The NAAPS Hall of Fame committee announced today that Coach Allen Ponder would be inducted as the seventh member of the Class of 2019.
The NAAPS Hall of Fame is a division of the National Athletic Association of Private Schools and was formed to recognize people who have made significant contributions to private school athletics and its advancement.
Coach Ponder is a graduate of Lee-Scott Academy in Auburn, Alabama where he excelled as an athlete. In 2002, he became the first player from the AISA to be named Mr. Baseball for the state of Alabama. He would sign at the University of Alabama where he played for two seasons. During his time at Alabama, he earned SEC Pitcher of the Week honors as a freshman after pitching five shutout innings against second-ranked Rice and was a member of the 2005 SEC Championship Team.
After battling shoulder issues, Ponder transferred to Auburn-Montgomery where he became an All-Conference, All-Region and Gold Glove infielder. In 2018, he was inducted into the AUM Hall of Fame.
The Pittsburgh Pirates drafted Coach Ponder as a pitcher in the 2008 MLB Draft. He would pitch one season with the State College Spikes of the New York-Pennsylvania League before returning to the University of Alabama to finish his degree.
Although his playing career had ended, his impact on private school athletics was far from over. Coach Ponder has coached at Lee-Scott (Auburn, AL), The Lakeside School (Eufaula, AL) and Pike Liberal Arts Schools (Troy, AL).
2018 was a big year for Coach Ponder as he led the Pike Liberal Art Patriots to a 2018 AISA state championship and NAAPS Division III National Championship while also being named NAAPS Division III National Coach of the Year.
In all, Coach Ponder has earned seven AISA state championship as either a player or a coach.