MONTGOMERY – Due to a miscalculation in data, some adjustments have been made to the AHSAA 2020-21 & 2021-22 Classification and Sports Alignment information released Tuesday morning.
As a result, St. John Paul II Catholic High School, which was listed in Class 5A, will be a Class 4A school in the new classification period. Saint James High School of Montgomery, listed in 3A, will also be in Class 4A. East Lawrence and Oakman are moving from 4A to 3A.
Due to these changes in school classification, some football region alignment changes became necessary in Classes 5A, 4A and Class 3A. The adjustments leave 32 football-playing schools in Class 7A; 58 in Class 5A; and 59 in Classes 6A, 4A, 3A, 2A and 1A.
Some changes were also made in volleyball alignments and cross country alignments. The adjustments have been corrected on the football and volleyball alignment maps online and on the classification information online.
“On behalf of the Alabama High School Athletic Association, I apologize for any inconvenience this may have caused,” said Executive Director Steve Savarese.
To get the most up-to-date information, including up-to-date maps, please go to the following link:
Changes to 20120-21& 2021-22 Classification
St, John Paul II moves from Region 8 to Class 4A
Brewer moves from Region 7 to Region 8
St. John Paul moves from 5A to 4A, Region 7
St. James moves from 3A to 4A, Region 2
Priceville moves from Region 7 to Region 8
Oakman moves from Region 5 to Class 3A
East Lawrence moves from Region 8 to Class 3A
St. James moves from Region 4 to Class 4A
East Lawrence moves from 4A to 3A, Region 8
Oakman moves from 4A to 3A, Region 6
Monroe County moves from Region 1 to Region 3
Trinity Presbyterian moves from Region 3 to Region 4
Glencoe moves from Region 6 to Region 5
Hokes Bluff moves from Region 6 to Region 5
Winfield moves from Region 8 to Region 6
Carbon Hill moves from Region 8 to Region 6
Childersburg moves from Region 5 to Region 4
John Carroll Catholic moves from 5A, Area 9 to 6A, Area 8 (due to competitive balance factor)
St. John Paul II Catholic moves from 5A, Area 15 to Class 4A, Area 13
Ramsay moves from 5A, Area 10 to 5A, Area 9
St. John Paul II Catholic moves from 5A, Area 15 to Class 4A, Area 13
East Lawrence and Oakman move to 3A
East Lawrence moves from Class 4A, Area 15 to Class 3A, Area 15
Oakman moves from Class 4A, Area 8 to Class 3A, Area 10
St. Luke’s Episcopal was placed in 2A, Area 1 but moves to 3A, Area 1 (due to competitive balance factor)
Washington County moves from Area 4 to Area 1
St. John Paul II Catholic moves from 5A, Section 4 to Class 4A, Section 4
East Lawrence and Oakman move to Class 3A
East Lawrence moves from 4A, Section 4 to 3A, Section 4
Oakman moves from 4A, Section 3, to 3A, Section 4
MONTGOMERY – The Alabama High School Athletic Association Central Board of Control unanimously approved Tuesday the classification for member schools for the school years 2020-21 & and 2021-22. The classification will once again classify member schools in seven classes.
The action came during the Central Board’s December meeting at the AHSAA Office. Re-classification, conducted every two years, is based on average daily enrollment numbers for the first 20 school days after Labor Day. Public schools provide those figures to Alabama State Board of Education (ASDE). Member private schools supply the same enrollment information for their schools or school systems to the AHSAA.
The AHSAA functioned with a six-classification system from 1984 to 2014 and have been grouped in seven classifications ever since. The schools were grouped in a four-classification system from 1964-1983 and a two-classification system from 1947-1964. Prior to 1947, the AHSAA had just one classification system.
The 2020-21 & 2021-22 classification football alignment places the 32 largest high schools in the new Class 7A. The remaining six classes are divided with 59 football-playing schools in each class. The Central Board also approved the sports alignments for the other fall sports volleyball, cross country and swimming. The winter sports alignments will be announced following the end of the basketball season, and the spring sports alignments will be announced following the conclusion of the spring sports playoffs.
The Competitive Balance factor assigned to member private school teams have been applied to the fall sports alignments and will be applied after the winter and spring sports seasons for the remaining sports. Three private school football programs (Mars Hill Bible, Mobile Christian and UMS-Wright) reached the Competitive Balance threshold during the current classification and will move up one class from their current classification. Two schools bumped up in the first Competitive Balance application (Madison Academy and St. Paul’s Episcopal) did not meet the threshold to remain in the higher class during the current classification period and will drop back one class to 4A and 5A, respectively in the new classification period.
Of the eight school volleyball programs that moved up a class for the current classification period, three (Bayside Academy, Providence Christian and Saint James) earned enough points in the Competitive Balance formula to move up another class in the upcoming two-year period. Three (St. Luke’s Episcopal, Madison Academy and St. Paul’s Episcopal) will remain in the same class and two (Decatur Heritage and John Carroll Catholic) did not meet the threshold and will move down one classification to 1A and 6A, respectively. Four schools (Athens Bible, Westminster-Oak Mountain, Montgomery Academy and Faith Academy) are moving up for the first time due to Competitive Balance, and McGill-Toolen Catholic, which is dropping from 7A to 6A due to enrollment, will see its volleyball program remain in 7A due to the Competitive Balance points earned.
“I want to thank the AHSAA staff and Central Board for the hard work they put in to develop the reclassification plan that was approved,” AHSAA Executive Director Steve Savarese said. “This is something that must be done every two years. It was a challenging task, but everyone worked together to find the best solution as we move forward.”
Central Board president Keith Bender said he wanted to thank the member schools for their input and patience throughout the reclassification process. “On behalf of the Central Board of Control and our member schools, I want to thank Mr. Savarese and his staff for their tireless efforts. I also want to thank our Central Board for their commitment and dedication to providing first-class athletic programs to all our student-athletes as well as making decisions that are best for all of our member schools.”
The reclassification enrollment and alignment data and for the sports of football, volleyball, cross country and swimming can be found at www.ahsaa.com. The direct link is:
MONTGOMERY – The Alabama High School Athletic Association and its TV Partner WOTM TV of Sylacauga will
televise a special program “AHSAA Classification 2020-21 & 2021-22” Tuesday morning from 9 a.m. to 10 a.m., over the AHSAA TV Network’s group of
cable TV affiliates and live-streamed over the NFHS Network and WOTM platform. The one-hour special will detail the classification of member schools to be approved at Tuesday’s December Central Board of Control meeting at the AHSAA Office. The meeting, which will begin immediately following the conclusion of the board meeting, is being produced by Vince Earley of WOTM TV will be moderated by AHSAA TV Weekly
host Jon Holder with special guest analysts Josh Bean and Ben Thomas of the Alabama Media Group.
The Central Board is scheduled to approve the new classification for all member schools as well as the sports alignments for the Fall Sports of
football, volleyball, cross country and swimming for the next two years. Winter and Spring Sports alignments will be released once those championship seasons have concluded. Complete details will be uploaded to www.ahsaa.com Tuesday morning as well.
Details on how the AHSAA TV Network availability across the state can be found at the following link:
NFHS Network link for AHSAA TV Weekly “Classification 2020-21 & 2021-22” link:
AHSAA TV Weekly “Classification 2020-21 & 2021-22” Link:
Dr. Karissa L. Niehoff, NFHS Executive Director
In the history of high school sports, the early 1970s will always be remembered first and foremost for the passage of Title IX in 1972 – legislation that sparked the growth of girls sports in the United States.
A year earlier, however, the National Federation of State High School Associations made a decision that has impacted education-based athletics in an equally significant manner.
Recognizing the future growth of the high school athletic directors profession, the NFHS started the National Conference of High School Directors of Athletics in February 1971. A total of 355 athletics directors attended the first conference in St. Louis, followed by another 257 at the December 1971 gathering in Columbus, Ohio.
The national conference for high school athletic directors has been held annually in December since that time, and on Friday, December 13, at the Gaylord National Resort and Convention Center in National Harbor, Maryland, more than 2,100 athletic administrators will convene for the 50th National Athletic Directors Conference (NADC), which continues through Tuesday, December 17.
The growth of the high school athletic administration profession as well as the NADC was additionally fueled in 1977 when the NFHS formed the National Interscholastic Athletic Administrators Association (NIAAA), a national professional organization for high school athletic directors. Membership in the NIAAA expanded rapidly and, in 2006, became its own organization. Since that time, the NFHS – the national leader and advocate for high school athletics and performing arts – and the NIAAA have worked together annually to sponsor the NADC.
Without a doubt, athletic directors are the leaders of education-based athletics in our nation’s high schools. They have an endless list of responsibilities and set the tone for the overall success of a school’s athletics and/or activities program.
In recent releases of “The NFHS Voice,” we have noted the significant role that athletic directors play with regard to the educational direction of a school’s athletic program, as well as ensuring that security measures are in place for after-school events.
Unlike national conferences for some groups, professional development is among the main reasons that athletic directors attend this annual conference. They know that they are entrusted with key leadership roles and want to provide a safe and fun experience for student-athletes in their schools.
This year, 40 workshops will be offered on key issues related to athletic directors tasks, including coaching coaches, social media, effective communication, managing fan behavior, event management, generating new sources of revenue, creating positive parent culture and promoting multi-sport participation.
In addition, the NIAAA will offer 52 Leadership Training classes, on topics from legal issues, to marketing and promotions, to managing fields and equipment, to working with students with disabilities.
Very simply, high school athletic directors are the key leaders in our nation’s education-based athletic programs. Local schools depend on these individuals to lead their athletics programs, our member state high school associations depend on these men and women to help lead state events and initiatives, and the NFHS and NIAAA look to athletic administrators for leadership at the national level. We appreciate the tremendous service they provide our nation’s young people!
Online link to article: https://www.nfhs.org/articles/the-nfhs-voice-leadership-of-athletic-directors-continues-at-50th-national-conference/
Dr. Karissa L. Niehoff is in her second year as executive director of the National Federation of State High School Associations (NFHS) in Indianapolis, Indiana. She is the first female to head the national leadership organization for high school athletics and performing arts activities and the sixth full-time executive director of the NFHS, which celebrated its 100th year of service during the 2018-19 school year. She previously was executive director of the Connecticut Association of Schools-Connecticut Interscholastic Athletic Conference for seven years.
ALABAMA SPORTS HALL OF FAME
ANNOUNCES CLASS OF 2020
The Board of Directors of the State of Alabama Sports Hall of Fame is pleased to announce the Class of 2020 to be inducted into the Alabama Sports Hall of Fame on May 2, 2020. 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 2020 are as follows:
Starting with the first class in 1969, this will be the 52nd Class inducted into the Alabama Sports Hall of Fame. The eight newly elected inductees will bring the total number of inductees to 369.
The 52nd Annual Induction Banquet and Ceremony will be held in the Birmingham Ballroom, at the Sheraton Birmingham Hotel, on May 2, 2020. For more information or to purchase tickets, please contact the Alabama Sports Hall of Fame Museum at (205) 323-6665.
CLASS OF 2020 BIOGRAPHIES
RONNIE BROWN – FOOTBALL | Born December 12, 1981 in Rome, GA. He played running back at Auburn University from 2000-2004. He finished seventh in school history in rushing yards and fifth in rushing touchdowns. He was the 2003 Citrus Bowl MVP. Drafted second overall by the Miami Dolphins in the 2005 NFL Draft, he started at running back the first four weeks of the season. In the 2008 season, he had 916 yards and ten touchdowns, leading to his Pro Bowl selection. In 2010, he started all 16 games with the Dolphins. He played six seasons with Miami and went on to play with the Philadelphia Eagles, San Diego Chargers and Houston Texans. He retired in 2014 with the Chargers.
SYLVESTER CROOM – FOOTBALL - COACHING | Born September 25, 1954 in Tuscaloosa, AL. Croom played center from 1972-1974 at the University of Alabama. During his college career he was awarded the Jacobs Blocking Trophy and also earned All-American honors. Croom helped the Crimson Tide win three SEC championships and the National Championship in 1973. He played one year in the NFL for the New Orleans Saints before returning to Tuscaloosa to coach. Croom was an assistant at Alabama for 11 seasons under Coach Paul Bryant and Coach Ray Perkins. He then spent 17 years coaching in the NFL. In 2004, he was named Head Coach at Mississippi State University, making him the first African-American head football coach in the Southeastern Conference. For the 2007 season, Croom was voted SEC Coach of the Year. After Croom’s time at Mississippi State, he served as running backs coach in the NFL for the Rams, Jaguars, and Titans.
DOUG KENNEDY – PARALYMPIAN | Born November 13, 1958 in Haleyville, AL. He is a Paralympic athlete that holds many world records. In 1991, at the age of 33, Kennedy dominated as the top wheelchair racer in the U.S. He was the world record holder for the 1500m, the 10K, the 15K, and the 5-mile. He was a gold medalist in the 1990 Goodwill Games in the 1500m. He was on the 1988 and 1992 U.S. Paralympic Teams. His career began in 1987 when he won the silver medal in the Stoke-Mandeville Games in Albany, England in the pentathlon. He went on to win two gold medals for the U.S. National Pentathlon team in 1987 and 1988. Kennedy’s career was unmatched in 1990 as he was considered the greatest wheelchair racer in the world. He was given the Sington Award as the Physically Challenged Athlete of the Year for the State of Alabama.
Q.V. LOWE – BASEBALL | Born January 15, 1945 in Red Level, AL. He played at both Gulf Coast Community College and Auburn University. As a pitcher at Auburn, he went 23-3 with a winning percentage of .885 in two years. He set an Auburn record at that time of a career ERA of 1.69 and most complete games in one season (10). During his senior season he went 15-1 and helped lead Auburn to the 1967 College World Series. After his playing career, he was a coach and manager in the minor leagues for the Chicago Cubs, New York Yankees and Montreal Expos farm teams. In 1986 he established the baseball program at Auburn University-Montgomery. He won 1,127 games at AUM, and led them to the NAIA World Series three times, finishing second in 1990. His teams won six conference championships and he was named NAIA Coach of the Year in 1990. In 2007, he was named Alabama Baseball Coaches Association College Coach of the Year; the Auburn Walk of Fame in 1998; and the Alabama Coaches Hall of Fame in 2005.
WOODY MCCORVEY – FOOTBALL - COACHING | Born September 30, 1950 in Grove Hill, AL. He played quarterback at Alabama State from 1968-1971. After starting in the high school ranks, he began his collegiate coaching career in 1978 with NC Central. He has held positions at the University of Alabama, Alabama A&M, Clemson, Mississippi State, South Carolina, and Tennessee. During his 26 plus years in college football, McCorvey has been a part of five national championship teams and 31 bowl games. Since 2008, he has been an Associate AD for Football Administration at Clemson under Coach Dabo Swinney.
JORGE POSADA – BASEBALL | Born August 17, 1971 in Santurce, Puerto Rico. He played collegiately at Calhoun Community College in Decatur, Alabama, where he was selected as co-captain and named to the All-Conference Team in 1991. He was drafted in the 24th Round of the 1990 Major League Baseball Draft by the New York Yankees. He played 17 seasons, all with the Yankees. He was a five-time American League All-Star. He was also a five-time Silver Slugger Award Winner. The Yankees won four World Series during his career. He is only the fifth Major League catcher with at least 1,500 hits, 350 doubles, 275 home runs, and 1,000 RBIs in a career. From 2000 to 2011, he compiled more RBIs and home runs than any other catcher in baseball. He is the only Major League catcher to ever bat .330 or better with 40 doubles, 20 home runs, and 90 RBIs in a single season.
DUANE REBOUL – BASKETBALL - COACHING | Born November 9, 1948 in New Orleans, LA. He was the basketball coach at Birmingham-Southern College for 17 years and became the winningest coach in school history with 402 wins. He led the Panthers to two NAIA National Championships (1990 and 1995), six conference championships and nine tournament appearances. His team had twelve 20-win seasons and averaged 23.6 wins per year. In BSC’s first full year of eligibility in NCAA Division I basketball they were co-champions of the Big South Conference (2004). He was named Coach of the Year in the Big South Conference twice. His Panthers had a 44-game winning streak that spanned two seasons (1995 and 1996). In the 1998 season they won their first 20 games.
STEVE SHAW – FOOTBALL - OFFICIATING | Born June 11, 1959 in Tuscaloosa, AL. He began his officiating career after his graduation from the University of Alabama. He worked high school football for 14 seasons with the Birmingham Football Officials Association. His first role as a collegiate official was with the Gulf South Conference where he officiated for six years. Following his time with the GSC, he served as a referee in the Southeastern Conference for 15 years. He was selected for 14 post-season assignments, including two National Championship Games, eight BCS Bowls, and four SEC Championship Games. Shaw was President of the SEC Football Officials Association from 2009-2011. He was named Coordinator of Football Officials for the SEC in 2011. He has received numerous officiating awards including the Rush Lester Silver Dollar Award and the Bobby Gaston - Ed Dudley Spirit of Officiating Award.
Given the increase in school-related shootings since the Columbine massacre 20 years ago, perhaps it is not surprising that these acts of violence are no longer confined to regular school hours.
The tragic shooting – and eventual death of an innocent 10-year-old – at a New Jersey high school football game last month made headlines across the country and was a somber reminder that events occurring after school hours are subject to the same type of senseless violence.
This was not the first shooting at a high school sporting event this year – actually it was the 23rd according to the National Center for Spectator Sport Safety and Security (NCS4) – but the death of Micah Tennant and the eventual conclusion of the game five days later at the Philadelphia Eagles’ stadium drew nationwide coverage.
Camden High School and Pleasantville High School finished the playoff game at a nearly empty Lincoln Financial Field before a few hundred family members and friends as the stadium was closed to the public. Larry White, New Jersey State Interscholastic Athletic Association executive director, said the decision to finish the game was made by both schools “to provide closure and send a powerful message that acts of violence and those who perpetrate them will not win.”
High school sporting events traditionally have been safe gathering places for fans to attend and celebrate the accomplishments of high school student-athletes – particularly the sport of football. And we must do whatever is necessary to make sure these venues remain safe and secure.
Reports have been encouraging about attendance as state football playoffs concluded in some states last weekend and continue in other states this coming weekend. In Indiana, about 20,000 people attended the Class 5A championship at Lucas Oil Stadium in Indianapolis on the day after Thanksgiving.
We want to ensure that our stadiums remain open for everyone to attend. The fans – students, parents, other family members, friends, community residents – are what make education-based athletics different from non-school sports.
More intense security plans have been in existence at college and professional sports venues for many years; it is essential that leaders in high school sports move after-school safety and security to the top of their priority lists.
In addition to school athletic events that typically start in early evening hours, security plans also should be in place for practices inside and outside the school building.
Many resources are available for high school athletic administrators to implement an after-school safety and security program, including the free online education course on the NFHS Learning Center at www.NFHSLearn.com. “Afterschool Security” provides practical strategies for developing and implementing a school safety team and an after-school activities supervision plan.
As was the case with increased security at airports after September 11, 2001, the results of heightened safety plans for after-school activities may be an inconvenience for some individuals. However, plans must be in place to ensure that high school stadiums and arenas remain open for the almost eight million participants in high school sports, as well as the estimated 350 million fans annually.
The AHSAA was saddened to learn of the death of Pat Sullivan, 69, Auburn University’s first Heisman Trophy winner and a multi-sport star at John Carroll Catholic High School who was inducted into the National High School Hall of Fame in 2012. He passed away Sunday, Dec. 1.
He is survived by his wife, the former Jean Hicks, and their three children, Kim and twins Kelly and Patrick Jr.
“Pat Sullivan was one of Alabama’s greatest ambassadors for what is honorable and good about educational-based athletics,” said AHSAA Executive Director Steve Savarese. “We offer our prayers and condolences to the Sullivan family.”
Sullivan was considered the top football player in the state of Alabama in his junior and senior seasons (1967, 1968) as the quarterback at John Carroll Catholic High School in Birmingham. He was a two-time all-state selection and was named the top player in the nation by one publication. Sullivan also was named all-state twice in basketball, averaging 18 points per game as the team’s point guard, and in baseball as the team’s shortstop.
He then led Auburn to a 26-7 record in three years as the team’s quarterback and won the Heisman Trophy in 1971. Sullivan played parts of seven seasons in the National Football League before launching his college coaching career. After serving as an assistant at Auburn and the University of Alabama, Birmingham, and head coach at Texas Christian University, Sullivan closed out his coaching career at Samford University in Birmingham.
For more on Pat Sullivan’s legendary career, check out this story: https://www.al.com/auburnfootball/2019/12/reports-auburn-legend-former-heisman-winner-pat-sullivan-has-died.html
FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE Contact: Karissa Niehoff
INDIANAPOLIS, IN (November 21, 2019) — The National Federation of State High School Associations (NFHS) will be launching an online platform for high school officials, effective with the 2020-21 school year.
The NFHS Center for Officials Services, with its technology platform created by DragonFly Athletics of Tuscaloosa, Alabama, will offer a variety of services for officials, including registration, assessment, assignments and payments. In addition, NFHS Officials Association members will be able to access NFHS rules exams, NFHS digital rules books and case books, insurance information, video content and sport-specific officiating courses on the NFHS Learning Center.
In time, it is anticipated that the NFHS Center for Officials Services database would include all registered officials in NFHS member state associations. As a result, this new technology would assist the NFHS as it continues to recruit new officials through its #BecomeAnOfficial program as well as ongoing efforts to retain individuals who officiate high school contests.
“We are excited about providing this tremendous service for high school officials across the country,” said Dr. Karissa Niehoff, NFHS executive director. “In those states that use the NFHS platform, officials will be able to obtain everything they need in one location – from registering, making payments and receiving assignments and assessments, to educational material such as rules publications, rules exams and video content provided through NFHS Officials Association membership. The technological expertise offered by DragonFly will provide a streamlined process for officials to participate, and for state associations and the NFHS to share officiating data.”
DragonFly currently works with administrators nationwide to manage athletics and activities programs at the high school level. Its all-inclusive platform provides features for registration, medical care, scheduling, communications and payments. DragonFly developed the video exchange technology used by NCAA Division I schools for game day preparation.
“Under Dr. Karissa Niehoff’s leadership, we’ve seen a strong focus on technology and data analysis to improve high school sports and activities,” said Kirk Miller, chief executive officer of DragonFly. “We’re thrilled to be a part of her vision. Not only will this new service provide a first-class digital experience for officials, it will also help the NFHS have the information it needs to make strategic decisions for the future of officiating.”
The NFHS Center for Officials Services is expected to launch sometime in May 2020 in time for the upcoming 2020-21 school year.
Online link to article: https://www.nfhs.org/articles/nfhs-announces-plans-to-launch-center-for-officials-services/
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
This fall, one school canceled the remainder of its football season after reports of hazing surfaced. There have been several incidents of high school student-athletes using racial slurs against members of the opposing teams. As we have noted previously, there have also been multiple reports of parents verbally and – in some cases – physically abusing officials, along with several cases of coaches allegedly running up scores. And then there was the bizarre case of a suspended player appearing in a game disguised as another player.
On the positive side, there was a cross country runner who stopped at the one-mile mark of a race to assist a competing runner who had collapsed and was unresponsive. He didn’t finish the race, but he saved the life of the competing runner.
After the completion of a recent football game, one player on the winning team found his friend on the other team who had just lost his mother to cancer to comfort and pray with him. There have also been cases of schools helping other schools that were hit with tragedies, such as the fires in California.
And earlier this year a high school golfer who, after signing her scorecard, noticed on the app that her partner had entered an incorrect score for her on one hole. She could have kept quiet and retained her top-10 finish, and most likely no one would have noticed. Instead, she reported the error and was disqualified. She later was honored by her school for doing the right thing.
Fortunately, there are far more good acts of sportsmanship that happen in high school athletics and activity programs; however, the unsportsmanlike displays tend to make more headlines and sometimes overshadow the great things that are occurring.
The key individuals in schools who are responsible for making education the central theme of the athletic program are the athletic directors and coaches. If coaches are more committed to helping student-athletes become responsible citizens than helping them perfect an athletic skill, and if athletic directors are committed to an education-based philosophy, the likelihood of unsportsmanlike incidents such as those mentioned above is minimal.
What’s the measure of success for a high school coach – winning 80 percent of the games, bringing home multiple state championships, being named coach of the year several times? As long as success on the fields or courts is done in accordance with an education-based philosophy, this would be an award-winning biographical sketch.
The win-loss record aside, however, how about also considering the consistent teaching of values, character and lifelong lessons that would place his or her teams in consideration for sportsmanship awards and his or her student-athletes on the paths to successful lives after high school?
The NFHS has several free online education courses to assist coaches and athletic directors in leading an effective education-based program. “Engaging Effectively with Parents,” “Sportsmanship” and “Bullying, Hazing and Inappropriate Behaviors” are among the many courses at www.NFHSLearn.com.
In addition, “Fundamentals of Coaching” is the core course that every interscholastic coach should complete.
When a school district is looking to hire a high school athletic director or coach, we would suggest finding someone more committed to an education-based philosophy than hardware in the trophy case.
The AHSAA is saddened to learn of the death of long-time high school teacher, administrator and football coach Chuck Furlow, 72. He passed away November 18.
“Our thoughts and prayers go out to the Furlow family,” said AHSAA Executive Director Steve Savarese. “His commitment to high school educational athletics and his example of leadership will continue to have an impact for many years to come.”
An Opelika native, Furlow served as Auburn City Schools athletic director from 1998 to 2009 in the final stop of what was a 39-year career in high school educational athletics. He started at Beulah High School in 1970, then made stops at Opelika Junior High (1971-72), Lyman Ward (1973-75), Beauregard (1976-81), Auburn High as a coach (1981-84), Gardendale and the Jefferson County Schools central office (1994-98) prior to returning to Auburn High.
Shortly after his retirement, he began work alongside Bill Cameron on the Sports Call show and remained there for nearly five years before following Cameron to ESPN 106.7 FM in 2013. The two have hosted The Drive radio show together since that time.
Also in his retirement, he served in volunteer roles including working with the Super 7 State Football Championships when held at Auburn.
Visitation will be Thursday, November 21, at Auburn United Methodist Church's Founders Chapel from 5 to 7 p.m. A graveside service will be 11 a.m. Friday, November 22, in Town Creek Cemetery, followed by a memorial service at 3 p.m., at Auburn United Methodist Church's Main Sanctuary.
For a poignant tribute to Coach Furlow, check out the following story published in the Opelika-Auburn News at the following link.
Older Archives 2008-2014