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Sparta High School to Retire Albrecht’s Jersey Number

January 13, 2012

St. Louis Community College men's basketball coach Randy Albrecht is accustomed to receiving honors as a head coach at the collegiate level.

It’s been a while since he was honored as a player.

But that is exactly what will happen tonight. In recognition of Albrecht's coaching achievements, including his 700th career victory at STLCC, Albrecht’s high school No. 35 will be retired at Sparta High School in Illinois. This will be Sparta’s first jersey retirement.

“I was excited about it, because they’ve never retired a number,” Albrecht said. “To be the only retired number from a high school, I mean, it’s not like Sparta is a new school. It’s been there a long time.”

When Albrecht was 10 years old, his family moved directly across the street from the high school. From there, he became the ultimate follower of all things Sparta athletics. Whether it was baseball, basketball or football, a young Albrecht was almost certain to be in attendance.

Fifty years removed from his days as an athlete, Albrecht still has fond and vivid memories of his days with the Bulldogs.

Albrecht played alongside teammates who went on to play collegiately at Mississippi State and Louisiana State. As a senior, the Bulldogs won the first-ever conference championship in Sparta’s history.

“That’s probably a prouder moment, playing with the guys I played with, to win that championship, than to get my number retired,” he said. “It’s something I never anticipated. There are no jerseys hanging in the Sparta gym, so I never thought about them retiring a number. It’s not like the Boston Celtics.”

While Albrecht is being honored, his St. Louis Community College team will be hosting Webster University’s junior varsity team. Gametime is 7 p.m. in the gymnasium at the Forest Park. The Archers will be coached by assistant coaches Ken Libby and Al Yanko. Albrecht said it won’t hurt for his players to see a different face on the sideline.

“Something could always happen. I’ve only missed three or four games in my coaching career,” he said. “If something were to happen, then it’s a good experience for the players to have someone else coach them in a game, and it’s a good experience for (Libby), because if he had to do it in more meaningful games down the line, it’s a positive thing.”