Role models lead state champions

Published 8:30 pm Tuesday, January 25, 2011

Role models are very important in the character development of young people today.

On Saturday night, between basketball games featuring the Bainbridge High School Lady Cats and Bearcats and Cairo High School Syrupmaids and Syrupmakers, three of the best local role models I know were honored, along with their athletes.

One of the role models I’m talking about are Larry Cosby, head coach of the 2010 Region 1AAAA and State Class AAAA champion Bainbridge High School Bearcats track and field team.

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The second is Larry Clark, long-time BHS track and field coach who led them to numerous region championsips, laid the foundation for the school’s strong track and field program, and remains involved in it today.

The third strong local role model I’m referring to is Tandria Phillips, coach of the Lady Cats track and field team. She also assists with the boys’ team.

Coach Clark, who, along with former Bearcats head football coach Spencer “Onion” Davis, former Auburn University Tigers All-American defensive lineman Ken Rice and former major league baseball player Ernie Riles, will be a part of the first class to be inducted into the Decatur County Sports Hall of Fame, Saturday, Feb. 26 at the Kirbo Center. Clark has been a role model to many, including coach Cosby and coach Phillips.

The Bearcats track and field team’s 2010 accomplishments were truly outstanding and I feel honored to have had the opportunity to cover and right about many of them.

Next week, they will begin preparing for the 2011 track and field season. While I’m not going to predict how well they will do, I will guarantee you one thing. No other group of athletes and coaches will work any harder or set their goals any higher.

Sports serves as a great character builder for young people.

While many may not go on to continue their athletic careers at the college or professional levels, the discipline and work ethic they learn during their high school sports careers will serve them well in whatever they choose to do in their future lives.

In covering and talking to athletes through the years, most of them list their top role models as their parents, but a close second is their coaches.

I congratulate coach Cosby, coach Clark and coach Phillips on being such great role models for so many young people and for leading our track and field athletes to such great heights.

They are an asset, not only to Bainbridge High School, but also to Bainbridge and Decatur County.

Saturday night was truly a special night in their lives and the lives of their athletes.