Making A Difference, Lemak, Scholarship Awards Given
At Coaches Banquet; Schools' Sportsmanship Honored
Six individuals were selected as recipients of the AHSAA’s “Making A Difference” Award Friday night at the Champion Coaches Awards Banquet held at the Renaissance Hotel and Convention Center.
The banquet highlighted the 17th annual All-Star Sports Week and Summer Conference, which officially closes out the week's activities Saturday with the AHSAA Officials Awards Banquet at 11:30 a.m.
The All-Star Sports Week and Summer Conference is an event of the Alabama High School Athletic Association and hosted by the Alabama High School Athletic Directors & Coaches Association (AHSADCA). University of Alabama Athletics Director Bill Battle was the keynote speaker and Bob Gardner, Executive Director of the National Federation of High School Associations (NFHS), was a special guest.
The third class of recipients of the special “Making A Difference” Award, given annually to one individual in each classification who was selected for their their contributions in their communities and schools. The Class of 2013 included: Class 1A: football coach James Lucas, Notasulga; Class 2A: girls basketball coach Tammy West, Cold Springs; Class 3A: head baseball and assistant football coach Jim Burkhalter, Fayette County; Class 4A: principal Richard Brown, Beauregard; Class 5A: athletic director Dan Buczek, John Carroll Catholic; and Class 6A: baseball coach Pat Hamrick, Thompson.
The recipients were nominated by member schools or other special organizations and selected by a special AHSAA committee.
Nine high schools received the Lemak Award, a $2,500 need-based grant. The Lemak Award has been provided a total of $155,000 in grants to AHSAA schools since 2008. The schools were selected from more than 60 applications by a special committee. The award is named in honor of AHSAA Medical Advisory Board member Dr. Lawrence Lemak, who was present to present the awards.
The 2013 Lemak Award recipients included: Alabama School for Deaf, Fultondale, Fyffe, Hanceville, Carbon Hill, Marbury, Jeff Davis, Huffman and Hazel Green.
AHSADCA Director Alvin Briggs announced the 10 recipients of the AHSADCA Coaches’ Children Scholarships to seniors who are children of high school coaches or administrators. The 2013 recipients included Leigh Ashton Watson, Foley; Will Collins, Enterprise; Hayley Klages, Eufaula; Allen Wurtz, Marbury; Tyler Black, Elmore County; Kelsey Stracner, Cordova; Zachary Clifton, Cedar Bluff; Ann Marie Mitchell, Mars Hill Bible; Taylor Stidham, Hamilton; and Kayla Andrews, Geraldine.
Twelve state coaches chosen by the AHSADCA as 2012 NFHS state coaches of the year were also honored. The list included Buddy Anderson, Vestavia Hills (football); Raymond White, Barbour County (boys basketball); David DiPiazza, John Carroll Catholic (boys soccer); Michael Gunner, Bob Jones (boys swimming & diving); Daryle Qualls, Scottsboro (wrestling);
Pat Galle, UMS-Wright (boys cross country); Ken Whittle, Trinity Presbyterian (baseball); Rick Cleveland, UMS-Wright (boys tennis); Sanford Santoli, St. Paul’s Episcopal (boys golf); Mark Mitchell, Cedar Bluff (boys track); Melanie Donahoo, Huntsville (volleyball); John Esslinger, Scottsboro (girls cross country); Donnie Quinn, Hoover (girls basketball); Devon Hind, Hoover (girls track); Melissa Baker, St. Paul’s Episcopal (girls tennis); Robert Starr, Spain Park (girls soccer); John Smith, Hatton (softball); Lisa Rigsby, Hoover (girls swimming & diving); and Gary Orr, Hartselle (girls golf).
Pamela Robinson of Benjamin Russell was honored as state athletic director of the year and John Grass of Oxford received the AHSADCA past president’s award.
Highlighting the championship coaches honored for 90 overall state titles in 2012-13 was Pat Galle of UMS-Wright, who led his track and cross country teams to five state titles – Class 4A boys and girls championships in indoor track and outdoor track and a girls state cross country crown – the most of any coach in the state in 2012-13. The Bulldogs also won boys and girls tennis and football for a state leading eight overall.
Earlier Friday, 124 high schools were recognized at the sixth annual al.com Sportsmanship Luncheon for schools with no fines or ejections for the 2012-13 school year.
Also, eight schools, one from each district, were presented an al.com $1,000 Sportsmanship Grant by Alabama Media Group Vice President Michelle Holmes: Escambia County (District 1); New Brockton (District 2); Central-Hayneville (District 3); Lanett (District 4); Northside (District 5); Fayetteville (District 6); Covenant Christian (District 7); Collinsville (District 8).
In a Friday morning general session, the AHSAA honored Wiley Steen for being so instrumental in Montgomery serving as host to many Association-sponsored events for a many years.
Steve Savarese, Executive Director of the AHSAA, presented a service plaque to Steen, who retired July 10 as Montgomery’s Director of Leisure Services. He worked for five mayors during his 43 years as a city employee.
The Pine Apple native (Wilcox County) started his career with the city as a Goodwyn Junior High School basketball coach in 1969, then moved into administration of the Parks and Recreation Department in 1977 as athletic director and then department director. He became part of the mayor’s cabinet in 2009.