Winning 100 games in just four-plus seasons, puts you in a different category.
Heath Burns is in that group.
Heading down the home stretch of his first season at Parrish High School, Burns notched his 100th career victory Friday night against Curry.
Burns won 83 games in four years at Dora and has guided the Tornadoes to 17 wins this season. As a high school coach, Burns has a 100-46 record.
“Getting to 100 wins means I’ve coached a lot of good players and have had a lot of good assistant coaches around me. The kids I’ve coached and the communities I’ve coached in — I’ve been very blessed at both places,” Burns said.
Burns took Dora to the state championship game and a school-record 30 wins in 2009. The following season the Bulldogs were upset by Columbia in the championship game of the Northwest Regional Tournament and finished with a 29-5 mark.
At Parrish, Burns inherited a team that advanced to the championship game of the Northwest Regional Tournament at Wallace State-Hanceville last season despite winning just 12 games.
Parrish (17-6) got off to a quick start this season, but has hit several bumps in the road since with key players going down with injuries and discipline problems.
“We haven’t had our 10 guys together in a game all season long. It’s been hard. We don’t know how good we could be,” Burns added.
The team missed second-leading scorer Jermichal Harris for the first two weeks and also has had to deal with injuries to Jeremy Piper and Marcus Harris.
Piper has returned to the team while Harris’ status for the rest of the season is in doubt due to a knee injury. Another contributor, Kionte Harris, is unlikely to return to the team this season.
Despite the bumps, Burns feels confident in his squad going into the final three regular season games.
“We’ve been up and down. We are trying to peak at the right time. I thought we didn’t shoot well at the county tournament. Since then we have gotten better from the perimeter. Teams were trying to make us shoot from the outside. We hit some shots against Curry. When we do that, it makes it easier on Brodrick (Sanders) underneath,” said Burns, whose team placed third in the Walker County Tournament.
“For our guys to overcome everything we’ve gone through speaks volumes of their character,” he said.
Walker transfer Brandon Sims leads Parrish in scoring at 17 points per game while Jermichael Harris comes in at 16 points per game. Reginald Harris is third at 13 points per game followed by Sanders, who averages 11 points and nine rebounds a game.
If Parrish is to make a return trip to the regional tournament, the Tornadoes have their work cut out.
At the area tournament, Parrish will likely run into top-ranked Pickens County. The Tornadoes have lost to Pickens by double digits both times this season.
“Of course we want to make it to Birmingham and contend for a state championship. We have the athletes to do that. Unfortunately, Pickens County is in our area. The good thing about that is that you can use it as a measuring stick. We know how good we have to be to beat them. Every day we come to practice trying to get to that point. We believe we can get there,” Burns said. “I think we can play with Pickens. We just have to beat them once.”
Pickens County won the 1A state championship last year and the 2A state title in 2010.
If the Tornadoes take second in the area, the team will have to travel in the sub-region round.
Until then, Burns has a chance to add a few more wins to the first 100 this week. Parrish hosts Jefferson Christian on Tuesday as well as Sipsey Valley on Thursday.
The regular-season closes out at Cordova on Friday.
The area tournament begins Feb. 7 at Pickens County.