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New coaches, New Year, no sports

June 04, 2020 - 06:00
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  • New coaches, New Year, no sports
    New coaches, New Year, no sports

Turnover in the coaching staffs at high schools can be concerning if the changes constantly involve the change-over in program concepts and confusion among the student-athletes.

Putnam County High School is going through a bit of turnover with the addition of four new coaches but athletic director Paul Stokes and the school administration have done a good job of getting new coaches that most tightly reflect the ideals already established at the school.

The sooner the new coaches can become acclimated to their new athletes the better off everybody will be but the coronavirus has seen to it to stall efforts to plug in completely with the new faces.

On the gridiron, former Social Circle assistant Mike Phiel with be the new defensive line coach as well as the new head coach of the baseball team. I haven’t been able to talk to Coach Phiel yet but his reputation certainly precedes him. It is expected he will be able to step right in where former coach Ben Skinner roamed the dugout.

I just want to take a minute and wish Ben and his family the best of luck in Augusta. Ben was making the drive back and forth every day, including those late nights on the road and long doubleheaders at home.

It was my first season covering War Eagles baseball and folks, this team was close. They still had some things that needed to be flattened out on the curve but they were just about poised to make a run at the playoffs.

I must say it was a joy to travel with Ben and his team to Rabun County on that cold north Georgia Friday night and watch Putnam just whip the butts of Rabun in a doubleheader sweep. That hadn’t happened since, I don’t know, forever.

I won’t forget handing Mrs. Lupton the baseball Chase just hit out of the park and halfway to the moon. A ball boy brought it over to the dugout and to Mr. and Mrs. Lupton, it was an honor to hand you that ball. Mrs. Lupton had a look of surprise, shock and absolute glee on her face. Not sure which so I’ll say they were all there at the same time.

That was the night I knew they were close. And of course, I won’t forget a man at the concession stand who tried, in vain, to convince me the coronavirus was caused by bad Corona beer. Hey Mister! Ever had a nose hot dog? Here, smell this one!

In our beloved county, we now have 88 COVID-19 cases, 16 people hospitalized and nine deaths. I still don’t think it was funny then and now. We whipped their butts on their own turf. Let them think about that for a while.

Good luck to Coach Phiel. Thank you to my friend Ben.

The softball team had been without a coach and coach Paul Stokes stepped in. I had just started covering Putnam County sports when they upset Lake Oconee Academy in the last game of the season.

Coach Stokes hired Taylor Fernandes from Lincoln County to fill the void. She is young, very energetic and charismatic. She head coached soccer and volleyball and assisted with a lot of softball and spent 2012-2017 individually tutoring girls aged 16 and under on the finer points of softball while assisting with the South Carolina Storm 16-under traveling team.

With the young Lady War Eagles coming back after tasting what winning a big game against LOA felt like, she is just what the doctor ordered. Be patient, give her some time to find her balance and space and softball will soon be back on the map at Putnam.

Football head coach Shaun Pope picked up a jewel in hiring Jackson Williamson of Summerville, South Carolina, as the offensive line coach. In 2017, Coach Williamson was the captain of the Charleston Southern Buccaneers and started 51 games at center during his college career. Graduation hit the War Eagles o-line pretty hard, especially at center with the loss of field general Cullen Lee.

Coach Williamson is the perfect choice to find the right people to fill the voids and the right person to teach them the right way to do things. Just as a side note I love to talk about, Putnam added some new offensive weapons via transfers and some of the young players from last year are a year older and wiser for it.

Oh, and our quarterback, Cedrion Brundage, is back complete with a stacked quarterback roster to work with so look for some new wrinkles from our boys in blue. They are going to be flat-out dangerous when they have the football in their hands. Just wait.

Lastly, and certainly not least, Putnam hired LaPatrick Marshall from Troup County as the new boys basketball coach. Coach Marshall has been at it for 13 years and brings a wealth of knowledge with him he’ll need when he takes over the young War Eagles who had to grow up in real-time action last season.

He mentioned watching the tape from the big home win over Banks County and got excited talking about it. Wait until he gets a load of a packed house at The Eagles’ Nest on a Friday night up close and personal. Greene County will surely remember.

Good luck to all our new coaches and best of luck. Welcome to the community of friends. You’ve chosen a community that will surely wrap their arms around you. Now it’s time to go get your players and crank up the War Eagle machine. I can’t wait to cover next year from start to finish.

Time to go git’er dun!!!