During the 2012-13 season, the Bears pushed that bar all the way to the Final Four State Basketball Tournament, making the event for the first time in school history and winning a school record 31 games in the process under head coach Adam Gray.
For taking his squad to new heights, Gray is the Daily Mountain Eagle’s 2013 Girls Basketball Coach of the Year.
Despite splitting his time between both the girls and boys teams, Gray was able to guide his Lady Bears to county, area and regional titles before losing to eventual state runner up Keith at the Birmingham-Jefferson Convention Complex.
Gray’s winning ways didn’t start this season. The team has gone 87-6 over the last three seasons, winning 26, 30 and 31 games respectively.
“I told the girls that they have a lot to be proud of. You are not going to see many teams put together many back-to-back, 30-win seasons. It just doesn’t happen very often. It may never happen again,” Gray said. “Of course getting to the Final Four was another huge accomplishment. No (Winston) County boys or girls team had ever done that.
“It’s been a process over the last four years — getting better every year. The girls put in a lot of hard work and spent a lot of time in the gym over the summer. That’s the stuff that nobody sees. I take a lot of pride in seeing how they’ve grown over that time.”
Experience and talent went hand-in-hand with Gray’s squad, which has largely remained intact the last four years. Lynn has only lost two starters over that span.
Two years ago the Bears won 26 games and advanced to the Northwest Regional Tournament and finished with a 26-2 record. Last year Lynn advanced to the regional tournament final before being ousted by R.A. Hubbard and finishing with a 30-2 mark.
This year, the Bears went 31-2 and earned a Northwest Regional Tournament title on the way to the State Tournament in Birmingham.
R.A. Hubbard, which had been Lynn’s nemesis each of the last three seasons at the regional tournament, was no match for an inspired group of Bears this time.
Lynn trailed at the half before putting together a dominating third-quarter performance on its way to a 53-43 win over Hubbard.
Runner up for the Girls Coach of the Year is Carbon Hill’s Wade Tittle.
The Bulldogs finished 26-7 and advanced to the regional tournament for the first time in school history, winning county and area titles along the way.