Your favorite high school sports team is only a mouse click away.
Athletic departments from all six high schools in Columbia County have turned to the World Wide Web. Dozens of Web sites have popped up over the past few years specializing in a local sports team or high school.
"It's just kind of one of those things you've got to do to keep up with the times," Greenbrier athletic director Scott Chadwick said. "I think it's important to have a really good athletic Web site."
Most athletic directors wouldn't have agreed with that statement 10 years ago, but a changing, fast-paced culture with high-speed Internet in many homes in Columbia County has almost forced coaches onto the World Wide Web.
At Greenbrier, the athletics program's Web site was recently remodeled. The new version includes a photo slide show on the front page and links to sport-specific Web pages.
One of those pages, the Greenbrier football site, holds rosters, schedules and more information for varsity, junior varsity and ninth-grade teams.
Greenbrier boys basketball coach Casey Dees, who also serves as the school's career and technology instructor, took over the task of revamping the Web site.
With the help of students in his class, he's done just that.
"This is the first year we've gotten into it, and I think the kids have done an excellent job with it," Dees said. "It's very useful. Anytime there's anything a parent or someone else needs, it's all right there on the Web site."
Football Web sites such as the ones at Greenbrier, Evans and Augusta Christian have taken the Internet's usefulness a step further with an e-mail alert system that sends out practice time changes and other information in a mass e-mail. That type of quick communication came in handy last summer.
"We were constantly changing our practice schedule because of the heat," Chadwick said. "We just put it right on the Web site, and anybody that's registered in our Gridiron Club, we send out a mass e-mail about it. That's probably been one of the best parts of the football Web site is being able to communicate with parents."
At Evans, both the football and basketball Web sites are run independently by parents of athletes. Lakeside outsourced its athletic Web site to a company that specializes in helping schools and teams set up a manageable, low-cost site. Volunteers at Lakeside still help to input information and maintain the site.
"It's nice when you can have someone else do it," Lakeside athletics director Jody Grooms said. "We have a nonfootball parent who takes care of that."
The football Web sites for Lakeside, Evans and Augusta Christian post updated and detailed stats each week. Directions to away games and information about the athletic programs are available.
Chadwick said it's all in the name of convenience and getting information out to anyone who wants it.
"That's another thing. I know, as a person who's relocated recently, there are a lot of people out there who are relocating from out of town, and they want information about your school and your programs," he said. "We want to be able to give them the information they need."
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