Sports talk Thursday with Lauren Hunter- Thank a coach!

All of TeamFYNSports, Sports

Over the last week and a half BKP and I have been going from school to school interviewing head football coaches for our North Georgia Coaching Series. Now if any of y’all know BKP, you’ll know what I mean when I say that he’s been doing most of the talking and I’ve been doing most of the observing. But this doesn’t bother me, it gives me a chance to learn more about the programs I’ll be spending a lot of time with this fall.

With that being said, there’s one thing in particular I’ve been noticing in our interviews, and that’s how much these coaches truly care about their players and their programs.

Now me saying that might make some of y’all think, “Well, duh. That’s what they’re supposed to do.” Well, maybe. But I like to think I’m pretty good at picking up when someone is just putting on an act for appearances. And I can say with all sincerity that none of these coaches are doing that.

Obviously when BKP and I go into these interviews, he asks questions about what the teams have been doing during the summer and how they’re planning to prepare for the regular season. But he also asks the coaches if they can highlight a few players that have really stood out. This point in the interview, I believe, is where a coach who didn’t care would possibly just say a couple names and move on.

But these coaches not only name the players, they tell us about why they stand out. And it’s a sign of the hard work of these athletes, but there’s also a sense of pride from these coaches as they name them. A couple of coaches have mentioned that it’s hard to name just a few, because all of their players have worked hard. And it’s not that the rest of the team doesn’t matter or that they don’t care about them, but the ones that they mention they do so without hesitation because they’ve been there with them through the summer truly coaching them. There’s no so-so about the commitment these coaches make- they’re all in.

Another thing that has amazed me about these coaches, not just in the interviews but learning about them off the field, is how much they care about their community as well. A couple of them, such as Chad Cheatham at Fannin County and Chad McClure at Hayesville, are natives to their communities. It’s home to them, and they’re not going to be just halfway in their commitments to their programs.

When Coach Caleb Sorrells of the Lumpkin County Indians was first named as head coach, the school hosted a meet and greet for him. It was one of the first stories I covered in this position.

In his address to the parents, Sorrells promised to not only invest in the team as players and athletes, but as men who would one day be employees and fathers. I remember being caught off guard at first because I was expecting him to talk about plans for the future of the program, the summer schedule and what not. He did talk about these things, but I believe by telling the parents that he was going to invest in the players as men showed that it was going to be a priority.

Although I know more about the commitment that Sorrells has made because I’m positioned in Lumpkin County, he’s not the only one in the area who gets involved in the community and works to build up the athletes’ character.

Tim Cokely with the White County Warriors has an entire wall of his office decorated with signs of good character qualities to instill in the team. Chad Cheatham, who I mentioned earlier, referees basketball in the football off-season just because, and the community loves him for it. I’m sure that many of the other coaches in the area do similar things and I just don’t know about it yet.

These are commitments that we see played out by coaches in movies and don’t always think to look for in real life. And because I grew up in Gwinnett County, population one million, if there was this sort of commitment by coaches I didn’t always see it because there were so many people. I love living up here in North Georgia in a smaller community where an act of kindness, especially where sports are concerned, rarely goes unnoticed.

We think about football as a sport that instills a since of discipline, but why is that? Because there’s a coach that sets that standard and inspires the team to do the same. As a community we love football and we love our team, and we can thank a coach for that.

Four UNG students named Critical Language Scholarship finalists

Community, News

DAHLONEGA, GA

When University of North Georgia (UNG) freshman Daniel Shearer first learned he was a semifinalist for the Critical Language Scholarship (CLS), he was reluctant to celebrate. The member of UNG’s Corps of Cadets was excited, but he wasn’t a finalist — until now. “I feel very fortunate to have won,” he said. “I honestly didn’t have high expectations, but I am glad.”

Shearer and three other UNG students were glad to learn March 1 that they were selected as CLS finalists. The scholarship program is a fully-funded overseas language and cultural immersion program for American undergraduate and graduate students. Its goal is to broaden the base of Americans studying and mastering critical languages and building relationships between the people of the United States and other countries.

Out of UNG’s eight semifinalists announced in January, the four finalists are:

  • Shearer, who is pursuing a degree in East Asian studies with a concentration in Japanese studies and a minor in leadership, will be in Japan.
  • Josh Shepherd, who is pursuing a degree in Chinese and a minor in Spanish, will be in China.
  • Donnie “Jamar” Shumaker, who is pursuing a degree in East Asian studies with a concentration in Chinese and a minor in Chinese language and culture, will be in China.
  • Rachel Wilson, who is pursuing a degree in finance and a minor in Chinese, will be in China.

Of the remaining semifinalists, all four were named alternates. They are:

  • Daniel Barker, who is pursuing a degree in mathematics and a minor in Russian.
  • Hannah Chisholm, who is pursuing a degree in communications with a concentration in multimedia journalism and a minor in Korean.
  • Leah James, a member of the Corps of Cadets who is pursuing a degree in nursing and a minor in Arabic.
  • Julia “Rhiannon” Smith, who is pursuing degrees in psychology and modern languages with a concentration in Russian.

Sponsored by the U.S. Department of State’s Bureau of Educational and Cultural Affairs, CLS is highly competitive, with acceptance rates of 10 percent, said Dr. Victoria Hightower, UNG’s assistant director of Nationally Competitive Scholarships. This makes UNG’s accomplishment of four finalists and four alternates significant.

“UNG’s four finalists and four alternates reflect our commitment to cultivating academically talented global leaders,” Dr. Anastasia Lin, assistant vice president for research and engagement at UNG. “This also indicates UNG’s prowess in teaching critical languages.”

Hightower, associate professor of history, agreed.

“In addition to our students’ qualities of determination, perseverance, and persistence, this success also reflects the encouragement they receive from their mentors throughout the university,” she said.

The four finalists and four alternates also mark an increase in UNG students selected. Last year, three were selected as finalists, and two were alternates. UNG had one finalist and one semifinalist for both 2016-17 and 2015-16 academic years.

Lin said more students are encouraged to apply to scholarships such as CLS after hearing of previous winners.

“I predict we will see more applications and winners in the future because of a growing commitment to scholarships on both the part of our students, faculty and staff,” she said.

Shearer, a freshman from Suwanee, Georgia, plans to use the study abroad experience as a springboard for his future.

“I intend to commission through UNG, and as I am pursuing a degree in East Asian studies, I would love to have a duty station over there,” he said, adding the CLS program will give him an advantage. “Through this scholarship, I will have a greater fluency in Japanese through immersion in the culture that comes through living and working there.”

Students interested in learning more about nationally competitive scholarships should contact [email protected] for more information. Students wanting to learn about funding and programs to study abroad may visit the Center for Global Engagement website.

 

UNG men’s tennis team claims Peach Belt win

Sports

DAHLONEGA, GA

According to the University of North Georgia Athletics Department, the UNG men’s tennis team claimed a big Peach Belt Conference win Thursday, as they took out No. 13 Georgia College. The Conference was held at the UNG Tennis Complex, located at Yahoola Creek. The win bumped UNG 7-1 on the season, and 2-0 in league play.

During the doubles tournaments, the Nighthawks won the No. 3 and No. 2 spots. Singles was more challenging, as the Bobcats came out fighting, resulting in a 2-1 loss for UNG. The Nighthawks will travel to Orlando for a four-game road trip.

 

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Fully involved fire claims structure in Lumpkin County

News

DAHLONEGA, GA

A fully involved fire off  Candlewood Lane, near highway GA 400 in Dahlonega, GA has resulted in severe structural damage. The latest report confirmed that the structure was on the ground. The Lumpkin County Fire Department is working diligently to extinguish the fire. More information will be released as soon as it is received.

This is an ongoing story; please check back for updates.

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Back to School Info for 2018 – 2019 School Year

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State Senator Steve Gooch Talks About Economic Development in Rural Georgia

Politics

This past Friday we continued our discussion about rural Georgia with 51st district (R) State Senator and Lumpkin County’s economic development director, Steve Gooch. Our three areas of focus: rural Georgia economy, broadband access, and health care. Although the district doesn’t want to see something in the line of the KIA plant they most certainly would be open to small companies offering high paying, high tech jobs. In order to attract these types of companies; the area must provide good schools, fast internet, and quality health care. We discussed Piedmont Mountainside new stand alone emergency health care center in Gilmer County; a model for quality health care in rural areas. When our discussion turned to high speed internet for the area, Gooch was unable to say they “moved the ball” concerning Senate Bill 232, Facilitating Internet Broadband Rural Expansion (FIBRE) Act.

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