MONTGOMERY – The AHSAA was saddened to learn of the deaths of longtime Auburn University sports announcer Rod Bramblett, 52, and his wife Paula, 53. Both were killed in a two-car collision at Auburn Saturday, May 25.
“This is such tragic news. Our hearts go out to the Bramblett family and their extended Auburn University family and pray God will sustain them at this difficult time,” said AHSAA Executive Director Steve Savarese. “Rod was the Voice of Auburn Athletics, a consummate professional, one of the best.”
Bramblett was a native of Valley and his wife Paula, a native of Huguley. Both communities are near Auburn. Bramblett, a 1988 AU graduate, served as Director of Broadcast Operations for AU Athletics and was the Voice of Auburn football, basketball and baseball.
Bramblett was a three-time winner (2006, 2010, and 2013) of the Alabama State Broadcaster of the Year as presented by the National Sportscasters and Sportswriters Association. He was also named National Broadcaster of the Year by Sports Illustrated in 2013.
He began his broadcasting career in Lanett, working part-time at WZZZ/WCJM radio stations while attending Auburn University. From there he went on to work in Auburn at WAUD Radio from 1989-1991 and then again from 1993-1996. It was at that time he did play-by-play for Lee-Scott Academy and Auburn High School athletics. In the one-year away from WAUD he worked in Morristown, Tenn., for two different radio stations where he served as the play-by-play voice of Morristown West High School football.
Paula Bramblett also worked at Auburn University’s Information Technology Department. The couple are survived by two children.
The funeral service for Paula and Rod Bramblett will take place on Thursday, May 30 at 2 p.m. inside Auburn Arena. Visitation will be from 12 p.m. until 2 p.m.
The service is open to the public. There will be a private burial for the family following the service. Rev. Dr. George Mathison will officiate the funeral.
MONTGOMERY –Montgomery native Randal Beesley, a staff accountant with the State of Alabama and Anniston School System teacher Ken Washington are joining the staff of the Alabama High School Athletic Association (AHSAA)..
Both will begin with the AHSAA officially on June 1. The announcement was made Friday by AHSAA Executive Director Steve Savarese.
Beesley will serve as Chief Financial Officer. He is replacing Mrs. Sandy Logan, who is retiring June 30 after 42 years of service with the AHSAA. She joined the AHSAA staff in 1977. Washington is beginning a new Assistant Director position that will include working with Director of Officials Mark Jones as well as working with championship sports including the sports of basketball and track.
“We are fortunate and delighted to have Randal Beesley and Ken Washington join our staff,” Savarese said. “Both are talented individuals who have a long history of service in the AHSAA as sports officials. Both are men of high integrity, will be tremendous additions to the AHSAA staff and will enable us to better serve our member schools.”
Beesley, who became a Certified Public Accountant in 1986, is a graduate of Auburn University-Montgomery. He is currently an accountant with the General Services Division of the State of Alabama and has worked with the state since 2017. He spent 10 years with Alfa Mutual Insurance in Montgomery serving as supervisor of Real Estate Accounting. He has also been an AHSAA football official since 1988. He has served as booking agent and is the current president of the Mid-State Football Officials Association. He was the referee in the 1998 Super 6 Class 4A state Championship Game at Legion Field.
“I have always had two passions,” Beesley said, “to be a football official and to work with the AHSAA. To say I am elated is an understatement. I love accounting, especially working in financial oversight, and I have always admired the AHSAA and what it stands for. I grew up in Montgomery and understand the important role of the AHSAA. I thank Mr. Savarese and the Central Board for giving me this opportunity.”
Washington has been serving as a teacher and coach (football and track) in the Anniston City Schools system. He also worked with Mark Jones at Jacksonville State University from 2012-2015 as the University Fitness Coordinator in the Recreational Sports Department. He has been officiating basketball since 2005 – at all levels including high school, college and the NBA. He is currently a Division I basketball official in the Southeastern Conference, Sunbelt, Southern, Atlantic Sun and SWAC conferences. He also worked in the AHSAA state basketball finals this past year.
“Joining the AHSAA staff allows me to give back what has been taught to me from my time working with the NBA and SEC. I have had some great teachers, and this is a great opportunity for me share what I have learned,” said Washington. “I look forward to working with Mr. Savarese and Mr. Jones and with the other great men and women at the AHSAA who are dedicated to providing the best programs and opportunities for the member schools and student-athletes in the AHSAA.”
In addition to basketball, Washington has officiated the sports of football and volleyball. The Mobile native played basketball at Davidson High School and received a scholarship to play at Faulkner State Community College. He then attended Jacksonville State University where he received his Bachelor of Science and master’s degrees.
“Working with Ken at Jacksonville State, I know he will be a great addition to the staff of the AHSAA while contributing to the enhancement of officiating in Alabama,” said Jones.
MONTGOMERY – St. Paul’s Episcopal High School requested that its lawsuit filed against the Alabama High School Athletic Association (AHSAA) objecting to the AHSAA Competitive Balance implemented in the 2018-19 school year be dismissed Wednesday, May 22. United States District Judge Terry Moorer granted the dismissal without prejudice, ending more than a year of litigation.
AHSAA Central Board President John Hardin said, “While I am pleased that the case has finally been dismissed, I am extremely disappointed that St. Paul’s Episcopal High School did not resolve their issues within the mechanisms already in place for member schools.”
AHSAA Executive Director Steve Savarese said he is also pleased the case has been dismissed and that the member schools’ process to govern themselves has been upheld.
“We have always had faith in our member schools’ ability to make the rules, abide by these rules and govern themselves,” said Savarese. “Our member schools will continue to govern themselves through its fair and democratic legislative process.”
Statement from AHSAA Legal Counsel Jim Williams
We are very pleased that St. Paul’s has finally decided to voluntarily dismiss their case today. This was a frivolous case resulting in a tremendous waste of time and money for the Court, the Association, and all of its member schools. On June 27, 2018, the Honorable Judge William Steele entered an Order denying St. Paul’s Motion for Preliminary Injunction and specifically ruled: “St. Paul’s has not shown a substantial likelihood that the competitive balance rule is unconstitutional, or that it violates the terms of the Association’s Constitution, Bylaws and Handbook.” Yet, St. Paul’s waited another eleven months after Judge Steele’s ruling to dismiss their case. St. Paul’s knew they had lost this case last June and have only been trying to avoid an inevitable ruling that would not be in their favor since then. The Association and its member schools look forward to St. Paul’s reimbursing all of the legal fees incurred in defending this case.
James E. Williams
Melton, Espy & Williams, P.C.
Post Office Drawer 5130
Montgomery, AL 36103-5130
All questions should be referred to AHSAA Legal Counsel James E. Williams
Tennis, Golf, Soccer, Baseball, Softball All-Stars Selected
MONTGOMERY – North-South all-star squads for tennis and golf competition will be included for the first time at the 23th AHSAA North-South All-Star Sports Week set for July 15-19 at Montgomery.
Jamie Lee Director of the Alabama High School Athletic Directors & Coaches Association (AHSADCA) announced Thursday the boys’ and girls’ North-South All-Star squads for those sports as well as the teams set to compete in the annual North-South boys’ and girls’ soccer competition, softball and baseball competition.
The AHSADCA, which operates under the auspices of the Alabama High School Athletic Association (AHSAA) will also host all-star games in football, and girls’ and boys’ basketball, volleyball, and boys’ and girls’ cross country during the All-Star Week. Those all-star rosters have already been released.
Lee said he is excited to see the new sports that are now being included. “This gives us the opportunity to see up close the outstanding tennis players and golfers we have competing at our high schools across the state,” he said. “And out soccer talent is also second to none.”
All-Star Sports Week was introduced in 1997 as part of the AHSAA’s annual Summer Conference. Prior to that time, only football and boys’ basketball all-star games were played. The soccer competition was added to the All-Star Sports Week along with girls’ basketball, volleyball and softball as the all-star game opportunities over the next few years. Cross country competition was added in 2016.
“Our selection committees worked hard to select these all-stars from a strong list of nominations,” he said.
Heading into the 2019 All-Stat Sports Week, the North-South series records are as follow:
North-South Series Records (Through 2018)
Football: South leads 30-27-2
Boys Basketball: North leads 48-28
Girls Basketball: North leads 19-3
Baseball: North leads 23-12-1
Softball: North leads 25-21-3
Boys Soccer: North leads 11-4-1
Girls Soccer: North leads 15-2-1
Volleyball: North leads 14-7
Boys’ Cross Country: Tied 1-1
Girls’ Cross Country: Tied 1-1
The all-star squads and coaching staffs for the sports of boys’ and girls’ tennis, boys’ and girls’ golf, boys’ and girls’ soccer, softball and baseball are listed.
2019 NORTH-SOUTH ALL-STAR ROSTERS
NORTH BOYS' TENNIS ALL-STAR ROSTER
Randolph - Admin.
SOUTH BOYS' TENNIS ALL-STAR ROSTER
St. Paul's Episcopal
UMS-Wright - Admin.
Trinity Presbyterian - Admin.
NORTH GIRLS' TENNIS ALL-STAR ROSTER
Ji Soo Kim
SOUTH GIRLS' TENNIS ALL-STAR ROSTER
Mary Frances Wood
NORTH BOYS' GOLF ALL-STAR ROSTER
Muscle Shoals - Admin.
SOUTH BOYS' GOLF ALL-STAR ROSTER
Brewbaker Tech - Admin..
NORTH GIRLS' GOLF ALL-STAR ROSTER
Sara Kate DeCarlo
SOUTH GIRLS' GOLF ALL-STAR ROSTER
Central - Phenix City
Chilton County - Admin.
NORTH BOYS' SOCCER ALL-STAR ROSTER
Southside - Gadsden
S.R. Butler (Retired) -Admin.
SOUTH BOYS' SOCCER ALL-STAR ROSTER
Jan Malte Wachowitz
St. Michael Catholic
Montgomery Public Schools - Admin.
NORTH GIRLS' SOCCER ALL-STAR ROSTER
John Carroll Catholic
St. John Paul II Catholic
SOUTH GIRLS' SOCCER ALL-STAR ROSTER
NORTH SOFTBALL ALL-STAR ROSTER
Mary Claire Wilson
Bob Jones - Admin.
SOUTH SOFTBALL ALL-STAR ROSTER
Mary G Montgomery
Prattville Christian Academy
Elba - Admin.
NORTH BASEBALL ALL-STAR ROSTER
A. H. Parker
Saint James - Admin.
SOUTH BASEBALL ALL-STAR ROSTER
By Karissa Niehoff, Executive Director of the National Federation of State High School Associations and Steve Savarese, Executive Director of the Alabama High School Athletic Association.
We communicate on smart phones, drive smart cars, make purchases using smart cards and even drink smart water. But, really, how smart are we?
Between college admission and internet privacy scandals, sexual misconduct investigations, stolen trade secrets and the growing concern about how we communicate and connect with each other, technology seems to be outpacing our capacity to understand the most responsible way to use it.
In other words, how are tomorrow’s leaders being groomed to make decisions that provide the perspective, balance and strength of character that today’s advanced world needs?
The answer is by participating in high school sports like the ones offered by the high schools in Alabama.
Most researchers agree that leaders are made, not born, through relationships with others. Human interaction and life experiences enable young men and women to develop leadership characteristics such as trust, mutual respect, integrity and accountability. These are the same values that are learned as a result of playing on a high school sports team.
And while club sports often have only a singular focus (the participant’s athletic abilities), research documents that high school sports programs have an unparalleled positive effect on the physical, academic and emotional growth of teens, including a more mature level of character development.
In other words, high school sports have a more profound role to play in society today than you may realize.
The high school sports and activity programs in Alabama typically account for only about one to three percent of a school’s overall budget, making them one of the wisest investments your community makes. You can help by attending as many games and events as possible, donating to the booster club and volunteering to work in the concession stand.
Most of all, encourage your children to participate in as many sports and activities as they can. Because when they do, they will be joining a new generation of leaders who are both technologically smart and ethically responsible.
And that’s exactly the kind of leadership our hyper-intelligent world needs.
MONTGOMERY, AL – The Alabama High School Athletic Association (AHSAA) Central Board of Control approved and the Legislative Council ratified a change in the AHSAA Amateur Rule as well as two other proposals Wednesday at its Spring Meeting held at the AHSAA Office. The Central Board also approved payment of the 2017-18 Revenue Share stipend, between $1.4 and $1.8 million, to member schools in June.
“This is good news for our member schools,” said AHSAA Executive Director Steve Savarese. “That will bring the total payout to our member schools to approximately $14 million through the Revenue Share distribution plan since its inception.”
The Central Board also approved an increase in pay for contest officials in all sports. A complete breakdown of the new pay scale can be found at the officials’ link at www.ahsaa.com.
Among the proposals approved by the Central Board and ratified by the AHSAA Legislative Council was proposal 28 submitted by a number of member schools including Opelika, Piedmont, Spanish Fort, Decatur, Helena, Saint James, Hamilton and Hartselle high schools outlining a change in the current Amateur Rule. The vote was 27-5. While the Amateur Rule’s restrictions remain the same, the change gives more flexibility to the Central Board in considering the consequences resulting from a violation.
Out-going Central Board president John Hardin, the retiring principal at Hackleburg High School, said he has always welcomed the member schools’ input when rules or by-laws are ratified or changed.
“For 98 years our schools have been successful in governing the AHSAA through a well- thought-out democratic process,” said Hardin. “That process has been the foundation of why the AHSAA is such an outstanding organization. I have been humbled and honored to have the opportunity to serve our member schools on the Central Board. I am very proud to have been able to be a part of that process.” Hardin has served the last two years as president of the Central Board. Current vice president Keith Bender, the athletic director for the Oneonta City Schools, was elected at Wednesday’s meeting to become the new president with the term beginning in July. Mike Welsh, principal of Spring Garden High School, was also elected as vice president.
AHSAA Executive Director Steve Savarese echoed Hardin’s sentiments. “The AHSAA’s member schools and Central Board are constantly reviewing and improving the AHSAA by-laws, rules and regulations through this tried-and-true democratic process,” Savarese said. “We have full confidence in our member schools’ ability to govern themselves as they have shown so aptly since the AHSAA’s formation in 1921.”
Savarese presented Hardin with a plaque of appreciation during the Board meeting. “John Hardin is one of the kindest men and finest gentlemen I have ever known,” said Savarese. “His leadership and service has been outstanding. While we wish him well in his retirement, we want him to know we will certainly miss him.”
The 32-member Legislative Council voted on 29 legislative proposals with three receiving the required minimum two-thirds (22) votes to be ratified. Two other proposals were tabled for more study. Proposal 1 submitted by Mountain Brook High School was passed allowing high school junior-varsity and freshman football teams to begin regular season play on the Monday (August 26) following Zero Week. Member school varsity teams have the option of playing a pre-season jamboree contest or regular-season contest during Zero Week (Aug. 22-23-24). In the past, all other teams could not play a regular-season game until after Week 1.
Proposal 8, submitted by Vestavia Hills High School, changed the AHSAA Divorce Rule by adding a section dealing with parents who never married. The by-law change will now allow parents who were never married the opportunity to be granted a one-time custody exemption as long as both parents are listed on a state-issued birth certificate and all other eligibility requirements are met.
Savarese also announced the upcoming retirement of AHSAA office manager Sandy Logan, who will be completing her 42nd year with the AHSAA on June 13. She plans to retire on June 30. Savarese also announced that AHSAA Director of Officials Mark Jones, who submitted his plans to retire in June, will be remaining in that position after all. Jones, citing some unfinished business concerning officiating, convinced him to remain in the position.
Savarese praised the long tenure of Mrs. Logan and also told the Board he was elated at Jones’ decision. “He has done an outstanding job in that position, and we are glad he has elected to stay.” The Central Board also approved a request by Savarese to establish a new position that will serve as an assistant to the Director of Officials.
The Central Board approved the financial reports for regional and state bowling, super sectional, dual and state wrestling, indoor track, regional and state basketball and the 2018 state football playoff audit.
Special guest at Wednesday’s Central Board meeting was Alabama State Representative Kyle South of District 16.
Other Central Board action included:
-- Approved the 2019-2020 required forms and release dates.
-- Approved the 2019-2020 Calendar of Events, the 2019-2020 Sports Calendar and the AHSAA Five-Year Calendar.
-- Heard a report from Assistant Director Kim Vickers on behalf of the AHSAA Medical Advisory Meeting last February.
-- Heard a report on Fall/Winter Sports Committees from Assistant Director Denise Ainsworth.
-- Approved the 2019 NFHS 100th Anniversary Summer Meeting Expenses at Indianapolis (IN) this summer.
-- Approved the budget for the Elite 100 Girls’ and Boys’ Basketball Showcase being planned by AHSADCA Director Jamie Lee for this coming June.
-- Approved the adoption (for the 2020-2021 school year) of new Wilson balls for basketball, soccer and volleyball.
-- Approved the use of a stenographer for all appeals and approved the audio/video recording of all board meetings and posting of board meeting minutes on the AHSAA member site.
BIRMINGHAM – Marion County High School’s Braden Pyron, Cleveland High School’s Tara Randolph and Huffman High School’s Cameron Humes were selected the overall state winners at the 34rd annual Bryant-Jordan Student Athlete Awards Banquet Monday night at the Birmingham Sheraton Hotel. A total of 104 high school regional senior honorees were recognized and awarded more than $380,000 in scholarships.
Pyron, a five-sport standout at Marion County, located at Guin, was the recipient of the Larry D. Striplin, Jr., Scholar-Athlete of the Year Award. And for the just the second time in Bryant-Jordan Program history, Randolph and Humes were named co-winners of the Ken and Betty Joy Blankenship Student Achievement Athlete of the Year Award. The first were Darren Edwards of Pell City and Johnny Thompson of Sulligent in 1992.
The program, named in honor of the late coaches Paul "Bear" Bryant of Alabama and Ralph "Shug" Jordan of Auburn, recognized 52 regional scholar-athlete winners selected for their excellence in athletics and academics and 52 achievement winners chosen for their ability to overcome major obstacles during their high school careers.
This year, the scholarship stipends were increased by for the 104 regional winners from $2,500 to $3,000; for the 14 Class Winners, from $3,000 to $3,500; and for the two overall winners, from $3,000 to $4,000 each. In total, the 104 Bryant-Jordan Regional Winners will each received a $3,000 scholarship; 14 Class Winners received $6,500; and the three overall Winners will each be awarded a total of $10,500 -- $325,000 overall and an increase of $65,000 over the previous scholarship payout. The initial payout in the first year of the program in 1986 was $32,000 in total.
In addition, several other individuals and organizations have also joined the Bryant-Jordan Program and present additional scholarships as well. Since the Bryant-Jordan Scholarship Program’s inception, approximately 3,000 senior student-athletes have received more than $10 million in scholarships.
Pyron became the first Class 1A scholar-athlete to receive the Larry D. Striplin, Jr., Scholar-Athlete of the Year award since Spring Garden’s Paige Anderson in 2008 and just the fourth in the Bryant-Jordan Program’s 34-year history. Emily Jo Haught of Donoho was the first in 1989 and Daniel Sullivan of Millry followed in 2004.
A multi-talented athlete who earned All-State honors in baseball, football, track and scored more than 2,300 points for his career with the Red Raiders basketball team, will graduate first in his class with a 4.25 grade-point average on a 4.0 scale, and scored a 29 on the ACT college entrance exam. He helped Marion County win a state outdoor track title in 2015, sparked the Red Raiders to the Northwest Regional basketball title and State Tourney in 2016. He has won the pole vault at the state meet and has finished second in the javelin throw. Pyron, also named the Class 1A Scholar-Athlete Award recipient, has served as team captain in football and basketball. The senior class president and 2019 Wendy’s Heisman Award state winner, has also been a leader outside sports, serving as president of the Fellowship of Christian Athletes, attended the National Beta Club Leadership Conference and served as a Veteran’s Day speaker in his hometown of Guin among his many service-minded endeavors.
Humes, who was diagnosed with End Stage Kidney Failure as an eighth grader, underwent numerous medical tests and procedures and was on dialysis for two years before receiving a kidney transplant in 2017. He came back to lead the Vikings basketball team in scoring this pat season and will graduate with a 4.42 grade-point average and on track to be the senior class valedictorian.
While he thanked his family, teachers and coaches and doctors, he had a special message to his kidney transplant donor. “I want thank Daniel,” he told the large crowd attending Monday night’s banquet. “He lost his life and saved mine.”
Randolph, an outstanding track and volleyball player at Cleveland, suffered through impoverished family conditions that left she and her brother homeless much of her life. “I want to thank my coaches, my principal, my counselor and my friends for not giving up on me,” she said. “And I want to especially thank my brother, who made me believe that I could accomplish anything if I just set my goals and continued to persevere.”
The 2019 Bryant-Jordan Student Achievement Award Class winners were: (1A) Dorothy Patterson, Cherokee High School; (2A) Tara Randolph, Cleveland High School; (3A) Larkin Rogers, Geraldine High School; (4A) Jayson Spencer, St. John Paul II Catholic High School; (5A) Bailey Sherman, Hamilton High School; (6A) Cameron Humes, Huffman High School; and (7A) Zavian Toney, Bob Jones High School.
The 2018 Bryant-Jordan Scholar-Athlete Award Class winners: (1A) Braden Pyron, Marion County High School; (2A) Ethan Moore, Winston County High School; (3A) Darby Moore, Clements High School; (4A) Madison Traylor, Elmore County High School; (5A) Parker Hallmark, Demopolis High School; (6A) Will Stone, Homewood High School; (7A) Sara Pacer, Auburn High School.
Several special scholarships were also presented to some of the regional winners, including: Herman L. “Bubba” Scott Coaching Scholarship: Tommy Vickers, Central-Phenix City High School; Dr. Gaylon McCollough Medical Scholarship: Julianne Hill, Madison Academy; Alabama “A” Club Educational & Charitable Foundation Scholarships: Will McKinney, Cherokee County High School and Ethan Turner, Alexandria High School; Auburn Football Lettermen Club Scholarships: Clay McAlpine, Cullman High School, and Emerson Barrett, Buckhorn High School; United Methodist Children’s Home Scholarships: Casey Williams, Millry High School and Destinee Scott, Cherokee County High School.
The complete list of regional winners honored Monday night were:
2019 Bryant-Jordan Regional Award Recipients
Region 1: Bella Worley, Pleasant Home
Region 2: Jakaria Miller, Linden
Region 3: Andrew Glasscock, Billingsley
Region 4: Lilly Laubenthal, Holy Spirit Catholic
Region 5: Braden Pyron, Marion County
Region 6: Zana Christjohn, Faith Christian
Region 7: Kari Watts, Falkville
Region 8: Lillian Bradford, Athens Bible
Region 1: Payton Moseley, Leroy
Region 2: Jamie Peters, Daleville
Region 3: Jackson Parker, Abbeville
Region 4: Anna Cochran, Reeltown
Region 5: Colby Cheaney, Horseshoe Bend
Region 6: Camryn Crider, Cold Springs
Region 7: Ethan Moore, Winston County
Region 8: Hayden Hatch, Fyffe
Region 1: Sam Koby, Bayside Academy
Region 2: Chris Tamburin, Houston Academy
Region 3: Mary Grace Story, Prattville Christian
Region 4: Reese Culpepper, Hale County
Region 5: Davis Holdbooks, Winfield
Region 6: Lauren Cole, Glencoe
Region 7: Kirsten Campbell, Holly Pond
Region 8: Darby Moore, Clements
Region 1: Graf Sullivan, UMS-Wright
Region 2: Quinn Lee, LAMP
Region 3: Madison Traylor, Elmore County
Region 4: Luke Stripling, Northside
Region 5: Will McKinney, Cherokee County
Region 6: Ethan Adams, Oneonta
Region 7: Sam Hartley, Randolph
Region 8: Braden Tuten, West Limestone
Region 1: Joseph Wells, Vigor
Region 2: Samantha Adams, Carroll
Region 3: Parker Hallmark, Demopolis
Region 4: Chip Ogles, Central-Clay County
Region 5: Graham Bianchi, Springville
Region 6: Grayson Barber, Jasper
Region 7: Jayden Bobo, Boaz
Region 8: Lauren Barnett, Arab
Region 1: Hudson Arnold, Daphne
Region 2: Megan Maddox, Northview
Region 3: Jacob Walker, Opelika
Region 4: Lexie Duca, Chelsea
Region 5: Will Stone, Homewood
Region 6: A.J. Talton, Clay-Chalkville
Region 7: Trentin Dupper, Decatur
Region 8: Emerson Barrett, Buckhorn
Region 1: Hunter Tillman, Theodore
Region 2: Sara Parker, Auburn
Region 3: Hannah Straughn, Mountain Brook
Region 4: Sachi Patel, Austin
Student Achievement Award
Region 1: Casey Williams, Millry
Region 2: Olivia Jones, Brantley
Region 3: Tyler Abbott, Verbena
Region 4: Samantha Davis, Appalachian
Region 5: MacKenzie Pearce, Marion County
Region 6: Kaitlyn Tidwell, Brilliant
Region 7: McKenzie Clark, Woodville
Region 8: Dorothy Patterson, Cherokee
Region 1: Antawn Lashawn Phillips, Chickasaw
Region 2: Hedaya Awad, Cottonwood
Region 3: Dionte Brantley, Luverne
Region 4: Tyler Jackson, Thorsby
Region 5: Corey Mitchell, Woodland
Region 6: Tara Randolph, Cleveland
Region 7: Kolby Bragwell, Red Bay
Region 8: Erica Gay, Tharptown
Region 1: Ethan Hearn, Mobile Christian
Region 2: Seth White, Wicksburg
Region 3: Allyn Browning, Saint James
Region 4: Miracle McKissic, Randolph County
Region 5: Abby Stephens, Lamar County
Region 6: Caleb Allison, Weaver
Region 7: Bryceton Flack, Brindlee Mountain
Region 8: Larkin Rogers, Geraldine
Region 1: Dametrius Richardson, Monroe County
Region 2: Amaris Tyynismaa, Montgomery Catholic
Region 3: Jamie Singleton, Elmore County
Region 4: Maggie Sullivan, American Christian
Region 5: Destinee Scott, Cherokee County
Region 6: Charles Scott McAlpine, Haleyville
Region 7: Jayson “Jay” Spencer, St. John Paul II Catholic
Region 8: Faith Casey, Central-Florence
Region 1: Sophia Rapier, Faith Academy
Region 2: Chasilyn Sawyers, Rehobeth
Region 3: Abigail Powell, Chilton County
Region 4: Zack Elliff, Sylacauga
Region 5: Hunter Isbell, Moody
Region 6: Ethan Turner, Alexandria
Region 7: Bailey Sherman, Hamilton
Region 8: Julianne Hill, Madison Academy
Region 1: Christopher Turberville, Spanish Fort
Region 2: Harrison Holman, Northview
Region 3: Londy Baldwin, Opelika
Region 4: Hannah Irby, Northridge
Region 5: Cameron Humes, Huffman
Region 6: Xavier Skinner, Gardendale
Region 7: Clay McAlpin, Cullman
Region 8: Jaylon Dixon, Buckhorn
Future1s will become the Official Cloth Partner of the AHSAA to provide yearly, customized uniforms for all AHSAA All-Star events including AL/MS All-Star Football Game.
MONTGOMERY, ALA. – The Alabama High School Athletic Association (AHSAA) has announced a three-year partnership with Alabama-based apparel and equipment company Future1s, beginning in July 2019. Future1s is headquartered in Mobile, Alabama.
As the Official Cloth Partner of the AHSAA, Future1s will provide yearly, customized uniforms for all AHSAA All-Star events including Alabama-Mississippi All-Star Football and Basketball Games.
"The Alabama High School Athletic Association is proud to partner with Future1s to provide customized uniforms for some of our most-anticipated events," said AHSAA Executive Director Steve Savarese. “We’re looking forward to the opportunity Future1s will provide our member schools.”
AHSAA Assistant Director Denise Ainsworth, who oversees the AHSAA Corporate Partner program, said, “Moving forward, we are truly excited about this partnership and welcome Future1s into the AHSAA family.”
As the new partner of the AHSAA, Future1s has aspirations of becoming an industry leader by focusing on quality and accessibility to high school programs across the state and region.
Future1s founders Gus Smith and Trent Massey partnered in February 2016 with a revolutionary idea to change the way football teams practice. Their original product was the Scout Team Jersey, which they still offer today and features a one-of-a-kind scout team practice jersey with interchangeable numbers. In as little as 15 seconds, the Scout Team Jersey can turn each member of your scout team into your upcoming opponent. Now, Future1s operates as a full-team dealer. With a growing product line, Future1s’ popularity is growing quickly, with Michigan, Arizona, Texas A&M, SMU, Houston, South Alabama and multiple high school programs on board.
“We are very excited about this partnership," said Future1s Co-Founder Gus Smith. "Since our founding, our goal has been to provide the highest-quality products for the best prices. We want to treat every school and team like they are our top priority, and this partnership is no different. In today’s world of apparel and marketing, the large, recognizable schools receive all the special treatment. Future1s wants to make every program feel like they are just as important to the next.”
MONTGOMERY – Eleven major contributors to prep athletics in Alabama were inducted into the 29th class of the Alabama High School Sports Hall of Fame Monday night. The 2019 class, which included an “old-timer,” were enshrined at a banquet held at the Montgomery Renaissance Hotel and Spa Convention Center.
Inducted were: football coaches Phil Lazenby, David Lowery, Willie Carl Martin, Billy Odom and Ronnie Sikes; basketball coaches Carolyn Wright and Scheussler Ware; track coach Claborn Campbell; baseball coach Mark Mincher; basketball official Johnny Robertson; and longtime coach and administrator Reynolds “R.C.” Cook, chosen in the old-timers’’ division. Mr. Cook is deceased. His son Stan Cook represented his father at the ceremonies.
Coach Wright gave a resounding acceptance speech for what she described as a very humble and fortunate group.
“We are a group of 11 individuals with devout faith who all shared the same goals, but we did it in many different ways,” she said. “This class of inductees have been mentors for coaches and teachers throughout the state of Alabama.
“How did we get here? We have been truly blessed. We all have the same goals and we all had the same passions. Yet, we all expressed it in different ways. We all have the same testimony … with a lot of praying and God on our side we were able to endure together over 350 years of service to school systems all across the state of Alabama. As we take a look back, we can truly see how we were all guided.
“We got here because our hearts and souls said yes. Yes, we wanted to change lives. Yes, we wanted to produce productive citizens to give back to our communities. And yes, we wanted to instill integrity. We wanted to create in our students a mindset of fortitude.”
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, Jack’s, Russell Athletic, TeamIP and Wilson Sporting Goods.
Carolyn Wright accepted for the Class of 2019. Veteran sportscaster Jeff Shearer emceed the banquet. The NFHS Network live-streamed the banquet over the NFHS Network School Broadcast Program platform.
The first class was inducted in 1991. These 11 new inductees will run the total enshrined into the Alabama High School Sports Hall of Fame to 353.
OPTIONAL BIOS ON EACH INDUCTEE
A profile of each selectee:
CLABORN CAMPBELL: Campbell, 65, graduated from Cold Spring High School and Southern Benedictine College – then returned as a high school teacher and coach spending the bulk of his years in education at his alma mater Cold Springs (1979-83 & 1999-2018). He also had coaching stints at Winston County and West Point.
Considered one of the top track coaches in the state, he guided the Panthers’ boys to two state track titles and had four teams finish runner-up. The Cold Springs girls’ track team won 17 Cullman County championships. He also directed the Cold Springs girls and boys to three state cross country crowns and had seven runner-up finishes.
A dedicated coach and devout man of faith, he has been inducted into the Cullman County Sports Hall of Fame, was an AHSAA Making A Difference Award recipient in 2016, was selected NFHS Alabama Cross Country Coach of the Year in 2017 (girls) and 2016 (boys). U.S. Track and Field named him Boys’ Cross Country Coach of the Year in 2014.
REYNOLDS G. COOK (OLDTIMER Division): Cook, now deceased, was born in 1913 and graduated from Sidney Lanier High School in 1933. He earned his college degree from Troy State Teachers College in 1950. He earned his master’s in 1964.
He began his teaching and coaching at Williams School in Montgomery, then moved to Union Springs High School in 1952 where he remained in various capacities through 1974.
He coached Union Springs’ only undefeated 10-0 football team in 1956 – earning him Birmingham Post-Herald Class 1A Coach of the Year. His 1957 team was 9-1 and participated in the prestigious Peanut Bowl at Dothan. As a basketball coach he had two teams go undefeated through the regular season – combining for a 46-2 record in 1963-64 and 1964-65.
He also coached baseball and helped bring the Alabama Lions Club regional East-West Baseball Game to Union Springs for several years. He also coached Union Springs to signature baseball victories over his much larger alma mater Sidney Lanier and its rival Robert E. Lee. He founded the youth baseball programs for Union Springs and remained active for many years.
He left coaching to become the Superintendent of Education in Bullock County – guiding the school system through 1974. He also served as president of the TSU Alumni Association and was District Governor of the Alabama Lions International.
PHIL LAZENBY: A graduate of Bessemer High School (1968) and Samford University (1974), Lazenby, 68, also received a master’s in education from the University of Montevallo in 1979. He played on Samford University’s 1971 National Championship football team and was selected Most Valuable Defensive Player for SU in 1973.
He embarked on a long-time career in teaching and coaching, first as an assistant football and head tennis coach at Bessemer’s Jess Lanier High School (1976-1980). He then moved to Mountain Brook where he served as defensive coordinator and assistant principal (1981-90).
He became a head coach, first at Guntersville (1991-95), was at Southside-Gadsden for one year in 1996, then moved to Benjamin Russell (1997-2000) and currently is at Bayside Academy (2007-present). He spent 2001-2006 at UMS-Wright as assistant coach and strength & conditioning coach. His overall head-coaching record is 169-89 with two state championship game appearances at Benjamin Russell and one at Bayside Academy. His teams had just two losing seasons in 21 years and have reached the state playoffs 17 times.
Lazenby coached as an assistant and head coach in the Alabama-Mississippi All-Star Game, was ASWA Coach of the Year in 1997, 2011 and 2015 and has served as a past president of the Alabama Football Coaches Association. Lazenby was inducted into the Samford Athletic Hall of Fame in 2018. He served in the U.S. Army infantry reaching the rank of First Sergeant with tours in Europe and Central America.
DAVID LOWERY: A native of Butler County, Lowery, 53, graduated from Georgiana High School in 1983, Troy University in 1988 and earned a master’s at AUM in 1998. Hs first teaching/coaching position was at Evergreen High School in 1988. He moved to Elba High School as assistant coach and defensive coordinator from 1989-1998. He also was head baseball coach leading the Tigers to the playoff semifinals in 1993 and 1994. He was head football coach two years (1995-1996).
He then moved to Brantley High School where he was head football coach and athletic director from 1999-2013. He had an amazing run compiling a 156-27 overall record and 88-3 region record. His teams won the Class 1A state football title in 2009 and 2012 and finished runner-up in 1999 and 2005.
Lowery was named ASWA Class 1A Coach of the Year in 1999 and ALFCA Class 1A Coach of the Year in 2012. Brantley High School named the football field David Lowery Stadium in 2013, and he was inducted into the Wiregrass Sports Hall of Fame in 2014.
WILLIE CARL MARTIN: The Alexander City native and outstanding high school football lineman graduated from Laurel High School in 1969. He attended Northeastern Oklahoma on football scholarship. He was selected in the summer of 1969 to participate in the North-South All-Star Game – as one of the first three black participants in the game’s history.
After a successful playing career in the Canadian Football League (CFL), Martin, 67, returned to Alexander City and began a teaching and coaching career at Benjamin Russell High School that spanned the next 25 years. He served as an assistant football coach from 1985-2001 directing a defense that allowed only 12.32 points a game over a 15-year period. He served as head football coach from 2001-2006. He compiled a 51-24 record during that span and captured the school’s only state football title in in his first year in 2001.
Martin’s leadership expanded to the AHSAA where he served on the District 4 Board and Central Board from 2003-2007.
He was hired in 2007 to serve on the University of Alabama football staff as Director of Player Development, a role he kept until 2015 when he retired. In May of that year, Alexander City celebrated Willie Carl Martin Day (on May 12) as the city honored the native son who served as a trailblazer throughout his career.
MARK MINCHER: Mincher graduated from Hazel Green High School in Madison County in 1975, got his college degree from Memphis State University in 1975 and later earned a master’s in administration from Alabama A&M.
The son of former Major League baseball standout Don Mincher embarked on a career in education in 1980 that lasted more than three decades. He coached football, boys’ and girls’ basketball and baseball at Monrovia Middle School for two years before moving to Sparkman High School in 1982. He became head baseball coach in 1983. He moved to Huntsville High School as head baseball coach in 1985, a position he held for the next 28 years. He compiled a 576-353 baseball-coaching record with 12 city championships, eight area titles, 18 state playoff appearances and one Class 6A state championship (2011).
Mincher also served as HHS athletic director during that time and became an important mentor for other teachers and coaches, not only at his school but throughout Huntsville, Madison County and the state.
He was recognized as the Huntsville City baseball coach of the year numerous times, was named AlaBCA Coach of the Year (6A) and NFHS State Baseball Coach of the Year in 2011. Mincher was inducted into the Madison County Sports Hall of Fame in 2011. He was chosen HCPTA Secondary Principal of the Year in 2015.
BILLY ODOM: Odom, 68, graduated from Baker High School in Mobile in 1968 and from Mississippi College in 1972. He served as a teacher and head football coach at Baker High School for 14 seasons (1972-87), moved to Murphy as an assistant coach from 1989-91 and returned to head coaching at Alba High School from 1992-1997.
His Alba team won the region title in 1994.
Odom’s work as a coach and teacher was just part of his many contributions. He also played a key volunteer role in the development and administration of the Alabama-Mississippi All-Star Football Game in Mobile from its inception in 1988. He has been a key administrative coach for that game ever since – heading into his 33rd year. He has also served as the South team manager for the Senior Bowl College All-Star Game for the last three decades.
Recognized as one of Mobile County’s most dependable volunteers, he received the prestigious Bob Pannone Service Award in 2017 and was recognized by the L’Arche Mobile Lifetime Achievement Award in 2012
JOHNNY ROBERTSON (Contest Official): This Sidney Lanier 1965 graduate has been one of the state’s top basketball officials more than 50 years. Robertson, 71, served in 17 of 18 AHSAA state basketball tournaments from 1982-1999.
Recognized by the his peers and the AHSAA for his teaching skills, he served as AHSAA state rules clinician from 1981-1999, has been a Regional Tournament coordinator ever since the regional and state final four basketball format was instituted in 1994 and has been the South Central District Director for Officials since 1999. He has been serving as State Rules Interpreter since 2008. Robertson helped institute the state officials’ camps and has been the State Camp Director since 2008. He received the AHSAA Distinguished Service Award in 2008.
Robertson also officiated high school football from 1972-1987, and he officiated baseball from 1972-1974.
Active in church and civic affairs in Montgomery, he has served in various positions of civic leadership including serving as president of the Kiwanis Club of Montgomery, was Division 9 Lt. Governor for the Kiwanis from 2007-2009 and has also served as president of the Boys and Girls Clubs of the River Region.
RONNIE SIKES: A native of Randolph County, Sikes, 59, graduated from Randolph County High School in Wedowee in 1977 and from Auburn University in 1981. He also attended Southern Union Community College and received a master’s degree from Auburn University (1987).
The veteran football coach began his career in high school education in 1981 with stints at Valley High School (1981-1984), Notasulga (1984-1988), Mortimer Jordan (1988-1990), and Beulah (1990-1992) before returning to Notasulga in 1992. He served as head football coach for the Blue Devils for 12 years compiling a 91-51 record. He then moved to Lanett from 2004-2009. He has coached and taught at Georgia public schools since 2013. While at Notasulga his teams compiled a 25-game winning streak with his 2001 team capturing Class 1A state runner-up. He rebuilt the Lanett program in a short time becoming the first coach to lead the Panthers to a 12-win season since former AHSAA Executive Director Dan Washburn, a 2000 Inductee into the HOF, led Lanett to a 12-1 record in 1976.
Sikes coached in the Alabama-Mississippi All-Star Game twice and also coached in the North-South All-Star Game. He was named O-A News Coach of the Year in 1998.
SCHUESSLER WARE: Anniston High School’s long-time boys’ head basketball coach graduated from AHS in 1974 and Talladega College in 1978. He earned a master’s degree in elementary education from Jacksonville State University.
Ware, 60, began teaching and coaching at his high school alma mater in 1979 – spending his entire career with the Anniston City Schools. He became head basketball coach in 1997 and for the next 20 years his teams compiled a 420-168 record with two state championships, the Class 5A title in 2002 and the 4A championship in 2009. Anniston made five State Final Four appearances, five Northeast Regional titles and seven Calhoun County championships during his tenure.
He was chosen Calhoun County Coach of the Year nine times, AHSAA Class 5A (2002) and Class 4A (2009) Coach of the Year, and saw 12 of his teams win 20 or more games in a season. Only one team had a losing record but still won the area title, and two years later the program rebounded to go 27-6 and reach the Northeast Regional tourney.
He is active in his church and community serving as an Elder at First United Presbyterian Church.
A high school coach is an educator who wears many hats. A Hall of Fame coach is one that wears them all well. Meet Reynolds Gwaltney Cook -- Coach R.G. Cook to the hundreds of student-athletes whose lives were changed for the better because of his ability to teach the real lessons that can be learned from educational-based athletics.
Cook, now deceased, is being inducted into the Alabama High School Sports Hall of Fame as a member of the Class of 2019. He is going in from the “old timer” category. The banquet will be Monday night, March 18 at the Montgomery Renaissance Hotel and Convention Center. His son Stan Cook is representing his father, accepting on behalf of the Cook family.
A native of Greenville, Alabama, R. G. Cook graduated from Montgomery’s Sidney Lanier High School in 1933 and from Troy State Teachers College (now Troy University) in 1950. He later earned a master’s degree in education from Auburn University.
Cook began his teaching and coaching career at Williams School, a private prep school in Montgomery. He started the athletic program and was head basketball coach from 1950-52.
He moved to Union Springs in 1952 – where he remained at Bullock County High School in some capacity through 1974. During that span he coached football, basketball, baseball and track. His 1956 football team was 10-0, and he was named the Birmingham Post-Herald Class 1A Coach of the Year. In 1957, he extended the winning streak to 19 games before losing a close game to Abbeville in the Peanut Bowl at Dothan. He was selected to coach in the AHSAA North-South All-star football game in Tuscaloosa in 1957.
Cook resigned as football coach in 1962, focusing on the basketball and baseball teams. His teams won more than 250 games in basketball with his 1963-64 and 1964-65 teams both going 23-0 in the regular season.
In baseball, his teams had signature wins over much larger schools such as Sidney Lanier and Central-Phenix City. He helped arrange for Union Springs to be an annual host of the Lions Club East-West all-star baseball game for Southeast Alabama.
Cook received numerous Coach of the Year Awards in various sports and helped organize the Central Alabama Conference for small schools Central Alabama.
After leaving the classroom and coaching field, he served as Bullock County Schools’ superintendent from 1968-74.
Hall of Fame member Ken Blankenship recalled his relationship with Coach Cook. “In the early 1950s, I had the opportunity to compete against Coach Cook’s teams, and later he served as a mentor to me as I began my high school coaching career,” Blankenship said. “It was through his positive, caring influence that I learned it was an honor to have the opportunity to work with young people and an obligation to guide them as their lives were developing.”
J. Carlton Smith, who became a school superintendent himself, said Cook taught him the importance of priorities.
“He taught me how to relate to high school kids,” said Smith, who served as an assistant to Cook at Bullock County High School. “R.G. was demanding of his players but gained their respect and admiration. He was an outstanding, winning coach, but winning was never his first priority. In his calm, low-key manner in dealing with teenage athletes, his first priority was always to teach his kids to be good citizens, to follow the rules, and to become strong, confident men.”
Smith recalled an incident in which Cook’s character came to the forefront dramatically. “A former athlete, a senior named Benny Johnson, dropped out of school because he was still struggling with ninth-grade English,” Smith said. “He found that the local supermarket where he worked would not keep him on because he was not a high school graduate. Cook persuaded him to return to school, attending Bullock County during the day and going to Montgomery to study English at the Williams School at night. He eventually graduated.”
But the story did not end there, Smith said. “Johnson developed a rare form of arthritis that would eventually cost him his eyesight.” He went to Cook and said, “What am I going to do? I have a wife and baby. How can I support them when I am blind?” Coach Cook was active in the Lions Club and its sight conservation mission. He took Johnson to Talladega and helped him enroll in the School for the Blind. There, he acquired the skills to operate a small business without sight and was able to provide for his family.
“This is (just one) example of how R.G. Cook loved his students and the extra help he provided. This was far above what could be expected. That is the kind of coach, educator and person he was.
“A Hall of Fame coach should be many things. He should be a person who develops young men. He teaches them to be solid, confident adults. He teaches them how to become leaders. He teaches them to always follow the rules. He teaches them to be contributing team members. He teaches them that they can achieve their goals through teamwork. He teaches them to be loyal and dedicated to their team and their teammates. He teaches them right from wrong, and he teaches them how to win and how to lose.”
Smith said that Coach R. G. Cook meets all requirements as a Hall of Fame coach.
“The best indicator is the love and pride he had for all his players and the love and devotion they still have for him to this day. Yes, he was a winning coach, but he was so much more than that. He was a father figure for hundreds of young men who became better adults because of his love and quiet leadership by example.”
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