Former Augusta Christian School boys basketball coach Mike Gold returned to Columbia County as the assistant coach of Dominion Christian during the Garden City Classic played at several local schools.
Photo by Jim BlaylockA local high school coaching legend returned to Columbia County last week, but there was little fanfare and no red-carpet welcome.
That's just the way Mike Gold would have wanted it.
The former Augusta Christian School basketball coach and athletic director is now at Dominion Christian High School. As assistant boys varsity basketball coach for the Marietta-based squad, he traveled with the Knights to the Garden City Basketball Classic, which was played at area gyms.
"Folks here in the community have been real supportive and glad to see me," Gold said before Dominion's game Saturday at Augusta Prep's Boardman Gymnasium. "My heart is still there (at AC). Of course, it's been real emotional."
Gold's departure from Columbia County also was emotional. He resigned from his positions at Augusta Christian last December for violating a school policy prohibiting dating among faculty members.
"It was not the way I wanted to go out, but I've never said an ill word about the situation," he said. "As far as I'm concerned, it's over."
Gold might be the most over-qualified assistant coach in the Georgia Independent Schools Association. During his nine full seasons at AC, he led the Lions to five straight Region 4-AAA basketball championships and to GISA Class AAA crowns in 1996 and '99.
While Gold is gone, he's not forgotten.
"There have been faithful followers. Even (the Dominion basketball players) see how relationships can be carried on after leaving. They say, 'Coach, you know everybody. Even the referees like you.' That's what it's all about; the relationships."
During his visit, Gold renewed old ties, and between the embraces received from well-wishers, he found the time to watch Augusta Christian compete at home in the Garden City Classic.
"I don't want to put any omen on them, but I've been around long enough, and Augusta Christian has what it takes to win a state title."
Several Dominion Christian team members accompanied Gold to the Lions Den, and that was an eye-opener for the Knights.
The region and state championship banners were impossible to ignore.
Still, Gold doesn't take much stock in worldly gains.
"I had 10 great years (at AC), and hopefully a lot of lives were influenced for the kingdom and eternity."
For Gold, a higher calling takes precedence over performing miracles on the court.
"There is a reason why God has called me to do this; to use the silly game of basketball to have an opportunity to change lives forever."
Gold has gone through some changes himself. On Aug. 31, he married Melody Daniels.
Career-wise, Gold also is assistant athletic director at Dominion Christian, and heads the junior varsity boys basketball team and the boys varsity baseball team.
Although Gold has the credentials to one day take over a high school athletic program, he is content with his new job in Cobb County, and was non-committal concerning potential future plans.
"Just like I tell my wife all the time - God's brought us here for a reason. While I'm here, my responsibility is to do the best job I can. Where He takes me from here, that's up to Him. And we'll follow His lead."
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