HALEYVILLE - The room filled with alumni gathered for the annual luncheon Saturday, June 1, erupted with applause, when Annita Lyons came forward to receive the Service and Dedication award on behalf of her husband Howie Lyons.
Annita accepted due to her husband not being in good health.
The Service and Dedication award was bestowed this year on Lyons, as one who has gone “above and beyond” with service to the Haleyville City school system, noted Tabitha Clark, vice president of the alumni association, who presented the award.
Lyons, now retired, is a long standing coach and teacher at Haleyville City Schools.
Annita, at the speaker’s stand looking toward a large crowd of alumni sitting back down at the elementary cafeteria, noted Howie would be so proud of the award.
“He taught and coached many of you,” Annita said to those in the audience. “He remembers his coaching better than anything else, other than the eight trips we took to Hawaii,” she laughed.
Annita noted that she would place the coveted Service and Dedication award on the wall of the health facility where Lyons now resides, along with the numerous other awards she has displayed in his room.
Howie began teaching and coaching at HCS in 1968, being hired as physical education teacher for grades 1-8.
He later taught 7th grade social studies and Alabama history, as well as served as special education coordinator, assistant elementary principal as well as elementary principal.
Howie coached football, basketball, cross country and track and field over the years.
“His girls basketball team was state runner up,” Clark said during the introduction. “The cross country teams he coached won five state championships.
“Several athletes he coached in all these sports earned scholarships to play their sports in college,” Clark added.
Howie retired in 1996, but continued to serve as volunteer for the cross country and track teams.
Lisa Cook, of the cross country team, noted, “The Haleyville High School cross country program has truly been fortunate to have the influence and expertise of coach Lyons.”
Cook noted Lyons came in to assist a new coach, unselfishly and happily giving his time and expertise, showing up daily for practices and at their cross country meets to develop a program creating not only better athletes but better young ladies and gentlemen.
“Coach Lyons is an amazing individual full of positivity and enthusiasm for the sport of running,” Cook added. “He loves coaching and working with young people and it shows.”
Lyons, she continued, could design a workout that would literally bring people to their knees, yet the kids would complete it, catch their breath and be ready for more with all smiles, because coach Lyons had the ability to bring out the inner Lion.
“The children and I were so very fortunate to have had Coach Lyons’ talent and influence in our program,” Cook noted. “We need more Coach Lyons in the world.”
Lyons also had a career for several years as children’s minister at First Baptist Church, after retirement from education.
He also started a ministry giving guitar lessons to children or anyone interested at church. His guitar students have done so well, they have gone on to record CDs and perform in bands.
See complete story in the Northwest Alabamian.