Sinclair Gym looks like new

Published 6:00 am Thursday, January 15, 2004

Brookhaven’s Sinclair Gymnasium underwent a major overhaulduring the Christmas holidays and the results are amazing. Imagineplastic surgery on an elderly, wrinkled woman in her 80s. Suddenly,after the surgeons have worked their miracle, she appears to be inher early 20s, all shiny and smooth.

Sinclair Gym is 42 years old but you wouldn’t know it when youstep inside the doors. Bright lights reflect a new paint job fromceiling to floor. The best part is the bleachers.

No longer drab, sliver-filled, creaking and rusty seats, the oldwooden style bleachers have been replaced by colorful red and blueplastic. Folded against the wall, the bleachers clearly spell outB-H-S in large block letters.

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Over the past 20 years, several BHS coaches have moaned, groanedand wished aloud for a new set of bleachers. Santa Claus finallyarrived during the Christmas break.

“It’s gorgeous!”

That’s how BHS girls basketball coach Billy Holmes described therenovation. “It’s like having a new gym.”

Holmes said that not just the basketball players enjoy thebright new facilities. “Our PE (physical education) students likeit, too.”

To say the least, the old bleachers were cumbersome andcantankerous when it came time to fold them against the walls. Onceupon a time they worked smoothly but age began catching up with theconglomeration of nuts and bolts, wood and steel.

“I sure won’t miss fooling with those old bleachers,” Holmesadmitted. “It took eight to ten of us to move them out.

“Now we just press a button and presto, they come out.”

The new bleachers are operated by a several motors. They fold upcloser to the wall, too, allowing more space for PE classes.

The seating capacity is 1,480 for basketball. There’s awheelchair mode available on the control system. This helpsaccommodate disabled basketball fans.

BHS varsity boys basketball coach Ronald Hines said he alsoappreciates the new facilities. “It’s really nice. It brings theold and new together within the facility.

“It gives our kids a sense of confidence,” Hines pointed out.”They feel good about it.”

BHS varsity boys team captain Ganeiro Richardson agreed. “Ireally like the BHS initials. It will be good to have it for Fridaynight. The nice bleachers will be good for our fans.”

Co-captain Jermaine Culver echoed Richardson’s opinion. “I likeBHS on the bleachers.”

What better way to make the unveiling Friday night when JacksonJim Hill’s Tigers come calling for a Division 6-4A test. Thevarsity girls game tips off at 6 p.m., followed by the varsity boysat 7:30.

BHS athletic director Tucker Peavey said, “It will make a hugedifference. Obviously, the appearance, safety and comfort will beimproved. It increases the seating capacity.

“Hopefully, it will be a lot more comfortable environment forthe fans. The new scorers’ table is nice.”

Peavey said Greg Walker, a Brookhaven School District employee,built the new table which is supposed to accommodate the clockoperator, official scorekeeper, public address announcer andmedia.

According to Peavey, the next major project in the athleticdepartment is to resurface the track which circles King Field. Itis a 6-lane track, named in honor of former BHS coach R.L.Therrell. That work will be done this summer.

Brookhaven has been unable to host track meets because the tracksurface had deteriorated in several areas. It is a public accessfacility so many people use the track for walking and jogging.

It will long be remembered as The Great September Crash of 2003.That’s when my office computer collapsed. With it went tons ofreference material concerning local and state-wide athletics. Yourstruly lost several more hairs from the top of his head in theprocess.

Here’s a warning to computer folks. If you have something ofvalue, save it on a CD or print a copy on genuine paper. You’llsave yourself a lot of grief and frustration.

One of the prizes lost in the Crash was a list of All-LincolnCounty Football Coaches and Players from 1989-2003. Ouch!

After much hunting and some research work at the Lincoln CountyPublic Library’s microfilm file, the list was brought back up todate. Too late for the 2003 All-Lincoln County Football Teamfeature page but better late than never.

For the curious and for the record, here’s the list of footballhonorees, including coach, offensive and defensive players andMVPs.

1989: Coach Don Coleman, Brookhaven. Players– Donald Johnson(O), Loyd Star; Rod Henderson, Brookhaven (D).

1990: Coach Roe Burns, Loyd Star. Players– Renard Brown (O),Brookhaven; Cedrick Williams (D), Brookhaven.

1991: Coach Don Coleman, Brookhaven. Players– Ryan Powell (D),Brookhaven; Jason Douglas (O), Brookhaven Academy.

1992: Coach Don Coleman, Brookhaven. Players–Chris Stanley (D),Brookhaven; Ryan Case (O), Brookhaven Academy.

1993: Coach Herbert Davis, Jr., Brookhaven Academy.Players–Keith Dale (O), Brookhaven Academy; Richard Washington(D), Brookhaven.

1994: Coach Reggie Lea, Brookhaven Academy. Players–Joe Wesley(D), Brookhaven; Aaron Robinson (O), Brookhaven.

1995: Coach Roe Burns, Loyd Star. Players-Colby Calcote (D),Loyd Star; Kelby Bowman (O), Brookhaven.

1996: Coach Roe Burns, Loyd Star. Players–Maurice Townsend (O),Loyd Star; Dee Ready (D), Loyd Star.

1997: Coach Greg Wall, Brookhaven. Players–Aaron Yarbrough (O),Brookhaven; Chaz Allen (D), Brookhaven.

1998: Coach Reggie Lea, Brookhaven Academy. Players–AaronYarbrough (O), Brookhaven; Jason Miles (D), Loyd Star.

1999: Coach Roe Burns, Loyd Star. Players–Aaron Yarbrough(MVP), Brookhaven; Marcus Shannon (O), Loyd Star; Seth Lofton andJason Miles (D), Loyd Star.

2000: Coach Anthony Hart, Loyd Star. Players–Fred Perkins(MVP), Brookhaven; Jake Sessums (O), Brookhaven Academy; RonMackabee (D), Brookhaven.

2001: Coaches Carl Cole, Bogue Chitto; Ray Ishee, BrookhavenAcademy; Anthony Hart, Loyd Star. Players–John Wallace (D), BogueChitto; Cody Covington (D), Loyd Star; Shermaine Vaughn (MVP),Enterprise; Derrick Johnson (MVP), Loyd Star; Dominick Addison (0),Bogue Chitto; Ben Davis (O), Brookhaven Academy.

2002: Coach Tucker Peavey, Brookhaven. Players–Jimmy Johns(MVP), Brookhaven; Belma Cager (D), Brookhaven; Stacy Fells (O),West Lincoln; Gerard Vaughn (O), Enterprise.

2003: Coach Sidney Wheatley, Loyd Star. Players–MatthewDelaughter (MVP), Loyd Star; Jimmy Johns (O), Brookhaven; PhilipTobias (D), Brookhaven.