How 2 legendary high school coaches impacted students, community, civil rights and Alabama’s future

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AHSAA - Terri Sewell
Congresswoman Terri Sewell, Coach Andrew Anthony Sewell and Nancy Sewell. Photo via Bob Farley/f8Photo.org

Alabama Congresswoman Terri Sewell’s father Coach Andrew Anthony Sewell had a saying: 

“Anything worth doing is worth doing your best.” 

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Alabama High School Bowling is more than a game—it’s about community

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Tommy Barberini, General Manager at Oak Mountain Lanes. Photo by Pat Byington for Bham Now

Nearly every high school in Alabama has a football stadium that can double and sometimes triple as a soccer field or a place to run track. Basketball and volleyball teams have their gyms on campus. Many schools have baseball and softball fields nearby.  

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Alabama High School Sports in 2020 was more than a game

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Linden High School Patriots winners of the 1A State Football Championship. Photo via AHSAA

When I first met with the staff at the Alabama High School Athletic Association (AHSAA) in December of 2019 to map out stories for the upcoming year, the most common refrain I received from the staff was “high school sports, more than a game.” 

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A coin toss connects Quarterback Club, high school football + children’s health charities

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On the left, Drew Ferguson, the organizer of the coin toss, director of sports medicine at Children’s of Alabama and member of the AHSAA Medical Advisory Committee. The picture was taken in 2018. Photo via Drew Ferguson

It is one of the most memorable traditions in sports—honorary captains participating in the coin toss before the start of a championship football game. Presidents, heroes, hall of famers and celebrities are typically given the distinction. In Alabama, we take it to a higher level.

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For Buddy Anderson, Alabama’s winningest high school football coach, it has always been more than a game

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Vestavia Hills High School Coach Buddy Anderson. (Photo courtesy of AHSAA)

When I was interviewing people for this story about Vestavia Hills Head Football Coach Buddy Anderson, the winningest football coach in Alabama High School history, I noticed something. Not one person mentioned the score of a game or the wins that added up to that record. Not a word.

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High school sports may return this fall in Alabama. See the plans.

Photo from AHSAA

New guidelines have been provided by the Alabama High School Athletic Association for games that take place this fall. Decisions regarding participation are up to each individual school/district but should they decide to participate schools will need to follow the new AHSAA guidelines.

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Live, streamed Alabama high school sports available now

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Vestavia Hills High School student announcers Thomas Wade and Graham Duncan broadcasting from Buddy Anderson Stadium. Photo courtesy of Vestavia Hills High School

With August fast approaching, are you wondering “How will my family and I safely watch high school sports?” Easy answer—watch it online or on TV!

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JeffCo Health Officer orders county-wide face covering rules while state plans to open schools

Face covering at the Shell Station on Highland Avenue in Birmingham. Photo by Pat Byington for Bham Now

Jefferson County Health Officer Dr. Mark Wilson has issued an order requiring all people over the age of 8 to wear coverings inside businesses that are open to the public and while taking public transportation.

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More than competition. Girls’ high school sports in Alabama build character.

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The survivors walk at the Patriot Classic. (L to R) Cooper Swinney, M’Kay Gidley, Gena Frith (survivor), and Gracie Vanderford. Photo courtesy of Hillcrest High School

Earlier this month, we asked Alabama high school athletic directors and coaches to share with us some of their most inspirational girls’ sports stories from the AHSAA  2019-2020 school year

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Role models needed: How AHSAA is developing high school student leaders.

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AHSAA 2020 Student Leadership participants. Photo courtesy of Ainsley Staie

Since 2015, 32 high school student-athletes (16 new ones each year) from every corner of Alabama have gathered in Montgomery. They do not travel there for a championship or an all-star game. In fact, there are no uniforms, helmets, bats, balls or any athletic gear.

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Toney Pugh, builder of local athletic programs to be enshrined in AHSAA Hall of Fame

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Toney Pugh, Executive Director at the Birmingham Athletic Partnership. Photo by Pat Byington for Bham Now

“He is a builder.”

That’s how colleagues describe Toney Pugh, longtime director of the Birmingham Athletic Partnership (BAP), legendary wrestling coach and official and the athletic director who successfully established two high school athletic programs from scratch at Clay-Chalkville and Oak Mountain High Schools.

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Meet the people behind the AHSAA Basketball State Finals, Feb. 24-29 in Birmingham

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Alganese Gatson is a second-grade teacher at Hemphill Elementary School in Birmingham and a basketball official. Photo courtesy of Alganese Gatson

On February 24-29, the AHSAA Basketball State Finals — one of the top high school basketball championship events in the country — is coming to Legacy Arena at the BJCC.

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Birmingham Parker High School’s Buck Buchanan named to NFL 100 All Time Team of Greatest Players

Alabama Sports Hall of Fame Buck Buchanan. Photo via Nathan Watson for Bham Now

Before you sit down to watch the Super Bowl this Sunday between the Kansas City Chiefs and the San Francisco 49ers, here is some Birmingham/Alabama football trivia we learned from Ron Ingram, longtime sportswriter and director of communications for the AHSAA.

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