As a player, Heather Mayes Powell achieved just about every accolade possible. She was a big part of the Fyffe Red Devils team that won 3 state championships, winning Alabama’s Miss Basketball award in the process.
She went on to play college softball at Snead and then college basketball and volleyball at Jacksonville State University. She'd started her college career playing volleyball and basketball at Western Kentucky University.
As a coach, she’s seen a lot of success too, leading Plainview to its first ever DeKalb County championship and 3 Elite 8s at Jacksonville.
Now she’s a Guntersville Wildcat, charged with rebuilding the girls basketball program at GHS.
Powell won’t talk much about any of her past achievements. You have to dig deep to get into that. She prefers to talk about the teams she has been a part of, the blessings she has received and the relationships she has enjoyed.
She particularly enjoys how some of her former players are now coaches, nurses and other professionals giving back to their communities.
“God has poured out his blessings on me,” she said.
She started her coaching career as a volleyball coach at Sylvania. She then coached volleyball and basketball 2 years at Susan Moore in Blount County.
The opportunity came along after that to coach at a brand new high school, Paul Bryant in Tuscaloosa, in its very first year.
“We’re a big Alabama family, so it was great,” she said. “Paul Bryant Jr. was around for the dedication of the school. Ken Stabler came by as well as some other former Alabama players. It was a lot of fun.”
She was called home to DeKalb County after that, where she coached at Plainview for 14 seasons.
“My dad was my coach when I was younger and he was on the bench with me for all my games early on there,” Powell said. “My grandpa was a small school principal and basketball coach. It just felt right to come back to Plainview.”
Why Guntersville now?
“Guntersville is a special place,” Powell said. “My husband and I had talked about places we might like to go if we ever got the opportunity. Guntersville was one of those. We love the community. We love the lake.”
The Powells live in Grove Oak, in the Buck's Pocket area, only about 300 yards from the Marshall County line.
Powell was also familiar with the athletic program at Guntersville High.
“I had a cousin who played football at Guntersville High,” she said. “I played AAU ball with some Guntersville players.”
She said she knows the community supports its sports programs and wants them to be the best. Having that backing is important to her.
“The community wants a good program and I will do all I can to help it have a good program,” Powell said.
She plans to meet with the girls and assess the program, perhaps try to recruit a few more players from the student body.
“We’re going to talk about what it means to be a Guntersville Wildcat,” she said. “We’re going to pour ourselves into it. We’re going to talk about how we don’t let other people dictate who we are. We dictate who we are. It will be hard work, but we want the girls to see it’s worth it.”
She said basketball provides a great platform to teach students about life and she’s looking forward to the challenges ahead.
The Powells have 3 children who will be enrolling in the Guntersville schools – Hadlee, a 6th grader; Sy, a 3rd grader; and Wyatt, a kindergartener.
“I want to thank the school system for what they’ve already done for us,” Powell said. “I’ve never been through a more professional interview process.”