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Seven Receive “Making A Difference” Awards At AHSAA 2018 Coaches’ Awards Banquet

MONTGOMERY – Seven individuals were recognized Friday night at the AHSAA’s 22st annual Championship Coaches’ Awards Banquet as recipients of the prestigious “Making A Difference” Award as the 2018 AHSAA Summer Conference concluded at the Montgomery Renaissance Hotel and Convention Center.
    The week-long conference, which attracted approximately 5,000 administrators, coaches and other support personnel from AHSAA member schools to Montgomery, was hosted by the Alabama High School Athletic Directors & Coaches Association (AHSADCA). It included 10 North-South all-star competitions during the week – for the sports of baseball, softball, boys’ and girls’ soccer, boys’ and girls’ basketball, boys’ and girls’ cross country, volleyball and football. The North beat the South 27-14 in the 59th playing of the North-South football all-star game to close out all-star play Thursday night.
    Governor Kay Ivey was the keynote speaker at Friday’s awards banquet recognized a total of 112 state championship coaches who led teams to state titles in the AHSAA’s championship programs in 2017-18 as well as honoring several others for outstanding service or accomplishment.  Among them was Devin Hind of Hoover High School. Hind led the Bucs to a sweep of the AHSAA Class 7A indoor and outdoor boys’ and girls’ state track and field championships. As a result, national track and field website Dyestat named Hoover the National Duals Track and Field Champs for 2018 – using best times and performances from the student-athletes during the season and matching the Bucs against other state champions from across the nation in a computerized playoff. The match-play competition concluded with Hoover beating California prep track powerhouse Great Oak High School of Temecula (CA) 69.3 – 66.7 in the dual match finals. Dyestat has had its hypothetical match-play championships for three years – with Auburn High School winning the first virtual competition National crown in 2016.
   The highlight of Friday’s banquet was the “Making A Difference” Award, however, now in its eighth year. One AHSAA member school coach or administrator was honored in each classification for their contributions to their schools and communities that help change lives in daily in a positive way.
    The recipients were: principal Jack Hayes, Brilliant High School (1A); Head football coach and athletic director JimBob Striplin, Geneva County High School (2A); athletic director Anthony McCall, Montgomery Academy (3A); girls’ basketball and volleyball coach Frances Dunn, Greensboro (4A); track and cross country coach Stanley Johnson, Lawrence County (5A); athletic director and volleyball coach Pam Robinson, Benjamin Russell (6A); principal Clem Richardson, Baker High School (7A).
  
Several other special awards were presented including AHSADCA Athletic Director of the Year presented to Kim Kiel of Pelham High School. The ADSADCA also presented the Past President’s Award was presented to Kiel.
     Veteran Huntsville city councilman and AHSAA football official Mark Russell and Carver-Montgomery band director and music teacher LaFrancis Davis were also recognized at NFHS Section 3 “Spirit of Sport” and “Heart of the Arts” Award recipients for 2018. Russell suffered a heart attack in Madison Academy’s opening game of the 2017 prep football season and had no heartbeat for more than eight minutes, but thanks to the quick thinking of a nurse, who was in the sidelines as the MA school photographer, he survived the trauma. Just over three months later, he officiated in the Super 7 Class 7A state championship game at Bryant-Denny in Tuscaloosa.
     Davis, a multi-sport standout athlete at Slocomb high school, turned down college football for his true passion – music. He got his degree from Alabama A&M, then went into the Army where he reached the rank of Lieutenant Colonel before leaving the military to become a band director, first in his home Geneva County where he embarked on a career of rebuilding struggling band programs. He took over a Carver program that had just 60 members, now marches with more than 150 and has developed a program at a feeder middle school that is almost 100 strong.
     He marched and performed trumpet solos at halftime in high school and also rushed for over 1,400 yards. He has encouraged students in his band to play sports and currently has nine who are playing various sports from football and basketball to softball and volleyball.
NFHS Section 3 Coaches of the Year: Four AHSAA coaches were named 2017 NFHS Section 3 Coaches of the Year, including: Richard Carter, Lanett (boys’ basketball); Thomas Esslinger, Homewood (girls’ indoor track & field); Derrick Gargis, Muscle Shoals (boys’ golf); and Jimmy Johnson III, Opelika (boys’ outdoor track & field).
NFHS State Coaches of the Year: Twenty-one outstanding AHSAA coaches were selected 2017 NFHS state coach of the year in their respective sports: Zachary Blume, Southside-Gadsden (girls’ bowling); Richard Carter, Lanett (boys’ basketball); Thomas Esslinger, Homewood (outdoor track); Cheryl Flores, McGill-Toolen Catholic (girls’ soccer); Derrick Gargis, Muscle Shoals (boys’ golf); Donna Garner, Florence (boys’ tennis); Chris Heaps, Russellville (baseball); Matt Hicks, Oxford (wrestling); Stephen Hobbs, Spain Park (boys’ country); Kyle Justice, Decatur (girls’ tennis); Tyler Kerns, St. Paul’s Episcopal (boys’ swimming); Josh Niblett, Hoover (football); Dan Norton, Auburn (boys’ cross country); Al Rauls, Buckhorn (softball); Barbara Roy, Locust Fork (girls’ basketball); Rik Tozzi, Indian Springs (boys’ soccer); Roger von Jouanne, Westminster Christian (girls’ swimming); Kayla Woodard, Addison (volleyball).
Children Scholarship Recipients: Ten students, each a child of an AHSADCA member coach or administrator, also received the AHSADCA’s Coaches’ Children Scholarships. They were:
District 1: Willie James Taylor, Jackson HS (son of Coach Tamiko Taylor)
District 2: Courtney Powell, Georgiana HS (daughter of Coach Ezell Powell)
District 3: Elijah Jones, Prattville Christian (son of Coach Leonard Jones)
District 4: Casey Baynes, Tallassee HS (son of Coach Mark Baynes)
District 5: Gracyn LeSueur, Pelham HS (daughter of Coach Kevin LeSueur)
District 6: Riley Austin, Spring Garden HS (son of Coaches Dana and Ricky Austin)
District 6: Anna Bryant, Pleasant Valley HS (daughter of Coaches Dana and David Bryant)
District 7: Tucker Brown, Wilson HS (son of Coach Scott Brown)
District 8: Phillip DesRosier, Grissom HS (son of Cach Alicia Wright DesRosier)
District 8: Shelby Madison Brothers, Geraldine HS (daughter of Coach Cristie Brothers)
Willie James Taylor, Jackson HS (son of Coach Tamiko Taylor)



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