Sports programs in good shape

Published 2:34 pm Tuesday, July 14, 2009

After chatting with Bainbridge High School Bearcats head football coach and Decatur County School System athletic director Ed Pilcher and long time Bearcats head track coach Dr. Larry Clark last week, I am more and more convinced that there are many more good things to come in our high school and middle school athletic programs.

While Pilcher’s number one priority is football, as it should be, he is also supportive of all other BHS and Bainbridge Middle School sports teams. The fact that BHS was able to win the All Sports Trophy in the nine team Region 1AAAA in his first year as athletic director is a testimony to that.

I have no doubt that coach Pilcher and his staff are going to produce good things on the gridiron. He has won five state championships at Thomas County Central High School and Bearcats offensive coordinator Leonard Guyton quarterbacked two of those teams, but other sports will also prosper under his leadership as athletic director.

As athletic director, he is also dedicated to building a strong overall athletic program. I remember Bearcats tight ends coach and head golf coach Tom Wheeler telling me how much coach Pilcher encouraged him to practice his golf teams hard. Those practices paid off as the Lady Cats and Bearcats golf teams both finished second in Region 1AAAA play. The points they earned from those finishes proved very important in BHS’s run to the All Sports Trophy.

The second place finishes by coach Keith Midler’s Lady Cats and Bearcats swim teams and coach Tandria Phillips Lady Cats track team were also very instrumental in the All Sports Trophy race.

Coupled with the Region 1AAAA championships won by coach Mandi O’Mara’s Lady Cats and Bearcats cross country teams, Coach Nikki Shockley’s Lady Cats tennis team, coach Larry Cosby’s Bearcats track team, coach Latreisha Moon’s Lady Cats basketball team and coach Rickey McCullough’s Bearcats basketball team, BHS was able to nail down the All Sports championship.

Both basketball teams went on to the State Class AAAA Final Four.

I am confident that under coach Pilcher’s leadership, the Bearcats and Lady Cats sports teams will continue to be solid and strong. With the solid coaches we have leading our young athletes in every sport, it can be nothing else.

I enjoy sports at all levels, but high school sports are by far my favorite. High school athlete are the only true amateur athletes left in this country.

Even the Olympics, which were originally intended to be a purely amateur event, have become almost totally professional with National Basketball Association players playing in the summer Olympics and National Hockey League players playing in the winter Olympics.

High school athletes are not making six figure and million dollar salaries for their efforts and they are not playing on full college athletic scholarships.

They are just young men and young ladies playing for the love of the games and school pride. That is amateur sports in its purest form.

I wish all of our Bearcats and Lady Cats teams nothing but the best in the coming school year. I know they will make us all proud.