Averette inducted into AHSAA Hall

Published 12:00 am Tuesday, March 29, 2005

Georgiana's W.R. Averette found himself in the spotlight once again. After years of stalking the sidelines as coach of the J.F. Shields basketball team, Averette was recognized for his coaching accomplishments while in the garnet and gold as he was inducted into the Alabama High School Athletic Association's Hall of Fame.

"You never know how things are going to turn out," said Averette. "Somebody had to recommend you and then you had to be voted on."

Averette was in the business of coaching and teaching for 35 years. 33 of those were at J.F. Shields High School in Beatrice.

During his tenure in Beatrice, Averette served in the capacity of teacher, basketball coach and athletic director. In 1972, Averette earned state-wide recognition when he guided a group of Eagles to the national championship. He also had the opportunity to coach John Drew on that squad.

Drew was named the tournament's Most Valuable Player and went on to play in the National Basketball Association for Atlanta Hawks.

Averette also went on to coach in an all-star game and was awarded coach of the year honors on three separate occasions.

"It was just unbelievable," said Averette. "Last night (Monday) was a matter of being thankful and being excited that you had been chosen to be inducted."

At the close of his coaching career, he had one final honor bestowed upon him. The administration and the members of the Monroe County Board of Education named the gymnasium at Shields High School in his honor.

Averette graduated from Georgiana Training School and then attended Alabama State University where he earned his Bachelor's degree.

Nearly 1,000 people attended Monday night's banquet held at Montgomery's Garrett Coliseum, to honor the group of 11 that was set to be inducted into the AHSAA Hall of Fame.

Along with Averette, John Blane, Ida Corbett, Larry Ginn, Bubba Lewis, Bobby Lott, Amelia Rhoades, Don Sharpe, Moe Smith, Frank Tolbert and Randy White were all selected to receive this distinguished honor.

"We just had a wonderful time," said Averette. "We had two wonderful ladies that were inducted and I was really proud to see that. It was just that the whole day was wonderful. It just feels so good. We all were excited and thankful for the honor."

The Hall of fame committee selected the Class of 2005 from 53 nominations that were turned into the State Office of the Alabama High School Athletic Association in Montgomery.

The event was sponsored by Alabama High School Athletic Directors and Coaches Association and the AHSAA. Corporately, the event was sponsored by Alabama Power, Alfa Insurance, AmSouth Bank, Coca-Cola, Dodge, Encore Rehabilitation, Jack's, Russell Athletic and Wilson..