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Moon, McCullough provide leadership

Last week in this column, I talked about how instrumental teamwork was in the great seasons the Region 1AAAA champion Bainbridge High School Lady Cats and Bearcats basketball teams had in 2008-2009.

This week—after the teams dropped two hard-fought state Class AAAA Final Four round games to the Southwest DeKalb High School Lady Panthers, who went on to defeat Fayette County in the state Class AAAA girls championship game, and the Tucker High School Tigers, who went on to lose and finish second to Miller Grove in the state Class AAAA boys championship game at the Gwinnett Arena—I’d like to talk about leadership.

The leadership started at the top. It was provided by two very special people, Lady Cats head coach Latreisha Moon and Bearcats head coach Rickey McCullough.

Coach Moon and coach McCullough are not only outstanding coaches with outstanding basketball backgrounds, they are also great role models for the young ladies and young men they lead.

An All-Conference performer for the Lurleen B. Wallace Community College Saints in Andalusia, Ala., and the Alabama A&M University Lady Bulldogs in Normal, Ala., the Lady Cats coach led the nation in rebounding with 17 a game as a senior All-American in 1998. She also averaged 14 points a game her senior year.

From 1998 to 2000, coach Moon played professional basketball for the Swat team in Finland.

Before coming to Bainbridge, she spent two seasons as head girls coach at Malone, Fla., High School where she had an impressive 48-16 record, going 26-6 in 2003-2004 and 22-10 in 2004-2005. She was Region 1AAAA coach of the year with the Lady Cats in 2006-2007.

Bearcats head coach Rickey McCullough’s record has also been extremely impressive. He has led young men to outstanding basketball seasons for 33 years.

This season, during the Christmas holidays, he led the Bearcats to the Maclay High School Holiday Hoops Tournament championship in Tallahassee, Fla.

During an outstanding 26-year career as head coach at Chipley, Fla., High School, coach McCullough posted an outstanding 599-229 record while leading his teams to 20 district championships and 15 regional championships.

Coach McCullough was Florida Athletic Coaches Association (FACA) District coach of the year five times and Panhandle Athletic Conference coach of the year 10 times.

He was FACA coach of the year and Florida Dairy Farmers state of Florida coach of the year in 2002. He was assistant North Florida All-Star coach in 2008 and North Florida All-Star head coach in 2003.

You don’t accomplish the great things the Lady Cats and Bearcats accomplished this season without great leaders, and we have two of the best.