Thompson, Babb highlight week
Sunday, August 24, 2014 12:11 AM
A few thoughts from the Sports Lounge.
Susan Thompson, who announced her retirement from coaching girls basketball at Greenwood High School, was a true player’s coach.
Sure, she coached the Eagles to 299 victories, eight region crowns and two Upper State championships.
But that’s not what makes her a player’s coach.
You see, the reason being is she strove to be more than just a coach.
She was a mentor. She was the disciplinarian when she needed to be. And, she was the parent figure when she needed to be.
Those traits go beyond any win or any loss that could appear on a coach’s re’sume’.
Those traits go beyond any coaching technique. That’s because there is no technique to it.
She did it not for the love of the game. She did it for the love of her players.
She lived to coach her players. And while her players were on the court, they lived to play for her.
And boy, did they play.
A total of 299 wins is a lot.
Her Eagles reached the Class AAAA state championship game, only to lose against Dutch Fork.
Looking back to when I interviewed her after that game, one Thompson quote stands out above the rest.
She was not talking about X’s and O’s. Sure, the look on Thompson’s face expressed disappointment. But what she said was kept in perspective.
“You know, I hate to say this after (Friday’s loss), but it’s just a ballgame,” she said. “We try to look at it that way. You play the right way and do things the right way. And, that’s all you can do.”
And, certainly, Thompson did things the right way.
Of course, it’s only fitting the late Pinky Babb is amongst the first class to be inducted into the South Carolina Football Coaches Association’s first Hall of Fame class.
After winning 346 games from 1943-81 and even being named the 1964 national coach of the year and 1984 inductee into the National High School Sports Hall of Fame, Babb – who died in 1983 – is deserving of every honor he receives.
His program won eight state championships, but his legacy carries far greater weight than what is in the record books.
Ask just about any businessman in the Lakelands who played for Babb, who is also in the South Carolina Athletic Hall of Fame and Greenwood Athletic Hall of Fame. They’ll talk about what they learned from him as long as you have time to listen.
That’s admiration and devotion.
When Greenwood native Hootie Johnson was inducted into the S.C. Athletic Hall, he did not talk much about his time overseeing the Masters -- the world’s most renowned golf tournament.
He wanted to talk about playing for Babb. And, on the day he was to be inducted into that hall, he talked about what Babb taught him.
Babb’s lessons continue to live on.
William Earl “Hump” Brown played on the first Calhoun Falls football team and was the first person inducted into the Calhoun Falls Hall of Fame, died this week.
He was 79.
Sixty years ago, he graduated Calhoun Falls and remained a strong supporter of the athletic program.
Those are the fans you want to have. And to have a fan like that who set the foundation for the program is even better.
The Blue Flashes community will miss him, for sure.
Chancey is sports editor at the Index-Journal. Contact him at 864-223-1813; e-mail email@example.com or follow him on Twitter @IJSCOTTCHANCEY. Views expressed in this column are those of the writer only and do not represent the newspaper’s opinion.