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The best and worst of my year in Greenville

Over the last year, a lot has happened in Butler County and I feel blessed to have been a part of it.

With this column being the last thing I will write as sports editor of The Greenville Advocate, I wanted to point out a few of the more memorable moments during my tenure.

The following are a few of the best and worst moments of the past year:

Biggest story: Greenville football finishes 10-3. After consecutive 1-9 seasons, the Tigers jumped back into the Class 5A playoffs in a big way in 2006 by finishing as the runner-up in Region 2. The Tigers not only made the playoffs, but made it all the way to the quarterfinals by taking down Demopolis and Pleasant Grove. The 2006 season was the best finish since the 1994 championship season and it brought together a town like nothing I have ever seen.

Runner up: Bryant Vincent leaves Greenville. Although one could argue this was the biggest story over the last year, Vincent leaving Greenville would not have been a big deal had the Tigers finished 1-9 in 2006 instead of 10-3. Many people felt Vincent was not going to stay around long, but the coach leaving in June to go to another Class 5A school was a shock to everyone.

Worst story: Georgiana coach Donald Ray Mixon arrested and charged with enticing a child for immoral purposes. The former Georgiana High School athletic director and head football and baseball coach was arrested in mid-May and charged with enticing a child for immoral purposes. He will appear before the grand jury in August.

Runner up: Chamber of Commerce Director Carol Lee convicted of second-degree theft. After two former Achiever Award winners made it known their scholarship money had not been paid, it was discovered Lee had embezzled nearly $8,000 from the athletic scholarship fund. Lee was arrested and charged with theft and eventually pled guilty of the crime after paying restitution back to the fund. Lee resigned as Chamber Director in November 2006.

Best game: Georgiana vs. Southern Choctaw (football). This game had it all. The Panthers scored late in the fourth quarter to take the lead over the No. 1 ranked Indians and then put the nail in the coffin with an interception returned for a touchdown on the game's final play.

Runner up: Greenville @ Pleasant Grove (football). The Spartans scored late to send the game into overtime, but the Tigers stepped up to the challenge and took the second-round win, thus advancing to the quarterfinals of the Class 5A playoffs.

Best quote: Vincent to the Greenville Kiwanis Club March 20, 2007. &#8220I want kids to come play football at Greenville because they want to play for coach Vincent.”

Runner up: Butler County Schools Superintendent Mike Looney on eight-time Fort Dale Academy championship tennis coach Johnny Mack Brown coming over to Greenville High. &#8220This is a grand slam for the (Greenville) tennis team,” Looney said.

Austin Phillips is The Greenville Advocate sports editor and can be reached by phone at 334-382-3111 ext. 122, by fax at 334-382-7104 or by e-mail at austin.phillips@greenvilleadvocate.com.