The longest-serving cheerleader in Thomasville High School (THS) history has finally graduated.
The Bulldogs’ most ardent supporter, 95-year-old Sarah Annie Floyd, died at her home Friday afternoon.
"She was called 'Miss Bulldog' for a reason,” said Mike Bobo, University of Georgia offensive coordinator and a former THS quarterback.
“As far back as I can remember, she would be at every game and every practice for Thomasville football and was one of their biggest supporters in history, without a doubt. She loved the Thomasville Bulldogs and the University of Georgia Bulldogs and both were truly her passion. Mrs. Floyd will be missed by people all over the state and beyond,” Bobo sad.
Sabrina Boykins-Everett, Thomasville City schools superintendent, who visited Floyd at her home in recent days, described her as “the ultimate spirit in football during football season.”
Boykins-Everett said Floyd’s room in her home was “ceiling to floor” in Bulldog paraphernalia.
“It was like a Bulldog shrine,” Boykins-Everett recalled. “... We knew she was passionate about our Bulldogs.”
City school system administrative offices are preparing to occupy second and third floors of the federal building in downtown Thomasville. Boykins-Everett said one of three displays cases in the new housing will be dedicated to Floyd.
“We had hoped she would be able to see it,” the superintendent said.
Leroy Ryals, Thomasville High School head football coach, expressed sorrow over Floyd’s death.
“She was a wonderful lady and a great Bulldog,” Ryals said. “She will be sorely missed.”
Said Clint Thompson, former Times-Enterprise sports editor, “Sarah Annie exemplified the qualities all fans should possess — loyalty combined with passion. She was a true Bulldogs supporter and was unapologetic about her love for Thomasville and the University of Georgia. She will be missed."
Darrell Allen, radio voice of the Bulldogs, had known Floyd for 30 years.
“She was a true friend and strong supporter of young people in Thomasville and Thomas County,” Allen said. “She’s going to be missed by all the Bulldog family.”
Allen recalled that Floyd sold Bulldog season tickets last year.
Todd Mobley, THS principal, has known Floyd “as Ms. Bulldog as long as I have lived.” He remembers her when he played for THS.
“She worked with us at the high school as long as I have been principal as our reserved season ticket seller and sold tickets for every home game,” Mobley said.
Floyd had her own desk set up in the school store and in the front office. She contacted everyone who had season tickets to let them know it was time to pick them up.
“She never missed a day that I can remember during football season to sell tickets. She also tried not to miss any games of any sports or events that we had in our school system,” Mobley said. “She was truly Thomasville’s most avid and loyal fan. The upcoming football season will not be the same without her. We will truly miss her sitting on the front row behind our team every Friday night. It will be very hard to replace her spirit and dedication to our school.”
Floyd, born March 31, 1918, retired from Neel’s department store on her 75th birthday.
Mark Lastinger, Times-Enterprise managing editor, described Floyd as “95 going on 15.”
Said Lastinger, “Her devotion to Thomasville High School activities kept her perpetually young. She always had a youthful, almost mischievous twinkle in her eye."
Floyd was not shy about speaking her mind, Lastinger explained.
"As a former sports writer, I can tell you that she didn't mind giving you a piece of her mind,” he said. “No one has busted my chops more than she did since I entered the newspaper business in 1988. She was really like a bulldog in that she defended her team tenaciously. Fortunately for me, she always did it in a light-hearted way. I'm going to miss her."
Dotty Thompson and Floyd were close friends for three decades.
Friday was Thompson’s 69th birthday, and she is thankful her friend went to heaven on that day and is no longer struggling.
Monday night’s THS football banquet was the first Thompson attended that she was not accompanied by Floyd.
“She did not care where you lived, what color you were,” Thompson said. “If you were her friend, you were her friend.”
Floyd, she said, “bent over backwards” for athletes.
Floyd left the hospital and nursing home recently to attend Bulldogs games.
Thompson said Floyd was cared for by her family and attended services at First Baptist Church until about five weeks ago.
Jim Hughes, longtime former THS football coach, said Floyd was “remarkable and one of a kind.”
Hughes knew Floyd since the mid-1960s. He said that as coaches and players changed and as Floyd aged, she never varied in her support of the Bulldogs.
“She seemed consumed by all things red and gold,” Hughes said.
Said Randy Young, radio voice of the rival Thomas County Central High School Yellow Jackets:
"No matter what colors she wore, you couldn't help but love her. We went at each other innumerable times with a smile on our face about the rivalry, but we shared an allegiance to Georgia. It never failed in a tight situation with Georgia, she would always call me. If the conversation ever started moving toward the high schools, though, it wound up being a pick-at-each-other session."
Senior reporter Patti Dozier can be reached at (229) 226-2400, ext. 1820.