Lowndes Academy’s Gothard inducted to AISA Hall of Fame

Published 6:28 pm Tuesday, October 29, 2013

By Fred Guarino
The Lowndes Signal

The Alabama Independent School Association’s ninth class of inductees for the its Hall of Fame Monday night included Preston Gothard of Lowndes Academy.

The 2013 Hall of Fame Banquet and Induction Ceremonies were held at the Renaissance Hotel in Montgomery.

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Gothard is a 1980 graduate of Lowndes Academy who was an outstanding basketball, football and baseball player who had about 50 offers from small colleges to play basketball, said current Lowndes Academy Headmaster Darrell Self. He said Gothard decided, however, to walk on and play football for Bear Bryant at the University of Alabama.

He also went on to play for the Pittsburgh Steelers and was an outstanding tight end.

Self said he coached against Gothard in football and basketball at the time when Gothard played for the Rebels.

He said Gothard’s family was connected to Lowndes County and Gothard’s sister, Pam Kilpatrick, teaches fourth grade at Lowndes Academy today.

“He’s just an outstanding representative of Lowndes Academy,” Self said.

Gothard said he has been blessed over the years and been able to do a lot of things and receive a lot of accolades. But he said “The most special ones are the ones that are given to you by your home folk… when you can share it in front of your family and all of your friends you grew up with.”

He said the AISA Hall of Fame is more based on academics and that he is only the second inductee into the AISA Hall of Fame to be inducted as an athlete.

Gothard’s children attended Macon-East where he said he served on every committee, the board of trustees, coached Pee Wee and Termite football, helped with the junior high, parked cars and flipped hamburgers just like “all the Harrells have done at Lowndes Academy for years.”

Gothard recalled playing football for Lowndes Academy under head football coach Wayne Grant in 1978. He said Hooper had worn the Rebels out for five or years. But, “We beat Hooper that year. So, that was just a very special memory.”

Alabama football fans may recall Gothard caught a touchdown pass against Penn State that was not allowed, which has been called the number four worst call in the history of collegiate football.

Gothard makes his home in the Pike Road area is president of Gothard Well Drilling Inc.

According to the AISA, the Hall of Fame started in 2000, and the 13 inductees joined 81 other individuals in receiving the honor.

The Hall of Fame was designed and developed for the sole purpose of honoring and recognizing those individuals who have made significant contributions to their schools and/or the Association.

Members of the Class of 2013 are: Sara Bazzle, Alabama Independent School Association; David Brantley, Fort Dale Academy; Preston Gothard, Lowndes Academy; Patricia “Patty” Kelley, Abbeville Christian Academy; Frank Lamar, Autauga Academy; Jesse Little, Marengo Academy; Glynn Lott, Macon East Academy; Nancy McLeod, Lee-Scott Academy; John Meals, Lee-Scott Academy; Don Oswald, Alabama Independent School Association; Paul Parham II, Jackson Academy; Virginia Ransom, The Lakeside School; and Martha Walker, Escambia Academy.

The AISA reports the Hall of Fame Selection Committee consisted of past and present AISA officials at the state level as well as headmasters, educators, athletic directors, school boosters, and media members.

The AISA Hall of Fame is open to both academic and athletic standouts as well as lay people who have made contributions either at the local level or the state level.

The inductees have spent a large portion of their lives supporting the institutions that have made up the Alabama Independent School Association during its 40 plus years of existence.