Photos by Derrick Mahone
Forest Park coach Don Williams pleaded for teams to take it easy on his team this season as he won the Rotary Club’s Crying Towel award on Wednesday.
It was a time for jokes and one-liners as coaches in Clayton County tried to win the annual Crying Towel award on Wednesday in an afternoon luncheon sponsored by the county’s Rotary Club.
The nine county coaches took to the podium in a Clarion Hotel ballroom to try and convince a panel of judges that they will have the hardest coaching job this season and will need the towel to shed some tears.
In the end, Forest Park first-year coach Don Williams was awarded the towel.
As he returned to his seat, county athletic director Kevin Mann got in a final jab.
“You better take these wins any way you can get them coach,” Mann said.
Last season, Forest Park won only one game.
Lovejoy coach Al Hughes, the dean of county coaches, pleaded with the Club’s voters not to give it to him.
“I’ve been around here a long time, and I have a theory about this towel,” Hughes said. “The coach that usually wins it is not around next year. So please, I don’t want it.”
New Morrow coach Leroy Foster apparently didn’t know about Hughes’ theory as he made a case to the voters to win it.
“I should win it by default,” Foster said. “I was told last night that I have the Morrow job. I haven’t had an opportunity to practice with my team, and we open the season next week. We have gone 0-10 the last two years, and I just got the job yesterday. Now, that deserves something.”
Indeed, Foster will have his hands full in trying to prepare a team that went 0-10 last season and returns 10 total starters.
New Mount Zion coach Ervin Starr cracked about being reunited with several of the players he coached at nearby Rex Mill Middle School.
“It was good to have a lot of players that I use to coach in middle school,” Starr said. “Then it hit me, these are the same guys that I had in middle school. They are still small and immature. I know it’s going to be tough. My starting middle linebacker this season was my starting left guard at Rex Mill last year. It’s going to be a long season.”
But the afternoon belonged to Williams, who enlisted the help of his daughter, Sarah, for his routine. A state-champion wrestling coach, Williams donned a pair of wrestling headgear to the podium.
He also had a makeshift hobo stick.
“Our turnout has been so poor, we might have to play eight-man football this season,” Williams said. “It is so bad over here that we don’t have enough air for our footballs. I saw where someone predicted us to go 1-9 again this year. Really? Who is that one win going to be? I know if I don’t win this year, they are going to send me packing.”
Afterwards, he was a little leery about winning the award after Hughes’ speech.
“This might not be a good thing after all,” he said. “We know we are a little behind the eight-ball at Forest Park.”