Class of 2008
Former Athens High School coach Randy White made Athens High School a power in both girls basketball and softball. Under White's direction, the Eaglettes claimed three state titles in basketball and three more in softball.
In basketball, he was the Alabama Sports Writers Association Class 5A "Coach of the Year" six times, The Birmingham News Girls' Basketball State "Coach of the Year" twice and the coach of the Alabama-Mississippi All-Star Game in 1999 and 2003.
In softball, White was named The Birmingham News Slow Pitch "Coach of the Year" in 1999. "We had some good players that were not only good players, but very coachable and bought into the system of hard work," White said. "It was a reflection back to the players we had. I didn't score any of the points." He was head coach of the girls basketball team for 16 years, compiling an overall record of 412-98 with state titles in 1999, 2002 and 2003.
Athens was undefeated during the 2002 and 2003 title seasons. The Eaglettes had won 69 consecutive games - a state record - dating back to the 2001 season. White said the win streak was made possible by the team's attitude towards the schedule.
"We only talked about the next game during the first year," White said. "We put together a good run and defeated Boaz, which won the title the previous year. We had kids that refused to lose." White said the team did talk about the streak as Athens approached the record. "Reporters got on it, but the kids stayed focused," White said. Before going on the record-setting streak, Athens had won 19 in a row, giving the Eaglettes an impressive record of 88-1.
White began his coaching career at Athens as the freshman boys coach and an assistant on the varsity boys team in 1984. A few years later, the principal asked him to coach the girls. "I had reservations," White said. "I had a friend of mine tell me if I coached them for a year, I would not want to give them back."
Under White, Athens was a contender for a state championship every year. The Eaglettes finished second in the state in basketball in 1992 and 1993 and made trips to the Final Four in 1994, 1996 and 2001.
The team won seven regional titles, and 14 area championships. From the 1987-88 until the 2002-2003 seasons, White's teams averaged 25.75 wins per year. "We got close (to a title) several times before we won one. Most people don't realize how hard it is to get there," White said. "People tend to forget that the years we didn't win or finish runner up we had good teams. It was just a bad break that kept us from reaching state."
He coached the softball team 15 years and led it to a record of 450-212 in slow pitch and 77-33 in fast pitch with titles in 1989, 1990 and 1999.
The softball team finished second at the state tournament in 1996, 1997, 1998 and 2000 and took home a third place finish in 1993.
"I tried to outwork people and the kids came ready to work and tried to be fundamentally sound," White said. "I know it sounds kind of corny, but we tried to work hard everyday and tried to do things the right way everyday."