By Rubin E. Grant
Scott Ware was wondering why he stayed on as an assistant coach for the Hoover boys basketball
team for the past eight years when he had opportunities to become a head coach elsewhere.
Ware received his answer in late May when he was elevated to head coach of the Bucs, replacing Charles Burkett, who left to take over the program at Athens after 14 seasons at Hoover.
“I don’t know why I hung around and now I know,” Ware said. “I am really excited. Charles and I had talked about it. I think the world of Coach Burkett. We’re more than friends. We’re like brothers.”
Ware joined Burkett’s staff as an assistant in August of 2013 and helped lead the Bucs to the 2015 Class 7A state championship team and two other Final Four appearances.
Hoover athletic director Andy Urban said Ware was the right choice to succeed Burkett.
“We had hundreds of applicants, but we knew we had what we felt like was the best coach we could get in our building,” Urban said.
Ware was the head coach at Walker High School, now Jasper, for 10 seasons, compiling a 172-26 record.
The Bucs began summer workouts on June 8 and plan to continue through the middle of July.
“It’s been good,” Ware said. “It’s been a little sloppy, but the kids are working hard, trying to become the best version we can be.”
The workouts have been affected by COVID-19 guidelines as stipulated by the Alabama High School Athletic Association.
“The first week we didn’t get within six feet of each other and we keep our masks when we have closer contact drills,” Ware said. “We’re doing other things like cleaning the balls between groups. It’s different.”
Ware expects a smooth transition when the season starts in November with nine returning players.
“Our style of play won’t look any different,” he said. “I try to tell them to play smart, play hard and have fun. We’re going to get it up and down the court, play hard and play fast.”
Mansell Named Vestavia Hills Volleyball Coach
Payton Mansell has been hired as Vestavia Hills’ head volleyball coach.
She replaces 18-year Vestavia Hills coach Mandy Burgess, who left coach- ing to spend time with her family. Burgess was closing in on 400 wins with the Rebels.
“Mandy built a good foundation from the seventh grade all the way to varsity,” Mansell said. “I want to build on that and make it better.”
Mansell was a star player at Austin High School in Decatur and also at Millsaps College.
She previously coached three years at Germantown in Madison, Miss., and was an assistant for two years at Austin.
Two other over Over-the-Mountain schools also have new volleyball coaches. Oak Mountain hired Grace Burgess and Briarwood Christian hired Hannah Josey.
This will be Burgess’ first high school head coaching job after serving as an assistant at Thompson and Spain Park. The Homewood native has coached club volleyball for the past eight years and played college volleyball at LaGrange College.
Josey was formerly the head coach Edgewood Academy and Eastwood Christian in the Alabama Independent Schools Association.
Napolitano Takes Over John Carrol Girls Basketball Program
Angela Napolitano has been hired as the head coach of John Carroll Catholic’s girls basketball program. She had been an assistant under Ronald Steele for the past two seasons. During that time, Steele had been serving as the head coach of the boys and girls teams.
“I am beyond grateful for the opportunity to serve the current and future players in the John Carroll program,” Napolitano said. “The last two years working with Coach Steele have not only been a blessing, but they have been instrumental in preparing me for this role.”
Steele was happy to see Napolitano elevated to the head position.
”Coach Napolitano is a person of high character who has demonstrated an eagerness to invest in the lives of her student-athletes,” Steele said. “She has a passion for the game of basketball and her coaching philosophy is consistent with the values of John Carroll. I’m excited to officially turn the reins over to her and to see her continue to grow and develop our girls basketball program.”
Napolitano is a 2014 graduate of McGill-Toolen Catholic High School in Mobile, where she played basketball, ran cross country, and competed in track and field. She holds a BA in secondary education from Samford University (2018), and is currently completing her masters degree in kinesiology and sports management through the University of Alabama.
tent with the values of John Carroll. I’m excited to officially turn the reins over to her and to see her continue to grow and develop our girls basketball program.”
Napolitano also teaches full-time in the English department at John Carroll and serves as an assistant on the track and field team.