What started as an energetic exchange between Thomasville High principal Todd Mobley and teacher Tom Imhof in January has quickly evolved into the latest – and perhaps most intriguing – sport among Bulldogs athletics.
Thomasville’s Student Angler Federation bass fishing team is no longer the topic of a hypothetical conversation.
The Angler ‘Dogs are fully up and running.
“We’re the real deal and we want people to know that,” Imhof, the team’s coach, said.
Mobley approached Imhof about the idea just as Thomasville returned from Christmas break. Mobley generated the idea while attending the football state championships in Atlanta the month prior, where he met Bruce Begue, Tifton’s bass fishing coach.
Imhof, who retired from coaching sports a few years back to spend time with his children, is a man of detail. He didn’t accept the post right away, and first met with Begue for two hours in a Wal-Mart parking lot to completely grasp what he was signing up for.
“I knew that if we were going to do this, we were going to do it right,” he said. “Anyone who knows me knows that I’ve fished since I could walk.”
Once he knew the potential for team growth, Imhof set up an interest meeting, which drew roughly 25 students – a sizeable number, he said. But after relaying the entailments and responsibilities – seeking sponsorship, practice constraints, etc. – participation slowly dwindled to just six, the bare minimum to qualify as a Student Angler Federation team.
“We knew that starting something like this would take a lot of work,” said James Herbert, one of the six who remain. “I’ve been fishing since I was three and really wanted to be a part of it.”
Because it is not yet a state sanctioned team, Imhof and the Angler ‘Dogs had to start from scratch. But the emerging interest and evident passion among the group has brought in a horde of sponsors and community support.