MONTGOMERY – Twelve major contributors to prep athletics in Alabama have been selected for induction into the 30th class of the Alabama High School Sports Hall of Fame. The 2020 class, which includes an “old-timer,” will be enshrined at a banquet held at the Montgomery Renaissance Hotel and Spa Convention Center March 16, 2020.
Selected were: administrator Luke Hallmark; football coaches Carrol Cox, Steve Mask and Fred Yancey; basketball coaches Tommy Lewis and Yvonne Simmons; Track coaches Aaron Goode and Keith Wilemon; wrestling coach Joseph Dasaro; soccer coach Rick Grammer; wrestling official Toney Pugh, who was also an outstanding wrestling coach and football coach; and coach/administrator Samuel ‘Hamp’ Lyon, who 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 partners include Alabama Power, ALFA, Cadence Bank, Coca-Cola, Encore Rehabilitation, Future Ones, Jack’s, TeamIP and Wilson Sporting Goods.
The first class was inducted in 1991. These 12 in the Class of 2020 will run the total inducted into the Alabama High School Sports Hall of Fame to 365.
A profile of each selectee:
CARROL COX: A 1968 Jackson High School graduate and member of Samford University’s 1971 National Championship team, Cox coached from 1973 to 2000 at Jess Lanier High School in Bessemer – serving as head football coach and athletic director the final 21 years compiling a 162-77-2 overall record with the Purple Tigers.
His teams reached the state playoffs 14 times, including two trips to the state finals. His 1990 team was 12-3 and won the Class 6A state championship beating Murphy 22-0 at Legion Field. His teams had just two losing seasons but made the playoffs one of those years. After retiring in Alabama, he continued teaching and coaching in Georgia.
Cox, an old-school coach who had some of the top rushing teams in AHSAA history thanks to his tenacious wishbone offensive scheme, is the winningest head football coach in Bessemer school history. He coached in the Alabama-Mississippi All-Star Classic in 1990, has been a clinician at football coaching clinics across the Southeast and sent a large number of his players to Division I and Division II college programs during his coaching tenure.
JOSEPH DASARO: The 1973 Grissom High School graduate, 65, completed his degree at Auburn University in 1978. He then became a wrestling coach and teacher at Redbud High School in Calhoun (GA) foe two years – leading his team to the Class 1A state championship.
Dasaro then moved back to his hometown of Huntsville where began a teaching and coaching career at his alma mater Grissom. He served as assistant wrestling coach from 1980-83 and became head coach in 1984 – a position he has held ever since.
He has been one of the state’s premier wrestling coaches – leading the Tigers to seven state championships (1994, 1998, 1999, 2000, 2001, 2003 and 20012. His team won four state titles in a row at one stretch. His overall dual meet record was 804-149 through the 2017-18 season. Fifty-nine of his players have won individual state titles with two, Robby MacArthur and Josh Hall, earning positions on Olympic teams.
He has been selected Who’s Who among American Teachers (1998), was inducted into the Madison County Sports Hall of Fame (2008) and has been named Huntsville City Schools Coach of the Year eight times – his first year in 1984 and his most recent in 2018. He was named USA Wrestling Man of the Year (1997) and received NFHS State Coach of the Year Award twice (1998 and 2000).
Dasaro, who is very active in numerous community projects, received a special Huntsville City Schools Resolution Recognition for his heroic devotion and disregard for personal safety when he evacuated a number of children during a fire at Stone Middle School in 1983. Also among his numerous awards received was the White House Golden Rule Award from President Bill Clinton in 1996.
AARON GOODE: Goode, 66, graduated from Hazelwood High School as its salutatorian in 1971 where he was an outstanding football and track athlete – helping the Bears win the school’s first state football title as a senior in 1970. He was an outstanding two-sport athlete in college at Alabama State University.
He began long tenure as high school teacher and coach at his alma mater, serving in numerous capacities including becoming a football and track coach. He helped the small Lawrence County School in Town Creek win 11 state football crowns before the school merged with Courtland in 2009 to form R.A. Hubbard High School. He laid the groundwork for Hazelwood’s track program that also won 13 boys’ outdoor state championships and 13 girls’ state titles. His hurdlers dominated the track scene.
The Goode family, which included his nephews Clyde, Chris, Kerry, Pierre, Clyde III, and Antonio Langham, not only excelled in high school but at the college and NFL level. His brother Clyde also served on the AHSAA Central Board of Control.
Goode, an assistant coach in various sports much of his career, was head football coach at Hazlewood from 2003-08 compiling a 48-23 record. He then led the merger with Courtland into R.A. Hubbard in 2000 leading the Chiefs to an 11-3 record and the state semifinals in 2009. Goode earned the NFHS Section 3 Track Coach of the year in 2004. He is currently serving as a volunteer track assistant coach at Lawrence County High School in Moulton.
. Active in the Town Creek community, he is a member of First Baptist Church and has served as a city councilman. Dedicated to the sport of track, he served on the USA Track and Field Board of Directors from 1988-2004 with a stint as president from 1995-2000.
RICK GRAMMER: A 1974 graduate of Birmingham’s Huffman High School, Grammer, 64, earned his college degree from Jacksonville State in 1979 and received his masters from the University of Montevallo.
He spent his entire coaching and teaching career at Vestavia Hills, where he served as an assistant varsity football coach, freshman football coach, freshman basketball coach, the school’s swim coach sponsor and was handed the Rebels’ boys’ soccer coaching duties in 1979. He also taught advanced level math.
He knew very little about the sport of soccer when he was told he would be the boys’ soccer coach in 1979. He embraced the opportunity, however, and dedicated himself to studying and learning how to coach the sport – leading the Rebels to a 633-158-50 record over the next 36 years with four state titles and five semifinal appearances. He continued to serve as an assistant football coach for almost the entire duration.
His win total ranked him ninth nationally in the NFHS when he retired in 2015. He was chosen NFHS Section 3 Soccer Coach of the year in 2013, and the NFHS State Coach of the year twice (2013 and 2014).
He served on the AHSAA Soccer Coaches Committee for several years.
LUKE HALLMARK: The veteran school administrator graduated from Perry Christian High School in 1975 and earned an associate degree in 1977 from Marion Military Institute. He earned his BS degree in Finance from Auburn University in 1980. Later, he earned a Master of Education degree from Livingston University and an Educational Specialist degree from the University of Montevallo.
Hallmark, 62, began his career in education in 1982 as a teacher and boys’ basketball coach at Southern Academy, and later at Marion Military Institute. He joined the faculty at Demopolis High School in 1985 and continued to coach basketball until moving into administration following the 1997 school year. One former player at Demopolis, Theo Ratliff, was a first-round draft pick in the 1995 NBA Draft, remaining in in the NBA for the next 16 years finally retiring after the 2011 season.
Hallmark served as principal at Greensboro West Elementary School from 1997 to 2000, stepping down to become the Superintendent of Education for Marengo County Schools. He has been serving in that capacity ever since.
He has continued his love of sports by officiating baseball (since 1988) and basketball (since 1997) in the AHSAA. He has officiated one state championship game and called in three regionals.
His influence and leadership have been immeasurable as a member of the AHSAA Central Board of Control. He currently is the longest serving active member of the current Board. He also currently serves as chairman of the PEEHIP Board of Control and chairman of the Teacher Retirement System Board.
He is active in the community including serving as a Lay Eucharistic minister at Trinity Episcopal Church, is a member of the Marengo County Historical Society, president of the Marengo County Auburn Club, was a past member of the Demopolis Park and Recreation Board and serves as a Demopolis Rotarian.
Hallmark received the University of West Alabama Alumni Achievement Award (2007); the Outstanding Superintendent Award from the University of Montevallo (2008); was a Superintendent of the Year finalist (2009); and the Outstanding Service Award from CLAS (20-13) among his many honors.
THOMAS WAYNE ‘TOMMY’ LEWIS: A basketball coach with a knack of getting the best out of his teams, Lewis, 58, learned to love the game as a high schooler at Spring Garden, where he graduated in 1979. He completed his college degree at Jacksonville State in 1984. He spent most of his career in education and coaching in his native Cherokee County at Gaylesville, Spring Garden and Cherokee County and finished his career at Piedmont, located on the Cherokee County border in Calhoun County.
He retired after 31 years of coaching with a 602-342 career record, which included taking three different schools to the AHSAA State Basketball Championship semifinals. He had 20 teams win 20 or more games and coached teams to area titles 22 times. His 2006 Cherokee County team had a 31-2 record and reached the Class 4A state tourney semifinals.
He also won more than 200 games at Spring Garden (226-106) from 1988-99 and at Piedmont (226-153) from 2006-18. He guided the Bulldogs to three regional titles and three state tourneys. The 226 wins at Piedmont is the most in the school’s nearly 100-year history.
Spring Garden principal and former teammate Mike Welsh said Lewis’ coaching is just one aspect of his success with student-athletes. “Throughout his education and coaching career, Tommy Lewis exhibited extraordinary moral and ethical character, outstanding leadership qualities and exemplary school, community and American citizenship.”
SAMUEL ‘HAMP’ LYON: Coach Hamp Lyon, now deceased, was selected for induction into the 2020 Class as an “old timer’. Born in 1911, he came to Alabama from Benjamin Bosse High School in Evansville (TN) in 1932 when he joined the University of Alabama athletic program. Upon graduation in 1937, he went straight to Alexander City High School where he served as head football coach from 1937-1941 – leaving to serve in the U.S. Army in Europe in World War II from 1941-45. He returned to Alex City in 1946 as head football coach remained as head coach through 1957 – compiling a 107-47-10 record. His 1953 team was the first in school history to go undefeated, compiling a 9-0-1 record.
He served as athletic director from 1957-1972 until he retired. The football stadium in Alexander City was named in his honor in 1970. He passed away in 1974. Known for his humble leadership, he helped numerous students earn scholarships and attend college that otherwise would not have had that opportunity, said George W. Hardy, President retired for Russell Athletics.
Coach Lyon was founder of the Alex City Quarterback Club, served in the Lions Club and Shriners Club and retired as a Colonel in the Army Reserve.
STEVE MASK: Mask, 62, who graduated from Muscle Shoals High School in 1976 and the University of North Alabama in 1980, has compiled a 187-94-0 record in 23 years as a head football coach.
He has had head coaching stops at Bradshaw, Buckhorn, Colbert County and St. Paul’s Episcopal. His 87-21 record with the Saints over the last eight seasons makes him the school’s all-time winningest football coach. St. Paul’s won three Class 5A state titles (2014, 2015, 2017) and have reached the playoffs every year including 2018 and 2019 in Class 6A. Mask’s playoff record is 36-14 overall in 17 appearances.
He began his coaching and teaching career at Colbert County in 1979, serving as an assistant coach for the Indians’ 1985 Class 5A state championship football team and for Colbert County’s 1981 Class 3A state basketball championship squad.
He coached Bradshaw to its first-ever playoff victory in 1991, led Buckhorn to its highest state ranking ever in 1999, and was the Huntsville Times Coach of the Year in 199 and 1999. He returned to Colbert County as head coach in 2002 and led the Indians to the 3A state finals – earning the Florence Times Daily Coach of the Year honors.
The Alabama Football Coaches Association and al.com named him the Class 5A Coach of the Year in 2014, and he received the John L. Finley Award for his service to coaching in 2015. He received the L’Arche of Mobile Lefty Anderson Award in 2018, also presented for his service to coaching.
A founding member of the AFCA, he was inducted into the Colbert County Sports Hall of Fame in 2011.
TONEY PUGH: Pugh, 60, has worn a lot of different hats in his career in education. And he has worn them all well. He graduated from Auburn High School in 1976 and Auburn University in 1982. He earned his masters at UAB in 1994.
He served as an assistant football coach and head wrestling coach at his first two stops – Auburn and Hewitt-Trussville high schools. He also served as offensive coordinator and assistant head coach at Hewitt. He was then tabbed to start the Clay-Chalkville program from scratch as head football coach and athletic director when the school opened in 1996. He left after 1999 to do the same at Oak Mountain in Shelby County, remaining in that capacity from 1999-2004. He then moved to Spain Park, which had opened two years prior, and returned to coaching wrestling while also serving as the Jags’ offensive line coach. He finished his coaching career with stops at Hoover and Lassiter (GA) and then became the Executive Director of the Birmingham Athletic Partnership in 2010 where he has remained ever since.
His role with BAP is to provide support and professional development for the coaches and teams for all the schools in the Birmingham City School System.
And while he has been busy with those jobs, he also has become one of the AHSAA’s most outstanding wrestling officials in the process. He has worked the AHSAA State Wrestling Championships as an official for the last decade.
His wrestling teams at Hewitt won two state championships, had 10 straight playoff appearances and made one Class 6A trip to the state finals at Legion Field.
He coached in the North-South All-Star Game in 1999 and was defensive coordinator in the Alabama-Mississippi Game in 2000. Pugh has served on the AHSAA Football Coaches Committee and on the Board of Directors of the Alabama Football Coaches Association.
YVONNE MICHELLE SIMMONS: The Carver-Montgomery High School coaching legend graduated from Sidney Lanier High School in Montgomery in 1971 and Alabama State University in 1976.
Simmons, 66, spent her entire teaching and coaching career in the Montgomery County Public School System. She got her start at Loveless Junior High in 1972, moved to Floyd Junior High the next year and remained until 1985. Her teams at Floyd won seven city girls’ basketball and two softball championships. She became the Carver girls’ basketball coach in 1985, and over the next 28 years guided the Wolverines to a 558-237 record, one state title (1993), three state runner-up finishes (1988, 1989, and 2010) and 12 state tourney appearances.
Principal Gary Hall said Simmons’ impact on the student-athletes will be long-lasting.
“I found Coach Simmons to have a passion for all students at Carver High School and not just the students she coached,” Hall said. “She dedicated almost 30 years of service to the young women and young men at Carver. Her love for the game of basketball made teaching the skills of the game challenging for those she coached.”
Devoted to her community and church, Simmons in retirement serves on the Beulah Baptist Church Health and Welfare Committee.
KEITH WILEMON: Mississippi native Keith Wilemon, 59, graduated from Itawamba Agricultural High School in 1978 and the University of North Alabama in 1985. He earned two masters degrees – in Special Education and School Administration.
He got his first teaching and coaching position at Winfield High School in 1986 teaching math and coaching football, basketball and track. He moved to Falkville in 1989 to coach football and track. His passion for track made the Blue Devils’ program one of the best small-school programs in the AHSAA.
He became assistant principal and athletic director in 2000, a position he held for the next 18 years until his retirement in 2017. He remained as track coach during that time – leading Falkville to four state boys’ outdoor track championships and has served as an assistant as the Blue Devils won four boys’ and two girls’ state indoor titles. His teams have also finished state runner-up 15 times with him serving as head or assistant coach. Falkville’s girls won 14 section titles and the boys won four. Falkville also captured nine boys’ Morgan County track titles and eight girls’ county titles.
He played a major role in help advance the sport of track in the AHSAA serving on the AHSAA Track Coaches Committee for four years. He also helped start the Smith Lake Track Officials Association and serves as president.
Wilemon was named the NFHS Alabama Track Coach of the Year in 2014. He was selected the AHSAA State Track Official of the Year in 2017. Falkville’s track program is now led by Wilemon’s son Jace – and dad still helps as a volunteer assistant. Together, they have added two more state boys’ titles.
FRED YANCEY: A native of Memphis, Yancey, 74, graduated from Messick High School in 1963 and began his teaching and coaching career in 1969 at Overton (TN) High School after earning his degree at Memphis State University that same year.
He had coaching stints at private Christian schools in Tennessee and Georgia and then moved to Alabama in 1990 as the head football coach at Briarwood Christian School. He remained at Briarwood for the next 29 years – building a program that would compile a 278-95 record, win three state championships (1998, 1999, 2003) and finish runner-up three times (2007, 2010, 2017).
His 278 wins at Briarwood rank third in the AHSAA for wins by a coach at the same school. His teams had 26 straight state playoff appearances, and the 62 playoff wins rank the Lions second all-time in Class 5A. He finished his coaching career compiling a 319-115-1 record. More importantly, his devotion to his faith and dedication to coaching excellence made him a role model for coaches and teachers across the state.
Yancey was named the Varsity Football National Coach of the Year by the National Christian School Athletic Association in 2017 and was recognized by his school for his outstanding career during the 2019 season with more than 400 former students and players gathering on the field to honor him.
AHSAA Football Playoff Game of the Week
MONTGOMERY – The AHSAA TV Network / NFHS Network Game of the Week produced by WOTM TV for the second round of the state football playoffs is the much anticipated rematch between defending Class 5A state champion Central of Clay County and ND Jasper, announced executive producer Vince Earley of WOTM.
The two teams met on September 27 at Lineville with both teams unbeaten and ranked 1-2 in the ASWA state rankings and the Vikings (11-0) od Coach Bryan Moore escaped with a 35-34 double-overtime victory. The Volunteers (9-2) of Coach Danny Horn suffered another close setback to Mortimer Jordan 34-28 the next week but have not lost since – currently riding a five-game winning streak. Jasper finished the regular season 10-0 for the first time since 1999 and Moore’s Vikings are on an 11-game win streak. Jasper also ended the regular season with a 19-game regular-season win streak still intact. He is 22-2 in two seasons at the helm.
Game time for Friday’s telecast will be at 7 p.m., with announcers Tommy Wood and former Cleburne County football coach Michael Shortt handling the play-by-play and color commentary. Earley also announced that WOTM will be telecasting and live-streaming a second “Game of the Week” at Sylacauga’s Legion Stadium where B.B. Comer (6-5) will host Geraldine (7-4) in a Class 3A second-round playoff game. The Tigers of Coach Adam Fossett, a No. 4 seed from Region 6, knocked off Region 5 top seed Fultondale 28-19 last week to clinch their first playoff win since the 2000 season. Geraldine’s Bulldogs, coached by Brad Waldrop, downed Clements 49-16. Both games will be carried live over the NFHS Network with live updates interjected into the Central-Jasper game.
The NFHS Network will have at least 25 second-round playoff games live-streamed over its NFHS Network School Broadcast Platform Friday night. In addition, 177 basketball games have been scheduled this week with a big slate tonight, Friday and Saturday. Two wrestling events are also planned for a total of 204 AHSAA events on the NFHS Network this week.
In addition, 65 playoff games can be heard over air waves via radio or internet live-audio feeds. Four other contests will be videotaped and played back at a later date.
The Vikings and Volunteers have met twice in Central’s short history with Jasper winning both. The Vikings won 10-7 last year and have outscored the Vols 45-41 in the two meetings.
Horn, currently 308-88 in 31 seasons, won six state titles and had two runner-up finishes as Clay County High School and compiled a 225-40 record from 1989 to 2008 before the school system merged the Ashland school with its chief rival Lineville. His team won 55 straight games, still an AHSAA state record, from 1994 to 1997.
The two schools, considered among the best small schools in the nation, played 102 times with Lineville holding a 54-44-4 edge in a series that saw the Aggies score 1,288 points and the Panthers, 1,231. Clay County, which had its first season in 1920, had an overall 534-332-38 record when the schools were merged in 2011. Lineville, which fielded its first team in 1917, had a 575-324-25 mark – a total of 1,109 wins between them and just 656 losses with 73 ties. A 63.3% winning rate. Since the merger, Central has gone 72-26, a winning percentage of 73.5% and no losing season in the school’s eight-year history.
Jasper, which had its first season in 1920, has an all-time record of 607-376-33. The school has had three names in its history, Walker County High School, Walker and finally Jasper, since 2017. The Vikings have gone undefeated during the regular season seven times in it rich history – the first (9-0) in 1921. The other years were 1930 (11-0), 1933 (9-0-1), 1957 (10-0), and twice prior to this season since the state playoffs were instituted in 1966 – 1997 and 1999. Jasper went to the third round each year before finally getting beat.
The schedule of football playoff games set for live-streaming Friday can be found at the following link:
The schedule of basketball games set for the NFHS Network can be found at:
A subscription allows the viewer access to any events on the NFHS Network. Monthly and yearly subscriptions are available. For more information on how to subscribe, go to the following link:
For information concerning the AHSAA TV Network’s cable football game availability, got to the following link:
FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE Contact: Mark Koski
INDIANAPOLIS, IN (November 14, 2019) — Now in its seventh year of broadcasting high school events online, the National Federation of State High School Associations’ live and on-demand streaming service – the NFHS Network – has embarked on its extensive lineup of state football playoff games.
In the past year, the NFHS Network, a joint venture among the NFHS, its member state associations and PlayOn! Sports, has seen a significant increase in both membership and viewership at www.NFHSNetwork.com.
Last week, the NFHS Network agreed to terms with its 45th member state association as it became the official digital streaming partner of the California Interscholastic Federation’s (CIF) state championship events. With the addition of the CIF, the Network has added two new associations during the past calendar year with the Kansas State High School Activities Association (KSHSAA).
“The continued development of the NFHS Network has allowed us to bolster our state association membership over the years, and we couldn’t be happier to welcome the KSHSAA and, most recently, the CIF into that group,” said NFHS Network CEO Mark Koski. “With those additions, we continue to move closer to our goal of incorporating all 51 of our member associations.”
With the month of November signaling the start of high school football state playoffs, the NFHS Network staff in Atlanta has been busy coordinating broadcasts across the country. Most contracts allow the Network to cover contests starting from the first round of the playoffs through the finals, with exceptions in some states that have exclusive television rights with other networks for their championship games. In total, the Network will cover more than 2,000 football playoff games this season.
“November is always an exciting time at the Network as we begin our state football playoff coverage,” Koski said. “Football is the most popular high school sport across the country, so the opportunity to watch some of the top teams from around the country battle for their respective championships certainly brings a significant number of viewers to our Network platform.”
The Network covered more than 100,000 events during the 2018-19 school year and has set a goal of 150,000 this year. Recent statistics would indicate that goal may be in reach, as the NFHS Network streamed 15,357 events in October – nearly twice the number from October 2018.
Playing a major role in the NFHS Network’s success is the School Broadcast Program (SBP), an initiative that allows students – guided by an advisor – to produce Network broadcasts, and the development of the Pixellot camera system. While the SBP has given member schools yet another opportunity to involve their students in a cocurricular activity, the Pixellot camera system caters to schools that may not have the resources to institute the SBP.
Pixellot cameras do not require an operator but instead use an auto-tracking feature to follow the action. This allows many schools to stream their events that would otherwise not have the means to do so. The NFHS Network’s current promotion, which provides schools two Pixellot cameras for a one-time payment of $5,000, has proved to be popular. The Network sold 335 new Pixellots in October, which pushed total units sold to more than 3,500 for the year.
“As we work with schools to try to get more content, Pixellot is one of the ways to do that,” Koski said. “With our ultimate goal being to broadcast two million games per year – covering all freshman, junior varsity and varsity contests nationwide – we knew we couldn’t get students to produce all of those through the SBP, so we had to have some kind of automated solution, and Pixellot is definitely the right partner for that.”
Online link to article: https://www.nfhs.org/articles/nfhs-network-begins-coverage-of-high-school-football-playoff-games/
This press release was written by Nate Perry, an intern in the NFHS Publications/Communications department. He holds a bachelor’s degree from Grand Valley State University in Allendale, Michigan and a master’s degree in sport administration from Central Michigan University in Mount Pleasant, Michigan. Prior to the NFHS, he worked in athletic communications/sports information offices at CMU and Tennessee Tech University.
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
Alabama’s state high school championships create
a new three venue rotation starting in 2021.
MONTGOMERY, ALA. — The future of the AHSAA’s Super 7 State High School Football Championships has been set for the years 2021-2032, pending final approvals in process from the AHSAA and community partners. The new structure continues the tradition of using the state’s premier football venues as the backdrop for student-athletes in all seven AHSAA classifications to compete for their football state title each year.
“It is with great pride that we announce the continuation of Super 7 for 2021-2032 and our partnership with the communities of Auburn-Opelika, Tuscaloosa, and now Birmingham,” said AHSAA’s Executive Director Steve Savarese. “The communities of Auburn-Opelika and Tuscaloosa helped the AHSAA take this event to a new level in 2009 and created the standard of excellence for hosting that is unmatched across high school athletics. The AHSAA is grateful for Auburn-Opelika and Tuscaloosa embracing a new idea to include Birmingham in the rotation which will now provide three high quality venues for our member schools to showcase their football programs at the end of each season.”
The 2021 event will begin the new three-community rotation as the newly constructed Protective Life Stadium in downtown Birmingham will host its first Super 7 Dec.1-3, 2021 and following years in 2024, 2027, and 2030. The 2021 event will mark the return of the state high school football championships to Birmingham for the first time since 2008, when Birmingham last hosted the event in its Super 6 format at historic Legion Field, where the championships were played from 1996 – 2008. Legion Field also was host to the large-school championship game from 1971 – 1995.
“We are pleased to see the AHSAA Super 7 return to the city where it began more than 20 years ago,” said City of Birmingham Mayor Randall Woodfin. “The Super 7 showcases the best of high school athletics in Alabama, and Birmingham is excited to be a host city once again. As a progressive city focused on building a better future for our young people, we look forward to working closely with the AHSAA to celebrate championship-caliber high school sports for years to come.” .
Auburn University’s Jordan-Hare Stadium and the communities of Auburn and Opelika will follow as hosts in 2022 as well as 2026, 2028, and 2032. "I am pleased that our City Council voted on November 5th to continue partnering alongside the City of Auburn and Auburn University to utilize Jordan-Hare Stadium to host the AHSAA Super 7 in 2022 and future years. The City of Opelika takes great pride in celebrating high school athletics in all of our local schools and that extends to hosting other communities from around the state when it is their turn to try and win a championship trophy," said Opelika Mayor Gary Fuller.
At Auburn, participating schools from across the state take part in rich Auburn game day traditions including the Tiger Walk and pre-game eagle flight in conjunction with each state championship game. Auburn Mayor Ron Anders said, "Following the completion of our final approval processes, the City of Auburn is excited to continue the great tradition of hosting this major event for our state inside Jordan-Hare Stadium in 2022 and beyond. Together with our partners locally including Auburn University and the City of Opelika, we will work tirelessly each year to welcome these amazing student-athletes, coaches, schools, and their fans in to our community to celebrate their amazing seasons and crown new state champions."
Tuscaloosa and University of Alabama’s Bryant-Denny Stadium will take its place in the 2021-2032 rotation hosting in 2023, 2025, 2029, and 2031. As a host, Alabama’s legendary teams and coaches are on display during the Walk of Champions as each team arrives at Super 7 in addition to the major stadium renovations scheduled to begin following the 2019 season.
Tuscaloosa Mayor Walt Maddox echoed his sentiments about the new rotation plan. "High school sports offer a unique place where life lessons are taught, the spirit of competition is cultivated, and the will to work towards excellence is engrained,” Mayor Maddox said. The City of Tuscaloosa and the University of Alabama have always been synonymous with great football and striving towards excellence, and we want to continue that tradition by offering the opportunity for our youth across the state to continue to come to our city to play in the same arena as some of the greats who have come before them. Tuscaloosa has been a host of the Super 6 since 2009, and we want to continue to be a part of the Super 7 in our state in future years."
Savarese thanked all three cities for their enthusiastic commitment to the AHSAA’s Super 7 Football Championship experience for its member schools. He said, “On behalf of our more than 400 member high schools and approximately 150,000 student-athletes this association serves, I want to sincerely thank the community partners who have pledged their support to make this idea a reality including the City of Tuscaloosa, Tuscaloosa County, Tuscaloosa Tourism and Sports, the University of Alabama, the City of Auburn, the City of Opelika, the Auburn-Opelika Tourism Bureau, Auburn University, the City of Birmingham, the Greater Birmingham Convention and Visitor’s Bureau, and the BJCC. This event not only highlights our football student-athletes and coaches, but provides an opportunity for members of bands, spirit programs, and the entire communities that these schools represent to be showcased annually at our state’s most iconic venues for which the AHSAA is truly grateful.”
ABOUT THE ALABAMA HIGH SCHOOL ATHLETIC ASSOCIATION:
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. For more information on the AHSAA, please visit www.ahsaa.com.
ABOUT THE AHSAA SUPER 7:
The AHSAA Super 7 State High School Football Championships, which bring together at one venue a north qualifier and a south qualifier in each of the AHSAA’s seven classifications which advance through the five-round playoff bracket structure which starts with 32 teams qualifying through regular-season region play in Classes 1A through 6A and 16 qualifiers in Class 7A (four rounds). The state championships came together at a single site for the first time in 1996 at Birmingham’s Legion Field. The Super 6, as it was then known, moved to a rotation basis between the University of Alabama’s Bryant-Denny Stadium and Auburn University’s Jordan-Hare Stadium beginning with the 2009 season. In 2014, the event was renamed the Super 7 to accommodate the AHSAA’s expansion to seven classifications. From 1966 to 1995, the state championships were hosted by individual schools. The AHSAA large-school championship was hosted at Legion Field from 1971-1995. For more information on this year’s Super 7, please visit www.super7al.com.
The AHSAA is mourning the death of long-time football official Sam Short of Vestavia Hills. Short passed away Sunday.
“Sam Short played an integral role in mentoring high school officials in Alabama and across the nation,” said AHSAA Executive Director Steve Savarese. “Our heart and prayers go out to his family. His leadership has helped AHSAA officials become some of the best in the nation. Sam Short dedicated most of his life to high school athletics and officiating within the Alabama High School Athletic Association. A great friend to us all, he will be sorely missed.”
A consummate professional who spent more than four decades as a teacher, coach and administrator in the AHSAA, Short served as state rules interpreter and state camp administrator for many years during his tenure. He, along with former AHSAA Director of Officials Greg Brewer, established most of the AHSAA state camps and training.
Mr. Short, a longtime football, basketball and baseball official, worked numerous state championships in all three sports in the AHSAA. He was inducted into the National High School Sports Hall of Fame (2007), the Alabama High School Sports Hall of Fame (1993) and most recently, was inducted into the Alabama Sports Officials inaugural Hall of Fame last August.
No details concerning funeral arrangements are available at this time.
Please keep him and his family in your thoughts and prayers.
MONTGOMERY – Highland Home High School has been fined and placed on probation for one year for violating AHSAA eligibility rules. The school self-reported the violation.
Highland Home played an ineligible student in violation of the AHSAA’s Bona Fide Transfer Rule, which can be found on page 33 of the 2019-20 AHSAA Handbook.
Highland Home’s football program must forfeit all games won that the ineligible student participated in. Highland Home’s football team has forfeited its Class 2A, Region 3 wins over Central-Hayneville, Calhoun, Samson, Zion Chapel and Luverne as well as its non-region win over Verbena.
The Flying Squadron’s season record is now 1-7 overall and 1-5 in Region 2. The 2A, Region 3 standings on-line at www.ahsaa.com now reflect the forfeits for all teams affected.
Action Taken at Fall Board Meeting Thursday
MONTGOMERY – The Alabama High School Athletic Association Central Board of Control unanimously approved changing the current method of using average daily membership (ADM) numbers for grades 10, 11 and 12 to using grades 9, 10 and 11 to determine classification of its member schools. The change begins immediately and will be used for the classification period for 2020-21 and 2021-22.
The average daily membership is counted by each member school using the first 20 school days after Labor Day.
The action was taken at the Central Board of Control quarterly meeting at the AHSAA office Thursday, October 17.
“This should give us a more accurate accounting of the number of students who could become eligible to participate in the AHSAA championship program for the next classification period,” said Alvin Briggs, Associate Executive Director of the AHSAA, who works closely with classification.
Executive Director Steve Savarese praised the Central Board’s decision, thanked the Alabama State Department of Education, Mr. Briggs and Assistant Director Jamie Lee for their study and research.
“When the AHSAA began classifying member schools in multiple classes years ago, most ninth-grade students were attending junior highs. We now have just four junior high schools in the AHSAA and those schools only feed one school,” he said. “We also found several schools have students who are being counted in the senior class numbers that no longer have eligibility to participate in the AHSAA. However, every ninth grader has a chance to become eligible to participate over the two-year classification period.”
The Central Board, in a continuing effort to help the member schools financially, approved the removal of the 5% basketball tournament sanction fee assessed to member schools hosting regular-season tournaments and approved a plan to reduce the cost of contest officials during the playoffs for all sports.
AHSAA Chief Financial Officer Randal Beesley also informed the Central Board during his finance report that the Revenue Share payment to member schools for the 2018-19 school year totaling $2 million was mailed earlier this month. The Revenue Share program has now paid out $15.4 million to member schools since its inception in 2010.
The Alabama School of Cyber Technology and Engineering, public school in Huntsville, was approved for associate membership by the Central Board.
In other board action Wednesday:
177 Events Planned by NFHS Network SBP Schools
MONTGOMERY – White Plains High School’s football program has only had six head coaches in its 48 years since playing its first season in 1972. However, Coach Chandler Tyree, in his first season at the helm, is the fourth head coach in the program this decade.
The last winning season for the Wildcats came in 2003, and in the five previous seasons White Plains totaled just six wins while going 6-44.
Chandler is changing those dynamics, however, as the Wildcats (3-4) host Class 4A, Region 6 leader Jacksonville (6-2) in the AHSAA TV Network/NFHS Network Game of the Week. WOTM TV, under the direction of executive producer Vince Earley, is producing the contest – the seventh in the 2019 Game-of-the Week series.
The game will be live-streamed over the NFHS Network subscriber-based program and will also be available on the network of cable stations that have joined the WOTM Network in Alabama. Veteran announcer Tommy Wood and legendary football coach Rick Rhoades will be handling the commentary for the WOTM production.
Earley also announced next week’s AHSAA TV Network Game of the Week pairing: Briarwood Christian at Fairfield on Oct. 24.
White Plains could clinch its first playoff berth since 1994 with a win over Jacksonville tonight and a win over Oneonta next week. While that task is a tall order, the good news is that White Plains is still in the hunt.
Topping the Golden Eagles of Coach Clint Smith, who are 5-0 in Region 6 and could clinch their second straight region title a win over White Plains, feature one of the state’s top running backs in senior Ron Wiggins. The powerful runner set a school record last season with 409 rushing yards in over Cleburne County and had a personal high of six rushing touchdowns in last week’s 55-21 win over Oneonta.
He can run with power – scoring three TDs last week on runs of 1, 2 and 6 yards, but he is capable of scoring from anywhere on the field. He also had TD runs of 84, 18 and 10 yards. Named All-State as a junior, Wiggins is one of several weapons in the Eagles’ lineup.
Smith, currently in his eighth season as head coach, is 61-26 during that span and 16-3 over the last 19 games. Hos overall record in the AHSAA is 99-27 with the school’s next win being the 100th of his coaching career. He also spent three years coaching eight-man football at a non-member school. He directed Jacksonville to just its third unbeaten regular season in 98 years in 2018. The Eagles were 6-0-1 in their first season in 1920, finished 10-1in 1999 and 11-1 last season – losing in the second round of the 4A state playoffs to Good Hope.
White Plains quarterback Jaden Chatman has been solid, and receiver Ethan Bozart is one of the best in Region 6.
The NFHS Network School Broadcast Program has two varsity football games set for live-streaming tonight with Eufaula and Carver-Montgomery the other one at Cramton Bowl in Montgomery. Friday’s slate has 60 offerings, including a battle of undefeated teams in Class 7A--Region 3 with Mountain Brook (7-0) at Thompson (7-0) in a game designed by the NFHS Network as one of five National Games of the Week.
In addition, 25 varsity volleyball matches are set for tonight and a total of 177 events currently set to be live-streamed by AHSAA member schools participating in the NFHS School Broadcast Program through the weekend. Currently, two area volleyball tournaments, Class 1A Areas 11 and 15 at Spring Garden and Lindsay Lane, are scheduled to live-stream selected matches next Monday. More are expected to be scheduled over the weekend.
Among the 60 varsity football games set to be live-streamed Friday are: Class 3A: Westminster Christian (5-2) at Lauderdale County (7-1); Class 4A: Escambia County (4-4) at UMS-Wright (7-0); Class 5A: Jasper (7-0) at Russellville (6-1); Scottsboro (5-2) at Madison Academy (5-2); Class 6A: Athens (6-2) at Muscle Shoals (8-0); Clay-Chalkville (5-2) at Muscle Shoals; Opelika (6-1) at Stanhope Elmore (7-1); Spanish Fort (4-2) at Blount (6-1); Class 7A: James Clemens (5-2) at Sparkman (8-0; and Vestavia Hills (5-2) at Hoover (6-1).
Other headliners Friday include Class 1A: Waterloo (7-1) at defending Class 1A state champ Mars Hill Bible (7-0) in Region 8; Class 2A: J.U. Blacksher (7-1) at Leroy (6-1) in Region 1; Ariton (6-2) at unbeaten G.W. Long in Region 2; and North Sand Mountain (5-2) at Fyffe (7-0) in Region 8; Class 3A: Montgomery Academy (5-3) at Pike Road (8-0) in Region 3; Walter Wellborn (7-1) at Pleasant Valley (5-2) in Region 6; Geraldine (5-2) at Susan Moore (8-0) in Region 7; Class 4A: Holtville (6-2) at Talladega (4-2) in Region 4; Class 5A: Faith Academy (7-0) at Jackson (4-3) in Region 1; Ramsay (7-1) at Briarwood Christian (6-2) in Region 4; Sylacauga (7-2) at Central, Clay County (5-2) in Region 5; Alexandria (6-0) at Etowah (7-1) in Region 6; Class 7A: Auburn (5-2) at Prattville (7-1) in Region 2.
Hewitt-Trussville also plans to live-stream the Husky Challenge Cross Country Invitational on Saturday.
The complete AHSAA schedule of football and volleyball contests set to be livestreamed over the NFHS Network this weekend can be found at the following links:
Dr. Karissa L. Niehoff, NFHS Executive Director
When it comes to the long-term effects of concussions in sports, there is a wide range of information published – almost on a daily basis. Unfortunately, much of the media coverage as it relates to high school sports – and particularly the sport of football – is misleading.
Last week, the Concussion Legacy Foundation introduced its new public-service announcement that compared youth football dangers to smoking. As the pre-teen football players puff on cigarettes, the voiceover says, “Tackle football is like smoking, the younger I start, the longer I’m exposed to danger.”
The “Tackle Can Wait” campaign by the foundation is an attempt to steer children under the age of 14 into flag football. Although establishing a finite age may be difficult, reducing contact at youth levels is certainly a positive. USA Football is doing just that nationally through its Football Development Model. Likewise, the 51-member state associations of the National Federation of State High School Associations (NFHS) have enacted limitations on contact during preseason and practice sessions.
Our concern is the term “exposed to danger.” These types of messages continue to spread unwarranted fear to parents of high school student-athletes. The “danger” refers to reports that players who incur repeated concussions can develop chronic traumatic encephalopathy (CTE).
A 2017 study from the Journal of American Medical Association (JAMA) linked CTE in the brains of deceased National Football League players. Even if this report is accurate, these are individuals who endured repeated blows to the head for 20 to 25 years BEFORE any concussion protocols were in place.
Less publicized is a study by Dr. Munro Cullum and his colleagues at the Peter O’Donnell Jr. Brain Institute, which is a part of the University of Texas Southwestern Medical Center in Dallas. Cullum’s group studied 35 former NFL players age 50 and older who had sustained multiple concussions throughout their careers. The findings showed no significant association between the length of the individuals’ careers, the number of concussions and their cognitive function later in life.
Two studies, two different conclusions. Regardless of the outcome, however, they are not applicable to kids playing football before and during high school. There is absolutely no linkage to CTE at these levels, and the word “danger” should not be a part of the discussion.
A more applicable and significant study was also published in JAMA in 2017. In a study of about 4,000 men who graduated from Wisconsin high schools in 1957, there was no difference in cognitive function or decline between those who played football and those who did not as they reached 65 years of age. We would assume the majority of these individuals discontinued football after high school.
With more than one million boys – and girls – playing the contact sport of football each year, severe injuries do occur from time to time, but parents should know that efforts to lessen the risk of a catastrophic injury, including head injuries, have never been stronger than they are today.
In fact, new data from the National High School Sports-Related Injury Surveillance Study indicates some positive trends in concussion rates. The study, which was released in the American Academy of Pediatrics online issue of Pediatrics this week, indicated that concussion rates during football practices dropped from 5.47 to 4.44 concussions per 10,000 athletic exposures between the 2013-14 and 2017-18 seasons.
In addition, repeat concussion rates across all sports declined from 0.47 to 0.28 per 10,000 exposures during the same time period.
Concussion laws are in place in every state. All NFHS sports rules books have concussion management protocols. Helmet-to-helmet hits are not allowed in football. Limits on contact in preseason and practice in football are in place in every state.
After considering all the available research, we encourage parents to let their kids play their sport of choice in high school, but we would discourage moving away from football – or any contact sport – solely based on the fear of developing CTE later in life.
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.
MONTGOMERY –Jackson High School and Chelsea High School have been fined for violating the AHSAA eligibility rules. Both schools self-reported the violations.
Jackson played an ineligible student in violation of the AHSAA’s Enrollment Rule, which can be found on page 25 of the 2019-20 AHSAA Handbook. The student transferred from a non-member school but lived outside the school district which served Jackson High School.
Jackson has forfeited its Class 5A, Region 1 wins over Satsuma and Wilcox Central. The Aggies’ region record is now 1-2 and 3-3 overall. Satsuma, now 4-3, improves to 2-2 in Region 1, and Wilcox Central is 1-4 overall and 1-3 in Region 1.
Chelsea High School self-reported playing a student-athlete in violation of the AHSAA Contest Rule’s Team Practice Restrictions Rule, which can be found in Section 14 on page 49 of the 2019-20 AHSAA Handbook. The student participated in a contest before completing the required 13 days of practice. Chelsea has forfeited its regular-season non-region win over Briarwood Christian. The Class 6A Hornets’ record is now 3-3 overall and Class 5A Briarwood is now 5-1.
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