Four to be inducted into the Decatur County Sports Hall of Fame

Published 7:46 pm Tuesday, March 15, 2016

One of Decatur County’s and Georgia’s most outstanding high school basketball coaches, a two time state high school class AA tennis champion, a former Bainbridge High School Bearcat shooting guard who scored over 2100 career points and an outstanding basketball player at Attapulgus Mount Moriah and A&M High Schools will be inducted into the Decatur County Sports Hall of Fame Saturday at the Bainbridge School cafeteria.

The late Charles Bess was the head basketball coach at Attapulgus High School from 1962 to 1966 and at Bainbridge High School from 1971 to 1985. He also won three state girls’ basketball championships at Cherokee High School in Canton the time between his stints at Attapulgus High and Bainbridge.

Former Bainbridge High School tennis star Mallory McRae will also be inducted this year. McRae and doubles teammate Erman Tanjuatco won the GHSA State Doubles Championship in 1987 and in 1988 McRae won the state singles championship.

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At Presbyterian College, McRae was named NCAA Division II All-District, All-Conference and an All-American during the 1990-1991 school year. During the 1992-1993 season he was named NCAA Division II All-District, All-Conference, All-American and NCAA Scholar Athlete All-American.

Former outstanding Bainbridge High School Bearcats shooting guard LaRae Davis, who played under coach Bess and went on to play college basketball at Middle Tennessee State University and Florida State University, will also be inducted Saturday night.

During his 1981-82 Bearcats’ season, Davis averaged 22.2 points a game and was Region player of the year. He was also named first-team AAAA All-State that season by the Atlanta Journal Constitution as the Bearcats went 22-8, won the Region championship and advanced to the state quarterfinals.

The fourth and final inductee Ozell “Cow” Swain, was one of the most dominant post players of his era at Attapulgus Mount Moriah and A&M High Schools from 1966 to 1970

While official statistics are not available, Decatur County Sports Hall of Fame Board of Directors member Larry Ware says that they believe Swain averaged a triple double and led the team in rebounding, blocked shots and points scored and had one undefeated season during his three years as a starter.

Swain was the first and only student athlete to earn an athletic scholarship in his school’s history. After graduation Swain continued his career at Middle Georgia Junior College, but he was only able to play for a year before suffering a career ending knee injury.

Tickets for the Hall of Fame banquet, which will be Saturday, March 19, are $20.00 and may be purchased at Bainbridge High School, Grace Christian Academy and Parker Paints. There is a meet and great session at 6 p.m. and the banquet will begin at 7 p.m.