Twelve major contributors to prep athletics in Alabama have been selected to the 22nd class of the Alabama High School Sports Hall of Fame.
The 2012 class, which will be inducted at a March 19 banquet at the Renaissance Hotel at the Convention Center in Montgomery, includes coaches, an administrator, a contributor and an "oldtimer".
Selected were baseball coach Ken Whittle, football coach Jackie O'Neal; basketball coaches Louis Berry, Jimmy Golden, Ned Harbuck and Danny Petty; track coaches Angelo Harris and George "Snoozy" Jones; administrators Bill Marsh and Ronald Chambless; contributor Morris "Doc" Hodges; and football coach Roy Knapp, now deceased, who was selected in the "oldtimer" category.
The 17-member Hall of Fame Committee made the selections from approximately 50 nominations on the Hall of Fame ballot. The Hall of Fame is located at the Alabama High School Athletic Association (AHSAA) office in Montgomery.
Sponsors of the Hall of Fame program are the Alabama High School Athletic Directors & Coaches Association (AHSADCA) and the AHSAA. The corporate sponsors are al.com, Alfa Insurance, Coca-Cola, Encore Rehabilitation, Russell Athletic, SouthPoint Bank, Teamip and Wilson Sporting Goods.
To order tickets ($35 each), mail requests along with check or money order (payable to AHSADCA) to: Alabama High School Athletic Directors & Coaches Association, P. O. Box 242367, Montgomery, AL 36124. Additional information is available at 334-263-6994.
A thumbnail sketch of each 2012 inductee:
LOUIS BERRY – The 1953 Covington County Training School graduate returned to his home county after earning his degree at Alabama A&M in 1959 and coached basketball at Carver Junior High in Florala through 1968 with an 88-26 record. He then moved to Woodson High School in Andalusia from 1968-70 and directed the boys basketball team to a 37-12 record. He became athletic director and boys basketball coach at Andalusia Middle School in 1973 where he remained until his retirement in 1996. His teams won numerous county and invitational tournaments while going 156-34 as the feeder program for AHSAA Hall of Fame coach Richard Robertson during that span. Still active in Andalusia community programs, he was also praised as a leader of high integrity and an outstanding social studies and physical education teacher. Berry was inducted into the Wiregrass Sports Hall of Fame in 2011.
RONALD CHAMBLESS – Alexandria High School's principal since 1989, Chambless graduated from Cleburne County High School in 1966 and Jacksonville State University in 1972, earned a master's in 1976 and an Educational Specialist degree in 1982. He began teaching and coaching in 1973 at Fruithurst Junior High School, then moved to Bridgeport High School in 1976 where he remained through 1980. He moved to Talladega Middle School for two years and became principal at Bibb Graves High School from 1982-89. His last 22 years have been at Alexandria, presiding over one of the state' most successful athletic programs that has won nine state championships in football, basketball, volleyball, softball and girls golf. He also instituted the AHS Principal's Club which highlights students that maintain a 90 or higher average academically.
JIMMY GOLDEN – Dothan High School's head boys basketball coach from 1986-2005 has also been a called upon during his 36 years at the Wiregrass school to coach football and manage the school's sports program as athletic director. The Ozark native graduated from Carroll High School in 1973 where he was a basketball standout. He played collegiately at Troy State University. He began his tenure at Dothan in 1975 as assistant football and assistant basketball coach, helping the Tigers reach the Class 4A state football finals at Legion Field during his first year. He coached the junior varsity basketball team to an amazing 162-18 record through 1984 and the freshman football team to a 43-5 record through 2000. He served as head football coach (23-17) from 1983-86 and then compiled a 327-155 record as head boys basketball coach for the final 20 years of his coaching career. His basketball teams were region champs in 2002 and 2004 and advanced to the Final 48 state tournament. He has been inducted into the Wiregrass Sports Hall of Fame, was named Dothan Eagle football coach of the year in 1985 and basketball coach of the year in 1990, 1992, 1993, 1997 and 1992.
NED HARBUCK – A 1958 graduate of Enterprise High School and 1962 graduate of the University of Alabama, Harbuck began his career years and compiled an overall record of 498-152, including a 26-game winning streak. His last team finished 26-3 and reached the Class 5A state semifinals. His teams reached the state tournament t six times in his last 10 years and averaged 26 wins per season. Harbuck played collegiately at Holmes Junior College in Mississippi before transferring to Alabama where he closed out his playing career as a member of Coach Hayden Riley's Crimson Tide team. Harbuck also coached junior high football at JHS and served as head track coach and also athletic director from 1976-1985.
ANGELO HARRIS III – Harris, a 1966 McGill Institute graduate, earned a bachelor's degree from the University of Alabama in 1971 and a Master's of Education in 1980 from the University of South Alabama. He has spent his entire high school teaching and coaching career at McGill and has served as the track coach since 1971. His cross country teams have won seven girls championships and five boys championships in the varsity or freshman divisions. His teams have also had three girls runner-up finishes and 13 second-place trophies in boys competition. In 1990 McGill-Toolen was the first team in AHSAA history to win three state cross country championships in one meet –freshman boys, freshman girls and varsity girls. Harris' teams have also won 17 varsity boys Mobile County championships and three girls titles along with two varsity boys and eight varsity girls state titles in track and field. Harris, who served one tenure as president of the Mobile County Track and Field Association, has also had 73 all-state runners and 216 all-county runners. Harris had an outstanding high school career as a member of McGill's 1963 state champion cross country team. He was the 1966 individual state champion in the mile run and earned a full scholarship to Alabama where he won the SEC indoor two-mile run and set the SEC two-mile record (9:00.3) in 1968. He was named All-SEC three times while setting seven Crimson Tide running records. He was inducted into the McGill-Toolen Hall of Fame in 1980 and served as secretary of the Alabama "A" Club in 1969.
MORRIS "DOC" HODGES – Selected to the AHSAA Hall of Fame as a contributor, Hodges graduated from Amory (MS) High School in 1955, then attended the University of Mississippi and the University of Tennessee School of Dentistry in 1962. While he served as a dentist in the Birmingham area and also earned the rank of Colonel in the Alabama Army National Guard, his passion for fast-pitch softball helped the many pitchers he trained re-write the NFHS National Record Book and the AHSAA State Record Book. He served as head softball coach at W.A. Berry High School from 1987-89 and as pitching coach from 1990-2009 at Berry and then Hoover High, which won five state titles while he was coach. The Bucs also won 17 area championships, had 18 state tournament appearances and set a state record with a 63-1 record in 1997. That team also set a national record with 43 shutouts in '97. Hodges' hurlers pitched 407 shutouts, 63 no-hitters and 26 perfect games with an overall record of 1,108-257. He also coached 48 players who signed college scholarships from Hoover or his Amateur Softball Association teams, 15 of whom were pitchers. Doc served on the faculty of the University of Alabama School of Dentistry from 1973-2009.
GEORGE "SNOOZY" JONES – The Montgomery native graduated from Sidney Lanier High School in 1853, then attended Virginia Tech and Huntingdon College where he earned his teaching certificate in 1958. He began his coaching career at Bellingrath Junior High in 1958 and compiled a 24-2 record over three years, then joined the coaching staff at Sidney Lanier in 1961 where he remained through 1969. As head track coach, Jones guided Lanier to one cross country, one indoor and two outdoor state titles. Among his standout runners was Richmond Flowers, who rose to become the fastest high school hurdler in the world. Jones was also an assistant football coach on five state championship football teams, including the first three in AHSAA state playoff history and two by newspaper rankings. He also was assistant basketball coach for four Lanier state championship teams. Jones, co-founder of the Central Alabama Officials Association, served as a football, basketball and track official in high school and in the SEC for 21 years. After moving to Birmingham he served as assistant head coach for the UAB football team from its inception to 1997. He also has been a key volunteer for the AHSAA's state basketball tournament in Birmingham, a member of the Birmingham Tip-Off Club and a major supporter of UAB athletics. He was named MVP of the 1952 Sidney football team and was selected all-state. He attended Virginia Tech on football scholarship. He is a member of the Montgomery Area Sports Hall of Fame.
ROY KNAPP – Knapp graduated from Gaylesville High School in 1936 and Livingston State in 1950 with an interruption while serving in the Navy during World War II. He received a master's in Administration from Mississippi State in 1956. Knapp coached high school football from 1939-1981—a span of 42 years— at various schools in Alabama, Mississippi and Tennessee. He served four years (1953-56) during that stretch at East Mississippi Junior College and won a state JUCO title in 1955. Among his coaching stops were Scooba (MS), Midland City, Washington County, Choctaw County, Gaylesville, McMinnville (TN), Ranburne, Randolph County, Macon Academy, Sand Rock, Spring Garden and Coosa Christian high schools. He also coached baseball and basketball at several of these schools. He spent 13 years as a player in the St. Louis Cardinals baseball organization. While his won-loss record in not complete, he won more than 200 games in his prep coaching career. Knapp, who enters this Hall of Fame in the Oldtimers Division, died in 1992.
BILL MARSH – The Birmingham native graduated from Woodlawn High School in 1950 and Samford College in 1957. He earned his master's from the University of Alabama in 1962 and his doctorate in Education at Alabama in 1979. Marsh began a long career in education in 1957 as an assistant coach at Hewitt-Trussville High School for AHSAA Hall of Fame member Piggy Mitchell. He then coached two years at Florida State before returning to Birmingham as head football coach at West End High School in 1964. He had brief coaching stops at the University of Tampa and Troy State University before returning to Birmingham in 1968 where he moved into administration as principal at Corner and at Phillips from 1971-79. He served the Birmingham City Schools as Director of High Schools from 1979-86 and was City Schools Athletic Director from 1986-95. Under his tutelage Birmingham city schools won five state boys basketball titles, two volleyball, one girls basketball and one girls track. Marsh played an integral role in bringing the Super 6 Football Championships to Legion Field where he served as game chairman for the Monday Morning Quarterback Club. He also helped form the Kenny Morgan Scholarship Foundation and served as treasurer of the Alabama High School Football Foundation. He served in the U.S. Navy from 1952-53 where he received the National Defense Service Medal, United Nations Medal and Korean Service Medal.
JACKIE O'NEAL – The 1973 Reeltown High School graduate returned to his alma mater in 1977 after his college career at Livingston State College. He served on the coaching staff of AHSAA Hall of Fame coach Duane Webster before moving up to head football coach upon Webster's retirement after the 1987 state football championship season. Since then, he has led Reeltown to 210 wins, 92 losses and a playoff record of 46-19 with state championships in 2001 (1A), 2009 (2A) and runner-up finishes in 1991, 1992, 2000 and 2010. His teams have won 13 region titles. O'Neal was named the Alabama Sports Writers Association Coach of the Year in 1991, 1992 and 2001 and was chosen the Alabama Football Coaches Association Coach of the Year in 2008. O'Neal also coached boys basketball for seven years, baseball for three years and girls basketball for 25 years. His girls teams reached the State Tournament in 1991, 1992, 2007 an d 2008, the last two teams finishing as Class 2A runner-up. He coached as an assistant in the Alabama-Mississippi All-Star Football Game in 1992 and 2002 and as head coach in 2007. He also coached in the North-South All-Star Football Game in 2008 and the North-South Girls All-Star Basketball Game in 2007. He has served on the AHSAA Central Board of Control and Legislative Council.
DANNY PETTY – The 1968 Lee-Huntsville High School graduate has the unique distinction of being the only head basketball coach in AHSAA prep history to coach three different schools to boys state basketball titles. Petty, who helped Lee to the 1968 state title while earning MVP honors as a player, has compiled a 607-328 career coaching record with tenures at J.O. Johnson, Hazel Green, Madison Academy and Bob Jones. He was girls basketball coach at Lincoln County (TN) from 1997-2001 where the 29-7 record in 2000 was the best record in school history. Petty's J.O. Johnson team won a Class 5A state title in 1987, Madison Academy a 3A crown in 2006 and Bob Jones a 6A title in 2010. Petty, who played collegiately at Snead State and Athens State, was named to the Huntsville Times' All-Decade Team for the 1960s. He also won more than 160 games as a middle school and freshman coach at Davis Hills and J.O. Johnson from 1972-1981. Petty was inducted into the Huntsville-Madison County Sports Hall of Fame in 1997 and named Birmingham News and Huntsville Times Coach of the Year in 2006.