Monday’s track event was special

Published 2:15 pm Tuesday, November 23, 2010

Monday night I had the pleasure and privilege of covering a very special event at the Bainbridge High School cafeteria.

It was the ring ceremony for Coach Larry Cosby’s 2010 State Class AAAA champion Bainbridge High School Bearcats track team.

What made the night so special was the special people who were being honored. In addition to the fine young track athletes, I’m talking about Coach Cosby, Lady Cats head track Coach Tandria Cox Phillips and long-time time track Coach Larry Clark, who have all built the Bearcats’ strong track program through the years.

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Larry Clark is as good a role model for young people in Bainbridge and Decatur County as you will find anywhere. Coach Cosby and Coach Cox Phillips were both coached by him and carry on the same strong work ethic and high moral values he taught them.

As principal at Jones-Wheat Elementary School, Coach Clark continues to mentor young people and lead them in the right direction.

One of his former students, Auburn University Tigers All-American hurdler Ty Akins, was on hand Monday night for all the festivities.

Larry Clark has gotten a lot of very deserved recognition for all his positive influence on young people.

Last spring the first Larry Clark Invitational Track Meet was held at the new Bainbridge High School track.

On Thursday, Dec. 9 he will be grand marshal of the annual Bainbridge Christmas parade.

Larry and I go back a long way. He was a starting defensive back for Coach J.B. Roland’s 1970 Bainbridge High School Bearcats, the first Bearcats football team I covered.

At the conclusion of that season, I took a picture of Clark and did a story when he signed a football scholarship with Atlanta’s Morehouse College.

Larry Clark is an outstanding coach and educator, but he is an even better person. Bainbridge, Decatur County and cities and counties throughout the country need more role models like Larry Clark. I am honored to call him my friend.

With Thanksgiving coming up Thursday I would just like to wish Larry Clark and all my other fine news sources along the sports beat a wonderful day.

I also want to thank the young athletes in all local sports for allowing me to cover a small portion of their young lives.

I feel I have been blessed to have had the opportunity to cover such fine young people for so many years.

I also feel blessed to have a dear friend like Billy Simmons Jr., who often is by my side when I am covering local sports events.

Billy is an inspiration to me and many other citizens of Bainbridge and Decatur County.

I definitely have a lot to be thankful for tomorrow and I hope all my friends and news sources have a happy and blessed Thanksgiving.