Thomasville Times Enterprise

Local Sports

December 31, 2013

Best of 2013

Ryals’ hiring and THS’ subsequent turnaround is top local sports story


No. 7) Milestone win

Cairo High School didn’t win the region football title for the first time in four years.

However, the Syrupmakers got a major win Oct. 25 when it routed visiting Americus-Sumter 35-7. With that victory, Cairo became the 17th program in the state to win 600 games.

“Our program is everything to us,” Cairo coach Tom Fallaw said following that game. “A lot of people came here because of the program. I came here 14 years ago because of it, and I don’t know that I ever want to leave. It’s a good place to coach football. It’s a good place to be with the fans. The school environment is exactly what you’d want it to be. The band, everything about it is just special. The 600 wins is more about the community than it is about us.

“We say it all the time. We’re thankful to be here. It’s a great place to coach. You get lost sometimes, and get mad at certain things. You forget that this is where you want to be. I’ve never disputed that. This is where I want to be, and I make no bones about that.”

The Syrupmakers, who began playing in 1922, have totaled a 602-319-37 record.

No. 8) Program starters

A new era in Thomas University athletics began Oct. 27.

That day, the Night Hawks fielded a men’s basketball team for the first time since 2000. Three days later, TU’s first women’s basketball team also took to the court.

One year after TU joined The Sun Conference, the launching of the basketball programs showed the growth of the Night Hawks’ athletic program. It also led to some enthusiasm and optimism.

“There’s a lot of excitement going on and we’re looking forward to filling this place up,” TU men’s coach Stephen Cox said before the Night Hawks’ first game at the renovated TU gymnasium. “I just want us to compete.

“We have a chance to put Thomas University on the map. We play Louisiana-Monroe and Alabama State. It’ll be on the Bottom Line and that gives Thomas University national media attention it may or may not have had before.”

Added TU women’s coach Coretta Brown: “There’s not too many coaches my age that can say they got to start their own program. I take a lot of pride in that. I take a lot of pride in being the first women’s coach here and I want to make sure that I’m doing it right, and make sure that I’m doing the city of Thomasville justice.”

So far the TU teams are doing just that. With both fixing to resume TSC play Saturday when St. Thomas visits Thomasville, the TU men are 8-4 and 1-1 in the conference, while the TU women are 6-7 and 2-0 in the conference.

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