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Hartselle Enquirer
Hartselle baseball coach William Booth is part of the Class of 2022 for the Morgan County Sports Hall of Fame. Special to the Enquirer/Mariann Parker

Morgan County Sports Hall of Fame announces new inductees

The Morgan County Sports Hall of Fame has selected its Class of 2022.

Leading the group of nine inductees is one of the biggest names of all time in Morgan County sports history. That’s Hartselle baseball coach William Booth.

In Booth’s 34 seasons as the Tigers’ head coach, his teams have won eight state championships, and his career record stands at a mind-boggling 1,106-493.

“This is quite an honor. I’ve been fortunate to be able to do this for a long time, and I’m proud of what we’ve accomplished,” Booth said. “A lot of great people have been part of our success over the years. This is also an honor for them.”

Joining Booth in the Class of 2022 are eight others from various sports. The list includes: from track and field, Olympic silver medal winner David Albritton of Danville; from basketball and football, Larry Tucker of West Morgan; from basketball, Stuart Allen of Austin, Christy Thomaskutty of Brewer and David Ogle of Decatur; and from football, Mario Morris of Decatur, Greg Stewart of Austin and Cleveland Jarmon of Lakeside.

After so much success in Booth’s coaching career, one might be tempted to ask, “Why did it take so long for the Morgan County Sports Hall of Fame to honor Booth?” It’s not like his baseball program has been playing in the dark.

It goes back to the founding of the Hall of Fame in 1989. One of the rules for induction stated that for coaches to be eligible, they had to be retired.

As it became evident in recent years that Booth, now 77, has no plans to retire, the rule recently changed. Now an active coach can be inducted at age 60 with 25 years of coaching.

The Hall of Fame could call the rule change the “Booth Rule.”

It’s not the first rule change associated with Booth, either.

More than once over the years, the Alabama High School Athletic Association has had to go back and tighten up or tweak a baseball rule where Booth found an unintended loophole. Booth himself jokingly calls those changes the “Booth Rules.”

“It wasn’t that we ever did anything illegal,” Booth said. “They just needed to do a better job of writing their rules.”

The Morgan County Sports Hall of Fame has long been about families with father-and-son connections, cousins and even spouses. The Allen family joins the list, with Stuart Allen joining his father, the late Jack Allen, who was inducted in 1992.

“This really means a lot. It’s a great honor,” Allen said. “When you look at the other inductees in this class, I wonder why my name is even included. It’s a pretty select group.”

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