programs, but in striving to win we make sure we teach our students that sportsmanship and honest effort are as important as what shows on the scoreboard.
As a former coach and athletic administrator, I am grateful for the integrity, dedication and hard work that the AHSAA provides outstanding athletic experiences for student-athletes and coaches across the state.
Goshen a proud AHSAA small-school competitor
With the AHSAA’s guidance and adherence to policies created for everyone, small schools such as Goshen High School can be confident that the competition is fair for all. In a community of less than 300 in the town limits, Goshen’s ability to stand toe-to-toe with our rivals is a matter of pride. And pride is very important in small-town Alabama.
Our student-athletes don’t rely on finding success with a chip-on-the-shoulder mentality, though. We strive to teach them to stand tall in the face of adversity, knowing that adversity can produce great character and fortitude that can last for a lifetime. Learning to pull together as part of a team is perhaps the best way to prepare our student-athletes for life after high school.
The governing structure of the AHSAA – the Central Board of Control – is comprised of one member from each of the eight districts in the state, plus four minority members from four bi-districts, two female at-large members and one member from the Alabama Department of Education. Thus, every school has a “local” voice in the room when executive decisions are made. Goshen’s voice matters just as much as that of the voice from the largest high school in Alabama. The AHSAA staff that works on day-to-day issues is also highly responsive. The administrators in Montgomery have hands-on experience in school classrooms and always keep the students in their minds in their decision-making.
In short, private schools like Randolph School and public schools like Goshen High share a bond much like those forged on the field of play. Policies and procedures made by AHSAA members for AHSAA members keep a competitive balance in place so that our students have their best chance for success on a level playing field.
Contact: Dan Schuster
INDIANAPOLIS, IN (December 19, 2017) — The most popular online education course on the NFHS Learning Center – “Concussion in Sports” – is now available in Spanish at www.NFHSLearn.com. The NFHS also has released “Officiating Wrestling,” which is the seventh sport-specific officiating course available through the NFHS Learning Center.
The NFHS partnered with the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) in 2010 to offer “Concussion in Sports.” The free course has since been taken more than 3.5 million times, and with the help of the Ann & Robert H. Lurie Children’s Hospital of Chicago, is now available in Spanish. This is the first course offered by the NFHS Learning Center in a language other than English.
“We are pleased to offer our very first course in Spanish, as well as continuing to provide additional opportunities for individuals to become involved in professional development,” said Dan Schuster, NFHS director of educational services.
The goal of “Concussion in Sports” is to educate coaches, officials, parents and students on the importance of proper concussion recognition and management in high school sports. The course includes each state’s concussion management requirements, in addition to highlighting the impact of sports-related concussion on athletes. Those who take the course will learn how to recognize a suspected concussion, as well as protocols to manage suspected concussions and the steps used to help players safely return to play.
“Officiating Wrestling” emphasizes the value of a referee’s judgment. To make the correct call, a referee must possess the proper knowledge of wrestling rules and their implementation. “Officiating Wrestling” is designed to help wrestling officials not only understand the rules, but how to properly apply them when in action.
“Professional development is critically important, and we are pleased to add another course for officials to the NFHS Learning Center,” Schuster said. “’Officiating Wrestling’ is a great course for new wrestling officials; however, it also provides great reminders of fundamentals for veteran officials.”
“Officiating Wrestling,” which is also now available through the NFHS Learning Center, costs $20. All members of the NFHS Officials Association are eligible for a $10 discount by entering an NFHS Officials Association registered email at checkout.
After starting with two courses in 2007 through the NFHS Coach Education Program, the NFHS Learning Center now offers 58 online courses – including more than 26 of which are free – and has expanded its reach to contest officials, students, administrators and music adjudicators. Since the launch of www.NFHSLearn.com in 2007, the NFHS has delivered more than six million courses.
This press release was written by Cody Porter, a graphic arts/communications assistant in the NFHS Publications/Communications Department.
Contact: Mike Perrin | 205-969-1331 | 205-540-7721 | firstname.lastname@example.org
MONTGOMERY, Ala. – Mark Jones, the Alabama High School Athletic Association Director of Officials, is a former city councilman in Jacksonville, Ala. His political career began for the same reason as his time as a high school sports official.
“If you think you can do better and make a difference, jump in there and make it better instead of continuing to complain about it,” he said. “That’s one problem I see in our society. We love to complain, but we don’t want to solve the problem.”
Jones, a veteran of more than 35 years as a football, baseball, softball and basketball official, is working with associations across the state to encourage young people to pick up a whistle and get involved – or stay involved – with sports as an official. It’s a tough job with relatively small monetary rewards, but one that can lead to advancement to college or professional positions. At the high school level, a sports official is able to influence young people by teaching sportsmanship and fair play.
“The selling point to getting into officiating is that you really need to have a sense of wanting to give back to sports,” said Ron Baynes of Mountain Brook, who in his 28-year National Football League career officiated in two Super Bowls and retired as the NFL’s Supervisor of Officials. “It’s OK to view it as an opportunity to make a little extra income, but to really make it work, you need to feel a need to get back involved.
“We call officiating a fraternity,” said the longtime Alabama high school coach and administrator. “It’s a group of guys who can relate to each other. Some of the closest friends I have are guys I officiated with. It’s like staying on a team in sports.
“Honestly, it’s not for everybody. My three sons are in big-time officiating (two in the NFL, one in college) and I’ve had others in my family who have tried it. My son-in-law, who I love dearly, tried it and he didn’t like it. When I asked him why, he said, ‘I made a mistake out there.’ I told him we all make mistakes, then he said, ‘I like for people to like me too much to do this.’”
Facing criticism is a difficult part of the job, Jones said. Social media has made it even tougher as hecklers can now take criticism to larger audiences as anonymous trolls.
“The role of the contest official is essential for high school sports to teach the lessons we know it can teach,” said Steve Savarese, Executive Director of the AHSAA. “They work tirelessly to become the best contest officials they can be. We are fortunate in Alabama to have so many who sacrifice so much to become officials. They come from all walks of life. We are thankful for the leadership provided by Mr. Jones and Greg Brewer before him and for our veteran officials who are proving to be such outstanding mentors.
“However, we as a public must do our part and learn to treat them with the respect they deserve. If we don’t, then we will be facing a severe shortage of officials in the future.”
Jones said most officials want to be in the big games, but they must start at the grassroots level.
“A problem we have is that everybody has to start out on the junior high level,” Jones said, “where the play is just not that good. The coaches who are also just starting out sometimes think they are NBA-ready. Lots of them think it’s coaching to yell at the officials. Everybody thinks they should be perfect, so mom and dad start yelling and grandpa starts yelling at the officials. These officials don’t want to be berated all the time, so before they can become a good official, they get out.”
Brewer, who in 2016 retired as the AHSAA’s Director of Officials after three decades, developed a sports officiating class for high schools that was approved as part of the curriculum by the Alabama Department of Education. Those classes are now offered at more than 35 high schools across the state, Jones said.
“The AHSAA is committed to addressing the issue of the declining number of officials,” he said. “It is a nationwide problem and Alabama hasn’t experienced the problem as severely as some other states. Retention of officials becomes an issue as young officials drop out after two to three years and the major factor in retention is verbal abuse. With the expanding use of technology and social media, the expectations of officials have become unrealistic. Officiating is the one profession that individuals are expected to start as perfect and then get better.”
Patsy Burke has been a volleyball official for 20 years, starting only after falling in love with the sport while acting as statistician for her daughter’s teams. “I had some people who thought that maybe I should give it a try,” she said. “I had also done softball scorekeeping and started calling softball, so I thought I’d give it a try. When I decided to do it, I found the first officiating camp that the AHSAA offered and I went. It helped me know what an official is supposed to do. I listened to officials who I had watched officiate and I said that’s what I want to be. I wanted to be the best.”
Burke went all-in, attending camps, talking to officials and reading everything about the game from an official’s point of view. “I listened to those people who had been in it a long time,” she said. “I picked their brain. I have been very fortunate to call volleyball in the Southeastern Conference, in the Ohio Valley Conference and things like that, but my true love has always been high school ball.”
Criticism – often totally unfounded – is what drives young people away from wearing the officials’ stripes, Burke agreed. “The fans have become just irate,” Burke said. “Some parents think they know the game because their kids play, but they don’t know the rules. Volleyball is a mental game for officials. In a three-of-five match, we probably have to make a judgment call on over 500 touches of the ball. I don’t know of any other sport that has to make that quantity of judgment calls.”
Allen Gilbert is a professor of sports management at Jacksonville State University who called college basketball for 17 years as well as high school basketball and football. He teaches football and basketball officiating classes and said he encourages his students to get involved. “The good part of being an official is the relationships you build,” he said. “You actually have a good relationship with the coaches, too, but sometimes it’s hard to see that.
“It seems the only time kids see officials is when something bad happens – breaking up a fight or coaches or spectators yelling at them. Otherwise, officials are invisible. When they see the bad things, they think, ‘I don’t want to put up with that.’”
Burke said she would like to see parents get more connected to the sportsmanship component of high school sports in the same way their children are. “We can do something about sportsmanship for coaches and players,” the longtime official said, “but we can’t say that to parents. Some club associations require the parents to sign a form that says they will show good sportsmanship. They are required to sign. I know that doesn’t stifle every parent from showing poor sportsmanship, but it might make them think about how they are acting.”
Baynes, an Alabama Sports Hall of Fame inductee who played football, basketball and baseball at Auburn University, also touted the health benefits of being an official. “I left Auburn weighing 225 pounds,” he said. “I got into coaching and I worked out some with the kids, but I got up to 245 pounds. The night I worked my first game as an official, I was probably not as fit as I should have been. I was not headed down a healthy path. As an official, you’re motivated to work out because you know you put yourself in the public eye. When you get to higher levels, you better be fit or you’ll get run over and get killed! I’m 74 years old now and I weigh less than I did when I played at Auburn.”
Those interested in pursuing officiating can start by visiting ahsaa.com/Officials/Officials-Home or highschoolofficials.com.
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.
MONTGOMERY – The Alabama High School Athletic Association Central Board of Control unanimously approved Thursday a seven-classification system for championship play for the 2018-19 and 2019-20 school years. The seven-class system, which began in 2014-15, was approved once again for all sports. For the first time, however, for classification, non-traditional students were included in the average daily membership figures reported for member public schools by the Alabama State Department Education and a competitive balance factor was approved for AHSAA member private schools based on the recommendation of the AHSAA Classification Task Force.
The action came during the Central Board’s quarterly meeting at the AHSAA Office.
Non-traditional students, which gained eligibility for the first time in the 2016-17 school year, include home-school and virtual school students that enroll in at member public school.
In accordance with the AHSAA constitution and by-laws, the AHSAA Central Board of Control manages championship play and classification. Member schools are reclassified every two years. The high schools are currently divided into seven classifications (1A, 2A, 3A, 4A, 5A, 6A and 7A) for competition in championship programs.
Classification is based on Average Daily Membership (ADM) figures furnished by the State Department of Education for public schools for the upper three grades plus ninth-grade students that are retained in the ninth grade. Member private schools report that same data directly to the AHSAA. An index of 1.35 is used to determine the enrollment figure for classifying each private school member. Each private school student counts 1.35 for classification purposes.
Alignments are made for each sport in a classification based on the number of schools participating in a sport. Some programs may include two or more classes in a division. The alignments for each sport in a class are published in the AHSAA Sports Book each year.
The AHSAA Classification Task Force, made up of superintendents, principals, athletic directors, administrators and coaches from across the state and chaired by Madison County Schools Superintendent Mark Massey and Montgomery Academy Athletic Director Anthony McCall, addressed many issues concerning the membership including competitive balance between schools in the respective classes. The committee unanimously recommended adding a competitive balance factor to private schools by sport. While private schools are classified based on the membership data and 1.35 multiplier, those affected by the competitive balance factor will move up one class or division from where they are this school year for the respective sport but will remain in their respective classification for all other sports.
Reclassification, according to the AHSAA Constitution and By-Laws, is conducted every two years by the AHSAA Central Board of Control.
“This reclassification system will allow more student-athletes to participate in championship events,” Central Board President John Hardin said.
The 2018-19 and 2019-20 football alignment places the 32 largest high schools in the new Class 7A and 55 in Class 6A. The remaining six classes were divided equally with 60 schools in each remaining class.
“I want to thank the Classification Task Force, Central Board and AHSAA staff for the hard work they put in and the recommendations they made,” AHSAA Executive Director Steve Savarese said. “It was a difficult job, but everyone worked together to find the best solution as we move forward.”
Hardin said he also wanted to thank the Classification Task Force and member schools for their input and patience throughout the reclassification process. “Their recommendations came after many hours of study and discussion. They gave of their valuable time to evaluate our classification system thoroughly and provided valuable input in ways to improve that system,” he said. “On behalf of the Central Board of Control and our member schools, I want to thank Mr. Savarese and his staff for their hard work. I also want to thank our Central Board for their commitment and dedication to providing a first-class athletic program to all our student-athletes, and for making decisions that are best for all of our member schools.”
The reclassification alignment data for each sport and the private school competitive balance chart can be found at the following link located at www.ahsaa.com. Reclassification by enrollment data is located on the home page of www.ahsaa.com.
In other Central Board action:
By STEVE SAVARESE
Executive Director, AHSAA
MONTGOMERY – In an effort to provide fair play among member schools, the Alabama High School Athletic Association reclassifies its member schools every two years based on enrollment data in accordance with the AHSAA Constitution and by-laws. Thanks to the State Department of Education and modern technology, the AHSAA now has a program designed specifically for its member schools that provides enormous assistance in aligning the schools geographically more accurately and more timely.
The Central Board of Control is expected to address classification for the 2018-19 and 2019-20 school years at its board meeting Thursday at the AHSAA Office in Montgomery. For the first time in the AHSAA’s long history, classification will include non-traditional students such as home-school and virtual school students in its average daily membership totals.
The AHSAA mission has not changed over its long history which started with its formation in the 1920-21 school year. The mission statement states: The AHSAA serves member schools through interscholastic competition by enhancing student learning, sportsmanship, safety and lifelong values. With integrity as its foundation, the AHSAA consistently governs the rules created by its member schools.
The member schools have written the organization’s constitution and continue to establish the by-laws. The AHSAA Constitution states in Article 7, Item 4 (l): The Central Board shall have the power to classify member schools into two or more divisions for the purpose of athletic competition. No school’s classification shall be changed during the classification period after the schools have been classified.
In accordance with the AHSAA constitution, high schools are currently divided into seven classifications (1A, 2A, 3A, 4A, 5A, 6A and 7A) for competition in championship programs. Classification is based on Average Daily Membership (ADM) figures furnished by the State Department of Education for public schools for the upper three grades plus ninth grade students that are retained in the ninth grade. Member private schools report that same data directly to the AHSAA. An index of 1.35 is used to determine the enrollment figure for classifying each private school member. Each private school student counts 1.35 for classification purposes.
Alignments are made for each sport in a classification based on the number of schools participating in a sport. Some programs may include two or more classes in a division. The alignments for each sport in a class are published in the AHSAA Sports Book each year.
The AHSAA Classification Committee, made up of superintendents, principals, athletic directors, administrators and coaches from across the state, has spent countless hours studying ways to improve the current classification process. The task force, chaired by Madison County Schools Superintendent Mark Massey and Montgomery Academy Athletic Director Anthony McCall, addressed many issues concerning the membership including ways to improve competitive balance between schools in the respective classes.
The AHSAA staff has worked closely with the committee to provide any historical data that might be helpful. The committee, in turn, will make recommendations to the Central Board they think might help to improve the current system for our member schools. We appreciate the efforts of this committee, the leadership of its co-chairmen, and the Central Board of Control. Their input is vital as the AHSAA continues to evolve into the 21st Century.
Classification is important to the membership for many reasons. Seven classes, which was approved by the Central Board of Control for the 2014-15 school year, has been a very positive move for our member schools. A record number of schools participate in post-season championship play and a number of schools have participated in state championship events for the first time as a result.
Classification has changed as the AHSAA membership has changed. The AHSAA was formed in 1920-21 with the first “official” state champion crowned in basketball that winter. A total of 248 public and private schools made up that first charter with all competing in one class for the championship. That one-class system remained until 1947 with championships in basketball, golf, outdoor track and baseball as 320 member schools were divided into two classes. By 1963, the AHSAA had expanded to include 352 public and private schools with additional champions crowned in wrestling and boys’ and girls’ tennis and a four-class system was introduced. Three years later, the football playoffs were added, and in 1968-69, the AHSAA merged with the Alabama Interscholastic Athletic Association (AIAA) with 524 member public and private schools making up the AHSAA as a result.
Many school systems merged schools in the early 1970s, and by 1974, the total number of schools were reduced to 416. That number remained constant for the next 10 years, and in 1984-85, the AHSAA expanded its classifications to six – with a full array of girls’ sports, including golf, volleyball, indoor and outdoor track and cross country among the AHSAA’s championship sports offered. Softball was added in 1986, boys’ and girls’ soccer in 1991.
A total of 410 member schools competed in six classes until the seven-class system was approved in the 2014-15 school year. Bowling, which was offered for a short time for girls only in the 1970s, was added as a championship sport for boys and girls in 2016.
Classification provides new experiences and opportunities for our changing membership. As the AHSAA continues to serve its membership best, it is important that we all remember the original mission that created this organization. We should always treasure the opportunity to experience the life lessons that can be learned from participating in educational-based sports and other activities.
MONTGOMERY – Eleven major contributors to prep athletics in Alabama have been selected from a field 51 nominations for induction into the 28th class of the Alabama High School Sports Hall of Fame next March.
The 2018 class, which includes coaches, administrators, officials and an “oldtimer,” will be inducted at a banquet at the Renaissance Hotel and Convention Center in Montgomery, March 19, 2017, at 6:30 p.m.
Selected for induction are football coaches John Mothershed, Randy Ragsdale and Jerome Tate; basketball coaches Ricky Allen and Obadiah Threadgill III; baseball coach William Booth; softball coach Alvin Rauls; volleyball coach Ann Schilling; soccer official and rules interpreter Joe Manjone; former AHSAA assistant director Greg Brewer, selected in the contributor category; and basketball coach Edward Wood, now deceased, who was chosen in the ‘old-timer’ category.
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.
Veteran sportscaster Jeff Shearer will emcee the banquet. The NFHS Network is scheduled to live-stream the event.
Since the inaugural class induction 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 selectee:
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 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) finish. 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 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 time 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’s 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 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 -- 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 for 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 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 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.
MONTGOMERY – Hale County High School has self-reported a violation of AHSAA eligibility rules resulting in the school being fined, placed on probation for one year and ordered to forfeit seven varsity football wins.
Hale County played an ineligible student in violation of the AHSAA Eight Semester Rule. The school must forfeit all contests its team won in which the student participated. Forfeits include Class 4A, Region 4 victories over Oak Grove, Holt, Bibb County, West Blocton, Sipsey Valley and Greensboro high schools and one non-region win over Winfield. As a result of the forfeitures, Hale County will not qualify for the playoffs. Bibb County is the Region 4 No. 1 seed. Northside is the No. 2 seed. The third and fourth playoff qualifier spots were decided by tie breaker (L) following tonight’s games. West Blocton is the third seed and Sipsey Valley is the fourth seed.
MONTGOMERY – Twenty-one football contests are scheduled to be live-streamed tonight and Friday over the NFHS Network as the season heads into its ninth week. All games will be key region contests as all AHSAA region play comes to an end except for 6A, Region 1 and 7A, Region 1. Those regions have nine teams and will conclude region play next week.
Perhaps the biggest will take place Friday near the Tennessee border when Rogers High School (8-0) meets Wilson (8-0) in a battle that will decide the Class 4A, Region 8 title. Both are squaring off unbeaten this late in the season for the first time in the rivalry’s history. The contest will be featured as the AHSAA’s NFHS Network’s School Broadcast Program Game of the Week. Wilson’s SBP will be live-streaming the contest at 7 p.m. Friday.
For the two schools, it could better described as the Game of the Century. Few rivalries in the state have been more even with Wilson holding a slim 21-20 edge in the series that has been played annually since the Warriors and Pirates met for the first time in 1976. Wilson has averaged 17.7 points per game in the series and Rogers, 16.5 – only 1.2 points per game separating the two teams.
Another key game scheduled for the NFHS Network Friday night is unbeaten Thompson (8-0) at defending state champion Hoover (7-1) in a battle that will determine the Class 7A, Region 5 champion. The Hoover High School Broadcast Program will be live-streaming with veteran announcer Jeff Lloyd bringing the play-by-play.
The NFHS Network slate of AHSAA events also includes one swimming event today as well as a bowling event next Thursday being live-streamed by the Cullman High School SBP. The seven state championship matches at the 46th annual AHSAA State Volleyball Championships on Nov. 2 at the Birmingham CrossPlex will also be live-streamed by the NFHS Network.
To check out the football games on the NFHS Network, go to: http://www.nfhsnetwork.com/alabama/football
To subscribe to the NFHS Network, click:
The Rogers-Wilson game may be accessed by subscribers for live-stream or for Network non-subscriber members at:
The Wilson-Rogers game will be available free for viewing on a delayed basis Tuesday, Oct. 17, after 11 a.m., to NFHS Network members. Those who currently have not joined the Network can view the delayed version once they sign up for the free membership.
MONTGOMERY – A total of 29 AHSAA sports contests or events are scheduled to be live-streamed over the NFHS Network tonight through next Wednesday by AHSAA member schools. That brings the total to more than 180 AHSAA contests live-streamed over the NFHS Network since the 2017-18 school year kicked off in late August.
Among the events will be a bowling tri-match to be live-streamed by the Cullman High School Broadcast Program on Tuesday, Oct. 24. Six volleyball contests and 22 football games are slated for tonight through Wednesday, Oct. 25.
Two football games will by live-streamed tonight, 19 on Friday and one on Saturday as the AHSAA region races heat up with many key battles that will go a long way in deciding the state playoff participants.
Two volleyball events include area tournaments in Class 6A, Area 2 (Monday) and Class 4A, Area 16 on Tuesday. Spanish Fort and Wilson high schools will be live-streaming selected matches from the two tourneys, respectively.
The AHSAA’s NFHS Network School Broadcast Program Game of the Week Friday will be at Cramton Bowl where Park Crossing (7-1) takes on undefeated Sidney Lanier (7-0) in a game that will decide the Class 6A, Region 2 champion. Montgomery’s Public School SBP (Montgomery Sports Net) will be live-streaming the game over the NFHS Network.
The Thunderbirds of Coach Smitty Grider are averaging 44.0 points a game and allowing 15.0. Sidney Lanier, coached by Marvin Cunningham, is 7-0. The Poets, led by talented senior quarterback James Foster, are scoring 36.4 point and yielding only 8.1, second only to Homewood in Class 6A this season.
Lanier is off to the school’s best start since 2000. Montgomery’s oldest high school is 588-400-9 in over 107 seasons since playing football for the first time in 1910. Park Crossing is Montgomery newest public high school in just its fourth year of existence. Grider’s team has compiled a 35-8 record during that stretch including a 13-1 season in 2016 that ended in the Class 6A semifinals. The Thunderbirds are 20-2 over the last two years.
Also on the line is the Montgomery Public Schools championship. Lanier is 3-0 in games versus the other county schools, Park Crossing is 2-1 and Robert E. Lee is 3-1 with a loss to Lanier and a win over Park Crossing. Grider’s team has won six straight since that 28-17 loss.
The Lanier-Park Crossing game can be seen live by NFHS Network subscribers. The game will also be available free for viewing on a delayed basis Tuesday, Oct. 24, after 11 a.m., to NFHS Network members. Those who currently have not joined the Network can view the delayed version once they sign up for the free membership at: http://watch.nfhsnetwork.com/rewards-signup/.
To check out all games scheduled, click: http://www.nfhsnetwork.com/alabama/football
NFHS NETWORK SCHEDULE OF AHSAA EVENTS
THURSDAY, Oct. 19
VOLLEYBALL Producer Air Time
Handley at Smiths Station Smiths Station HS SBP 6:30 p.m.
Northview at Smiths Station Smiths Station HS SBP 4:30 p.m.
James Clemens at Hoover Hoover HS SBP 6:30 p.m.
Spain Park at Vestavia Hills Vestavia Hills HS SBP 6 p.m.
FOOTBALL Producer Air Time
Florence at Columbia Florence HS SBP 6:45 p.m.
Prattville vs. Jeff Davis Jeff Davis HS SBP 6:30 p.m.
FRIDAY, Oct. 20
FOOTBALL Producer Air Time
Millry at Sweet Water Sweet Water HS SBP 7 p.m.
New Brockton at Goshen Goshen HS SBP 7 p.m.
Opp at Geneva Geneva HS SBP 7 p.m.
W.S. Neal at Andalusia Andalusia HS SBP 6:30 p.m.
Russellville at East Limestone Russellville HS SBP 7 p.m.
Austin at Muscle Shoals Muscle Shoals HS SBP 7 p.m.
Cullman at Southside-Gadsden Cullman HS SBP 7 p.m.
Hartselle at Decatur Hartselle HS SBP 7 p.m.
Hillcrest-Tuscaloosa at Brookwood Hillcrest SBP 6:30 p.m.
Sidney Lanier vs. Park Crossing Montgomery Sports Net 6:30 p.m.
Spanish Fort at Saraland Saraland HS SBP 6 p.m.
Wetumpka at Opelika Opelika HS SBP 7 p.m.
Auburn at Smiths Station Smiths Station HS SBP 7 p.m.
Enterprise at Demopolis Enterprise HS SBP 7 p.m.
Foley at Mary Montgomery Foley HS SBP 6 p.m.
Hoover at Vestavia Hills Vestavia Hills HS SBP 7 p.m.
Hoover at Vestavia Hills Hoover HS SBP 7 p.m.
Oak Mountain at Mtn. Brook (delayed) Mtn. Brook HS SBP 11 a.m. (Sat.)
SATURDAY, Oct. 21
FOOTBALL Producer Air Time
Central-Phenix City at R.E. Lee Montgomery Schools SBP 6 p.m.
MONDAY, Oct. 23
VOLLEYBALL Producer Air Time
Class 6A, Area 2 finals Spanish Fort HS SBP 5:58 p.m.
FOOTBALL Producer Air Time
Opelika at Auburn (Freshmen) Auburn HS SBP 6:30 p.m.
TUESDAY, Oct. 24
BOWLING Producer Air Time
Cullman, St. Bernard, Lindsay Lane meet Cullman HS SBP 5 p.m.
VOLLEYBALL Producer Air Time
Class 4A, Area 16 Tourney Wilson HS SBP 5 p.m.
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