Outstanding track teams are “like family”

Published 2:14 pm Monday, May 17, 2010

Congratulations to Coach Larry Cosby and his State Class AAAA champion Bainbridge High School Bearcats track team.

BHS track has three of the finest coaches and high-caliber people I have ever had the opportunity to know and cover. First, Jones-Wheat Elementary School principal and long time highly successful Bearcats head track coach Dr. Larry Clark. Also, Bearcats head track coach Cosby, who ran track for Clark and who he hand picked to come home and be his successor. Third Lady Cats head track coach Tandria Phillips.

After watching the Bearcats nail down the championship, their first State AAAA track title, Saturday night in Jefferson, Clark told sports writer Mike Phillips of The Albany Herald that he knew it would take everybody to win it.

Email newsletter signup

Cosby agreed, describing it like a puzzle that all fit together.

“It’s like we had a piece here and a piece there, and when they all came together it made a puzzle that was a state championship,” the Bearcats head coach told the Herald.

Coach Phillips, whose region champion Lady Cats track team finished a strong seventh at a 48-team at the girls’ state track meet in Albany, talked to sports writer Phillips about the family atmosphere her Lady Cats, Dr. Clark and Coach Cosby’s Bearcats have.

“This is like a family,” the Lady Cats coach said. “The track teams and coaches are so close.”

During my 40 years as sports editor of this fine newspaper, I have had the privilege of covering three state champion athletic teams.

The first was Decatur County School Superintendent Ralph Jones’s 1982 Bearcats’ State Class AAA champion football team and the second was Coach Cosby’s 2010 State Class AAAA champion track team.

Both teams had a lot of the same qualities, like character, hard work, dedication and a strong positive attitude.

I go back a long way with Dr. Clark, who was a starting defensive back on the first Bearcats football team I covered in the fall of 1970. He is one of the finest men and role models we have in Bainbridge and Decatur County.

I took a picture and wrote a story when he signed a football scholarship with Atlanta’s Morehouse College.

I think it is fitting that the Bearcats first State Class AAAA track championship came the same year that the first Dr. Larry Clark Invitational Track Meet took place at the new Bainbridge High School Track.

Dr. Clark has meant so much to so many student athletes through the years. In addition to being a great role model, he is an outstanding principal and leader.

His dedication and hard work through the years is the reason we have such a strong track program.

He is a true leader of young people, and I couldn’t be happier for him Coach Cosby and Coach Phillips.