Reunion for those with ties to Hand

Published 7:45 pm Thursday, September 20, 2012

Together again: Former Chilton County High School football coach Donnie Hand, left, talks to one of the former players who attended a reunion last week at Tiger Stadium. All of the former players and cheerleaders at CCHS during Hand’s tenure, from 1970-87, were invited to a meal before the game against Shelby County, a recognition ceremony before kickoff and then a reception afterward.

Don Hand won 120 games as Chilton County High School’s football coach, but the more important number might be the number of people he reached, teaching them important life lessons.

That’s why about 150 people showed up at Tiger Stadium for last week’s game against Shelby County for a reunion.

There was at least one person at the reunion representing each of the classes while Hand was at the school. He coached from 1970 through 1987.

“We had a big, big turnout,” said Mickey Bates, who helped organize the event. “We had people come from as far away as Chicago.

“Coach Hand was my high school coach, and he and I have been close ever since he came. His leadership deserves some recognition. He taught the right values, and he was always successful without being overbearing.”

The former players and cheerleaders enjoyed a meal beforehand, were recognized before kickoff of the game and then had a reception afterward in the school’s new weight room facility.

“I had a great time,” Hand said. “It’s always good to win the game because then you can have a lot better time.

“I wanted to get them together one time. It was good for me, and I think it was good for them to get back.”

Hand thanked Bates for organizing the event.

“Running a business and trying to do this, too…it was an incredibly nice gesture from him,” Hand said.

Hand was inducted into the Alabama High School Sports Hall of Fame in 2007. He is an assistant coach at CCHS for his son, Donnie Hand.