Recently I visited the Georgia Sports Hall of Fame in Macon. It's a beautiful, well-run facility that features some of the state's more prominent natives. However, the Central Savannah River Area's best don't seem to be getting the recognition they deserve.
My visit got me thinking about Columbia County sports. If I were to erect a Columbia County Sports Hall of Fame, who would be first to be enshrined?
Among the coaches and administrators, Terry Holder would be a lock. He has eight state baseball championships in 12 years at two different county schools, not to mention his impact on local athletes as a longtime assistant football coach at Evans, and as athletic director and football coach at Greenbrier.
Among active coaches, Jimmie Lewis would be the odds-on favorite. He is a modest man and probably would not agree with this statement, but it's true: Jimmie Lewis is Harlem sports.
Year after year, he has Bulldog baseball competing with the best teams in the state, not to mention all of his state championships. Also, Lewis serves as athletic director and football coach at Harlem. To me, he has been a tremendous ambassador for Harlem High School.
Among the athletes, I may be a little biased. Two athletes I grew up with would likely head the list.
Colorado Rockies catcher Todd Greene is a no-brainer. He led Evans to back-to-back state baseball titles and a top 5 national ranking in 1988 and 1989. In 1989, Evans was 29-0 and Greene was the state Player of the Year with 17 homers. He was also a starting defensive back and kicker on the football team and helped Evans go 10-0 in regular season play for two straight seasons. Also, he has had an amazing career since his Evans days. He had played in the College World Series, the Pan Am Games and the World Series. He is the second all-time home-run hitter in the history of college baseball.
Finally, there's Lenny Springs.
Despite standing only 5-feet, 3-inches tall, Springs was a four-year varsity starter in baseball and basketball. In football, he played a lot as a freshman and rushed for more than 1,000 yards as a three-year starter at tailback. He was an all-state performer in football and baseball and hit a huge three-run, game-tying homer, which propelled the Knights to their first ever state baseball crown.
I realize that there are probably many athletes and coaches who would be good candidates for the mythical Columbia County Sports Hall of Fame, so e-mail me your nominee at firstname.lastname@example.org.
You never know. One day this idea may become a reality.
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