By Tim Chambers
To quote Juliet’s famous line to Romeo, “parting is such sweet sorrow,” is just how I feel as I write my farewell letter to all the Tomahawk readers and the wonderful citizens of Johnson County.
I got a call back in September of 2014 from our previous editor Angie Gambill to see if I was interested in taking over sports at the Tomahawk.
I didn’t accept the position on her first call but somehow felt that God was leading me to give it a try. Angie and I spoke again, and this time I accepted.
I’ll never forget her inspiring words. “You know a whole lot more about sports than I do so it’s yours. Give the readers whatever you think they will like.”
And so the five-and-a-half year journey began.
It was the first year for head football coach Don Kerley and his staff, so we formed an immediate friendship. I learned quickly that he and his brother assistant coach Tom were two Christian men that cared about the youth of Johnson County. I had the utmost respect for them and their entire coaching staff.
For the past two seasons, the Longhorns have been state-ranked in the Class 3A state poll for 20 consecutive weeks. They were 11-1 in 2017 that including a perfect 10-0 regular season.
They were 9-1 in 2018 and 9-2 overall. That’s 20-3 over two seasons.
It didn’t change those men one bit. Their staff treated me with the utmost respect, and I will always be a big fan of each of them.
I can’t say enough about my feelings toward our boys and girls basketball coaches.
Austin Atwood is a man who does so much for the kids at JCHS that many in the community don’t know about. I’ve watched him buy shoes, clothes, and food and be a father figure to so many of them.
Somehow he finds time to be the Athletic Director and still coach his younger son Carter’s football team.
He put together a great season last year winning 22 games and advancing to the regional tournament, but this year he topped that.
The Longhorns are currently 26-5 giving Atwood one of his best seasons ever. And nobody is more deserving.
Coach Leon Tolley and his staff have elevated girls’ basketball to another level, and I can’t wait to follow them next year. He has a passion for the kids and his teaching position and is one of the best in the business. I can’t wait to see what next season hold for them.
I’ll miss both these men and their staffs.
I couldn’t have handpicked a better group to have worked with or been around.
I loved getting to be around our legendary baseball coach Pete Pavusek. He’s won more than 315 games and does not get the recognition he deserves as being one heck of a baseball coach.
I learned last year not to ask Coach Pete if he needed anything. I was the first base coach at Sullivan Central for one game, and we lost.
I was back writing the following day, and Pavusek’s Longhorns defeated Central at home ending my brief high school coaching gig.
You’re the best Coach Pete. I’m really going to miss you, but I’ll be back
I can say the same about former softball coaches Angela Blevins and Dana Smith. They made me love the sport, and in return, I loved both of them. I felt like I was part of the Lady Longhorns and I’ll be forever grateful.
I loved covering the tennis program last year and also the golf team. Those kids don’t get as much sports coverage as they deserve but they are some of the best and so are their coaches Zack Pittman, Craig Cox, Tim Tugman, and Eric Crabtree.
You guys mean the world to me and I will be back to watch your teams play.
I’m expecting a state championship from Taylor and Oliva Cox in doubles down
at Murfreesboro. You girls rock.
The junior high coaches, Devin Shaw, Julian Crews, and Sarah Swift are wonderful people. Thank you for treating me with so much respect, and you all have wonderful assistant coaches especially Chris Dunbar, one of my former players.
I owe a great deal to current high school softball head coach Greg Reece for being a true friend and a
role model to so many of the kids. I hope your team can earn a berth in the sub-state game because you can bet I’ll be there pulling for you all.
A special thanks to Angie Gambill for taking a chance on me along with our publisher Bill Thomas and former assistant editor Paula Walters. You guys were my support group, Christian family and three of the best people that I’ve ever worked with.
Thank you from the bottom of my heart.
I owe so much to my friends for life, Tom Reece, Brad Reece, David Arnold, Tameula Trivett, Ann Parsons, Nathan Winters, and Jeff Crowder. You guys have been my eyes for me over the past several seasons, helping me in areas where I could do a much better job. I will
always value your friendships.
I can’t write this column without giving a shout out to two of the best friends that I ever had in Gary Woodard and Steven Marshall. You guys were a blessing to me and our youth, here in Johnson County. Heaven holds a place for those like you, and so does my heart.
These old eyes of mine can no longer see the football field as I did years ago and they strain to watch a basketball game from a short distance. But I’ll never
complain because God has truly blessed me beyond measure.
One of those blessings was allowing me to be
your sports editor for five years plus and being part
of a community that has
been my home away from home. I’ll have precious memories forever. I love you all.
Until we meet again.
“Longhorn for life”