Tuesday, February 18, 2020






AHSAA Mourns Death of Elmore County AD Grady Rowe

    The AHSAA was saddened to learn of the death of longtime Elmore County High School athletic director Grady Rowe, 57.  The AHSAA extends condolences to Coach Rowe’s family and his extended Elmore County High School family.
    He is survived by wife, Gloria and children William Grady Rowe III and Thomas Luke Rowe.
    Rowe served his entire teaching career at Elmore County High School where he was a math teacher, athletic director and coach in various sports over the course of more than 20 years. He played football at ECHS and was selected a prep All American in 1975. He went on to play college football at Marion Military Institute and Jacksonville State University.  Rowe served in the 20th Special Forces Group of the Alabama National Guard and retired as Lieutenant Colonel.
   Visitation will be tonight from 5 to 8 p.m. at Good Hope Baptist Church located at 1767 South Fleahop Road in Eclectic. The memorial service will also be at Good Hope Church at 2 p.m. Thursday.
In lieu of flowers, the family requests contributions to Coach Grady Rowe Scholarship Fund at any branch of First Community Bank.

AHSAA Mourns Death of Coach Eugene Mason

    The AHSAA was saddened to learn of the death of former R.C. Hatch High School basketball coach Eugene Mason.  Mason, who coached Keith High School girls’ coach Cecil Williams in high school, collapsed at a Keith practice Tuesday and was transported to a Selma hospital where he was later pronounced dead.
     Our prayers go out to Coach Mason’s family and his extended R.C. Hatch High School family.
     Mason was helping his former student prepare the Keith girls for their upcoming Class 1A state championship game versus Spring Garden scheduled for Friday morning at 8:45 a.m.
     Mason was inducted into the Alabama High School Athletic Association Hall of Fame in 2006. He retired as the AHSAA’s all-time coaching wins leader with a 919-306 career record. He guided R.C. Hatch to seven state championships, tied for the most of any coach in state history. He also coached in the Alabama-Mississippi and North-South all-star games.
     He continued to work with kids after his retirement from R.C. Hatch through the Uniontown recreation program.
     Funeral arrangements are not available at this time.

Central Board Approves Plan For Incorporation Of Adaptive & Wheelchair Athlete Scoring in Track

        The Alabama High School Athletic Association Central Board has approved a plan to incorporate and calculate scoring for adaptive and wheelchair student-athletes participating in the AHSAA outdoor track & field championships, effective this spring. The action was taken Wednesday at its annual winter meeting in Montgomery.
        The Board approved extending the existing state cross country championship contract at Moulton’s Oakville Indian Mounds Park & Museum for three more years through the 2017 season and the record-setting 2014 region and state volleyball financial reports.
       AHSAA, in conjunction with the Lakeshore Foundation, is devising a plan to count the points scored in adaptive or wheelchair track events with the scoring of the school they represent. In past years, a separate championship was awarded to schools with students in the wheelchair division.
     “We think this plan will generate increased participation by adaptive and wheelchair students,” Executive Director Steve Savarese said. “It will be a way to provide a more memorable experience for all our students.”
     Savarese said the 2014 volleyball championships at the CrossPlex and at the regional sites set attendance records. “I think the new seven-classification system provided opportunities for some new schools to make the tournament.  The excitement generated by the teams and fans created a wonderful state-championship atmosphere.”
     The AHSAA cross country committee recommended unanimously to extend the state cross country event contract.
     Additionally, the Central Board approved two-year term limits for sports committee members.

In other Central Board action:

– Heard an update on the newly formed AHSAA Student Leadership Conference and approved conference expenses.

– After hearing an appeal from Murphy High School and Yanna Curran, the state’s Refugee Coordinator, the Central Board voted to uphold the original eligibility ruling by the executive director involving a Murphy High School student.

– Approved alignment adjustments predicated by the closing of Sunshine and Akron high schools by the Hale County Schools System at the end of the 2014-15 school year.

– Approved the financial reports for the fall championships in volleyball, cross country and swimming.

– Approved the Super 7 football championships audit.

– Approved the 2014 Alabama-Mississippi football all-star game financial report and also approved changing the all-star game’s coaching limits from two appearances to three and from one head-coaching opportunity to two.

– Approved expenses for the 2015 State Basketball Tournament.

– Approved additions to the AHSAA Consent and Release Form that must be signed by all student-athletes and their parents each school year.

Registration Now Open for Inaugural NFHS Network Broadcast Academy

First 50 Students to Attend Exclusive Behind-the-Scenes Atlanta Braves Broadcast Experience


ATLANTA (January 14, 2015) - The NFHS Network, the nation’s leading high school sports media company, has opened early registration for the first-ever NFHS Network Broadcast Academy to be held July 17-19, 2015 in Atlanta, GA.  High school broadcasting students, faculty and family members are invited to register at: www.nfhsnetwork.com/broadcastacademy.

The event will kick off on Friday at the Atlanta Braves vs. Chicago Cubs baseball game at Turner Field at 7:35 p.m.  The first 50 students to register will gain exclusive access to a behind-the-scenes Atlanta Braves broadcast experience prior to the game.

Intimate hands-on workshops conducted by NFHS Network producers will enable students to learn pre- and post-production best practices, announce a live sporting event, create a live studio show and produce an original feature package.  General sessions will feature prominent broadcasters and executives from ESPN, Turner Sports and NBC Sports. 


Attendees will also hear from Vicki Michaelis, Carmical Distinguished Professor in Sports Journalism, Grady College of Journalism and Mass Communication at the University of Georgia, about pursuing journalism in college, Robert Sherman, a student who successfully started a broadcasting program at his high school and is now producing events in college, and Adam Zimmerman, President, CSE, who will discuss best practices for marketing events and increasing your audience.


In addition, high school broadcast programs and students from across the country will be recognized for their accomplishments during the first annual NFHS Network Broadcast Academy Awards ceremony on Saturday, July 18.  The submission deadline is February 15.


Detailed information including the full agenda, workshop and session descriptions, award categories and selection process is available online at: www.nfhsnetwork.com/broadcastacademy.   Early registration rates for conference passes and hotel rooms will be valid until April 15.

About the NFHS Network


The NFHS Network is the single online destination for watching high school sports and other events live and on demand from anywhere at anytime.   Students participating in the NFHS Network School Broadcast Program, which provides high schools with the technology platform, training and support to broadcast their own regular season games online, now produce the majority of the events on the NFHS Network.

All NFHS Network events are available online at www.NFHSnetwork.com.  Follow the NFHS Network on Facebook, Twitter, YouTube and Instagram at @NFHSnetwork for the latest news and event information.



Ashley Peden                                                

PR Agency, PlayOn! Sports  



AHSAA’s Wanda Gilliland Among 12 Leaders To Receive NFHS Citations at 96th Annual Meeting

        INDIANAPOLIS — Wanda Gilliland, Assistant Director of the Alabama High School Athletic Association, is among 12 leaders in high school activity programs across the country selected to receive National Federation of State High School Associations (NFHS) Citations.

        An award designed to honor individuals who have made contributions to the NFHS, state high school associations, athletic director and coaching professions, the officiating avocation and fine arts/performing arts programs, the NFHS Citation is one of the most highly-regarded achievements in high school athletics and performing arts.

       The 2015 Citation recipients will receive their awards July 1 at the 96th annual NFHS Summer Meeting in New Orleans.  

       Gilliland has been an assistant director with the AHSAA since 1996. A graduate of Marion County High School and Athens State College, she served as a teacher and coach/athletic director at Hamilton High School from 1979-1996 where her girls basketball teams compiled a 301-96 record, won a state championship in 1990, finished runner-up the next year and won the Marion County tournament seven times.
      She has played a key role in the development of state championship programs in volleyball, softball, basketball and cross country. She has helped govern eligibility requirements through involvement with school audits, investigations and foreign exchange student regulations.
      Gilliland has received several coach of the year honors and served on the NFHS basketball, softball and spirit rules committees. She currently chairs the NFHS Softball Rules Committee. She was inducted into the Alabama High School Sports Hall of Fame in 2011 and the Marion County Sports Hall of Fame in 2001.
      She is the fifth Alabama recipient of the prestigious award. Others include Ken Blankenship (Coaches Citation) in 2000, Greg Brewer in 2006, Houston Young (Officials Citation) in 2010, and Alan Mitchell in 2012.

      Gilliland, the Section 3 recipient, is one of eight Citation honorees
representing NFHS-member state high school associations. The other four recipients represent NFHS professional organizations for officials, coaches, music leaders and speech/debate/theatre directors.
      The other state association recipients are Pat Corbin, retired executive director of the New Hampshire Interscholastic Athletic Association; Butch Powell, assistant executive director of the West Virginia Secondary School Activities Commission; Scott Johnson, assistant executive director of the Illinois High School Association; Cheryl Gleason, assistant executive director of the Kansas State High School Activities Association;
      Amy Cassell, assistant director of the Oklahoma Secondary School Activities Association; Dwight Toyama, former executive director of the Hawaii High School Athletic Association and the Oahu Interscholastic Association; and John Billetz, retired executive director of the Idaho High School Activities Association.

      Citation recipients in other categories are James Coon, volleyball official, Pittsboro, Indiana; Milt Bassett, executive director, Oklahoma Coaches Association, Edmond, Oklahoma; Jean Ney, retired coordinator of fine arts, Kansas City, Kansas, Public Schools, Bonner Springs, Kansas; and Darrel Harbaugh, retired director of debate and forensics, Field Kindley Memorial High School, Coffeyville, Kansas. 

North Carolina’s Davis Whitfield to Join NFHS Staff as Chief Operating Officer

INDIANAPOLIS, IN (January 26, 2015) — Davis Whitfield, commissioner of the North Carolina High School Athletic Association (NCHSAA) for the past five years, has been selected chief operating officer of the National Federation of State High School Associations (NFHS), effective July 1, 2015.

Whitfield will succeed Jim Tenopir, who is retiring this summer after five years as the organization’s chief operating officer.

“I am pleased that Davis will be joining our staff this summer,” said Bob Gardner, NFHS executive director. “During his time as commissioner of the North Carolina association, Davis has proven to be an innovative leader. He also will bring a valuable perspective on national issues from his years at the college level. I look forward to working with him in leading our staff in the coming years.”

Since taking over as commissioner of the NCHSAA in January 2010, Whitfield has instituted a five-year strategic plan; enhanced the championship experience for student-athletes, coaches and fans at NCHSAA events; and organized and directed the organization’s 100th anniversary celebration.

In addition, Whitfield created a committee which led to a new student-athlete transfer policy, implemented championship cost-cutting policies and procedures, restructured the NCHSAA Handbook, and developed the Education and Athletics Committee, which evaluates the effectiveness and efficiency of current NCHSAA policy and procedure.

     Prior to his appointment as NCHSAA commissioner, Whitfield was on the administrative staff of the Atlantic Coast Conference for 7½ years, including the final 2½ years as associate commissioner.

     Among his duties at the ACC, Whitfield directed and coordinated all television liaison activities for regular-season ACC football, managing a staff of 20 individuals. He also assisted with the ACC Men’s Basketball Tournament, developed and managed an Olympic sports budget of $4 million, and was responsible for directing all regular-season and championship activities for 22 Olympic sports.

Whitfield was the site representative for several NCAA championships. He also represented the ACC at local, regional and state events, and he worked with ACC corporate partners to create and fulfill exposure opportunities.

Before his move to the ACC office, Whitfield served in the athletic department at Wake Forest University in Winston-Salem, North Carolina, including two years as director of operations and facilities management and two years as assistant athletic director for operations and facilities. He began his career in sports administration in 1995 at Campbell University in Buies Creek, North Carolina, where he was assistant athletic director for operations and facilities for three years.

     Whitfield attended East Carolina University in Greenville, North Carolina, where he was a dean’s list student and played on the school’s baseball team, before transferring to the University of North Carolina, Chapel Hill. He earned his bachelor’s degree from UNC in 1993 and his master’s in sports administration in 1995.

Whitfield and his wife, Nicole, have three children: Will, Grace and Wesley.

AHSAA Saddened by Passing of J.D. Chesteen

      The Alabama High School Athletic Association is saddened to learn of the passing of Coach J. D. Chesteen of Hartford on Friday, Dec. 19. Mr. Chesteen, 87, is survived by his loving wife of 63 years, Myra Smith Chesteen.
       Funeral arrangements include family visitation at Hartford Baptist Church from 12 noon to 2 p.m. Monday, December 22. The funeral service will follow at 2 p.m. at the church with interment following at Hartford City Cemetery.  Sorrells Funeral Home of Slocomb, will be officiating.
     Coach Chesteen was recently selected to be inducted into the AHSAA Sports Hall of Fame in the Class of 2015 in March.  The veteran high school football coach graduated from Brantley High School, and after a stint in the U.S. Air Force, he graduated from Troy University with a degree in education. He began coaching in 1951 at Samson High School.
     Coach Chesteen, 86-64-6 as a head football coach for 16 seasons, totaled 38 years and nine months as a teacher and coach in the Geneva County School system with tenures at Samson, Coffee Springs and Geneva County high schools. He served as a teacher and coach at Geneva County from 1961 until his retirement in 1988.
     He coached three teams to the Peanut Bowl, one to the Lions Bowl and had teams win the South Alabama Conference 2A Championship twice. He served as president of the South Alabama Conference in 1964, was elected vice president of the AHSADCA in 1962 and president in 1963. He was head coach of the South All-Stars in the 1963 North-South Game and inducted into the Wiregrass Sports Hall of Fame in 1994. He was a long-time member of Hartford Baptist Church where he served as Sunday School teacher of Baracca Men's Class, deacon and was awarded Deacon Emeritus.
      His son Donnie Chesteen followed his dad into high school coaching most recently serving as a teacher/coach at Geneva High School.
    In lieu of flowers, donations can be made to Hartford Baptist Church, 105 E. Burch Street, Hartford, AL. 36344. 

Kim Vickers Joining AHSAA As Director of Publications

            Horseshoe Bend High School teacher/coach/athletic administrator Kimberly Vickers will join the executive staff of the Alabama High School Athletic Association as Assistant Director, Executive Director Steve Savarese announced Thursday.

            Vickers, who will be AHSAA Director of Publications, has been serving Horseshoe Bend as senior teacher and department chair in the English department, head girls’ softball coach and assistant to the athletic director. She will begin her new duties Jan. 5.

            “We are fortunate and delighted to have Kimberly Vickers join our staff,” Savarese said. “She is a talented individual, an excellent teacher and coach and has already been an important member of our AHSAA family while working in athletic administration and compliance at Horseshoe Bend. She is a tremendous addition to the AHSAA staff and will enable us to better serve our member schools.”

            Vickers, a 1984 graduate of Mellow Valley High School in Clay County, received her B.S. in Secondary Language Arts from Jacksonville State University in 1987 and earned a Master’s Degree in Secondary Education/Language Arts from Auburn University-Montgomery in 1993.

            “I am very excited about the opportunity to work with the AHSAA,” Vickers said, “This is a dream come true for me personally and I am looking forward to the new challenges ahead. It is something I have wanted to do for a long time.”

            Vickers has been at Horseshoe Bend since 2000 and served as a teacher/coach at Benjamin Russell High School from 1989-2000. She also was an adjunct English instructor at Southern Union Community College in Wadley in 1995-1996.

            At Horseshoe Bend she has served on the Building Leadership Team, was SACS Committee Chair, yearbook advisor, senior class sponsor, technology coordinator, commencement director and ACCESS Distance Learning facilitator and site coordinator.

           She holds memberships in the Alabama High School Athletic Directors & Coaches Association, National Federation Teachers of English, Alabama Education Association, National Education Association and Tallapoosa County Education Association.

           While at Benjamin Russell she served as yearbook and newspaper advisor, softball and cheerleader coach and broadcast producer among other duties.

           “The most difficult thing for me was leaving Horseshoe Bend and my kids in the middle of the year,” Vickers said. “We are like a big family, and if didn’t feel comfortable that I am leaving my duties in good hands, then I wouldn’t have made this decision. I can’t thank my principal Casey Davis and athletic director Mike Boyd enough for the opportunities they afforded me. I have loved my time at Horseshoe Bend.”

            Vickers, 48, was named Horseshoe Bend Teacher of the Year in 2005 and 2013 and Tallapoosa County Teacher of the Year in 2013. She was also an Alabama Teacher Hall of Fame finalist in 2013. Named Taylor Publishing Company Advisor of the Year in 1998, she was inducted into the Columbia University Yearbook Cover Design Hall of Fame in 1997 and was named Who’s Who Among American High School Teachers from 1996-2009.

            Her softball teams at Horseshoe Bend were area champions from 2004-2009 and 2011-2014 and runner-up in 2010.  Her 2010 and 2011 teams were South-Central Regional Class 2A runner-up and three teams advanced to the AHSAA state softball tournament at Lagoon Park (2006, 2010 and 2011).

            She credits her own high school English teacher, Miss Myrtie Will Fargason at Mellow Valley, for teaching her to love literature and the English language and for inspiring her to become a teacher. “As a young student I strove to please her because I wanted her approval in all that I did,” Vickers said. “I have come to realize as an adult all this wonderful teacher taught me about life in general."

Weather Decision Technologies is new NFHS Corporate Sponsor

INDIANAPOLIS, IN (December 10, 2014) — Weather Decision Technologies, Inc., the industry leader in providing organizations with weather decision support on a global scale, has entered into a three-year agreement with the National Federation of State High School Associations as an NFHS Corporate Partner.

As a part of the agreement, Weather Decision Technologies (WDT), with offices in Norman, Oklahoma, and Houston, Texas, will be the exclusive NFHS partner for soccer, which will include coverage in the sport’s rules book, rules poster, scorebook and rules PowerPoint. 

Among the many products and services offered by WDT is STRIKE, a lightning detection and alerting application currently available on iOS and Android devices. STRIKE harnesses the power of Earth Networks Total Lightning Network (ENTLN), combining it with a patented alerting engine developed by WDT to deliver instant notifications to individuals whether they are on or off the field. An alert is sent when a lightning strike is first detected within six miles of the event, and an all-clear is sent when no lightning is detected within that range for 30 minutes. These distance rules are recommended by lightning experts, as well as the NCAA, NFHS and other sports associations to minimize risk while outdoors.

For school districts and large organizations, STRIKE Plus includes a bulk app package along with WDT’s exclusive WeatherOps Commander, a complete weather-monitoring system that brings a myriad of advanced lightning-strike display and weather-alerting technologies into one concise, interactive package.

WDT is a partner and founding contributor of The Event Safety Alliance (ESA), a non-profit safety trade association dedicated to promoting the concept of “life safety first” during all phases of event production.

“We are excited about this new partnership with Weather Decision Technologies,” said Bob Gardner, NFHS executive director. “With WDT’s background in lightning detection and its accompanying app, this will offer our member state associations and the nation’s high schools some additional resources for minimizing risk of injury in high school sports. We look forward to working with WDT over the next three years.”

“Lightning is unpredictable and the key to safety is preparation and awareness,” says Mike Eilts, chief executive officer of Weather Decision Technologies. “We strive to create technology that ensures awareness resulting in saved lives and protected assets. We see this relationship as an opportunity to help protect those who serve and play under the NFHS.”