It was a week for coaches’ honors throughout the area’s local sports history.
In 2009, Rick Cahalane was named the new head football coach at Central Coosa. Raised just outside the area in Chilton County, Cahalane said at the time of his hiring being back in a small town after spending two seasons at Montgomery Academy felt like honor.
“I was raised in Chilton County in Isabella and I’ve got a good understanding of this environment,” Cahalane said at the time. “When you get older, you start coming back to your roots and I guess that’s what I’m doing now. Coosa’s not Isabella, but it’s close to it. I’ll be here as long as it takes.”
That promise didn’t actually last long though, as Cahalane left the Cougars after two seasons.
Another short-lived coach who came back to his roots was Kyle Caldwell, who was named the Dadeville baseball coach and offensive coordinator of the football team, this week in 2016.
Caldwell was a stud when he was a Tiger himself and was a record-breaker at the University of West Alabama.
“I’m looking forward to it,” Caldwell said about being hired in Dadeville. “Of course, I went to school in Dadeville, people know me there and I’ve already had all kinds of people let me know that they’re willing to help me out any way they can.”
Caldwell is now an assistant baseball coach at Chelsea.
This week in 2002 was also a big moment for Dadeville’s baseball team as the squad was honored by the Tallapoosa County Board of Education and County Commmission after winning the Class 3A state championship earlier that year. The commission donated $4,500 to the school’s general fund for the Tigers’ achievement, which was commonplace after it did the same for Reeltown’s two state football championships in earlier years.
Also in 2002, the county was extremely well represented at the annual Alabama-Mississippi All-Star Classic, a football game that pits the best of graduating seniors from both states against each other. Benjamin Russell grads Jeremy Meade and Tyrone Martin both played for Alabama, which defeated Mississippi, 29-17. BRHS coach Willie Carl Martin and Reeltown coach Jackie O’Neal were both assistants on the winning team and supported former Wildcat coach Steve Savarese, who was the all-star’s head man.
A pair of coaches were on display for Central Alabama Community College this week. On June 13, 1996, the tennis complex at the school was dedicated to Cal Alison, who gave free clinics to area youth and had a passion for the sport after playing for Alabama.
“Mr. Cal’s favorite precision drill was to put one of his nice, clean handkerchiefs on the forehand corner of the baseline and another on the backhand side,” former student Nell Askew Moeling. “Robert (Baumgardener) and I couldn’t stop practicing until we hit each one 10 times and he didn’t count lobs or pulses.”
Eleven years earlier, another CACC coach (then Alexander City Junior College) was being highlighted as longtime golf coach Maxie G. Boles was named to the NJCAA Hall of Fame after his 19th season as the Trojans’ head coach.
“It’s a real honor and I feel good about it,” Boles said back in 1985. “I feel it’s good for our program here as well.”
Another Hall of Fame coach, Dave Jennings, is currently at the helm of Central Alabama’s golf team.
State — June 5, 1999
The Alabama baseball team was riding a 12-game winning streak heading into the Super Regional round of the NCAA Tournament but standing in its way was LSU, which already defeated the Crimson Tide twice in the regular season. Alabama did not let the Tigers slow down its momentum as an offensive explosion pushed the Tide to an easy two-game sweep and sent them into the College World Series.
In Game 1, Alabama scored seven runs in the first inning and never looked back, winning 13-6. Jeremy Brown and Kelley Gulledge each hit home runs in the victory.
It was more of the same in Game 2 as the Crimson Tide jumped out to another 7-0 lead after four innings of play and went on to win 13-5. Future MLB player Andy Phillips hit his 22nd home run of the season and finished the game with three hits.
National — June 6, 2001
The Los Angeles Lakers were considered massive favorites in the 2001 NBA Finals and while they ended up living up to those expectations, Allen Iverson and the Philadelphia 76ers made sure it was not going to be easy.
In Game 1, Iverson scored 30 points in the first half to give the Sixers a lead going into the break at Staples Center but the Lakers started to lock down on the league’s leading scorer using Tyronn Lue on defense. Iverson was held to 11 points in the second half, allowing the Lakers to come back and send the game into overtime.
Iverson was not going away though and scored seven consecutive points over a two-minute span to help the Sixers to a 107-101 victory. His final shot came from the corner in front of the Lakers bench as he saw his step-back jumper fall through before his iconic moment of stepping over Lue on the ground.
The Lakers went on to win the series in five games but Iverson led all players with 35.6 points per game.
International — June 8, 2002
Before Serena Williams could take over the tennis world, there was one major hurdle for her to get over: her own sister. In the 2002 French Open, the two seemed destined to meet in the final as they were drawn on opposite sides of the bracket and both players held up their end of the bargain, dropping just one set combined on their way to the final.
Venus Williams was 5-2 against her younger sister heading into the match and she had won the only Grand Slam final matchup between the two players. Serena showed up and the match marked a changing of the guard in the women’s tennis world.
She swept the match, 7-5, 6-3, to earn her first win over her sister and her first Grand Slam title. The victory started a streak of five consecutive wins over Venus, all of them in Grand Slam finals. Serena Williams now holds the record for most Grand Slam title of all time, winning 23 finals.
— Sports writer Caleb Turrentine contributed to this report.