Sand Rock girls coach Lisa Bates is one of seven individuals who have made an impact as exemplary role models have been selected as the 2019 Making a Difference Award recipients by the Alabama High School Athletic Association (AHSAA) and the Alabama High School Athletic Directors & Coaches Association (AHSADCA).
The honorees will be recognized at the Championship Coaches Banquet at the Renaissance Montgomery Convention Center July 19. The 6 p.m. event will close out the 2019 AHSAA Summer Conference and All-Star Sports Week for member schools. The Officials’ Awards luncheon will officially close out the week on Saturday, July 20, at the Renaissance at 11:30 a.m.
LISA (BASWELL) BATES, SAND ROCK HIGH SCHOOL COACH – An outstanding student-athlete in high school graduating as valedictorian at Locust Fork in 1995, Bates was named Class 3A Player of the Year in 1995 averaging 27.5 points and 15.4 rebounds a game. She played in the Alabama-Mississippi All-Star Classic and led her team to the Final Four twice. She was inducted into the Blount County Sports Hall of Fame last March and still holds the AHSAA girls’ single-season rebound record (624) she set in 1995.
She also had a tremendous college basketball career at Southern Miss and Jacksonville State. She graduated in 1999 and was inducted into JSU’s Hall of Fame in 2011. While in college, Bates was the recipient of JSU's prestigious Eagle Owl Award and also served as president of the JSU Student Athlete Advisory Committee while also volunteering as an event coordinator for the Special Olympics. She earned Academic All-America honors and was Atlantic Sun Conference Student-Athlete of the Year in 1999 and 2000.
She and her husband Keith, also a teacher and coach at Sand Rock since 2000, have been leaders on and off the court, in and out of the classroom. Best known outside Cherokee County as the school’s girls’ varsity basketball and volleyball coach, those inside the county know here for so much more. Her primary responsibility is Special Education Chairperson at SRHS. She works with all students in K thru 12 that receive special education services and is a strong advocate for students with disabilities. She has served as Job Ready Day Coordinator since 2016, a service that prepares all Cherokee County students with special needs to enter and be successful in the work force by lining up mock interview experiences for all students with special needs in grades 9-12. She is also a Special Olympics volunteer. She was named 2015 Vocational Rehabilitation Teacher of the Year.
Her basketball teams have compiled a 382-191 record with three county titles, eight regional appearances and two Class 2A state runner-up finishes. She was named Class 2A Coach of the Year in 2018. Her volleyball teams have compiled a 622-219 record since 2002 with eight area titles, eight county championships, nine Elite Eight state tourney appearances and five Final Four finishes.
One recipient from each of the AHSAA’s seven classifications was chosen from nominations submitted by AHSAA member schools and other support organizations. This year’s recipients are John Hardin, Hackleburg High School (1A) principal; Lisa Bates, Sand Rock High School (2A) girls’ basketball and volleyball coach; Willie Wright, Pike County (3A) principal; Chris Goodman, Alabama Christian Academy (4A) softball coach; Russ Holcomb, Hamilton High School (5A) football coach; D. Mark Mitchell, WKKR Radio (iheart) sports announcer, Opelika (6A); and Ken Storie, Jefferson County Schools Athletic Director (7A).