The Alabama Black Belt Adventures Association this week is announce that former Auburn University Coach Joe Whitt and Selma advocate Fran Pearce have been added to its board of trustees.
The Alabama Black Belt Adventures Association is a non profit organization dedicated to promoting outdoor recreation and tourism in Alabama’s 23-county Black Belt region. According to the group, such activities bring the state about $1 billion in economic impact each year.
ALBBAA Founder and board President Thomas Harris said Whitt and Pearce will bring value to advance the organization’s mission.
“We are extremely pleased that these two Black Belt enthusiasts are joining the board,” Harris said in a press release. “I have no doubt that the addition of Coach Joe Whitt and Mrs. Fran Pearce will enhance our ability to promote the incredible recreational opportunities as well as the thriving arts scene that can both be found all across the region.”’
Whitt played football at Alabama State University where he earned his undergraduate and master’s degrees. Following a short stint coaching high school football,Whitt joined the staff at Auburn University where he was a part of six SEC titles, two undefeated seasons and coached in 20 bowl games before retiring from coaching in 2005.
“The economic impact related to hunting, fishing, field-trialing and tourism contributes to the Black Belt economy in a major way,” Whitt said. “There is nothing I enjoy more than watching bird dogs work in the areas around Union Springs – the Field Trial Capital of the World – and I am excited to join the board and help promote this beautiful area of our state to others.”
Fran Pearce is a lifelong resident of Dallas County and an ardent supporter of Selma and the Dallas County area. She currently serves as a Selma Charity League Sustainer, board member of ArtsRevive, board member of Leadership Selma Dallas County and is a graduate of Leadership Alabama. The fifth generation from her family to live on the farm in Browns, she and her late husband David transitioned the once thriving cattle farm into one of the state’s first U.S. Farm Raised Catfish Farms. Pearce Catfish Farms was recognized as Alabama’s Farm of Distinction in 1994. T
“I am a firm believer that creative thinking and art brings people together, puts life back into historical structures and builds community,” said Pearce. “The greater Selma area, and the Black Belt region as a whole, is full of creative and artistic people that are passionate about their communities. I am looking forward to being a part of this board and continuing to promote the region as a multifaceted destination.”
Whitt and Pearce join current board members Thomas Harris (President), Tim Gothard (Treasurer), Freddy Padilla (Secretary), Alabama Department of Conservation and Natural Resources Commissioner Chris Blankenship, and Greenville Mayor Dexter McClendon.
The Black Belt includes Barbour, Bullock, Butler, Choctaw, Clarke, Conecuh, Crenshaw, Dallas, Greene, Hale, Lee, Lowndes, Macon, Marengo, Monroe, Montgomery, Perry, Pickens, Pike, Russell, Sumter, Tuscaloosa and Wilcox counties.