Russellville High School honors alum Luther Tiggs with special night of basketball
Russellville High School 1983 graduate Luther Tiggs was honored in a celebration during the halftime of the varsity boys’ basketball game Jan. 30 at the Russellville Middle School gym.
“Luther Tiggs Night” featured the standout guard from the 1982 Class 3A state championship team and included many of his former RHS teammates, coaches and administrators.
Tiggs was a two-time high school All-American playing for Russellville head coach Jack Tucker. After his playing days were over at RHS, Tiggs then played for the University of Cincinnati Bearcats and later transferred to the University of North Alabama. It was at UNA where he became the school’s all-time assists leader in a game, season and career. This past fall, Tiggs was elected to the UNA Sports Hall of Fame.
After his playing days were over, Tiggs’ spent many years as a head coach, winning more than 400 games and was also a teacher and administrator around the Huntsville area. Tiggs retired last May.
“I’m so appreciative for the opportunity with Dr. Madden, Dr. Grimes and the city of Russellville just bringing me back and embracing me,” Tiggs said. “I think about all of the memories that I had with my teammates playing here in Russellville and growing up.
“Starting out, I never thought this was possible. You don’t come up thinking that you’re going into the hall of fame or you’ll be recognized by your community for your achievements or anything of that nature. You just want to go out and be the best version of yourself and just try to be successful.
“I’m honored and I’m grateful for this opportunity. There’s no way any of this is possible without community support and the support of my family, friends and loved ones. To the city of Russellville embracing me and to all my teammates that made all of this possible, I couldn’t thank them enough.”
Those in attendance were able to experience a trip down memory lane filled with many photos and videos of Tiggs’ RHS teammates sharing kind words and a few laughs. Tiggs also took the microphone for a heartfelt thank you, after which RHS principal Dr. Jeremy Madden and Russellville City Schools superintendent Dr. Heath Grimes presented him with a plaque and photo of the ’82 state championship team.
“I felt like it was time we got him back here and recognized him as a way to say thank you,” Madden shared. “Thank you for helping us achieve the only state basketball title that we’ve ever had in school history, thank you for taking this school with you to all those places, including Cincinnati and Florence.
“Luther is a big deal in this state when it comes to basketball. He is a huge part of the Alabama high school basketball scene. He’s helping young coaches today, and he has also helped a lot of young athletes for the last 25 years.
“I would say he’s the best player in the history of this program and to see him here tonight to get his well-overdue recognition and to see the people cheer for him and to give him a chance to speak is special for me.”
The current RHS team and coaches also had the chance to get some inspiration from Tiggs and his championship winning teammates.
“It’s special,” Russellville head coach Patrick Odom said. “State championships are hard, and that’s the one we have in our basketball history. To have those guys back and to have a guy like Luther who is obviously a legend speak to our team this evening before the game is special.
“What those guys did is worthy of a night like tonight. It was really great to see everything and how it played out.”