ACA's Ainsworth bestowed with state leadership role
The congratulations began early this week for Alabama Christian athletic director Denise Ainsworth
The congratulations began early this week for Alabama Christian athletic director Denise Ainsworth.
Shortly after arriving in Huntsville for the 12th annual All-Star Sports Week, friends and fellow coaches began offering their best wishes to the incoming president of the Alabama High School Athletic Directors and Coaches Association.
Ainsworth's new position became official on Thursday. She replaces Decatur football coach Jere Adcock in the role.
"I wasn't nervous about it until I got (to Huntsville) and people started congratulating me," Ainsworth said. "It's an honor to be in this position."
AHSADCA director Steve Bailey said Ainsworth is a good choice for the role. Ainsworth is the first woman to serve as president of the association.
"Denise is a wonderful person and she is very strong-willed and very organized," Bailey said. "She has been very successful as a coach has been an officer on our board for the past few years. She has worked hard and is the first woman to be president of the association. We couldn't be more pleased to have her in this position."
When Ainsworth became ACA's athletic director in 2001, she joined a small group of female athletic directors across the state and is currently one of only four in Montgomery.
"To me, the fact that I'm a woman is not that big a deal," Ainsworth said. "It is an honor to be the first woman in this position, but I don't think that is the main reason I am here. "Being a head coach and working to improve athletics shouldn't have a gender attached to it."
Ainsworth said one of the things she hopes to accomplish during her year as president is to continue to get the word out about the AHSADCA.
"We want to continue to reach out to the coaching community," Ainsworth said. "A lot of coaches don't know what the AHSADCA can do for them. This association isn't just for football coaches, boys coaches or girls coaches. This association is for all of our coaches."
The association consists of between 8,000-9,000 coaches in all sports.
Ainsworth described the ascension to president as a five-year program. Those involved serve one year as third vice president, then move to second vice president, vice president and in the fourth year become president. The fifth year involves serving as past president.
"Being involved from third vice president until now has been huge," Ainsworth said. "I had no clue what the AHSADCA did before that. Having been involved and seeing what goes on behind the scenes has made me appreciative of the people that came before us."
Ainsworth has been at ACA since 1986. In addition to her duties as AD, she has served as volleyball coach since 1995, posting a 331-180 record with two state championships.
As ACA's softball coach from 1987-2006, Ainsworth compiled a 455-234-4 record and seven state titles. Ainsworth's success as a fast pitch coach(1996-2006) helped raise the bar for softball in the Montgomery area.
Those 11 teams posted a record of 355-139-4. The final 10 teams reached the state tournament and the final nine played in the state championship game, winning six titles.
"She's had a ton of success with volleyball and softball," longtime ACA coach and current softball coach Chris Goodman said. "ACA wouldn't be on the map as much as we are without her. She has done a really good job as our AD and she will do a great job as president of the association."