Joann Sparks: A Timeless Leader

Story by: Brian Vaca

Joann Sparks was a graduate of East Texas State College in Commerce, she taught PE, health, physical science and coached girls’ basketball and track. As well as Boys and Girls cross country. As you can see she was a very busy woman. The tournament “Shoot Out” is held every year in honor of her contributions to the athletic department here at Spring Hill.

“Joann Sparks was more than a teacher and a coach,” Teacher Jordan Alford said, “but a woman who inspired and impacted students and athletes in ways beyond the classroom and athletic arena, but in life.”

Joann Sparks is an inspiration to all people, girls and boys, black or white. In 1990, Sparks was nominated for the Lifetime Achievement Award by the Texas Girls Coaches Association.

“She laid the foundation of success,” Alford said, “which still holds as the motto for all Lady Panthers.”

Coach Sparks started the girls cross country program in 1977 and the boys in 1983. The combined programs won 19 district championships, two regional championships, and sent numerous individuals to state meets. Even today Joann is still making a difference in peoples’ lives.

“Coach Sparks’ legacy is still alive,” Alford said, “through the everyday lives of each Spring Hill Lady Panther.”

In 1975-76 the girls basketball team finished the season with a 26-2 record, advancing to the state tournament. At the time this was definitely something nobody expected from a Spring Hill basketball team.

Joann Sparks revolutionary impact is still felt here at Spring Hill, many years later. A woman who stood out and faced on adversity, Joann sparks was a strong, confident leader, that made an everlasting impact on the Panthers culture here at Spring Hill.