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.