Best of: Part II
Nick Johnston, Hartselle Enquirer
The year 2003 involved a state championship, a Final Four appearance and a major coaching change at Hartselle High School.
Last week, in Part I of the "Best of 2003," every school in The Enquirer coverage area was involved in the list. But, Hartselle athletics sweep the top 5 spots in the "Hartselle Enquirer's Best of 2003."
5. Sivley wins 500th game.
Hartselle Junior High basketball coach Johnny Sivley reached a milestone this past fall by winning his 500th game as a head coach.
Sivley, who has been at Hartselle since 1993, has coached in Decatur and two other schools in Florida. He has been a part of several state championship squads, including when he was at Grace Baptist, now Decatur Heritage.
When he moved to Ocala (Fla.) Christian Academy, he won four consecutive state championships.
He will tell anyone who is willing to listen, though, it was his faith in God that has kept him going all along.
4. Hartselle wrestling wins section; fourth at state.
Keith Corder, Hartselle High head wrestling coach, said he wanted his team to be able to finish fourth or better at the Class 5A State Wrestling Championship, and that's exactly what it did.
The Tigers dominated the North Section and went on to place fourth in Pelham at the Class 5A State Tournament. Hartselle qualified 13 wrestlers for the tourney.
At section, Hartselle won with 240.5 points. It's nearest competitor, Huntsville, finished with 194.
Luke Mize, Corey Farmer and Adam Faulk all finished second in Pelham, Hunter Brasher got third, and both Kurt Hamilton and Matt Owens finished fourth.
Hartselle finished the season with a 21-8 record.
3. Hartselle basketball reaches the Final Four.
At the 2002 Big Orange Classic during Christmas, Hartselle found itself at a crossroads.
The team was 8-7, and had just lost to Pleasant Grove in the first of round of the tournament. After a long talk following that loss, it was as if something changed.
Hartselle won 16 of its last 21 games, and won the County, Area 15, Sub-Region and Region Championship en route to a Final Four appearance in Birmingham.
Hartselle ultimately fell to West End in the Final Four.
But along the way, Hartselle beat Athens for the Area 15 Tournament Title. Marlon Chapman was named MVP of that tournament. After coming from behind to beat Russellville in double overtime of the Sub-Regional, the Tigers beat G.W. Carver and Gardendale at Wallace State. Zac Ward was named MVP of the Regional.
But in Birmingham, West End just proved too much for a ball team with nine seniors. Hartselle fell 60-46.
2. Smith out, Godsey in.
2003 meant a big change in the field house at Hartselle High School.
Former head coach Mike Smith announced in March he would be leaving Hartselle and become the head coach at Northridge High School in Tuscaloosa.
Smith had built a 36-30 record with the Tigers, and was coming off one of his best seasons as a head coach. Hartselle went 8-2 in 2002 and reached the semi-finals of the Class 5A State Playoffs.
Enter Bob Godsey.
Godsey was chosen from a narrowed field of three to be the next head coach at Hartselle. He had spent eight years as an assistant at Decatur before moving to Brooks High School. At Brooks, he took a program not familiar with winning to being state powerhouse. Godsey's record at Brooks was 42-15, and in 2001 and 2002 boasted the best scoring defense in the state.
In Godsey's inaugural season with Hartselle, he led the Tigers to a 6-4 record and a first round playoff appearance.
1. Another state title for Hartselle softball.
For the second consecutive year, Hartselle softball sits atop "The Enquirer's Best of" list.
Hartselle won its second title in as many years and third in four years. The Lady Tigers have either won the state championship or placed runner-up in the state tournament every year since 1998.
In the 2003 state tournament, Hartselle beat Charles Henderson and Mortimer Jordan before falling to Gardendale. The Lady Tigers then bounced back to beat Benjamin Russell and Gardendale twice for the state championship.
Sabrina Roberts was named MVP.