Coach Roberts returned to the gym in Red Bay following the Colbert Heights game Friday to a surprise 800th win party. Photo by Keith Ledbetter.
Coach Roberts returned to the gym in Red Bay following the Colbert Heights game Friday to a surprise 800th win party. Photo by Keith Ledbetter.

Archived Story

Roberts gets 800th career win

Published 4:37pm Tuesday, January 28, 2014

By Keith Ledbetter

For the FCT

The goal every year of Red Bay girls’ basketball coach Donnie Roberts is to win a state championship.

Although he hasn’t reached that goal every year, Roberts has brought home three blue maps in his 30 years at Red Bay.

In those three decades he has also accumulated a vast number of wins with his girls’ teams.

This past Friday, Roberts picked-up his 800th career win after defeating Colbert Heights 64-37.

In reaching this milestone, he is the first girls’ coach in Alabama to earn 800 career wins.

“It’s not about me, it’s about how fortunate my career has been at Red Bay, and the 10 years I coached at Tremont, Miss.,” Roberts stated.

“All I can do is thank the kids that played for me. They had a lot more to do with it than I did.”

After receiving his Master’s Degree from Mississippi State University, he returned to his alma mater, Tremont High School, where he compiled a record of 142 wins and 127 losses in his 10 years as the Lady Eagles’ coach.

Roberts started coaching at Red Bay in 1983 and began working on the goal of making that first trip to Birmingham for the state playoffs.

“I came here and took over a team that was 9-11 the year before,” he said. “We had a real good year that first year and we went 19-5.”

Roberts won state championships in 1987, 1993, 2001 and most recently the Lady Tigers were state runners-up in 2012.

“It takes a combination of things to have a state championship program,” Roberts said.

“It does take coaching, but it also takes pride in our program from our girls.”

Roberts said that it also takes the involvement of the community.

“Everybody here is involved in it,” said Roberts.

“They back us and support us. The community likes to see us do well.”

Roberts said that over the years some of the best memories he has is that of having the opportunity to coach both of his daughters, Laura Beth and Leah.

“I think it’s rare to have coached two daughters and to have those two daughters on two different teams win state championships. I can tell you it’s a great experience.”

Roberts said before he quits his coaching career he would like to win one more state championship. With a 22-2 record so far this season, Roberts and the Lady Tigers could be on their way.

“It’s been my privilege to have known Coach Roberts for many years,” said Alabama High School Athletic Association Director of Communications Ron Ingram.

“He is the most admired coach by his peers throughout the state of Alabama, and he has brought dignity to his profession and to sports in the state.

“I would like to congratulate him on his 800th career win.”

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