Archived Story

Belyeu honored

Published 10:16am Tuesday, January 28, 2014

Gym named for Cougars’ hall of famer

When you spend enough time at a certain place, it can become a bit of a second home to you.
Such is the case with Central High School – Coosa County boys basketball coach Joe Belyeu.
After spending 37 years roaming the sidelines for Goodwater High School and C­­­entral High School – Coosa County, the hall of fame coach has received one of the greatest honors a coach could have during his final season as a coach.
The Central High School – Coosa County gymnasium – inside which the Cougars basketball program became a state power – was christened the Joe Belyeu Gymnasium as a token of appreciation for Belyeu’s work.
Family, friends, former players, classmates, students and Coosa County administration attended the occasion.
“They didn’t have to do it,” Belyeu said. “I’m not taking this lightly. I just want to thank God for the opportunity to be in the position (my wife and I) have been in 37 years. Without Him, none of this would be possible.”
Belyeu’s career has seen a litany of success for him as well as the Cougars’ basketball team. Belyeu has won more than 600 games on the sidelines, has led Central – Coosa to four state championships (1995, 2000, 2001, 2004) and has earned two Alabama Sports Writer’s Association Coach of the Year awards (1995 and 2004).
“This man has given 37 years of his life to the community, molding young people in education and athletics,” Alabama High School Athletic Association Executive Director Steve Savarese said of Belyeu. “On behalf of the AHSAA, we congratulate him and thank him for making a difference in these kids’ lives. God has blessed him by allowing him to be a blessing to so many. He has lived a lot of perfect days by helping people who will never be able to repay him.”
For Belyeu, it’s the culmination of a lifelong dream.
“I always wanted to be a basketball coach. That’s what I set my mind to, and I thought it would be a gift for me to be able to mold teams into something that people thought could be great,” Belyeu said. “With all that we’ve done, it just goes to show you what a team can accomplish when we’re on the same page. I just want to thank all of you for giving me a chance.”
Belyeu said he was moved by the support of the community during his recognition, adding that it was a moment that he’d carry with him through life.
“I want to thank everybody for what they’ve done,” Belyeu said. “You’ve showed your love, and it had to mean something in order for them to come out here in this cold for me. I appreciate it, and I’m not taking this lightly. Once a Cougar, always a Cougar.”