E.A. Sports Today

Hall of Famers

Giddens, Robertson among 13 selected for induction into newest Alabama High School Sports Hall of Fame class

MONTGOMERY – Veteran head coaches Steve Giddens and Mike Robertson are among 13 major contributors to prep athletics in Alabama who have been selected for induction into the Alabama High School Sports Hall of Fame in the Class of 2023.

They are part of a class that includes administrators, coaches and “old timers” chosen from more than 75 nominations.

Giddens and Robertson are joined by football coaches Paul Benefield, David Powell and Trent Taylor; basketball coaches Homer Davis, Ronald Jackson, Tim Miller; Jack Steele, and John Woody; administrator Charles McCaleb; and selected in the “Old-Timers’ Division” were baseball and football coach William “Earl” Griffin and basketball coach Matthew L. Jones.

Fyffe’s Benefield has compiled a stellar 332-55 career coaching record and is still going strong this season with his 13th 10-0 regular season in the last 22 years. Two active basketball coaches, Jackson and Miller, have compiled two of the longest winning streaks in state history. Jackson’s T.R. Miller girls won 62 in a row (1994-96), and Miller’s Hazel Green girls currently own a 59-game winning streak and five straight state titles heading into this season. Both coaches have won state titles at multiple schools. And Griffin, selected as an Old Timer, guided Dallas County to a 48-game baseball winning streak in the 1970s.

The group collectively have won numerous state championships in football, boys’ and  girls’ basketball, baseball, and boys’ and girls’ track. 
Giddens, 60, graduated from Clay County High School in 1980, Auburn University in 1984 and earned his master from Jacksonville State in 1994. He began his teaching and coaching career at New Site High School in 1985 and moved to Randolph County in 1987. He  became the head boys’ basketball coach at Randolph County High School leading the Tigers to a 74-16 record. Randolph County reached the Elite 8 in 1992 and finished as state runner-up in 1993.

He moved to his alma mater as an assistant football and basketball coach in 1993 and took over as head  boys’ basketball coach at county rival Lineville from 1995-2007. His led the Aggies to 1996 state championship, was back in the Final 4 in 1999, and advanced to the Elite 8 in 1997 and 1998.

He became head football coach at Lineville in 1999, a position he held until 2011 when the school closed and merged with Clay County to form Central of Clay County. His football teams also enjoyed enormous success going 128-45 with two state championship game appearances in 1999 and 2002. His teams had six semifinal appearances, won six region titles, and compiled an 80-14 region record.

His finest hour came when he was tasked to coach the first football team at Clay Central. Through his leadership of blending two rival coaching staffs and two rival football teams into one was amazing – and a lesson for other school systems that plan such mergers. Central was 10-2 in 2012 and Giddens was promoted to principal in 2013, where he remained through 2017. He became principal at Randolph County in 2018 and served through 2021.

Robertson, the 1977 Hokes Bluff High School valedictorian, returned to his alma mater following college to embark on impressive teaching and coaching career at his alma mater that is still going strong after 41 years.

Hokes Bluff’s All-State quarterback, basketball and baseball standout attended Gadsden State Community College and Athens State, receiving his degree in 1981. He later earned his masters  from the University of Alabama and his EDS from Lincoln Memorial (Tenn.) University.

The 64-year-old has served in a variety of roles during his career that has spanned into five decades. He coached girls’ basketball for 23 years, baseball for 13 years and has been the head  football coach for the Eagles since 1996 – compiling a 174-127 record with 15 teams reaching the state playoffs in playoffs in his 27-year tenure. His 2001 squad finished 13-2 and won the Class 4A state crown. He is also the school’s Athletics Director.

He played on three Hokes Bluff state baseball championship teams in high school and has served as the Eagles’ head coach for 14 seasons. His 2018 team finished as state runner-up. He received serving coaching honors including the 2001 State Football Coach of the Year award from the AHSADCA.

His role model on and off the field has touched all the students in a positive way at Hokes Bluff. The school honored him in 2018 by naming the school’s football stadium “Michael Robertson Stadium.” He was inducted into the Etowah County Hall of Fame in 2016. He has also spent 40 years running the Hokes Bluff public pool in the summer.

The class’s induction will take place at a banquet held at the Montgomery Renaissance Hotel and Spa Convention Center next March.

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