Greenville High recognized for hospitality

Published 3:15 pm Friday, March 21, 2014

It was neither talent nor athletic prowess that Greenville High School was recently recognized for at the Central Alabama Basketball Officials Association banquet, but something every bit as impressive for a select few — service with a smile.

Greenville High School received the 2013-2014 Hospitality Award, as bestowed by the various officials that comprise the officials overseeing Greenville basketball games.

The distinction is given to the school in the region that proves the most accommodating for visiting officials throughout the school year.

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It marked the second time that Greenville High School was recognized in three years, including honors for the 2011-2012 season.

“Getting this award two out of my three years here shows the respect and value that we as a basketball staff, including girls coach Frederick Newton and Athletics Director Earnest Hill, give basketball officials in this area,” said GHS head basketball coach Richard Kelly. “We are proud to represent this prestigious award.”

The hospitality displayed might be difficult to appreciate for visiting fans at games, but it is an immeasurable service for the officials themselves.

“It takes a lot of work for us to get off work and nine times out of 10, we don’t have time to grab something to eat,” said Girard Warren, Central Alabama Basketball Officials Association representative and Greenville High School alumnus. “So once we get to the gym, it’s nice to have something — whether it’s water, Gatorade, chips and hot dogs or anything of that nature — we really appreciate that.”

Ten board members with the organization selected Greenville for the honor at the conclusion of the season based on a number of factors.

“The quality or disposition of treating officials in a warm and generous manner is what we pride ourselves on,” Kelly said. “Their job is hard enough, and the athletic department at Greenville recognizes that.”

A friendly coaching staff and players, and clean facilities for changing were just a few of Warren’s highlights of his experiences at Greenville.

Moreover, it is an award that isn’t won by any one individual.

“The award is more than for just coach (Richard) Kelly,” Warren said. “It’s the booster club and from the principal on down to the players.”

The importance of recognizing schools for their hospitality is always a matter of the utmost importance for all officials in the organization.

But it means a great deal more for Warren, considering he is a product of the school himself.

“For me, I can say as an alumnus of Greenville High School that I’m very proud to give this award to my school,” Warren said. “I graduated from there in 1999 and also played basketball there, so for me this is big because it shows that my alma mater was able to service my fellow officials and also my friends when we come down, and give Greenville a good name.  It’s something that we don’t take lightly every year, and we look forward to coming into people’s gym and having their hospitality, because we do go into gyms where we aren’t provided anything — not water or even a clean place to change clothes.  So we do hold this award to higher standards.”