Evans football coach Lee Chomskis (left) talks to Furman University coach Bobby Lamb at the Evans High School Football and Cheerleading sports banquet. Lamb was the keynote speaker for Thursday night's event.
Photo by Jim Blaylock
The first annual Evans High School Football and Cheerleading Sports Banquet was marked by words of wisdom from a successful college football coach, but a prep football coach who is now looking for a new job also shared the spotlight.
Furman University head coach Bobby Lamb was the guest speaker at Thursday night's banquet, where Lee Chomskis enjoyed his last official act as a coach at Evans.
Chomskis had pushed for the separate awards program for the football players and cheerleaders, and he lined up Lamb for the speaking engagement.
There was one hitch - Chomskis resigned as football coach on Jan. 8.
But Chomskis wasn't looking for a final farewell. "This night was for the kids. It wasn't about me," he said.
While Chomskis put up a brave front, Lamb braved hazardous conditions to attend the banquet.
"It's starting to snow up in Greenville, so I hope to make it home," Lamb said. "I'll hop in my four-wheel drive, and if the weather gets bad, I'll hole up somewhere."
Lamb hasn't taken many detours during his career. The Commerce, Ga. native sparked his high school squad to a state title. He later played quarterback at Furman, and was a 1995 inductee into the school's hall of fame.
Following 15 seasons as an assistant coach at Furman, he was named the head coach last year, and led the Paladins to an 8-4 record in 2002.
Achieving goals is a matter of setting proper priorities, according to Lamb.
"Faith; family; education; athletics," he said. "Keep them in that order, and you'll be successful in life."
During the speech, Lamb listed the qualities he tries to instill in his players at Furman - commitment, character, attitude, perseverance and passion.
After Lamb was done, the athletes soaked up the applause and accepted their trophies.
At one point, the team managers stepped on stage, each bearing tokens of appreciation for members of the coaching staff. Katy Childs drew the toughest assignment, and couldn't quite pull if off.
Childs turned to Chomskis, and as she said, "...everyone makes mistakes...," she broke down in tears and embraced the outgoing coach.
Near the end of the banquet, senior football player Chad Muns took the microphone and made his tribute.
"This is going to be really hard for me," he began. "As most of you know, we're going to lose a great coach...Coach Chomskis is a great man. He's been like a father to me. I'm really going to miss him."
Muns presented Chomskis with a plaque, which was given in appreciation by the football players and their parents. When Muns finished reading the plaque, Chomskis received his final parting gift, as the crowd offered an extended standing ovation.
The banquet was capped with a football highlight film filled with so many sparkling plays you would have thought the Knights went 8-2 in 2002.
But the Knights went 2-8, and the last man on stage realized the curtain had already closed.
"It's time to move on," Chomskis said.
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