Coach says ‘thanks’ to Greenville

Published 3:11 pm Wednesday, November 3, 2010

Dear Editor,

What a day! Getting to come to Greenville and playing the Robert Trent Jones golf course at Cambrian Ridge with Danny and Joey Foster and to walk on a tee box on the same exact place the Greenville Tigers met for our Senior Supper and then our meeting with the players and their fathers was a very special time. It was a real emotional time for me. What an asset for Greenville to have a place like that!

Driving to the school and seeing signs saying Wayne Woodham Day was so exciting. Having our grandson and granddaughter in the car with us, and her taking a picture of every sign and their wearing the jerseys their daddy and Uncle Will wore when they were waterboys was very special. Then beginning to see players and fans I hadn’t seen or heard from in years was wonderful. Seeing everyone gather to listen to Dexter McLendon’s opening statements; Mark and Mike’s remarks; speaking to the players and fans was great. I never dreamed I would get to do that again. Seeing my players looking at the Pride Sign and showing it to their wives and children—what a beginning to a great day.

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As I toured the athletic facilities, I was so impressed. I was reminded of the shirts our players wore under their pads each game with the slogan from Proverbs 23:7: As a man thinks so he becomes. I couldn’t help thinking as I saw that facility for the first time: what a vision—what a dream come true. Someone had to be thinking big and positively for that to become a reality. I thought about each player from the past who wore those shirts with pride. They had to feel a little part in making that facility a reality by the success they had as players. The facility is fantastic, and it will be great for future Greenville athletes. Coach (Ben) Blackmon and his staff were so gracious to allow us to tour the facility and address his team. I’m so proud of the team for winning the game Friday night. Best of luck in the future.

It was great to see all the players, fans and supporters who came to the reception. The stories, the memories, the relationships, the closeness, the bond, the unity will never be erased!

The one thing I wanted to do when I addressed the group was to have a moment to remember those that I know have gone on to be with their Lord—John Moorer (QB, DB, captain), Frank Burt (filmer), Chad Helms (waterboy), O. G. Holley (reporter), Mike Morris  and Terry Golden (radio announcers). What an impact these people had on our program. We remember them dearly.

It was great having my family there to be a part of this occasion. They would ask what was going to happen, and I told them I didn’t really know, but that it was Greenville, and it would be first class. When they dropped that curtain and announced my name as being the first one inducted into the Greenville Football Hall of Fame, there was a flashback in my mind of those six years in Greenville and the players, coaches, managers, waterboys and girl, fans, administration, teachers, athletic club presidents, the great wins, the tough defeats—everybody and everything that had made that possible.

I want to thank each one of you. Every time you see the Wall, know that you helped make it happen. After the announcement, the players wanted to breakdown one more time. We did, and when they repeated in unison what they had learned 30 years ago, it brought chills down my spine. What a blessing to have a football family like that!

Being on the radio with Allen Stephenson one more time and getting to express my appreciation to the fans listening was special to me. My family and I want to thank each one who had a part in making this occasion a success. Francine (Wasden), you were wonderful. What a jewel! To Mr. Cook for having the cafeteria ready so we could have the reception there—To the Greenville Chamber of Commerce—To Mike and Mark for their kind remarks which got everyone fired up. (Mark, I had to explain to my granddaughter that GATA meant “Get after them again.”)

There are three people who I want to offer a special thanks to—Mr. Shelby Searcy who gave me a chance, Allen Stephenson who was “Mr. Everything” to me, and Dexter McLendon who became a part of our program and never looked back. What a job he has done as mayor. I couldn’t believe how Greenville is growing. I hope none of you have any regrets for what you did.

Then, most of all, I want to thank my players. Our coaches worked hard to prepare you for the games and for life, but you were the ones who had to perform on the field. The impact—the difference—that each one of you made is what brought success on the football field. It was a joy for me to see the impact you now have on your families. I’m proud of you.

Finally, from the bottom of my heart, I want to thank everyone for making this one of the greatest days of my life. It exceeded my expectations. It was an awesome day.

With kindest regards,
Wayne Woodham and family