From The Tribune staff reports
MONTGOMERY — Longtime high school administrator and coach Max Ray passed away on Friday, July 17 at the age of 84.
Ray, one of 16 children, was inducted into the Alabama High School Sports Hall of Fame in the Class of 1997. As a player at Hackleburg, he lettered in football, basketball and baseball.
“Max Ray was a leader who helped mold the AHSAA through his dedicated service to our schools through his work as a District 7 Legislative Council member, chairman of the District 7 Board and longtime District 7 member of the AHSAA Central Board,” said AHSAA Executive Director Steve Savarese. “His commitment to high school educational athletics and example of sacrifice and leadership will continue to have an impact for many years to come. We offer our prayers to the Ray family and Max’s extended family of the many hundreds students and teachers.”
He began his teaching and coaching career right out of high school when he returned to his alma mater in 1963. Over the next 10 years his teams compiled a 69-28-3 record, including a perfect 10-0 regular season in 1968 and the school’s first state playoff appearance. During those 10 years he also coached track, baseball, JV and junior high basketball.
He earned Class 1A State Coach of the Year in 1966. He was also selected to coach in the North-South All-Star Football Classic.
Ray moved into his administrator role in 1973, becoming an assistant principal at Hackleburg Elementary, then principal in 1976 and finally principal at Hackleburg High School in 1982. He served in that capacity until his retirement in 1997.
During his tenure on the Central Board, Ray played a key role in organizing the Alabama-Mississippi All-Star football and basketball programs, the Super 6 (7) football championships and helped develop the six-class playoff system in 1984.
The football stadium at Hackleburg High School is named “Ray Family Stadium” in honor of his served as president of the Marion County Coaches Association.