Remembering the great Bainbridge athletes I’ve covered over the years

Published 6:15 pm Friday, January 23, 2015

While I am as big a college and professional sports follower and fan as anybody, high school sports is really my number one passion.
I have been covering Bainbridge High School Bearcats and Lady Cats sports teams for 44 years and I have covered children and probably even some grand children of players I originally covered in the 1970s.
The first Lady Cats basketball teams I covered in the early 1970s were coached by Bobby Trawick and led by Carol Chason Whitmire, a member of the Valdosta State University and Decatur County Sports Hall of Fames.
The first Bearcats football team I covered in 1970 featured Dr. Larry Clark, principal of Jones-Wheat Elementary School, former outstanding Bainbridge High School Bearcats football and track performer and head track coach and a member of the first class of the Decatur County Sports Hall of Fame.
Coach Sonny Smart led the Bearcats football team to a 10-3 record, the Region 1-AAAA championship and into the semifinals of the State Class AAAA payoffs in 1993. The team was led by coach Smart’s son and University of Alabama Crimson Tide defensive coordinator Kirby Smart who was a former Region 1-AAAA defensive player of the year.
Outstanding coaches I covered have included coach Trawick, Clark, Smart the late Bearcats head basketball coach Charles Bess, the late Lady Cats head basketball coach Ken Bird, Bearcats head basketball coach Larry Slaughter, Bearcats head basketball coach Jeff Page, former Lady Cats head basketball coach Latresha Moon, current Bearcats and Lady Cats head basketball coaches Rickey McCullough and Kelvin Cochran, former Bearcats head baseball coach and current Bainbridge High School athletic director Stan Killough, former Bearcats head football coach and Decatur County School Superintendent Ralph Jones, who led the Bearcats to the State Class AAA football championship in 1982.
Coach McCullough is a member of the Florida Circle of Champions Sports Hall of Fame.  I also had the opportunity and pleasure to cover Decatur County Sports Hall of Famers Raleigh Choice and LeAnn Harrell Inlow, two of the top basketball players in school history and Decatur County Sports Hall of Famer William Widener, an outstanding coach of the city of Bainbridge swim team and director of the Bainbridge High School Bearcat Band.
I am currently covering Tyree Crump, who along with LaRae Davis, who I also covered, are two of the most outstanding shooters and ball handlers in Bearcats basketball history.
I am blessed and humbled to have been inducted into the Decatur County Sports Hall of Fame myself and I am looking forward to continuing to cover Bainbridge High School Bainbridge High School teams coached by head football coach Jeff Littleton, coach McCullough, coach Cochran, Bearcats and Lady Cats head track coaches Larry Cosby, and Tandria Phillips, Lady Cats head soccer coach Chip Ariail, Lady Cats head softball and tennis coach Amy Thomas and Bearcats head baseball coach Brian McCorkle.

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