Glynn Lott vividly remembers that day he pulled into an empty lot adjacent to a grain silo and called Macon-East headmaster Jim Wilson.
“I pulled up in the parking lot, and it was an old grain facility and a barn,” Lott said. “I called and told him where I was and that I was lost. And he said, ‘No, that’s it.’ There were old cars and batteries parked outside.”
Lott’s work in building an athletic program from scratch, as well as his work in building the AISA coaches association into a respected organization, was recognized recently when the AISA Hall of Fame committee selected him as part of the ninth class of inductees that will be enshrined later this year in a ceremony in Montgomery.
Lott’s selection wasn’t exactly a shock (as president of the coaches association, he works with all AISA committees, including the Hall of Fame group) but it is generally reserved for people who are retired or nearly the end of their careers, not for a 48-year-old coach who just recently won his fifth state championship in softball.
“I’ve been in the AISA all my life,” Lott said. “I went to school in it (at Lowndes Academy), and I’ve never coached anywhere else, and lately I’ve been involved in it through my role as the coaches association president.”
Lott is one of 13 people selected in this year’s class, along with teachers Virginia Ransom of Lakeside and Martha Walker of Escambia Academy; pioneers Paul Henry Parham of Jackson Academy and Frank Lamar of Autauga Academy; AISA state office administrators Don Oswald and Sara Bazzle; school administrators Patricia Kelley of Abbeville Christian, John Meals and Nancy McLeod of Lee-Scott and David Brantley of Fort Dale Academy; former Marengo Academy coach Jesse Little; and former Lowndes Academy athlete Preston Gothard.
Had Lott’s original employer, Macon Academy, remained in Tuskegee or had he remained at Meadowview Christian, it’s doubtful Lott would have been on the radar for such a lifetime achievement award. It’s his work in quickly establishing Macon-East as an AISA athletic powerhouse that earned him the honor of being selected for the Hall of Fame.
“You never know,” Lott said. “I thought the worst day was the day I left Meadowview. There’s been two bad days I thought I would never recover from, and that was the day I left the old Macon Academy and went to Meadowview and when I left Meadowview, when a new headmaster came in and basically replaced the whole coaching staff that was there. I didn’t know (at the time) that was one of the best things to ever happen to me.
“I don’t think there’s any way you can replace being at a place from the beginning and know where it started and where it is today.”
He had coached both boys and girls basketball at Macon Academy from 1985-90 and at Meadowview from 1991-94, but his Hall of Fame clock started a year later when he pulled into an empty lot in Cecil, a lot that would soon transform into a bustling program of championship-caliber teams.
“For practice, we didn’t have a football field,” Lott said. “The first year, baseball and basketball were the only sports we had. We didn’t even have a gym. We practiced at (YMCA’s) Camp Belser, outside. We made the Final Four that year. We played all of our home games at Huntingdon (College). We played all of our baseball games at Buddy Watson (Park on Taylor Road), but the fields we played on aren’t even there anymore. There’s houses there, or businesses. They’ve torn those down.
“And I remember the first day they laid the sod on the football field. That was a big day for us. To watch it grow from that to what it is now, I’ll put our facilities up against any school . We have some very, very nice facilities.”
He has had a hand in every sport at the school, winning 534 games and five state championships in football; recording 116 wins that include three trips to the finals and a 2000 state championship in football; and earning 230 wins and eight trips to the state tournament semifinals in girls and boys basketball. He’s been honored as the Montgomery Advertiser’s AISA All-Metro Coach of the Year 14 times and by the Alabama Sports Writers Association as AISA All-State coach of the year six times, but it is that first trip to the state football playoffs in 1998 that holds a special place in his heart.
“To go from where we were, in our third year, we just had some athletes,” Lott said. “We beat Patrician at Patrician (19-12), and we weren’t supposed to, in the semifinal game. We didn’t fair too well the next week (losing to Pickens 30-7 in the AA championship game) but we were there. That pushed us to having some really good years there in a row.”
Another highlight, he recalled, was a Macon Academy girls basketball win over the dominant program in the state, South Montgomery County Academy, who “hadn’t lost at home in 11 years. That was a huge win. I’ve coached some good (players) over the years and now they’re coaching.”
For all his accomplishments at Macon-East, he has earned more acclaim and respect from AISA coaches and administrators throughout the state for his work with the coaches association, which went from an almost-forgotten group of coaches to a formidable force in the private school organization.
“A few years ago, I made a decision that I either had to try and make things better for our coaches or I needed to look at going somewhere else,” Lott said. “It’s not me, it’s several guys who are on that thing. We’ve got about 12 on the coaches’ council from all over the state and some of those have changed, but the core of that group — six or seven guys — have been on it the whole time, and they’ve done an awesome job.
“They’ve gone out and found sponsors, and we take our coaches to the beach (for the annual convention). We brought the all-star games back in baseball and softball, and we feed our all-stars. That’s been a huge help for my school and every other school. We moved the all-star game, and we started staying at the Marriott. We want to make it special for the kids.”
Lott and the other 12 inductees will be honored at a special ceremony typically held in early October, although the date for this year’s banquet may change. The Hall of Fame committee is the latest AISA group to rely on Lott’s special talents, asking him to spearhead an effort aimed at lowering the cost of the event by finding the best time and place to hold the event.
The 13 members of the 2013 class join 81 other individuals inducted in the first eight classes. The Hall of Fame started in 2000 but switched to a bi-annual format beginning in 2005.