Evans High School has been selected as Region 3-AAAA's 2010 recipient of the Georgia High School Association's Cooperative Spirit Sportsmanship Award.
The award honors "exemplary sportsmanship" demonstrated during the 2009-10 school year, according to the GHSA.
"I think it speaks to the character of our coaches," said Kevin Kenny, the school's athletic director and boys basketball coach. "Whether you win or lose, you always want to emphasize sportsmanship."
It marks the second time Evans has won the award since it was introduced in 2006. Last year, Westside High School won the distinction.
Kenny said that the Knights' athletic department does not necessarily emphasize sportsmanship, per se, on an everyday basis. Rather, the honor reflects the general way in which members of the school conduct themselves.
"It's just a combination of what (our coaches) expect from their kids, how disciplined they are," Kenny said.
The award is voted upon by the athletic directors of the region's schools using a scoring sheet. Criteria in five separate areas (administrators, coaches, athletes, cheerleaders and spectators) are used to judge each school.
In addition, "an ejection of coaches and/or athletes is a major consideration," according to the GHSA's score sheet. Thus, by rule, a school with three or more ejections during the school year is deemed ineligible for the award.
Evans baseball head coach Ricky Beale said the Knights' fans, especially in the student section, are a good example of the sportsmanship aspect. The fans are known for their passion and intensity in supporting the school, but it generally stays positive and respectful.
Opposing coaches, he added, often tell him that they wish they had the same group of fans at their school.
"The way the kids are in the bleachers, hollering and screaming. There's not an opposing coach that says, 'I hate those guys,' " Beale said. "They love our student section. They tell me they wish our students were at their school."
Kenny appreciates the award even more because it is based not only on coaches and players, but on the entire school landscape.
"This reflects on our whole school community," he said. "It's always nice to be recognized by your peers. You know you're doing a good job, and your school's doing a good job.
"School's administration is available and assertive in difficult situations"
"School is hospitable; opponents are met and provided clean and adequate facilities"
"Demonstrate courtesy to officials, players, coaches and opponents"
"Model self-control in pressure and adverse situations"
"Avoid taunting, baiting, physical retaliation and fighting"
"Cheers are positive and not an attempt to antagonize opponents"
"Encourage positive spectator support"
"Respect the judgment and integrity of officials"
"Maintain control and demonstrate positive behavior"
Source: The GHSA score sheet for Cooperative Spirit Sportmanship Award
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