Roosevelt Sanders, legendary Central boys’ basketball coach, dies aged 84

Roosevelt Sanders, former Central Boys basketball coach, passed away this weekend, Sanders’ chief assistant Robey Butler confirmed to Tuscaloosa News.

Sanders, 84, coached Central to 699 wins, back-to-back AHSAA state championships in 1990 and ’91, and four Final Four appearances.

He is in the Alabama High School Sports Hall of Fame and the namesake of Central’s gym.

Central had an 86-game home winning streak under Sanders. The state championships were part of a 47-game winning streak. Central won 81.5% of Sanders coached games.

Sanders was the coach when Central was formed in 1979 with a combination of predominantly Black Druid High and predominantly white Tuscaloosa High. In the school’s first season, Central went 29-1, losing only in the postseason.

“It was intense at the beginning because everything was pretty new at the time, but I think sports kept bringing the school together,” Butler said. “It was a bond of everything. Besides, it didn’t hurt that the first football team went 9-1 and the first basketball team went 29-0. The baseball team was really good.”

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