Coaches shaping athletes to win game of life

Published 2:35 pm Tuesday, July 11, 2023

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An Editorial of The Greenville Advocate

Over the summer, while school athletic seasons paused for coaches and students to refresh, train, and regroup, the Advocate staff took advantage of the opportunity to highlight a few coaches and give communities a closer look into the lives of the men and women who mold student athletes.

Halfway through the article series, Advocate reporters agreed they discovered one common thread, bright and vibrate, running through each story, the passion of someone who accepted the responsibility to shape student athletes in Butler, Lowndes, and Crenshaw counties and to give them the tools needed to win the most important challenge – the game of life.

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In Butler County, Georgiana School head football coach Berry Bess was inspired by his high school coaches and the way they built relationships with student athletes. Bess said he became a coach to have that sort of impact on future generations.

Now, Bess works to mold student athletes into better men and women through sports. The veteran coach enjoys watching athletes grow and helping them develop into whole individuals.

Lowndes County cheer coach Corsheka Rich, works with student athletes at Hayneville Middle School and Central High School in Hayneville. She didn’t set out initially to be a coach or teacher. After earning her degree she received an offer to teach at Hayneville Middle and was soon asked to coach the school’s cheer squad.

Rich said she grew up without the consistent adult support she needed. Now, as coach and teacher, she provides the needed support for her students and athletes.

Luverne School varsity football coach Justin Bayman left a successful career in aviation, yearning for a greater purpose for his life. That desire inspired him to volunteer to coach his son’s youth league team and ignited a spark for coaching which eventually became that purpose he sought.

Along the way, Bayman experienced the opportunity to coach the late Correy Bozeman, who made a profound and lasting impact on the coach’s life. The determination and zest for life Bozeman displayed through his battle with cancer changed Bayman’s perception of life, teaching him the need for balance between competition and joy.

Bayman intentionally works now to instill that balance in the lives of student athletes. Like the many other coaches who give of themselves to shape young athletes, Bayman has found himself changed for the better by his interactions with those he coaches.

Throughout the tri county area, others give of their time and talents to make a lasting impact on the lives of children and teens they coach. In both volunteer and full-time capacities, these men and women work to instill a sense of excellence on the field, in the classroom, and out in the community. The Advocate editorial staff wishes to thank them for being there for the children of our communities and encourage community members to take this opportunity to thank them for their service.