High School Update

Lots of events happening for fans of high school sports in Alabama. Over the weekend, the AHSAA announced the lineup for the annual All-Star game on June 2 and last night the annual induction for the High School Sports Hall of Fame was held. Here is the information on the events:


MONTGOMERY—Coach Bill Clark of Prattville High School and his six-man staff will be directing 37 of the state’s best senior prep football players named to the Alabama roster for the 20th annual Alabama-Mississippi All-Star Football Classic June 2 in Mobile.

Representatives from the Alabama High School Athletic Directors & Coaches Association, the Alabama High School Athletic Association, each of the eight AHSAA Athletic Districts, and the All-Star Classic games committee selected the players.

According to the selection guidelines for the Alabama team, at least one player must be selected from each of the six classifications and one from each of the eight athletic districts.

Clark, who guided Prattville High School to the 2006 Class 6A state football championship, served as the defensive coordinator in the 2003 classic won by Alabama 24-16 and as the defensive coordinator again in the 2005 contest, won by Mississippi 21-18.

He also was defensive coordinator in the North-South all-star game in 1998 and then served as head coach in the North-South all-star game for juniors in December of 2004.

His Alabama staff will include Stacy Luker of Sweet Water, Danny Powell of Leroy, Ike Grant of LaFayette, Phil Isom of Guntersville, Allen Creasy of Athens, and John Grass of Spain Park. Billy Odom is the administrative coach.

The Alabama roster is as follows:
QUARTERBACKS: Larry Smith, Prattville; Jamie Hampton, Cedar Bluff.
Joseph Wilson, Opelika; Terrell Edwards, UMS-Wright; Stanley Jones, Houston Academy; Jerrel Jernigan, Eufaula.
WIDE RECEIVERS: Ralph Spry, Auburn; Justin Diliberto, Spain Park; Quindarius Carr, Huntsville; Brandon Gibson, UMS-Wright; Marquis Maze, Tarrant.
PUNTER/KICKER: Graham Sutter, St. James.
OFFENSIVE LINEMEN: Thomas Gray, Vestavia Hills; William Vlachos, Mountain Brook; Patrick Crump, Hoover; Nick Fairley, Williamson; Taz Tillery, Russellville; Caleb Thomas, Decatur; Jared Cooper, W.S. Neal.
DEFENSIVE BACKS: William Spight, Jeff Davis; Ricardo Bates, Prattville; Cameron O’Neal, Citronelle; Ryan Williams, B.C Rain; Rashad Graham, Russellville; Zach Smith, Susan Moore.
DEFENSIVE LINEMEN: Damario Ambrose, Davidson; Nick Gentry, Prattville; Josh Chapman, Hoover; Alfred McCullough, Athens; Kerry Murphy, Hoover.
DEFENSIVE END/LINEBACKERS: Kenneth Dorsey, Homewood; Josh Lewis, Tuscaloosa County; Terrance Thomas, Eufaula; Eltora Freeman, Benjamin Russell; Rolando McClain, Decatur; Chavis Williams, Dora; Quintine Thomas, Pike County.

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MONTGOMERY — An impressive group of 11 individuals that have made significant contributions to prep athletics in Alabama were inducted Monday night (March 19) as the 17th Class of the Alabama High School Sports Hall of Fame.

Over 700 attended the banquet and induction ceremony at Garrett Coliseum in support of 2007 class that includes coaches, administrators and avid supporters.

Inducted were Fran Braasch, Bill Burgess. Terry Cooper, Betty Ham, Don Hand, Billy Livings, Sam Mason, Bob Newton, Larry Striplin, Jr., Edgar Welden and Steve Williams.  Ham and Mason are deceased.

The17-member Hall of Fame Committee made the selections from the 42 nominations to the Hall of Fame, which is located at the State Office of the Alabama High School Athletic Association in Montgomery.

Sponsors of the Hall of Fame program are the Alabama High School Athletic Directors & Coaches Association and the AHSAA.  The corporate sponsors are Alabama Power, Alfa Insurance, Coca-Cola, Encore Rehabilitation, Regions, Russell Athletic and Wilson.

A thumbnail sketch of each 2007 inductee:

FRAN BRAASCH —   A pioneer for the growth of girls’ basketball in Birminigham as well as statewide, she spent 23 of her 32 years in coaching at Vestavia Hills where she started the girls basketball program and guided her teams to a 511-170 record,  a state championship in 1987 and five appearances in the final four.  She coached at Pizitz Middle School and also started and coached the first women’s scholarship team at UAB. She coached and served as administrative coach for the North-South all-star games and compiled an overall career record was 579-208. A graduate of Marshall County High School (Tenn.) and Auburn University. 

BILL BURGESS — Left a legacy of a winning tradition during his 14 years at Oxford where his football teams compiled a 107-41-4 record and reached the state playoffs eight times, including the school’s first state championship game appearance in 1982. He had previously coached at Banks and Woodlawn where he was coach of the year in 1969.  In 1985 he moved on to Jacksonville State where four of his 12 teams won conference titles, his 1985 team won a NCAA Division II national championship and two others were runners-up. He is a member of the Calhoun County Hall of Fame. A graduate of Jones Valley High School and Auburn University.

TERRY COOPER —Has been associated with success as a coach and administrator in the Mountain Brook school system for 31 years. He served as head basketball coach for nine of the first 16 years before becoming the full-time athletic director in 1992. During his tenure Mountain Brook teams have won 52 state championships along with 25 runner-up finishes. He personally coached two teams to state titles—boys golf in 1997 and girls swimming & diving in 2002. A nationally-certified athletic administrator, he has served as an instructor the AHSAA Coaches Education Program and has been active in the coaches association. He is a member of his college Hall of Fame.  A graduate of Emma Sansom High School and the Birmingham-Southern College.

BETTY HAM —Laid the foundation for the girls’ athletic program at Andalusia High School where she served as coach and teacher for 34 years. She guided the girls’ basketball teams to countless victories, including the 1988 team that went 23-4 en route to the final four in the school’s first state tournament appearance.  She also found time to serve as official scorer for the boys’ team, business manger, team trainer, and chaperone for the boys’ boys basketball, football and track teams.  Upon her retirement in 1991, she was the only coach the varsity girls’ program had known. A graduate of Sylvania High School and the University of Alabama.

DON HAND —Spent 22 of his 38 years in education coaching football, baseball and basketball at Chilton County (18 years) Conecuh County (2 years) and Monroe County (2 years). His 22 football teams compiled a 147-87 record with eight playoff appearances.  His baseball teams posted a 161-60 record with a state championship in 1973.  He served eight years on the AHSAA Central Board, president of the coaches association, and coached in the North-South all-star football game. He also served Chilton County as superintendent and principal and worked for the Alabama Independent School Association for seven years.  A graduate of Marbury High School and Auburn University.

BILLY LIVINGS —Established an enviable record of success for 45 years as a high school coach in two states.  During his home state career he spent eight years as baseball and wrestling coach at Sidney Lanier and 12 years as the first football coach at Jeff Davis where his teams posted a 103-22-4 record with nine city titles and a state championship in 1978. He helped start the wrestling programs in Montgomery area high and junior high schools.  His final 25 years in coaching were spent at Vero Beach, Fla., where his team won a state title in 1981. He is a member of the Montgomery Area Sports Hall of Fame. A graduate of Sidney Lanier High School and the University of Kentucky.

SAM MASON —A legendary coach in the Opelika school system for 28 years, he led Opelika High to its last undefeated football season in 1945 and posted an overall record of 75-37-3 against some of the largest schools in the state. He served as president of the coaches association and the high school track is named in his honor. He began his coaching career at Fairfax and Valley high schools and served as Fairfax Recreation Department director for three years. He retired in 1971.  A graduate of Tallassee High School and Auburn University (API).

BOB NEWTON —Has given his time and talents to Homewood athletics for the last 31 years.  As head football coach and athletic director during the last 11, his football teams have compiled a phenomenal record of 124-24 with five state championships, one runner-up finish and one semi-final appearance. Other Homewood sports have won nine state titles during that time.  He coached three years in Sprayberry, Ga., to begin his career, then came to Homewood to coach the offensive line for the next 19 years.  A member of the Franklin County Hall of Fame, he coached three times in the Alabama-Mississippi all-star football game and once in the North-South all-star game.  A graduate of Russellville High School and Samford University.

LARRY STRIPLIN, JR. —A great supporter of athletics in Alabama for many years, he is the founder of the Bryant-Jordan Scholarship Program that has awarded over $3 million to student-athletes since 1986.  He provided the leadership for its growth into the nation’s premier scholarship program and set an example for others to follow through his generosity. He has raised over $8 million for the Foundation to assure the annual scholarship funding. He was involved in the creation of the Super 6 football championship and the State Finals basketball tournament and has served on the boards of both events. A member of several halls of fame, he was named the 1998 Alabama Sports Hall of Fame Distinguished American Sportsman. A graduate of A. G. Parrish High School (Selma) and Birmingham-Southern College.

EDGAR WELDEN —One of the state’s staunchest supporters of high school athletics, he created and serves as president of the Birmingham Athletic Partnership (BAP) that has contributed over $400,000 to enhance the athletic programs of nine Birmingham high schools and has obtained a commitment of a $1 million from 10 local corporations for Birmingham high school athletic programs over the next four years.  He headed he effort to promote the State Finals basketball tournament and serves on its board. The president of the Bryant-Jordan Foundation and program, he was appointed to the President’s Council on Physical Fitness and Sports. The retired real estate developer is chairman of the Alabama Sports Hall of Fame. A graduate of Wetumpka High School and the University of Alabama.

STEVE WILLIAMS —Spent 38 years of leadership at Headland High School, the first 18 as head basketball coach and the remainder as principal.  His basketball teams compiled an outstanding 455-122 record, made the state finals twice in eight trips to the state tournament, and won the 1984 championship with a 34-2 record. He was named conference coach of the year 11 times and state coach of the year after the title year.  A member of the Wiregrass Hall of Fame, he coached in the North-South all-star game and had 19 players to sign scholarships.  Headland athletic teams posted a combined 793 wins during his career as principal and coach. A graduate of Baker Hill  High School and Livingston University.