Longtime football coaches Paul Benefield of Fyffe, Mike Robertson of Hokes Bluff and Trent Taylor of Andalusia are among 13 major contributors selected for induction into the 2023 class of the Alabama High School Sports Hall of Fame.
The induction will take place at the Montgomery Renaissance Hotel and Spa Convention Center in March. The class was selected Thursday from more than 75 nominations submitted by member schools and other organization and includes administrators, coaches and two selections from the “old timer” category.
“We thank the Hall of Fame Selection Committee for their dedication and thoroughness in selecting these very deserving individuals,” said Brandon Dean, Director of the AHSADCA. “These outstanding individuals, as well as all the nominees, have dedicated their lives to help promote and support education-based athletics.”
In addition to Benefield, Taylor and Robertson, the other selections include football coach David Powell; basketball coaches Homer Davis, Ronald Jackson, Tim Miller, Jack Steele, and John Woody and administrators Steve Giddens and Charles McCaleb.
Selected in the “Old-Timers’ Division” were baseball and football coach William “Earl” Griffin and basketball coach Matthew L. Jones.
Benefield has compiled a stellar 332-55 career coaching record and is still going strong this season with his 13th 10-0 regular season in the last 22 years.
Robertson, 64, has served in a variety of roles during his career that has spanned into five decades at Hokes Bluff. He coached girls basketball for 23 years, baseball for 13 years and has been the head football coach for the Eagles since 1996, compiling a 174-127 record with 15 teams reaching the state playoffs in playoffs in his 27-year tenure. His 2001 squad finished 13-2 and won the Class 4A state crown. He is also the school’s athletics director.
In 35 seasons, Taylor has compiled 262-146 career record. In his two years at Kinston, he led the 1A team to two of the school’s first three playoff appearances. At Straughn and Andalusia, he has the distinction of being the school’s career wins leader. Twenty of his 25 teams at Straughn reached the state playoffs, with his 2012 and 2013 teams reaching the Class 3A state semifinals. His overall record at Straughn was 175-107. In eight seasons at Andalusia, seven teams won nine or more victories and five of his squads reached the Class 4A or 5A state semifinals. His current overall record through the 2022 regular season is 79-25.
Two active basketball coaches, Jackson and Miller, have compiled two of the longest winning streaks in state history. Jackson’s T.R. Miller girls won 62 in a row (1994-96), and Miller’s Hazel Green girls currently own a 59-game winning streak and five straight state titles heading into this season. Both coaches have won state titles at multiple schools.
Griffin guided Dallas County to a 48-game baseball winning streak in the 1970s. The group collectively has won numerous state championships in football, boys and girls basketball, baseball and boys and girls track.
The first class was inducted in 1991. These 13 new inductees will run the total enshrined into the Alabama High School Sports Hall of Fame to 390.