By Doug Gorman
On July 1, 1997 I began my association with the News-Daily.
Almost eight years later, I have seen a lot of changes. When I first started here, the News-Daily published in the afternoon, the newsroom was in a different part of the building, the Daily-Herald had yet to go daily.
Along the way, we merged one sports staff into both papers as the Daily-Herald also began publishing six days a week.
New high schools were built in both counties, and many of the local sports programs added championships to their already successful team history.
Although it takes talented athletes to make a championship run, none of it would be possible without dedicated coaches.
Quite frankly, I have been pretty lucky. For the most part, my relationship with coaches has been pretty good. Staying in the same place for a long time has helped me cultivate a trust between myself and many coaches in the area.
As the school year comes to a close, several coaching eras are about to end.
Here are some thoughts about these men.
Jackie Green: The Mt. Zion head football coach and athletic director helped open the school and has been the only football coach the school has ever had. Green is the second winningest coach in Clayton County history. His best season was in 1999 when the Bulldogs played for the state title. I have always appreciated Green's honest approach when dealing with the media. He always made my job easier.
Things have really come full circle at Mt. Zion. Edwin Turnipseed, a Mt. Zion graduate, and Green's first quarterback, has been named the new coach. Green is retiring, but next December, he will coach at least one more game in North-South All-Star game in Columbus. I'm sure Green will find some other ways to stay involved in the game of football too.
Don Corr: You can't help but think about high school baseball in Clayton County without Don Corr's name coming up in the conversation. The long-time Jonesboro coach put the school's baseball team on the map during his 21 years of coaching, winning more than 300 games. He did some of his best coaching at Jonesboro over the last three years, leading Jonesboro to the state tournament three years in a row. Corr, who has also worked as a guidence counselor at Jonesboro, is an educator in the true sense of the word. He has the best interest of each kid at heart. Corr's next career move takes him into the role of assistant principal at Etowah High School, but I'm sure he will stay involved in baseball, serving as an advisor for the Georgia Dugout Club.
Mack Cain: The long-time Jonesboro basketball coach guided Jonesboro through some of its best years when brothers Harry and Toney Douglas were on the floor. With the dynamic duo in the lineup, Jonesboro played in the state title game. Cain has always had a real passion for the game, and it carried over to his players. He was also professional in the way he dealt with us here at the paper. If you placed a call to his office, you knew he was going to call you back.
He is moving to Northgate High School in Coweta County to be near his two young boys.
Bruce Jones: The Mt. Zion baseball coach is moving on to another teaching job outside the county. Any time I covered one of Jones' teams it made me realize just how long I've been in this business.
Our paths first crossed when I was a young sports writer working in Carrollton and he was a high school student at another Mt. Zion - Mt. Zion of Carrollton. Jones has coached football, and even soccer, but it's baseball that is his true passion. He learned much of his coaching style from Buddy Knapp, his coach in high school, who was always great to me when I was working at Carrollton. Like Knapp, Jones has a passion for winning, but knows it's not the end of the world if you don't.
It will be hard to replace all of these coaches. They have put in long hours, spent time away from their own families, and dealt with parental criticism.
Along the way, they made these athletes better players and better people.
It's the latter that's the most important.
Doug Gorman is sports editor of the Daily. His column runs on Thursday. He can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org