8th in a 13 part series introducing the Alabama High School Hall of Fame Class of 2023
By BILL PLOTT | FOR THE AHSAA
Montgomery, AL – Most of Michael Robertson’s life work has been in one way or another tied to Hokes Bluff High School. He graduated as valedictorian from Hokes Bluff High School in 1977 where he was an outstanding athlete earning All-County honors in three sports. He was quarterback on state champion and runner-up football teams, played on three state championship baseball teams, and his No.2 jersey was retired in 1977.
He attended nearby Gadsden State Community College on a baseball scholarship and later graduated from Athens State in 1981 with a degree in mathematics. He also has a master’s degree from the University of Alabama and an education degree from Lincoln Memorial University. He began his teaching and coaching career in 1981 as an assistant coach at Southside-Gadsden. He returned to his alma mater Hokes Bluff in 1984, where he continues to serve.
Robertson’s impact has been felt daily at Hokes Bluff and around the state for the last four decades. That is a chief reason he is one of 13 individuals who are being inducted as the Class of 2023 in the Alabama High School Sports Hall of Fame. The induction banquet will be Monday, March 13, at the Montgomery Renaissance Hotel and Convention Center. The banquet will begin at 6 p.m.
A press conference will be held at the Renaissance at 1:15 p.m., on Monday introducing the Class of 2023 to the media. The Hall of Fame is a program developed and managed by the AHSAA’s Alabama High School High School Athletic Directors & Coaches Association (AHSADCA). This year’s class will be the 23rd class inducted since the HOF inception in 1991.
Robertson has earned numerous Coach of the Year honors in three major sports. However, his impact goes much deeper than X’s and O’s.
He began coaching football in 1996. In 26 years, he has compiled a record of 170-121 with 15 state playoff appearances. His 2001 team defeated Tarrant 23-0 to win the Class 3A state championship. The Eagles won a school record of 13 games, and he was named State Coach of the Year. Two other teams he has coached made it to the semifinals and two to the quarterfinals. He has had 45 players named to All-State teams.
He also coached girls’ basketball from 1986 through 2008, winning seven area championships and advancing six teams to the semifinals. Two of his teams were runners-up. He added baseball to his coaching duties in 2011. In 12 years, his teams have won seven Area championships and had two teams make the semifinals of the state playoffs. Seventeen All-State players including one Mr. Baseball, Tyler Stovall, have been recognized from his baseball program.
The football field was named in his honor in 2019, and he was voted All-Time “Legend” in Etowah County Sports.
Hokes Bluff Mayor Scott Reeves said Robertson’s positive impact is a direct result of his commitment to the community.
“Coach Rob has a big heart for his community and his alma mater,” said Reeves. “It is evidenced by his commitment and dedication to Hokes Bluff High School… His devotion to our community has impacted the lives of many student-athletes, not only coaching them to be competitors on the field and courts but also how to be successful students in the classroom. He has taught young men and women how to win in life and be responsible citizens to their communities.”
Reeves said Robertson’s example has been on display daily.
“His demonstration of hard work, perseverance, loyalty, integrity, dedication, and commitment to his students in the classroom, his players, his assistant coaches, his peers and the community of Hokes Bluff speak volumes for the man he truly is,” Reeves said. “Throughout his career, he has won big games and lost games, but he always encourages our kids to take the wins and “celebrate it” and “learn from the defeats” because life will throw both at you.”
Hokes Bluff Principal Scott Calhoun was one of Coach Robertson’s players at the school. He has witnessed Coach Rob’s impact from all sides of the spectrum.
“As a young male student athlete in high school, I always looked up to my coaches,” said Calhoun. “I was fortunate that one of my coaches was Mike Robertson. Coach Rob taught me some valuable lessons as a teenager that I still carry with me almost 40 years later. He was someone that I looked up to with great respect as a young man, but my respect and admiration for him have only increased as I have become an adult.
“In my educational career, I have been fortunate enough to have worked at six different high schools. All the schools have been great, and I have worked with some really good football coaches and athletic directors. None of them have come close to Coach Rob. He has been, and still is, an excellent role model for all our young men. He instills a great work ethic, sense of pride, and a never quit attitude in all of the students he coaches. He still coaches with the same fire, grit, and determination that he always has.”
Calhoun said many of Robertson’s former players have chosen to become coaches because of him.
“His influence on those around him is strong. He is the best at what he does and has truly found his calling in life. So many young people, male and female, have benefitted from playing for him. His influence reaches far beyond Hokes Bluff.”