ON THE MARK
D. MARK MITCHELL
The Dixie Boys State tournament ended late Sunday at Opelika’s West Ridge Park. Dothan all-stars won the Junior Dixie Boys (13u) and Dixie Boys (14u) Tournaments, both going undefeated.
As the Alabama State Director for Dixie Boys baseball, I want the thank many people that made the tournament a success. I want to extend a special thank you the city of Opelika’s Parks and Recreation Department and ESG Team Opelika’s Michael Hilyer and his crew Doug, Willie, Logan and Derek for working to keep the field playable after rain showers. AO-Tourism’s Athony Terling,Opelika Mayor Gary Fuller, Opelika Council President Eddie Smith, Auburn University baseball coach Butch Thompson, Addy Garner and the entire staff at West Ridge. No way the tournament would have been a sucess without the help of these people.
I will update Opelika Dixie youth in next weeks column
COACH BOOTH LEAVING OHS, TAKES JOB WITH AHSAA
I have learned over time, “all good things come to an end”. That statement hit OHS this week as longtime OHS girls basketball head coach Devin Booth resigned to take a position on the executive staff at the Alabama High School Athletic Association. Booth took over the OHS girls basketball program in 2009. Prior to coming to Opelika, Booth guided Samson high school to a 31-1 record and a State Championship in 2006-07 , followed by a 26-5 record and a state final appearance in 2007-08.
In her first season, OHS finished 16-11 – which was the first winning season in many years. The Lady Bulldogs followed with a 19-11 season in 2010-11. In Booth’s third season the Lady Dogs finished 26-6, winning their first area title in over 10 seasons. Over the course of the next nine seasons, Opelika won nine straight area championships, advancing to the regionals each year. Booth guided Opelika to three state Final Four appearances in 2017-18, 2018-19 and 2019-20 and advanced to the finals in 2018-19.
Opelika played in one state championship game prior to Booth arriving, under coach Joe Wilson in the late ‘80s.
Booth leaves Opelika after winning 245 games while only losing 108.
I have known coach Booth since she arrived in 2009. She is a quiet, soft-spoken person with a tremendous work ethic. I have never witnessed Devin receiving a technical foul during a game arguing with game officials. One night, Booth was given a technical foul for crossing the out of bounds line while yelling instructions to her players. She had no idea why the technical was called and asked for an explanation. It wound up being a funny moment during her tenure as head coach.
Booth was named assistant Athletic Director over female athletics in 2011, the first at OHS. She loved the administrative position so much, it made her think about the future. Devin and I talked about her role as a basketball coach several years ago. She has thought about stepping down as basketball coach and pursuing an administration job for a while. After several long talks, Booth decided to continue to lead OHS girls basketball program.
She then decided to go back to school, pursuing her Masters degree while continuing her job at Opelika. Booth is no stranger to the AHSAA, serving as an officer for the coaches association. This is one of the reasons she applied for the assistant director position over special programs. Booth will work with basketball, volleyball, softball, bowling and cheer and help with All-Star week.
Devin Booth will be missed by me and many in the Opelika community. Congratulations Devin, best to you in the new position with the AHSAA.
D. Mark Mitchell is the sports director at iHeartMedia, the host of “On the Mark” Fox Sports the Game 910-1310, co-chair of the Auburn-Opelika Sports Council, chairman of the Super 7 and Dixie Boys Baseball state director.