Norris named Athletic Director of the Year

Published 5:12 pm Tuesday, July 26, 2016

The Alabama High School Athletic Directors and Coaches Association named Georgiana's Kirk Norris  Athletic Director of the Year.

The Alabama High School Athletic Directors and Coaches Association named Georgiana’s Kirk Norris Athletic Director of the Year.

Georgiana School just celebrated arguably its greatest athletic year in school history, and the Alabama High School Athletic Directors and Coaches Association (AHSADCA) took notice.

The organization recognized Kirk Norris, Georgiana athletic director and head basketball coach, as the 2016 Alabama Athletic Director of the Year.

Though Norris had known the award would be coming a month prior to the banquet held Friday night at the Renaissance Hotel and Convention Center in Montgomery, the elation still hasn’t worn off.

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“Any time you receive an award, it’s exciting,” Norris said.

“That a group of people thought enough about you to select you for that award, it’s a huge honor.  There are so many great athletic directors in the state, so for me to be selected is just very humbling.”

As Georgiana’s head boys and girls basketball coach, Norris led the Panthers to a record 30-2 run culminating in a state runners-up title (and the team’s second Final Four appearance in two years) and the Lady Panthers to one of its numerous playoff appearances.

Also, under head football coach Ezell Powell, the Panthers football team claimed its first regional title in two decades and finished 11-2 on the year, racking up 500 points of offense for the first time in Georgiana’s history.

Four of the school’s five varsity programs made the playoffs in 2015, and all five teams made the cut just a year prior.

Norris said that it’s been a good year for academics, but it’s also the culmination of a lot of hard work as well as several puzzle pieces coming together perfectly.

“It’s not just me,” Norris said. “I get the award, but we’ve got a great coaching staff that works really hard.  Even though it’s not a big one, we’ve got a lot of coaches that wear a lot of hats.  Coach Powell coaches two sports, Coach Hamilton coaches two sports, I coach two different teams, and we’ve got great kids, too.

“You’ve got a kid like Richard Boggan, who wins the Bryant-Jordan.  That’s not only a local thing, but a state-level recognition.  He was the first one from our system to ever win the award.  Good kids and good athletes… that’s really where it starts.  They work hard and put your program out there by being successful not only in sports, but in the classroom.

“We’ve got great administration.  Mr. Marlow and Mrs. Smith are very supportive of athletics, and any time you’ve got great administration that supports your athletics, it definitely helps.  I’ve been lucky enough to have that since I started; Mr. Dean, who hired me at Georgiana, and after that Ward Thigpen came in, and all of them were supportive.  When you have great support as an athletic director and as a coach, it makes your job a lot easier.”

Given the ebb and flow of incoming and outgoing talent each year at Georgiana, Norris said that the key to maintaining Georgiana’s recent level of academic and athletic success would lie in showing up-and-coming student-athletes the fruits of past teams’ labor.

“You see all of the accomplishments that our programs have had this year, and I think it’s something you build upon with your kids,” Norris said.

“It’s a way of showing kids that this is what you receive if you continue to work hard, you don’t give up and you do things the right way, you get rewarded in some way. The things they learn and do now as far as their actions and how they respond to things will definitely be things they carry on into life.  That’s the big thing that athletics teaches, is not only how to handle adversity in sports but in life.”