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Donell Woods tourney set for Jan. 16
Donell Woods
Donell Woods - photo by Courier file photo
Donell Woods was an athlete, teacher and coach who devoted his life to the educational system and children of Liberty County before he lost his battle with cancer in his early 40s. It’s been 30 years since Woods died, but his legacy continues as the annual tournament bearing his name enters its 16th year. On Saturday, Jan. 16, ninth grade and junior varsity teams will hit the court.
Current Lady Tiger coach and Woods’ first cousin, Faye Baker, said it is important for her to carry on his legacy with the tournament and not just because he was a relative.
“He was a role model,” Baker said. “When I was coming up through school he was the boys’ basketball coach here and I always looked up to him. He did a lot for the community and a lot for the education system and the kids of Liberty County.”
Woods graduated with honors from the old Liberty County High School and become the first in his family to graduate from college. He played baseball, basketball and ran track. After earning his master’s of science at Indiana University, Woods returned to Liberty County and taught math, physical education and driver’s education at his alma mater. He was also the school’s athletic director from 1964-72, the school’s football coach from 1963-72 and the basketball coach from 1969-72. At that time, coaches were volunteers.
When Liberty County High School closed in 1972, Woods was hired as the assistant football coach and the head basketball coach at Bradwell Institute. He was credited with keeping the peace in the Liberty County School System during the integration period and frequently bought athletic shoes for children in need.
In October 2008, LCHS’ new football stadium was named after Woods. And come next Saturday, up and coming basketball standouts will play in his honor.
Baker said it’s a special day for the young athletes as well.
“The tournament showcases the sub-varsity teams because they really don’t get a tournament,” she said. “So it lets them get the feel of a tournament type atmosphere.”
Baker said they have six boy and six girl teams currently registered.
“We have teams like Camden, Beach, Glynn Academy,” she said. “The Jeff Davis boys team and Calvary Day girls team.”
Depending on bracket selection, which will be determined next week before the tournament, the games will be at four possible locations: Bradwell’s gym, Lewis Frasier, Snelson Golden and Button Gwinnett Middle School. Tickets are $3 at the door and the admission price is good for all venues all day. The Courier will print the schedule when it is available.

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