did not take long to see that something had happened here. Pulling into
Ringgold, one will quickly notices the blue temporary tarps which drape
from the rooftops on many homes and buildings. Your eye observes an
opening in the county side different from the crowded shadows of trees
on one side of the road that was not present on the other. Piles of
debris litter the roadside. Buildings are standing with one or two walls
crumbled to the ground. The local hotel is missing its entire roof and
side. It is hard to believe the beds can be seen from the roadside
completely made up complete with comforters. Poles stand tall along the
roadside that once held signage for local stores. All the signs have
been blown out excluding one that had a message under a Wendy’s sign,
“We are now open.”
A fence surrounds the campus of Ringgold High School. The look is much
like a prison with chain locks on gates and men in uniforms moving
wildly within confines of the crippled buildings. As you stand looking
over the devastation, the words on the side of large truck bring reality
to this destruction. The words in big red letters read, “National
Disaster Team.” It made it clear that this community had a number of
long and painful days ahead of them.
While taking pictures of what is left of Ringgold High School, you
quickly see the pain in the eyes of those living near the school. Trees
are uprooted. Homes are destroyed. Roads are closed and people of all
ages are trying to get their lives and homes back together.
Where can these students, teachers, faculty, staff, and athletes turn
for continuation of their education and lives? A savior in the disguise
of an arch rival, Heritage High School, came to the salvation of a
As soon as the door opens to Heritage High School one can see the
commitment to rebuilding the Ringgold community. Ringgold High School
students joined Heritage High School. On the floor at the entrance is a
large welcome mat in the school colors of both Heritage High School and
Ringgold High School which reads, “When worse comes to worst, we all
The tornado of April 27, 2011 did not destroy a community. It provided
opportunities for individuals and organizations to provide support to
the needs of others. There is a saying,” we don’t need a hand out, we
need a hand up.” Ringgold needed both. The community is standing now,
barley standing but standing. They will be running soon in the direction
before the tornado struck. When they do, a new friend, Heritage High
School, will be at their side cheering them on. Well, at their side for
all games but one.
2011-12 GADA President
April 2012 Newsletter
2012 Conference Summary
By Dr. Lucia Norwood
As one reflects on the beginnings of our first gathering of approximately 25 athletic directors present at a fish farm in Newnan, the growth of the Georgia Athletic Directors Association is utterly unbelievable. The 2012 conference was one of firsts. There were more members registered that ever before, and there more exhibitors than last year. The educational leadership classes increased in numbers and the workshops provided additional information to our members.
The Hall of Fame luncheon provided an opportunity to meet the inductees: Alvin Copeland, Roy “Buddy” Knapp and Joe Sanfilippo. A video of each of the inductee was shown of the inductee prior to the presentation of the crystal cup by the Chairman, Carter Wilson. The videos were filmed and edited at Savannah Arts Academy.
The exhibits opened and the members were really pleased with the variety of products displayed. Each exhibitor was introduced and provided prizes for our members. Following the introductions, the keynote speaker Dan Radakovich was introduced. His message was well received by the audience. After the keynote address, a social was held at the Knights of Columbus for the exhibitors and members. A good time was had by all.
The Awards Breakfast had the largest number in attendance ever, a credit to Chairman, Tommy Marshall. The athletic directors in each region were recognized with plaques. Also recognized were the classification winners: 5-A Bobby Brewington (ML King), 4-A Mike Singletary (Thomas Co. Central), 3-A Marvin Fields (Westside-Augusta), 2-A Luis Varela (North Oconee), and 1-A Bill Schmitz (Our Lady of Mercy). The Athletic Director of the year was Jeff Beggs (City of Atlanta). The state scholarship winners were announced. The male recipient was Michael Gouge from Brookwood High School and the female recipient was Anna Grace Rutledge from Darlington School. The co-sponsors of the awards were Riddell and All American Specialties.
After breakfast, the golfers headed to the course. Golf provided many laughs and was an opportunity for the exhibitors and our members to enjoy the beautiful weather, and of course, purchase mulligans! The golf outing was followed by a low country boil and BBQ. The meal is always one of the highlights of the conference, and is sponsored by our friends at Riddell.
The following morning, Robert Akins from Ringgold High School was the speaker for the FCA breakfast. Through a PowerPoint presentation, he depicted the devastation of the tornado to the town, the athletic fields, the equipment and the facilities. He was so appreciative of all the support given by the athletic directors and our organization.
Following the breakfast, the next speaker was Dr. Ralph Swearngin. He covered the new structure of the public/private alignment, and answered many questions. Dr. Swearngin also addressed some of the new By-Laws with an emphasis on the new Heat and Humidity Policy
The conference ended with the general meeting. The budget was distributed to the members and was approved. The slate of new officers were presented and approved.
One last notes of importance:
On behalf of the Board of Directors, thank you to all our Sponsors and Exhibitors for your support of the athletic directors in Georgia.
The following article was taken from the Proactive Coaching booklet entitled, Turning Around Athletic Programs
One of the common traits of successful athletic programs is that they have eliminated excuses.
To step up and change a losing culture, everyone must eliminate all excuses:
The following are examples of excuses I have heard from coaches, administration and parents. I am not saying the suggestions are easy, but great coaches find a way to succeed regardless of circumstances. “It is hard to find coaches” – If you find it difficult to attract experienced, successful coaches then administrators must be able to identify people with potential. Then they must focus on training, supporting and mentoring them through the growing process. Administrators cannot settle for people just filling the job. They must constantly be looking for potential coaches and recruit them. There is a district in California who constantly searches for great coaches, recruits them hard and then offers them transitional housing when they move. “Our kids are too rich” – There is a feeling that rich kids are spoiled and not hard workers. All kids are all capable of competing hard and learning the lessons that coaches intentionally teach. Hold kids accountable to those standards. Love them enough to accept them where they are and raise them to a new level. “Our kids are too poor” – The comment is made to say that “we have no support” or they are “too tough to accept coaching”. Garbage, some of the toughest kids and best team people are young people who have not been handed a life. Same thing - Love them enough to accept them where they are and raise them to a new level. “We don’t have any parent support” – “We have too many single family homes”. Just like everything else, coaches need to control the controllables. Work to get the parents involved in a way where they have the time, energy and expertise. Work with, not against parents. Take people where they are and be a difference maker. “We have too many parents who are over involved” – do a great job with their kids and let them be your allies – learn to use parent groups in a positive way – provide training for parents (The Role of Parents DVD or booklet). “We don’t get enough kids out” – Youth programs need to build a solid foundation and be inclusive. Stop cutting kids at young ages. Work with the community and feeder programs to keep as many kids playing as possible. It is essential that the gifted kids be identified and supported but it is equally important to give late developers a chance to continue playing. Be a promoter at your school. Kids turn out for coaches they have a connection with. “Our kids only play one sport” – Athletic departments need to make a commitment to share kids. Develop a plan and calendar of when sports seasons begin and end. Athletic directors and administration should only hire coaches who agree with this philosophy and get rid of coaches who don’t. One method of getting athletes to compete in more than one sport is to hire head coaches who want to assist in another sport – those coaches will naturally have kids that follow them to the next sport. Everyone needs to agree to take the pressure off athletes to be playing outside of their season at the expense of another sport. Motivate more involvement by having a hall of fame that feature athletes who play multiple sports (three sports/three years etc.). “We don’t have support from the administration” - Don’t ever work anywhere that the administration doesn’t want to be great or doesn’t support their coaches. Don’t take a job where the last coach was fired by parent pressure – you are next. Don’t take a job where they have had three coaches in five years. In these cases the administration either doesn’t know who to hire or they don’t support who they hire. Great schools attempt to excel in everything they do – music, drama, foreign language, athletics, etc. “We don’t have good facilities” – I have seen many successful programs that have poor or no facilities. There are successful football or basketball teams that travel to a different site everyday of the week to practice. Take pride in the facilities you have. Keep them up, keep them clean, look for support, make the most of what you have, do not allow it to be an excuse. “We don’t have good athletes” – This is going to require some time but start developing them at a younger age. Work with feeder programs and coaches. Get kids interested when they are young and develop and interest and desire to compete. “We don’t have any good leaders” – Stop leaving it to chance and learn how to teach leadership, define exactly what you are looking for in your captains (booklet, Captains – Seven Ways to Lead Your Team). Develop a Captains Council that meets regularly with the Athletic Director on leadership issues. “We are the smallest school in the league” – Again, control the controllables. This situation just makes it all that much more important to have multiple sport athletes. Coaches must willingly share kids to develop a larger feeder program. “We’ve never had any success at this school” – Begin with small successes and build. Celebrate small victories and open their eyes up to what winning feels and looks like. Focus on preparing to win.
“We’ve always done it this way”, “I don’t have time”, “I’m comfortable”, “It is not important”, “It won’t work”, “I know what I am doing and I don’t want to change” – These are my least favorite excuses because they are completely in the coaches control to change. Coaches who are resistant to learning fall into the category of “Status Quo” or “I’m as good as I need to be”. Great leaders are constantly learning. These coaches are successful risk takers. If you do what you’ve always done, you’ll be what you’ve always been. Coaches should never stop looking for better techniques, teaching methods, motivation etc. Growth and improvement always requires some change. Leaders should be uncomfortable with ever getting comfortable.
People who hide behind excuses and who are too weak to assume responsibility are only fooling themselves and are not respected or successful. Excuses do not exist in great programs. Everyone involved in the change process must do everything possible to eliminate every excuse there is for failure.
The following article is an excerpt from the DVD presentation “Redefining the Term Athlete” and from the booklet entitled, Life Lessons for Athletes. It is also part of one the presentations from the Captains and Coaches Workshop provided by Proactive Coaching.
If an athlete enters your program with unacceptable athletic behaviors and actions, that is someone else’s responsibility; if they play for you and exit your program with those same unacceptable behaviors, that is entirely the responsibility of the coach. Young people can change and are more likely to do it for someone they respect – the coach. Confronting and changing incorrect behavior is not a choice that great coaches have. If you truly love your players, you will establish, teach and hold them to standards higher than victory. These behaviors are ones that every player has complete control over, behaviors that will enhance both individual lives as well as teams.
Building your teams around athletes of character will give you a better chance for longevity in the coaching profession. In our society, too often being called a “great athlete” only requires a high level of physical skills. It is often a person who moves fluently, scores goals, or is able to make a major contribution to defeat an opponent on the scoreboard. Coaches who only have these requirements for an “athlete” while overlooking a less than best effort or attitude are doing the player and the team a disservice, and settling for less than the young person is capable of being. Often acceptance of this view of being an athlete, promotes the feeling that being athletic serves as a guarantee of special privileges.
If your definition of “athlete” includes choices of athlete-owned behaviors rather than “accidental characteristics”, young people will meet those standards and do whatever a coach requires to be included in the category of “athlete”. I encourage coaches to save the term athlete for young people who consciously make choices that involve personal character and integrity. Young people are capable of changing and the profession of coaching has the inherent power to create positive changes.
In this article, I will focus on one character trait and what it looks like on a true athlete and conversely, what it looks like on a person who hasn’t learned to be an athlete yet. One of the responsibilities an athlete has to themselves and to their team is discipline.
“You can forgive lack of ability, but you cannot ever forgive lack of discipline” - Forrest Gregg
For the Athlete
Discipline should not have a negative connotation to the athlete. Discipline is simply focused attention and effort, and when balanced and done through love, discipline is involved in all successes. All other factors being equal, athletes tend to see the bigger picture when it comes to discipline. They understand that in order to be successful individually or collectively, sacrifices of discipline must be made. Athletes not only accept discipline, they embrace it for the benefit of the team. The disciplined athlete has the strength of character to overcome the temptations and pressures and do what is right for their team and themselves at the moment of truth. The following examples illustrate the positive discipline that can be seen on a true athlete:
• The discipline of attentiveness
• The discipline of enthusiasm and being energized
• The discipline of sportsmanship – doing what it right for your team and the game, regardless of what others are doing
• The discipline of respecting authority
• The discipline of personal responsibility
Disciplined athletes accomplish more, have a greater sense of pride, and tend to be better teammates. They are reliable and trustworthy. Discipline involves learning to respect the game, their teammates, the coach, and most of all, themselves. For a team, discipline is the characteristic that sets them apart and gives them an edge. Coaches should demand discipline from their players in direct proportion to the amount of love that they have for their athletes and the game they coach.
The person who hasn’t learned to be an athlete yet:
For the person who is not yet an athlete, discipline is normally a dirty word, often associated with a form of punishment. For the non-athlete, this attitude usually results in the player feeling sorry for him or herself or resisting the intention of the discipline.
Lack of discipline is often seen in people who choose self-indulgence over self-control. For many young players, this process involves learning what fun really is. For them, having fun is being silly. They haven’t learned to distinguish the difference between discipline as punishment and positive discipline that allows focus and improvement. At some point in the growth of an athlete, having fun becomes being good (skilled) at their particular role.
Another sign of a player who lacks discipline is displaying temper. Players should not confuse temper and frustration with being competitive. Temper and frustration are wasted energy. Visible anger can discourage your teammates and give your opponent strength. Emotion, when used in a positive manner, is great, but temper is emotion out of control and eventually will result in damage to both the individual player and the team. Controlling your emotions is not easy; it takes inner strength to redirect your thoughts and actions toward positive attitudes and behavior. Great competitors and true athletes can focus and channel their emotions to help their own performance as well as their teams.
Accepting discipline is a positive form of teamwork, and it is a choice. Are your players disciplined enough to be called an athlete?
In the booklet, Life Lessons for Athletes - ten different character traits are defined by what they look like on an athlete and on a “non athlete”.
Confidence – Teachable Spirit – Pride/Humility – Discipline – Integrity – Mental Toughness – Accountability – Selflessness – Work Habits – Academic Responsibility
Parents frequently sign a waiver of liability as a condition for their children to participate in a variety of activities, releasing the sponsor from any legal claim for injuries arising from or related to the activity. In most states, parental waivers are invalid. Even where valid, parental waivers, like available immunities, offer only limited protection.
That is bad news for churches, schools, volunteer organizations, recreational landowners and others who provide or sponsor extra-curricular recreational and educational activities. But there is good news: a solution that is cost-effective, time-saving, and facilitates predictable outcomes for legal disputes.
Parental Waivers Offer No Protection in Most States
A minor lacks legal capacity to contract, so any liability waiver signed by a minor can be voided when he becomes 18 years of age.3 Smoky v. McCray illustrates the point: The court ruled that Julie McCray was not bound by a waiver (called a "release") signed when she was 14 years old, which was "voided"
when she sued for injuries suffered in a fall during a horseback riding lesson.
So, in an effort to prevent lawsuits, sponsors of recreational and educational activities typically require parents to sign a waiver of liability before their children are allowed to participate. In most states, however, parental waivers "are not worth the paper they're written on.," based on the public policy of parens patriae("parent of his or her country"), which describes the state in its capacity as protector of those unable to protect themselves. As applied, that means parents lack the legal authority to release
potential claims of a minor child for negligence.
And Only Limited Protection in a Few States
In a few states, parental waivers have been upheld in the context of school-sponsored or community run activities. For instance, in Zivich the Ohio Supreme Court upheld a parental waiver required as a condition for a minor's participation in a youth soccer league operated by parent volunteers. In doing
so, the court stated: "We hold that parents have the authority to bind their minor children to exculpatory agreements in favor of volunteers and sponsors of nonprofit sport activities where the cause of action sounds in negligence. These agreements may not be disaffirmed by the child on whose behalf they were executed." Accord, Sharon v. City of Newton (upholding a parental waiver executed for minor's participation in a voluntary high school cheerleading program); Hohe v. San Diego Unified School Dist.
(upholding a parental waiver executed for a minor's participation in a recreational event sponsored by a volunteer parent, teacher, student association); Gonzalez v. City of Coral Gables (upholding a parental waiver executed for a minor's participation in a high school fire rescue training program).
Even where valid, parental waivers are no protection against allegations of gross negligence, willful or wanton misconduct.
Immunity in Name Only
Immunity for volunteers is limited to simple negligence, so there is no protection against allegations of gross negligence or intentional torts (e.g., assault, battery, intentional infliction of emotional distress).
Coaches and other school employees have immunity from personal liability, except for ministerial acts negligently performed or for discretionary acts performed with actual malice or an intent to injure.
The following are examples of negligent performance of ministerial duties:
Failure to control a basketball game by a referee;
Failure to supervise school club to prevent hazing;
Failure to provide eye protection in chemistry lab;
Failure to protect student from sexual assault in dormitory;
Failure to properly construct or maintain bleachers;
Failure to "spot" student properly in gymnastics class;
Failure to enforce school sign-out policy; and,
Failure to enforce safety plan.
Note: With McDowell v. Smith, the Georgia Supreme Court seems to signal a willingness to reconsider whether monitoring, supervising and controlling the activities of students is a ministerial function, the negligent performance of which can result in personal liability of school employees.
The Solution: Participation Agreements with an ADR Clause
As a condition to a child's participation in an activity, parents must sign an agreement to submit any dispute (e.g., claim for injuries caused by alleged negligence) to mediation and, if mediation is unsuccessful, binding arbitration. The result is a savings benefit - in money (cost of litigation) and time
(hours/days versus 2 to 8 years) - and an empowerment of the parties to reach a solution versus the unpredictability of a jury verdict.
Courts favor alternative dispute resolution ("ADR").16 ADR is a "method used to settle a dispute as an alternative to litigation ('going to court'). Mediation is one of the best known processes of ADR. Other ADR processes include negotiations, settlement conferences and arbitration. Most of these processes rely upon the services of a neutral third party who facilitates the process of reaching agreement. * * *" Rule 1, Rules of Procedure For Dispute Resolution ("RPDR") (found at www.wmapeace.com).
Mediation is the collaborative process in which opposing parties bring their dispute to a trained "neutral," who facilitates communication, issue identification, problem-solving and settlement. Mediation is confidential and non-binding. However, any settlement can be formalized in writing, which is then enforceable like a contract in a court of law, and insurance must pay the mediated settlement of covered risks. In "med/arb," the parties agree in advance to proceed to arbitration if mediation is
unsuccessful. RPDR, Rule 4.
Arbitration in ADR is the submission of a dispute to a neutral arbitrator (or panel of arbitrators) for a legally binding decision or adjudication. The decision and award of arbitration may, by agreement of the parties, become binding and is subject to limited judicial review. RPDR, Rule 5.
Parents have legal authority to contractually bind their minor children to resolve claims through ADR (mediation and arbitration) because it is considered a forum selection as opposed to a waiver of the claim under the Federal Arbitration Act.19 An historical footnote: In 1887, the Georgia Supreme Court
upheld an arbitration award where the guardian for a minor agreed to arbitrate the minor's claim against his former guardian.
On April 15, Sports Champions of Greater Atlanta honored a dozen local high school athletes for their work in the classroom, the community and on the fields of play. The event was held at the Cobb Galleria Centre and was MC’ed by Bill Hartman. Former Heisman Trophy winner Danny Wuerffel spoke at the banquet.
SCOGA was founded by George Wright in 2001 to recognize high school athletes for not only their athletic prowess, but their work in the classroom and community as well. The organization receives corporate support from the Coca-Cola Company, Cox Enterprises, the Georgia Power Company, BellSouth, WSB, the Marietta Daily Journal, as well as other individuals and foundations.
The students selected are limited to high school seniors and coaches. The criteria for the student-athletes is athletic ability, scholastic, achievement and good character while the coaches selected are chosen based their record and the development of good character in their players and students. The areas included in the greater Atlanta area include Clayton, Cobb, DeKalb, Fulton and Gwinnett.
The banquet was the seventh for the organization, which had its inaugural event in 2004.
HIGHLIGHTING THE WINNERS …
Among this year’s winners was Jamel Dobbs from Cedar Grove High School. The four-year football letterman has achieved the highest GPA on the football team all four years and currently sports a 4.175 GPA. After making the all-state and all-county teams for his exploits on the football field, Jamel will attend the U.S. Naval Academy next fall.
Trace Browne of Blessed Trinity and William Freeman of GAC are each accomplished swimmers and will both attend UGA next fall. William was named Georgia male swimmer of the Year while Trace was region champion in two events. Both swimmers are members of the National Honor Society.
Westminster’s Andrew Bridges will attend Vanderbilt University on a full scholarship next year. Andrew played football and basketball for the Wildcats as well as competing in track and field. The future Commodore earned eight varsity letters in his career.
A track and field star, Lauren Hutchinson of North Cobb was the 2009 state champion pole vaulter for Class 5A. Lauren also competes in cross country for the Lady Warriors while sporting a 4.229 GPA. The future Kennesaw State Owl has taken several trips to Thailand and Malaysia to help rebuild schools.
A nine-time All American, Caroline Kenney has led North Gwinnett both on the swim team and in the classroom as a six-time state champion and winner of the school Scholar Athlete award. Caroline is a six-time state champion and currently holds eight school records. The Lady Bulldog will swim at the University of Virginia next year.
A member of the swimming and track and field teams, Eric Madden will also attend the Naval Academy. Eric is a state champion in the 100 butterfly and holds eight school records in addition to being an Academic All American.
Kenzie Thrasher from Landmark Christian participates in cross country and track for her school and is a two-time state champion. The Lady War Eagle standout has a 4.17 GPA and is a member of the National Art Society.
While serving as student body president, Forrest Parks of Whitefield Academy is a leader in his school as well as being an exceptional athlete. Forrest plays football, wrestles and runs track for the Wolfpack while also carrying a 4.0 GPA.
Chaney Means is a three-sport standout at GAC and will take advantage of a full athletic scholarship to play basketball at Western Kentucky University. For the Lady Spartans, Chaney plays softball in addition to hoops and is a state champion. The future Hilltopper is a member of the National Honor Society and the National Beta Club.
With the Alpharetta Lady Raiders, Cameron Robertson has participated in cheerleading, diving, gymnastics and track and field. Cameron is a state champion in gymnastics and will attend Georgia Southern in the fall. The four-sport star was selected by peers as Miss Alpharetta High School this year.
While sporting a 4.0 GPA, Elizabeth Sims has played varsity tennis for Blessed Trinity all four years and is a member of the Nation Honor Society. On the courts, Elizabeth has been ranked in the top 10 in the South as an individual. The Governor’s Honors program nominee will play tennis at the University of Richmond next year on a full scholarship.
download a printable version of the GADA May AD Check List April 2010 GADA
Newsletter GADA inducts inaugural Hall of Fame class, names regional ADs of the year By Stephen Black — Managing Editor, Score Atlanta
This past weekend in Savannah, the Georgia Athletic Directors Association inducted eight members into its inaugural Hall of Fame class. The ceremony took place during the Association’s annual conference at the Hilton DeSoto in downtown Savannah.
This class was chosen by the GADA Board of Directors and includes some of the most influential and accomplished athletic directors in the history of the state. Members of the inaugural class received an award made of crystal and will eventually be recognized in a Hall of Fame location. The facility that will house the Hall of Fame has not yet been chosen.
In the future, Hall of Fame classes will be chosen on a yearly basis by the board after nominations by the over 200 members of the GADA. The ceremony will continue to take place at the annual conference in Savannah.
The driving force behind the establishment of the GADA Hall of Fame is out-going Association President Carter Wilson. The Decatur High School athletic director wanted a Hall of Fame as a way to recognize the accomplishments and contributions of Georgia high
school athletic directors.
The inaugural Hall of Fame members are Max Bass, Corky Kell, Bob Ward, Dexter Wood, John Hill, Lucia Norwood, Petty Ezell, and Melvin Crook. Each member was given a chance to address the crowd.
SPEAKERS TOUCH ON IMPORTANT ISSUES …
All of the speeches were heart-felt and included quite a bit of wisdom and knowledge acquired over the years, but one of the common themes throughout all of them was the importance of relationships with young people. Many of the inductees mentioned that winning was secondary to the development of relationships with the athletes. Working with and seeing the development of young people was clearly the most rewarding part of coaching for all of the speakers.
One of the speakers mentioned how he had counted 178 of his former players that had gone into the coaching profession while others spoke of the facilities that had been built under their watch. Bob Ward from Westminster was proud to announce a $29 million building that will house a pool, weight room, basketball court, and trophy room for Wildcat athletics.
Dexter Wood, who coached at Marietta and Buford among other schools, spoke about something he learned while playing under Bear Bryant at Alabama. Wood said that Bryant said that if someone could live without coaching, then they shouldn’t get into it. Clearly, Wood couldn’t live without it, as his teams played for five state titles and won three. Wood’s squads also hold the state record for most consecutive wins with 47.
Lucia Norwood, Executive Director of the GADA, mentioned how proud she was of the current state of the Title IX rule, which allows gender equity in athletics. Norwood was instrumental in getting the rule adopted throughout the state of Georgia.
Ralph Swearngin, current Executive Director of the GHSA, spoke in honor of the inductees. Swearngin proudly announced how the GHSA is currently covering the catastrophic insurance premiums for all Georgia schools. Such a commitment is proof of how generous the GHSA is in trying to help education in this state.
Another welcomed guest speaker was Brian Willman of Regions Bank. The Regions Director’s Cup recognizes athletic departments in all classifications that have excelled as a whole and shown superior performance. The GADA has presented this award annually since 1999-2000. The schools that win awards are presented with a trophy and banner, both of which are provided by Regions.
AWARD WINNERS …
The Regional Athletic Director of the Year awards were then given out for each region of each classification in the state. There were a total of 40 athletic directors who were presented with the award this year.
The state AD of the year and ADs of the year for each classification were also recognized. Rusty Hudson of The Westminster School was given the award for the state while Kris Palmerton of Pace Academy won for Class A, Calvin Scandrett of Lamar County won for Class 2A, Dennis Stromie of West Forsyth won for Class 3A, Brian Moore of Apalachee won for Class 4A and Mark Whitley of Parkview won for Class 5A.
The Distinguished Service Award was presented to Carter Wilson of Decatur. Wilson is currently the outgoing GADA President and will be succeeded by Jeff Beggs of The St. Francis Schools.
Other award winners included Mike Carswell, who won the Citation Award, Lynne Malloy, who won the NIAAA Award of Merit, and Joe Sanfilippo who was given the Frank Kovaleski Professional Development Award.
Click HERE for a pdf of the print edition of Score Prep where this article originally appeared.
ClickHEREto download a printable version of the GADA April AD Check List
Click HEREto download a printable version of the GADA March AD Checklist
March 2010 GADA Newsletter
Decatur’s Wilson continues to guide historic high school to new heights
By Alex Ewalt — Score Atlanta Prep February 12, 2010
Carter Wilson knows DecaturHigh School
better than just about anyone. The longtime coach and athletic director at one
of Georgia’s oldest schools,
WilsonDecatur as much more than
just a job. looks at his role at Class 2A
“For me, this is home,” Wilson says. “I grew up here in Decatur and went to DecaturHigh School.”
Home, as it turns out, has been undergoing some
drastic changes as of late. Decatur
is a school that is closely tied into its surrounding community, blending in
seamlessly with the small-city atmosphere. But several years ago, in looking at
the athletic facilities that had been on campus for many decades, it was clear
the school district had to move into the new millennium.
“It was a very emotional time for us because the
stadium had been in use since [the 40s], the gym had been in use since the 30s,
and there was a lot of emotional attachment from a lot of people. Decatur isn’t one of
those schools that’s just a few years old, we have well over 100 years of
“When we actually made the decision to tear down
the stadium, it was made strictly because we had looked at all the angles and
there was no way we could renovate the stadium and have it guaranteed for more
than five years before we would have to go back and do work again.”
Not without controversy, Wilson
led the charge to replace the outdated facilities on Decatur’s campus in an effort to get up to
speed with the schools it competed with year in and year out: Buford, Greater
Atlanta Christian, Blessed Trinity and the like.
“Having new facilities on campus has given all of
our sports a shot in the arm,” Wilson
says. “To the outsider, they can say, ‘Well, having a new gymnasium is going to
make you have a better basketball program?’ Well, no, not that in itself. But
what it’s done is it’s eliminated a lot of those negatives, all of those
reasons why coaches can’t do what they need to do or players can’t do what they
need to do.”
The new football stadium, which has been in use for
two seasons and replaces the old Decatur Stadium, seats approximately 4,000 and
has brand new synthetic turf. The basketball gym seats 2,600 and sports a
scoreboard suspended from the roof at midcourt. New weight training facilities
and many other new developments have helped to completely overhaul the
athletics program on Decatur’s
knows the sacrifice — both financial and emotional — was completely necessary.
“We felt as a school district it was our obligation
to make sure the kids have everything that they possibly need, the same way
that we would make sure that the kids got everything in a science class or a
math class,” he says. “So we did that for athletics, and now teams are able to
put in the required amount of work on the practice field or the practice floor,
and we see it making a difference.”
THE COACHING LIFE …
The first time Wilson
campus as a coach was in 1979, when he became an assistant basketball coach. As
an assistant, Wilson was part of two state
championship teams at Decatur,
viewed as a state powerhouse. He was named the head boys coach in 1983 for his
first stint at that position, leading the Bulldogs program to three years of
success before entering the world of college coaching.
After serving as an assistant at GeorgiaState
from 1985-94, Wilson
earned his chance at the Panthers’ head coaching gig, staying on in that
capacity for three years.
But after his time as a Division I basketball coach
was up, Wilson
decided to return to his roots, high school coaching, settling down as Tucker’s
head boys coach for three more years. But the allure of his alma mater was too
strong, and in 2000 Wilson came on as head boys
coach and athletic director at Decatur,
which he considers to be one of the top environments anywhere in high school
“If you’re going to work in a high school setting,
this is the greatest place in America
to work,” Wilson
claims. “It’s a small setting where you can get all the way to the top, if you
need to, to have questions answered. And it’s a very hands-on place. If you’re
one of those coaches who doesn’t like to communicate and have conversations
with parents in the community, it’s probably not quite the place for you.
“On Friday nights, whether it’s a football game or
a basketball game, people come down from the square. The mayor is here, the
city commissioner is here. It’s a special place because the success of Decatur
High School is important to more than just the kids at Decatur High School,
it’s important to the entire community.”
But while his coaching career at DHS has spanned
over parts of four decades, Wilson
will be stepping down as head boys basketball coach after the season in order
to focus on his duties as athletic director and as president of the Georgia
Athletic Directors Association, an organization he first became involved with
in the early 2000s. Though he sees it as a necessary step in order to continue
to move Decatur
athletics forward, it will be difficult to exit the world of clipboards and
“I’ve had a wonderful run here as the head
basketball coach here at DecaturHigh School,” Wilson
says. “It’s a very emotional time for me personally, but we’re trying to win as
many games as we can and finish the season up on a high note.”
As of Feb. 10, his team’s prospects looked good for
a run in the postseason. At 19-3 and ranked No. 4 in Class 2A by the AJC, the
Bulldogs exemplify the “defense first” philosophy of their head coach. And the
girls program, which made the state playoffs for the first time in years last
season, is having a solid campaign at 15-7 in one of the state’s toughest
leagues, Region 6-AA.
Though after this season he won’t be strolling the
sidelines of the new gym he was so instrumental in building, Wilson is eager to continue on as athletic
director and as president of the GADA. Through it all, he’ll get to continue
doing what he does best: moving athletics towards a brighter future at DecaturHigh School, and beyond.
February 2010 GADA Newsletter Parents - Helping Your Athlete by "Releasing Bruce Brown
This article is a portion of a Proactive Coaching booklet, presentation and DVD entitled, The Role of Parents in Athletics.
involvement of parents in the athletic experience of their children is
a given. Without question, all parents should be part of this area of
their children's growth. Their involvement affects their own child, the
coach, the rest of the team, the other parents and the officials. This
booklet focuses on the parent's role from the perspective of the
athlete. For more than three decades I asked my players a series of
questions. The purpose of the questions was in give me feedback on what
I could do to improve their athletic experience. In this process, I
learned many things that helped me as a coach, but even more that
helped as a father. These concepts are things that young people would
like to tell their parents but probably never will. It is how we can
show respect for them in this arena called athletics. Athletics is one
place we need to meet their needs and not ours.
presentation includes things that adults can do before, during and
after competition that will allow the athlete to perform to their best
and to create good memories. This booklet and DVD is a way of giving
back to three decades of great young people on my teams.
Excerpt from Before the Game
next step that needs to be undertaken early in the season is for the
parent to "release" their son or daughter to the game, the team and to
the coach. This recommendation is based on feedback from my athletes
who have experienced the most athletic success and identified things
that the adults in their life did to help them achieve that level.
Parents should always stay close to the situation and get to know their
child's coach, especially if their child is young. Parents should be
fully aware of who is in their child's life. Once parents know that
their son or daughter is safe emotionally (I don't mean not starting)
and safe physically, one of the best gifts they can give their athlete
is to release them to this activity.
As such, during
the season, parents must share their child with the coach and the team.
The earlier in their child's career they are able to do this, the
better it is for the child's development and growth.
releasing their young athlete to the game and coach, the parents are
telling their children that all successes are theirs, all failures are
theirs, and all problems are theirs. There are not many places in a
young person's life where their parents can say, "this is your thing."
This can't be done with friends, academics, decisions on weekends, or
even movies, but it can be done in athletics.
for most adults is that it is easy for them to see "solutions" in
athletic situations and it is too painful for them to let their
children find their own solutions. On the other hand, it is both
necessary and helpful to allow children to work their own way out of
troubling dilemmas. Athletics is one of the best places for young
people to take healthy risks and to fail. Understandably, parents do
not want their kids to take risks with cars, drugs, or sex. On the
other hand, no downside exists for allowing a young athlete to take a
risk and fail in a game or practice. If young athletes are going to
develop into intelligent, instinctive individuals, it is critical that
they are given the opportunity to solve their own problems during
games. It is more fun for them, and they have an enhanced chance to
grow in a meaningful way.
A parent who is continuing to live
his own personal athletic dream through his child has not released
them. As a child climbs the competitive ladder of athletics, the parent
must consciously separate his dreams from the equation.
Parents should consider the following "red flags" that indicate that they have not released their young athlete to the game:
If you tend to share in the credit when the athlete has done well or
has been victorious. "All that time we spent working on those three
pointers and we buried that one at the buzzer" and "I showed him that
curve ball", "We just won our 8th game in a row" are examples of
sharing the credit.
If you find yourself trying to solve all
of his child's athletic-related problems. ("Let's get everyone together
and talk this out," or "I'll just call the coach and solve this.") On
one hand, it is only natural for a parent to attempt to steer his child
through the rough spots in life in order to enhance the child's
enjoyment of the athletic experience. But, athletics offer an excellent
opportunity to allow kids to learn to solve their own problems. It is
alright for parents to teach their child how to talk to teammates or
the coach as an authority figure, but they should let their child take
responsibility for the actions involved in solving problems. Parents
should understand and accept the fact that there never will be such a
thing as a "perfect season" and there are always going to be
problems. Problems with injuries, playing time but mainly problems
with relationships. Every problem that arises is an opportunity for
growth for the athlete.
If you catch yourself continuing to
coach his child when the athlete thinks that they know more about the
game than the parent does (that happens about 9th grade). I believe
that is why so many young people are turning to sports that parents
know very little about. I think that is why lacrosse is booming around
If you are more nervous before the game than the athlete.
If the outcome of the game lasts longer with you than with your athlete.
If you find yourself taking notes during a game so he can give his child advice at the conclusion of the game.
If the athlete avoids you after the game or shows with their body language that they are embarrassed about your involvement.
If you catch yourself being verbally critical of an official. Let's
think about what yelling at an official is from an athlete's point of
view - one adult, yelling at another adult in an activity designed to
teach kids to respect authority - in their minds, it doesn't fit.
For more information on this presentation and other character-based materials: www.proactivecoaching.info info or call 360 387 5998
Brown is the director of Proactive Coaching. He has 35 years of
experience as a teacher, coach, athletic administrator at the junior
high, high school, junior college and collegiate level. He's coached
football, basketball, baseball, and volleyball.
January 2010 GADA Newsletter Current Cup standings feature old faces, new contenders on top after fall season
by Alex Ewalt
Score Prep January 8-14, 2010 Vol. 5, No. 15
Each year, the Directors Cup winners in each classification represent the best in overall athletic competition. The Cup is awarded to the programs with the most points, which are earned through playoff appearances and state placing in each sport. Points are awarded to the top 32 finishers for each sport, with different points totals doled out for the bracketed (soccer, baseball, football) and unbracketed (track, golf, cheerleading) sports. Scoring varies for finishes in those two categories, however 100 points is awarded to the champion in each sport while 90 points goes to the runner-up (for the complete scoring system, visit gadaonline.net).
Here are how the classifications currently stack up a third into the athletics season, as full standings were recently released to reflect the fall sports finishes.
HOW WE GOT HERE …
In Class 5A, Collins Hill and Peachtree Ridge are tied atop the the overall rankings with 385 points apiece. Grayson (358), Walton (355), North Gwinnett (331), Parkview (322) and Brookwood (318) are the remaining teams with 300 points or more (note that of those schools only one, Walton, doesn't hail from Gwinnett County). Interestingly, none of these schools advanced very far in the state's most popular sport, football; three schools — Peachtree Ridge, Grayson and North Gwinnett — advanced as far as the quarterfinals, and Walton actually missed the playoffs altogether. Collins Hill's points have come in the form of a third-place and second-place finish in boys and girls cross country, respectively, a quarterfinals appearance in softball, and a third-place finish in cheerleading. It will be interesting to see if any of the aforementioned programs can prevent Walton from winning its sixth Directors Cup.
Class 4A mainstay Marist is at it again, leading the pack by a wide margin early in the game. The War Eagles have racked up 443 points, with second-place Lakeside-Evans putting up 360 points thus far. The War Eagles have won the award every season since its inception in 1999, which means they are going for their 11th trophy. The cross country finals reflect the 4A standings overall as far as the top two teams are concerned; Marist swept the titles and Lakeside finished runner-up both times. Marist also won its second straight softball title, and finished runner-up in volleyball to Whitewater. It would seem to be another runaway title for the War Eagles athletics program unless its teams stumble in some of the winter and spring sports they excels in.
St. Pius X is an unsurprising leader thus far into the season, but holds just a slim margin — 413 to 400 — over Columbus. The Golden Lions won in girls cross country, always a strength at the school, but Columbus bested Pius in several areas in the fall. The Blue Devils beat Pius head to head in the state volleyball finals, eventually finishing runner-up to Woodward Academy, and took home the state softball crown in their hometown. Other athletics programs with at least 300 points include Flowery Branch (369), Creekview (340) and Woodward (325).
It's a tight race so far in Class 2A, with Athens-area public school North Oconee (361 points) leading three private schools in Westminster, Lovett and Blessed Trinity (343, 336 and 292 points, respectively), last year's champion. North Oconee has been solid, though not spectacular, in all sports, making the playoffs in each of the bracketed sports and using top-five finishes to get to the top of the standings. Westminster will be looking to get another Cup for the trophy case, which already holds nine yearly awards. Lovett has two Directors Cups.
Savannah Christian is in line for its first-ever Directors Cup win after a solid fall sports showing, including a runner-up finish in football. The Red Raiders are in the lead with 406 points, but two other private schools (Wesleyan with 367 and Eagle's Landing Christian Academy with 340) are nipping at their heels. Savannah Christian finished outside of the top 10 in both boys and girls cross country, but reached the semifinals in softball, which Eagle's Landing Christian won yet again. Wesleyan is looking for its fourth all-sports trophy, and third as a member of the state's lowest classification.
WHAT'S IN STORE …
With the winter and spring seasons yet to be played, there will surely be a lot of movement in the standings between now and May when champions are crowned. However, past results can help us predict just where certain schools might be earning their points for the remainder of the season.
For Collins Hill, the top-ranked wrestling team in the state and a legit national power, the Eagles will get the chance to widen their lead atop Class 5A and pull away from Peachtree Ridge with another strong showing at the state duals next week. Collins Hill has won the event in their classification the past two years and in 2005, and has won four of the last seven traditional wrestling titles, including the last two. It seems likely that the Eagles will gain the 100 points awarded to the champion in each of those events.
Gwinnett programs have traditionally dominated the boys swimming finals in Class 5A, with Brookwood winning last year, and Marist and Westminster are the most dominantswimming programs in the state in Classes 4A-A. As for basketball, it looks as if the Milton boys and Redan girls (both ranked No. 1) will gain some points for North Fulton and DeKalb County, respectively. With only five winter sports to compete in (boys and girls hoops, wrestling, swimming and riflery), the spring is where Directors Cups are often won and lost.
Score Atlanta and Score Prep newspapers are available each week at all metro Atlanta QuikTrip, Blockbuster and Kroger locations. To view the download version of click HERE
Cover photos of Marist and Savannah Christian are courtesy of Photographic Arts. Ewalt can be reached at email@example.com.
This article was adapted from the booklet Captains – 7 Ways to Lead Your Team - the booklet was written for team leaders and is one of the four topics covered at the Captains and Coaches Workshops.
The seven concepts of leadership in the booklet are a job description for captains. Don’t leave leadership to chance – give your leaders the responsibility and a blueprint for success.
Leadership Concept # 5: Be the first to PROTECT AND DEFEND your team and be the last to critical.
If you cannot understand and demonstrate loyalty, step out of leadership. Before you accept a leadership position, you need to understand that being a leader often makes you a target for unfair criticism. Being strong and decisive will attract some people but it may also alienate some people. There are times when leaders need to be able stand on their own, but honestly, it is always nice to have allies. Allies are those people who are loyal to you. Leaders who are loyal, usually gain loyalty in return. Learn to demonstrate loyalty before you should expect it in return. Loyalty occasionally requires that teammates speak up to defend each other. It requires that they hold together to take on the pressures that come with being a team. Loyalty builds trust. Loyalty is belief in each other, and that allows teammates to lift each other up, to magnify individual strengths and diminish individual weaknesses.
The first person you must be loyal to is you. Demonstrate loyalty to yourself by never compromising your values for any personal gain or advantage.
Loyalty to your teammates and coaches allows you to sustain and survive the tough times that will come with any season. When teams are loyal, people do not turn on each other. Loyalty is most needed when things are going poorly. It is in those moments that loyalty will be tested. It allows you to be there and be counted on. Loyalty from leadership to the team, no matter how small, sends a strong message and is almost always comes back to you.
Loyalty will be tested when team decisions are made. There will be times when team decisions are made that you may not agree with. It is OK to question decisions while you are in the decision making process, but once the decision has been made, loyalty requires that you support the decision. Loyalty does not mean that you always agree. But if you have a problem with another teammate or a coach, you go to the person and deal directly with the problem. You cannot develop loyalty by talking about your problems with teammates and coaches to other people.
During the season, your team and your inner circle will be faced with outsiders who question your abilities, and the coach’s decisions (fellow students or adults). You must defend the inner circle of your team from these critics. The only ones who really understand are the people in the inner circle. Defend them with your words and your actions. Sometimes these critics come in the form of people who will try to have your teammates violate team standards having to do with alcohol or other poor choices. Loyal leadership steps into situations like that and is there when teammates need you to help them stand their ground and stay within the standards. Be aware and be there for teammates before they choose the wrong path.
Application: Are you loyal to yourself by standing by your beliefs no matter what else is happening? Who else are you loyal to? Who is loyal to you? Who can you count on, no matter what?
Are you aware of critics and willing to defend your teammates and coaches? How will you react to criticism of your team or coaches?
Protect and defend your team by being the first to admit you made a mistake.
Strong leaders are willing to admit mistakes. This will actually increase their stature and worth within the team. Admitting mistakes is actually an example of strength. When you have done things right be the first to say so. Don’t hesitate to admit your mistakes in front of the whole team – what a great example of trust and humility. People who never admit a mistake or make people think that they are not capable of making one, are usually insecure, not strong enough to deal with the truth. Fortune favors the team that trusts each other.
The instant a leader accepts responsibility of mistakes the leader and the entire team has taken a step toward growth and improved performance. Be an example of problem solving rather than problem creating by stepping up to your own failures. In the long run, this will create an environment where team members will grow and want to be responsible.
Keep growing for the sake of the team
Application: No excuses should ever come from the mouth of a strong leader.
Be the first to say “my fault” and be the last to point the finger of blame toward others.
“I could have done that better, I made a mistake, I accept responsibility and will be better next time”.
Other concepts of team leadership covered in the booklet: Captains – 7 Ways to Lead Your Team.
Be the first to LEAD BY EXAMPLE and the last to violate team standards. (Commitment demonstrated by your actions)
Be the first to be a LIFELINE OF COMMUNICATION and the last to withhold information.
(Get your job description clear with your coach and be connected with the entire team)
Be the first to PRAISE OTHERS and the last to brag or draw attention to yourself. (Understand quiet confidence and the good kind of pride, shared joy)
Be the first to CONFRONT VIOLATIONS OF TEAM STANDARDS and be the last to ignore them.
(This will require courage, integrity and a problem solving method. Problems are going to happen – be proactive)
Be the first to ENCOURAGE and the last to become discouraged.
(Leaders must be mentally tough)
Be the first to SERVE and the last to expect to be served.
(How to share leadership and give all roles equal value. The longer you are part of a program the more responsibility great leaders take on.)
For more information on this booklet, other published materials, presentations or Captains and Coaches Workshops contact: Bruce Brown
360 387 5998