Robertson, Sasser are 2011 outstanding grads

Published 12:32 am Saturday, May 14, 2011

The Andalusia High School outstanding graduate committee will honor two men who’ve spent their lives inspiring others to do their best during 2011 homecoming activities.

Committee members selected Richard Robertson and Jack Sasser to be honored as outstanding alumni.

Richard Robertson

Robertson, known affectionately to most in Andalusia as “Coach Rob,” has worked in Andalusia City Schools for 45 years, where he has been a teacher, coach and athletic director.

In 35 years as a head coach, Robertson has recorded 30 winning seasons and marked his 700th win in February of this year. But he has influenced as many people as players through his summer work at the Coleman Center, providing cultural, athletic and education opportunities.

“Coach Robertson has made a change in many peoples lives as we all know, and I can truly say he has made a difference in mine,” wrote a member of this year’s team, Quashun Denson, in a letter of support for his nomination. “ Sometimes, I really didn’t understand why he would fuss and be so hard on me, but it’s because he knew I could do better. He believed in me even when I didn’t believe in myself.”

Writing about opportunities to coach in other places that Robertson declined, Steve Ross Posey, Class of ’82, said, “Coach Robertson believes that there is not a better place in the world than Andalusia, Ala.

“In Coach Robertson’s coaching tenure, he has not only been a coach but a father figure to hundreds of young men. Some of these young men did not have a father at home to provide discipline, accountability, and tough love. Coach Robertson provided these things unconditionally. He took average young men, placed them on his shoulders, and gave them something that some have never experienced: SUCCESS.’

“In a world full of ‘me firsts,’ Couch Robertson continues to put others first,” Posey wrote. “I am proud to be forever one of Coach Robertson’s boys.”

A 1961 graduate of what was then Ralph Bunche High School, Robertson earned a bachelor’s degree in education from Alabama State College in 1965.

He has served as president of the Alabama High School Athletic Association, and is very active in his church, First Baptist Whatley Street.

He has been inducted into the AHSAA Sports Hall of Fame and the Wiregrass Hall of Fame.

Jack Sasser

Sasser has served as the administrator of Wiregrass Rehabilitation Center in Dothan, which serves individuals with disabilities, since 1996. He retired from education in 1996, after a 36-year-career in which he worked as a teacher, principal, director of instruction interim superintendent and adjunct professor. When he retired, he was the director of instruction for Dothan City Schools.

He served in the U.S. Army from 1955-1957, and was stationed for two years in Ethiopia. He has led an active civic life as a Rotarian, and with his service on numerous boards of directors related to education and youth. He is the former state chairman of the Southern Association of Schools and Colleges. He is of the Baptist faith.

“Jack has focused on those in great need and those less fortunate – delinquent youth, special youngsters and individuals with disabilities, but has not neglected programs for high achievers,” wrote his nominator, his sister, Sandra Mathews. “He is a powerful communicator who possesses the gift of ‘making one want to learn and the desire to do one’s best.’ ”

Kay Roney wrote in a letter of support, that after his retirement, “at a time when many people throttle back, Jack Sasser kicked it up several notches” when he became administrator of the multifaceted training facility and program for handicapped adults. “During his tenure there, Jack has transformed that organization.”

Previously, he was honored as an outstanding graduate of Auburn University (1984); outstanding educator by Southern Association of Colleges and Schools; and as an outstanding educator at Troy University.

He graduated from Andalusia High School in 1954.