Twitter @ScottRouchBy Scott Rouch
Garrett Black has worn a number of hats in his 17 years at Greenbrier High School. He's been an assistant basketball and baseball coach, he's been a girls and boys basketball head coach, but it's as head softball coach where he's made his mark.
And after the Lady Wolfpack beat Warner Robins 13-0 in the first round of the Region 2-AAAAA tournament Saturday, the mark he reached was 500 wins. He pushed the record to 501 when they won game two 19-0.
Among the fans in attendance were those who played for Black and wanted to be there for him on his special day.
"He's always been behind me, so I just wanted to be here for that," said Eve Mooney, who graduated from Greenbrier in 2002.
Stephanie Brice was on Black's state championship team in 2004 and said she comes back to the school often.
"I've enjoyed watching him grow as a coach, he's one of the best coaches in the whole world," said Brice. "He's like a father figure. He's a really nice man, he loves his girls. We're all a family."
Family is one reason he initially came to Greenbrier, following his father Danny from Evans High School, acting as his assistant basketball coach for three years. He also spent time as an assistant baseball coach under Terry Holder and Ed Williams.
Mark Hamlin has been an assistant coach for Black for two years. In high school at Evans he played basketball for Danny Black and baseball for Terry Holder and sees similarities in all three coaches.
"He's just kind of got the best of both of them in him," said Hamlin. "He's a great motivator and he's technical when he needs to be. He's really able to relate to the girls and he's able to get the most out of them and that's what his dad was able to do as well as Coach Holder."
Black boiled it down to its basics.
"Coaching is real simple-you better build relationships with the kids, let them know you can trust them and they can trust you," Black said.
And he thought it was special that former players were able to come out and help celebrate the accomplishment.
"It's always good to see those kids," Black said. "The way we do things you spend a lot of time with those kids and they become part of your family. It just reconfirms what I do when they come back to see me. I want to say it like this-I made a difference in their lives. That's why I do what I do. At the end of the day, that's why you coach."
From 1996 to 2010 Black and the Lady Wolfpack won 15-consecutive region titles, and with Saturday's doubleheader win over Warner Robins, the Lady Wolfpack advanced to the region semifinals, which will be held at Greenbrier Wednesday.
"We just wanted to help out and help him get his 500th win," said the Lady Wolfpack's lone senior Taylor Thompson. "He's just a great coach. He's very smart and intelligent and just loves the game of softball and puts all his heart into it. He just deserves everything he gets."
Garrett Black Year-by-Year
2004: 35-5-1 (State Champion)
2010: 32-12 (State Runner-up)