11 Named To Prep Hall Of Fame (1-23-05)
Eleven major contributors to prep athletics in Alabama have been selected to the 15th class of inductees for the Alabama High School Sports Hall of Fame.
The 2005 class, which will be inducted at a March 28 banquet at Garrett Coliseum in Montgomery, includes coaches and administrators.
Selected were Willie Averett, John Blane, Ida Corbett, Larry Ginn, Bubba Lewis, Bobby Lott, Amelia Rhoades, Don Sharpe, Moe Smith, Frank Tolbert and Randy White. Blane is deceased.
The 18-member Hall of Fame Committee made the selections from the 53 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, AmSouth Bank, Coca-Cola, Encore Rehabilitation, Jack’s, Russell Athletic and Wilson.
A thumbnail sketch of each inductee follows:
WILLIE AVERETT — Served 33 of his 35 years in Monroe County as a successful teacher, basketball coach and athletic director at J. F. Shields High School. He guided the 1972 team, led by John Drew, to its first-ever state championship. One of his most outstanding players, Drew was named state tournament MVP and went on to a successful career with the Atlanta Hawks of the NBA. The colorful Averett coached in the all-star game and received coach-of-the-year honors three times. The school gym is named in his honor. A graduate of Georgiana Training School and Alabama State University.
JOHN BLANE — This legendary coach spent 53 years at Woodlawn High School where his basketball teams won state championships in 1927, 1937, 1943 and 1957 and his track teams were state champions in 1932, 1944, 1945 and 1946. His basketball philosophy was tenacious defense and aggressive offense. His Woodlawn team played Phillips in the first football game at Legion Field in 1927. The durable Blane taught physical education classes all except for his last three years when he taught a full load of other courses. A graduate of Greenview High School (Ill.) and the University of Illinois.
IDA CORBETT —Was a pioneer in Barbour County girls’ athletics for 41 years as a teacher/coach at Rebecca Comer, Barbour County/Clio and Clayton high schools. She had a 471-107 career record as a basketball coach and an even more impressive record in volleyball with a 394-86 mark and two state championships and three runner-up finishes in 17 appearances. She received two coach-of-the-year honors and served on several girls’ sports committees. A graduate of Pearl High School (Tenn.) and Tennessee State University.
LARRY GINN —Has enjoyed a successful, 30-year career at Alexandria High School where his basketball teams compiled a 568-126 record with three state championships, two runner-up finishes and 20 area titles. His football teams have won two state titles and placed second once while posting a 171-51 overall record. He has coached in the Alabama-Mississippi basketball and football all-star games and has received coach-of –the-year honors. The new Alexandria gym was named in his honor in 1995. A graduate of Alexandria High School and Jacksonville State University.
BUBBA LEWIS — Was associated with success during his 25-year coaching career in baseball, football and basketball. As baseball coach at Sidney Lanier for 12 years and Jeff Davis for 11, he guided his teams to a 416-165 record and a state championship at Jeff Davis in 1987 when he was named state coach of the year. Including his single seasons at both Holtville and T. R. Miller high schools, his career record was 441-176. In football he was defensive coordinator at Jeff Davis, which won a state title in 1987, and was on the staffs of two Lanier state championship teams. A graduate of Holtville High School and the University of Alabama.
BOBBY LOTT —Coached for over 20 years at Fayetteville, Hubbertville, Hamilton, Banks and Ensley. His 16 football teams compiled a 103-49-8 record, including undefeated Hubbertville teams in 1951 and 1952 with a 24-game winning streak. The 1952 team was a regional state champion. With a seven-year basketball record of 90-43, he guided two Hubbertville teams to the state tournament. His 10-year football record at Hamilton was 63-30-7. He is a member of the Marion County Sports Hall of Fame. A graduate of Woodlawn High School and Howard College (now Samford).
AMELIA RHOADES —Has been a pioneer for girls’ athletics in Southeast Alabama during here 32 years in coaching at Kinston and Elba. She brought volleyball to prominence during her 27 years at Kinston where her team won a state championship in 1997 and she earned state coach of the year honors. Her teams were runner-up five times and she coached in the all-star game. She also coached softball for 22 years, basketball for 12 years and served as Kinston athletic director for nine years. This is her fifth year at Elba where she coaches volleyball and softball. A graduate of Kinston High School and Troy State University.
DON SHARPE —Coached in Alabama for 15 years with a seven-year tenure at Andalusia being his most successful stop. His teams played in the finals four of the seven years and won two state crowns, including the co-championship in 1976. During that run his teams ran off 58 straight regular season wins without a loss while posting an overall 78-7-2 mark. He also coached at Jeff Davis for four years where his track teams won state titles every year. He concluded his career with a six-year stint at Woodham, Fla., where his teams won two state crowns. A graduate of Andalusia High School and Troy State University.
MARION (Moe) SMITH —Has been involved athletics as a coach and administrator for 34 years, 25 of those at Glencoe High School. During an eight-year span he guided the basketball team to two county titles leading to a coach of the year award and he also assisted in football and baseball. Moving to administration in 1985 and to principal in 1988, he has served on the AHSAA district board since 1993 and on the Central Board for 10 years, including a two-year term as president and one year as vice-president. He was serving when the Basketball State Finals, the Super 6 football championships and the Baseball State Finals were initiated and he was a member of several key AHSAA committees. A graduate of Boaz High School and Jacksonville State University.
FRANK TOLBERT —Established a legacy of excellence as a coach and educator at Auburn City Schools since 1969. A head basketball coach for 25 years—22 of those of the Auburn High boys team, he has compiled a career record of 505-234 with three state runner-up finishes and three other final four appearances. He also coached the Auburn girls team for two years and the Drake High boys team for one season. How he has dealt in recent years with the debilitating physical effects of Guillain-Barre Syndrome has been an inspiration to everyone that comes in contact with him. A graduate of Chambers County Training School and Alabama State University.
RANDY WHITE —Enjoyed an extremely-successful, 20-year coaching career in girls’ athletics at Athens High School. His 16 basketball teams won three state championships (1999, 2002 and 2003), finished runner-up twice and made eight trips to the final four while compiling a 412-98 overall record. His teams set a state record 69-game winning streak in 2001-03. In softball, his 15 fast and slow pitch teams were champions in 1989, 1990 and 1999 and finished second four times. The recipient of numerous coach-of-the-year honors, including a national basketball award in 2000, he has coached in both the Alabama-Mississippi and the North-South all-star basketball games. A graduate of Tanner High School and the University of Montevallo.