An humbling honor

Published 12:02 am Thursday, March 13, 2014

Jim Garner is shown here at a district board meeting a few years ago. | File photo

Jim Garner is shown here at a district board meeting a few years ago. | File photo

Come Monday night, Jim Garner will be a Hall of Famer.

Garner will be inducted into the 24th class of the Alabama High School Sports HOF in three days time in the Renaissance Hotel at the Convention Center in Montgomery.

The former Pleasant Home coach and principal was nominated and selected as an administrator.

Garner said it’s a “humbling thing” to be honored in this circumstance.

“It’s quite an honor to be considered for that Hall of Fame,” Garner said. “I was nominated by Pleasant Home School and then they have a selection committee that picks them. Of course, mine is as an administrator, not as a coach.”

Garner didn’t coach within the Alabama High School Athletic Association that long, but made his impact by serving on the Second District Board and Central Board of Control from 1997-2010. He served as the principal at PHS for 24 years.

“That was quite an experience to be able to work along side a lot of people from around the state making decisions that affected high schools,” he said.

A few decisions that were made while Garner was on the board was centralizing the baseball and softball championships in Montgomery; moving the Super 6 from Legion Field to playing the games at both the University of Alabama and Auburn University, and making it a three-day event, from a two-day event.

Additionally, Garner said volleyball had grown as a sport during that time.

“It wasn’t anything I did,” he said. “It was something the board was able to do and I was just a part of it.”

One of the biggest successes the board accomplished during his time on the board was establishing a revenue-sharing program, Garner said.

“After all of the final figures come in every year, we have to give back a portion to all schools all over the state, whether they’re in the championship program or not,” he said. “It was nice to realize that we were able to give money back to the schools.”

Garner said the revenue-sharing program came about after the AHSAA built and paid off its new building in downtown Montgomery.

To pay for the building, the decision was made to increase the price of admission for playoff tickets by $1. The money went to pay off the building debt and after five years, the association started putting money back into the schools.

Garner started as a coach and teacher in 1964 with stints at T.R. Miller, New Hebron, Miss., and New Brockton before becoming the head coach at LBWCC from 1971-84.

Garner then moved to PHS and served as its principal and athletic director from 1984-2008. He retired from PHS in 2010.

When asked what he’s looking forward to the most Monday night, Garner quipped that he doesn’t have to make a speech.

In fact, the inductees have a full day of activities. They’ll attend a luncheon, a ceremony run through and a press conference prior to the HOF banquet.

“It’s quite an honor, and I certainly appreciate the recognition,” Garner said. “It reflects on Pleasant Home School and on the second district, and I’m just glad to have played some small role in the operation of the school and the association through those years.”

Earlier this year, Garner was inducted into the Wiregrass Sports Hall of Fame in Dothan.