By Anthony Rhoads
There's definitely a Clayton County connection with the Henry County boys basketball coaching staff.
Not only is head coach Clint Satterfield a Jonesboro High School graduate but two of his assistants went to school in Clayton County as Todd Wells went to Forest Park and Lamar Rodgers went to Mt. Zion.
"I coached against both of these guys," Satterfield said. "I'm fortunate to have them on my staff. I watched them play and they were competitive and they were smart players. That's a sign of someone who will be a good coach someday. They both were undefeated against me and you know the old saying if you can't beat 'em, join 'em."
Satterfield played at Jonesboro in the late 1980s and was on the team that made state in 1988. Up until the recent three-year run from 2002-04, it was the only time in school history the Cardinals had made it to the state tournament. That year, Satterfield led the team with an average of 19.6 points per game and his season high was 38 against LaGrange.
"Coach Satterfield might be the most underappreciated coach in this area," Henry County athletic director Chuck Miller said. "He does a fine job with our athletes here. He has a unique way of working with players and motivating players who are still in their developmental stages. He's a good basketball coach and we are glad to have him here."
This year, Satterfield is taking the Warhawks to new heights as they are making their second straight trip to the state tournament with the first round Saturday at Bainbridge.
"As a coach, it's fun to be going to state," Satterfield said. "I can tell the kids some stories about going to state when I was a player. That aspect I think is an advantage and getting back as a coach, that's real special. The state tournament, that's what every coach wants and you always want to win at state but just getting there is great."
Todd Wells didn't get the chance to go to state in basketball at Forest Park but he made his mark in football. At quarterback, Wells helped lead the Panther to two region titles and two state playoff berths in 1994-95.
"Going to state, it's a big thing," Wells said. "It's a big accomplishment and there's a lot of excitement. You're really pumped and you turn things up a notch because you know you're going home and your season is going to end if you lose."
Wells said he is glad to be a part of helping lead Henry County to success in basketball.
"I enjoy it," he said. "It was great getting there last year. It was great to come back this year to make state. This year says a lot about these guys and it says a lot about the guys who were here before to build a tradition here."
In his sophomore season in high school, Wells was a back-up for future University of Georgia star and current Pittsburgh Steeler Hines Ward.
After Ward graduated, Wells made the most of his opportunity in his final two seasons of high school football. In his senior year at Forest Park, he led the state in passing with a Clayton County record of 2,553 yards. By the time his high school career ended, he had passed for 5,111 yards, which still ranks as a county record and is still one of the best careers ever in Georgia high school football.
He racked up 46 touchdown passes in his career, also a county record.
"It's great," he said. "At Forest Park we won a lot of games and all the other accomplishments added to that. I think if you ask any player, they would trade the records for winning but it's nice to know you've been remembered."
After high school, Wells went on to East Tennessee State on a football scholarship.
"I loved it," he said. "Getting the opportunity to play college football is great whether its Division I or a small college. You're getting your education paid for and that's what matters."
Rodgers graduated from Mt. Zion High School in 2000 and went on to Clayton College & State University. In 1999, he was part of the Mt. Zion team that made the state tournament for the first time in school history.
The following year, he and the Bulldogs won their first state tournament game ever with a 54-50 victory over Peach County.
Rodgers also helped Clayton State find success on the basketball court. In his junior season of 2001-02, he was on the Laker team that won the Peach Belt Conference title.
Rodgers said his high school coach Rick Moore and college coach Gordon Gibbons were big influences in his life.
"They teach the game well and I want to teach these kids and work with these kids so they can be successful as basketball players and young men," Rodgers said.
Rodgers is in his first season of coaching at Henry County and he said it's been a good experience.
"It's been great; I'm still learning a lot of stuff," he said. "It's pretty cool to go to state your first year of coaching."