AHSAA Director of Football Jeff Segars speaks to the ALFCA General Assembly of Coaches on Thursday.
The Alabama Football Coaches Association opened the 19th annual convention with a General Assembly meeting in the ball room of the Embassy Suites Hotel in Montgomery on Thursday evening, January 25th, 2024.
ALFCA executive director Jack Wood and President Terry Curtis opened the meeting by making a special presentation to Chris Marchbanks. Chris has worked the ALFCA convention for a number of years, giving out the All State certificates to coaches who had players selected to the teams by the ASWA. He has been a great promoter of high school football and has amazed the coaches for years with his knowledge of their teams, players and accomplishments. He was presented with a plaque honoring him as a Lifetime Member of the ALFCA for his many contributions to the annual convention.
Chris Marchbanks is honored by ALFCA President Terry Curtis as a Lifetime Member of the association for his contributions to the ALFCA Convention.
Coach Curtis introduced Jeff Segars, the director of football for the AHSAA. Segars said that there had been discussion abut the possibility of players wearing spider pads to protect their shoulders during summer workouts in shorts. He stated that the request has been sent to the medical advisory board of the AHSAA for review. Segars also said another item headed toward the medical advisory board is the discussion about having four days of shells during the summer months for teams that do not choose to have a spring practice.
One big item on the agenda that apparently is getting considerable steam on the national front is the use of helmet communication in high school football. This issue not long ago was considered to be on the far away agenda at best. But things have changed with the attitude of the NFHS toward the subject, and this may become legal "sooner than originally anticipated" according to Segars.
Director of Officials for the AHSAA, Ken Washington, agreed with Segars about the helmet communication. He said there were no major rule changes of any kind coming for the 2024 season. He did remind coaches that beginning this year jersey numbers must be solid and could no longer be outlined. There were two points of emphasis for football officials coming down from the NFHS. Officials are being reminded to monitor the sidelines next season in regards to language by both coaches and players. Washington said that the other point of emphasis for the '24 season is to require players to keep their knee pads pulled down over their knees. High school players see college players with knees uncovered and there has been a trend toward copying the colleges. But the NFHS still feels like this is a big safety concern and wants officials to monitor this closely..
AHSAA Director of Officials Ken Washington at the 19th annual ALFCA Convention.
Washington also announced to the football coaches that district assignment of officials was coming. This concept will work similar to the playoffs. Officials will be assigned by the state association rather than by individual official associations for varsity games. Washington said that these officials could be from the same association or there could be mixed crews from different associations working a game as is done during the playoffs. Schools could be getting officials from as many as four different associations. District assigning of officials comes as a recommendation from the AHSAA Football Committee.
ALFCA Vice President Richie Busby talked briefly about an upcoming proposal meant to eliminate the problem of players transferring from one school to another during the football season. The concern is that a player whose team was not successful or was not in the playoffs would look to transfer to a better team so that he could participate in the playoffs. Teams might look to bolster their roster for the playoffs by adding players from poorer teams.
The assembly then broke off into district meetings for discussions and elections. The even numbered districts were scheduled to elect their representative on the ALFCA Board of Directors. In addition, two other board members had taken new jobs and moved out of the district they had been representing. Therefore, new board members had to be elected in those positions as well.
District 1 representative Scott Rials left the district to take the head job at Calera High School. The District 1 coaches elected Theodore's Steve Mask to replace him on the board. In District 2, Toby Greene of Rehobeth was re-elected to another two year term. In District 4, Auburn coach Keith Etheredge replaced Erik Speakman who is moving to Mobile to take the job at Faith Academy. Steve Smith from Westbrook Christian was elected to the board position in District 6. Kenny Morson of Florence was voted to the post in District 7. He replaced John Ritter who left Russellville and District 7 to take the job at Decatur (District 8). Madison Academy's Bob Godsey was re-elected to represent District 8.
After the elections, door prizes were given to the members present much to the delight of the winners. When that was completed, Coach Curtis brought the meeting to a close.