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Words of Wood- The Buc$ $tart & $top Here

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athletic office

The Buc$ $tart & $top Here

                                           By Wayne Wood
   There are 3 ladies in the Hoover High School Athletic Office who are not only behind the scenes. They are often beside, in the middle, in front & after the scenes of athletic happenings for the Bucs. These 3 ladies are Madge Irish, Carol Steinert & JeNorri Armstead.
   When Hoover High School first opened in 1994, it was in the pioneering stage of an athletic operation which was still growing & developing. During the Berry High School days, Athletic Director Bob Finley usually handled all athletic matters from his office desk occasionally getting help from a main office secretary, a school counselor, administrator or whoever could help in whatever way needed.
   However, athletic requirements & expectations were becoming more unique & complex from a variety of avenues especially by the 1990’s for high schools across the state & nation. By 1995, Gerald Gann had become the athletic director & head football coach. It was about this time that Pam Phifer was the athletic secretary & bookkeeper.
   Eventually, Faye Street & Susan Wilson became athletic secretaries handling an expanding number of duties & responsibilities. Both had children go through the Hoover School System & engaging in athletic activities for the Bucs. I was fond of both of them & they were always so helpful to the requests of so many of us. There were other helpers to be sure but these helped set the standard early on.
   After Coach Gann left, Ron Swann took over the duties of athletic director for a time & was followed by Jerry Browning. Eventually, Myra Miles took over for Jerry at a difficult time. Myra gave great leadership during her tenure & eventually retired turning over the athletic department leadership to Andy Urban & his assistant Lisa Bridgman.
   Because Hoover High School has grown in attendance through the years & offers so many sports activities to boy & girl student/athletes, one can understand the need for expansion, cooperation & efficiency. Back in the Berry High Buc days of the 1960’s through the mid-1990’s, it was widely accepted by many across the state that the athletic program was ahead of its time in many ways. Hoover still maintains that standard of excellence today in trying to keep the bar high.
   Back to the 3 ladies in the original paragraph. Madge is the veteran of the group & I’ll let each explain their role with Carol & JeNorri following.
   Madge: “My main responsibility in the Hoover High School athletic office is that of accounts receivable bookkeeper. I process funds from gate/admissions, online fees, entry fees, spirit packs & all booster club fees/fundraisers for deposit. I also reconcile the monthly bank statement & do the compilation on the monthly financial reports due to the Hoover Board of Education & Mr. Don Hulin-our head principal.”
   “My day is spent assisting the athletic director, assistant athletic director, coaches & booster club officers as needed & ensuring that all Hoover High School athletic funds are deposited in a timely manner. During football season I enlist gate workers for home games, prepare ticket boxes, parking ticket sale materials & work the pass gate on game day. Those are long but fun days & I enjoy being a part of the festivities. Carol & I often share duties working the gate for home basketball games & playoff games hosted at HHS venues.”
   “After graduating from Auburn University, I was a special education teacher for 5 years in the Phenix City, Alabama school system near my hometown of Columbus, Georgia. I moved back to Auburn after my wedding & commuted there for the last 4 years. We moved to Mobile after my husband, Doug, graduated from Auburn. I was blessed to stay at home to raise our 3 children for many years following when we moved to Hoover in 1984. I worked a couple of part-time jobs & was very active in the Hoover PTA/PTSO/HPTC organization over those years until returning to full time work here at Hoover High Athletics in May of 2001.”
   “Doug & I will celebrate 40 years of marriage this coming August. We have 3 adult children, 2 are married & we have 2 grandsons. Andrew is married to Jeanell & they have one son,Declan-16 months. Elizabeth is married to  Malcolm and they have a son named MacGregor. Daniel is 30 & single. They all live in Hoover & work in the Birmingham area.”
   “One of the best aspects of my job is I have met many wonderful coaches, parents, administrators, student/athletes, co-workers & a few celebrities during the last 16 years. I love my job & the people I work with. Seeing the folks each day as they drop by to get their morning coffee & a snack or peppermint, catching up on how the families are doing, having the children drop by to say hello, sharing laugh or even sad times developing those relationships are very rewarding. We laugh together, cry together & share good times & bad. It is good to be a part of the Buc Family.”
   Carol: “I have worked for Hoover High School for the past 23 years & in the athletic office as a bookkeeper since 2012. Prior to working for Hoover City Schools, I was employed at Merrill Lynch. I currently work part-time for Birmingham-Southern College as the Men’s & Women’s assistant golf coach.”
   “I graduated from the University of Alabama in 1980, where I was a member of the Women’s Golf Team from 1976-1980. I have 3 grown children, Brian (33) married to Ashley Honeycutt Steinert (Hoover High graduate) & they have 2 children, Lilliana (6) & Avery (3) & live in Huntsville where Brian is an engineer for NASA. Eric (30) is married to Katie Best Steinert & lives in Colorado where he teaches Science & coaches boys basketball. Shannon (25) is married to Rob Friedlein & is an English teacher & basketball coach at James Clemens High School in Huntsville. (Shannon was a starting member of the Hoover Lady Bucs Basketball state title team a few years ago & played at the University of Alabama/Huntsville). All 3 children were college athletes, so most of our lives have revolved around sports.”
   “Our typical day in the athletic office is very busy. My job focuses mainly on the athletic department finances, paying bills & managing the school credit cards. I have daily interaction with parents that are officers in the 16 booster clubs that represent each sport. I am in constant contact with all of our head coaches to be sure all are following the policies of Hoover City Schools.”
   “We do enjoy many of our coaches stopping by in the morning to grab a cup of coffee before going off to class & catching up on how their spouses & children are doing. We feel like our ‘coaching world’ is a big family & we enjoy doing things together outside of work occasionally. I play golf with Coach Burkett & Coach Holmes which is a lot of fun!”
   JeNorri & her husband, Winslow Armstead, are both products & graduates of Hoover High School from the late 1990’s. JeNorri graduated in 1997. Winslow played football for the bucs & later walked on at Alabama as a linebacker. They have 3 children” Canon (12), Calista (goes by Cali-age 10) & Caeten (8).
   JeNorri graduated from the University of Alabama in 2001 with a Bachelor’s Degree in Marketing & a Minor in Public Relations. She worked with Athletes in Action-a division of Campus Crusade for Christ for about a year at the University of Alabama. After working at First Commercial Bank, JeNorri came home to Hoover High School in early 2008 as a secretary for the assistant principals & then moved to the athletic office after a few years.
   JeNorri is usually the first sweet face a person sees when they first enter the Buc athletic office. She field most phone calls, emails, etc. and has to have a sense of humor & extreme patience in some cases depending on the variety & volume of them all at times & is faithful about answering them all in a timely fashion.
   Greeting coaches who come in for their coffee or snacks & talking with them about their weekends, families, etc. is a joy to JeNorri as it is with Madge & Carol. However, there are times when Madge & Carol have to be intently busy with business numbers, facts, figures, etc. in their enclosed office as it should be. Therefore, JeNorri has the extra role of having to be the constant little public relations lady 100% of the time.
   She is the first person to see when students come by to drop off their physical forms, check on their paperwork to see what items they might be missing & she works on checking online forms that have been completed to work on eligibility. JeNorri also lets the coaches know what athletes are still needing to complete paperwork (normally a complex process).
   The following is an insight from retired Buc athletic director Myra Miles:
“As an athletic director, we are responsible for hiring the best person to fit the opening. The one hire that I know Don Hulin & I got right was the day we hired JeNorri Armstead as our athletic department secretary!!”
   “JeNorri, as well as Madge & Carol, represent the HHS athletic department with professionalism & class. When bringing someone in my office to interview for a position, introducing this potential employee to our ladies running the office was always a highlight! That potential hire ALWAYS walked away impressed with JeNorri, Madge & Carol. Such kindness from the 3 Amigos!”
   “JeNorri has recently taken a job with the Samford University Athletic Department & I am so happy for her. Oh, I am sad for HHS athletics & HHS but this opportunity is golden for her & her family.”
   “JeNorri is the one person that connects with kids, coaches, parents, administrators & even the media in a way like no one else can. I have always said that JeNorri is the driver of the HHS Athletics Ship-the Buccaneer Caravel. Now she will be rewarded for her loyalty, love, hard work & for that sweet smile by moving on to a very respected college position. I am very thankful for JeNorri Armstead!”
   Yes, we as the Buc Nation are all very thankful for those who serve our students, coaches & faculty at Hoover High School. They are truly a force serving as the Buc$ $tart & $top and I’m not talking about money. I talking about Success the Right Way. GO BUCS!
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