Statesboro Relays History
The Statesboro Relays were started in 1967, by Coach Ronnie Hodges. Hodges was the Athletic Director, Head Football Coach, and Track Coach at Statesboro High School. The Statesboro Boys won the Relays the first four years under Hodges’ leadership. Hodges coordinated the Relays until 1976, when he was followed by Coach Robert Poole. Coach Poole won the Relays in 1977.
For 22 years, from 1978 – 2000, Coach Clark Collins was the Head Track Coach at Statesboro High School. He led the Blue Devils to six Relay Championships in 1984, 1985, 1990, 1993, 1995, and 1996. “When I took over the Statesboro Relays in 1978, I wanted to continue the tradition that Coach Hodges had started in 1967. At the Statesboro relays, we had some real battles in those 22 years. Teams like Northside Warner Robbins, Southwest Dekalb, Lownes County and Hilton Head always provided great competition and got us ready for the Region Meet.”
The first year that girls competed in the Statesboro Relays was 1979. Coach Lee Hill coached the Lady Blue Devils to a Relay Championship in 1981. In 2004, Girls Coach Ron Christian tied for the Relays title with Bradwell Institute. Girl’s coach Matt Greene also won the Statesboro Relays in 2006.
After Collins' retirement, Steve Pennington, coached in 2001, Lesha Hill coached in 2002;
Both served as Statesboro Relays Coordinators.
Statesboro Track Coach Rico Campbell participated in the Statesboro Relays, as a Blue Devil. He later went on to run track at Savannah State University. Coach Campbell coached Boys and Girls teams, at SHS, from 2005 – 2013. The Boys teams won the Relays in 2005, 2009 and 2012. The Lady Blue Devils were Statesboro Relay Champions in 2010, 2011, and 2013.
The only years the Statesboro Relays were not held were in 2007 and 2008 while the Statesboro High Stadium and Track were under construction.
Coach Jake Collins is coaching Boys and Girls Track at his alma mater, Statesboro High. He coached track as an assistant at Walton High school in Cobb County. As a head coach, he began the track program, at Kell High School, in Kennesaw, when that new school was constructed in 2003. Collins has a long history with track having ran track for his father at Statesboro High School. “It is with great respect for the outstanding track tradition here at Statesboro High School, I have taken over the boys and girls programs. Our athletes have been training very hard for the Relays and they are looking forward to the strong competition.”
Many famous athletes have competed in the Statesboro Relays over the years. Some of the most recognizable are Johnson County's Herschel Walker who competed in the Relays before heading to the University of Georgia, winning the Heisman Trophy and playing in the NFL. Sterling and Shannon (NFL Hall of Famer) Sharpe ran in the Relays under Georgia Hall of Fame Coach William Hall at the old Glennville High School. Eddie Lee Ivery of Thomson, later played for Georgia Tech and the Green Bay Packers, ran in the Relays, in 1975. Cassius Osborne of Statesboro High School, competed in the Relays from 1981 – 1984. His events were the 200m, 400m, Triple Jump, 4x100m relay and 4x400m relay. He went on the play football at the University of Georgia and was inducted into the UGA Football Hall of Fame. Phillip Roselle of Statesboro High School, competed in the Relays, in 1977. His times in the mile (4:25.80) and two mile (9:35.3) are the oldest Statesboro Relay Records. Champ Bailey from Charlton, County, holds the record in the High Jump, (6'7”) from 1996. He went on to play football at the University of Georgia and a long career with the Denver Broncos. Other local notables include, Matt Simon, Ivory Lee, Ronnie Cone, Lonnie Bradley, and Andre Rock.
Many successful female athletes have competed in the Statesboro Relays. Raven Thomas holds the Relay Record in the 100m, with a time of 12:03, in 2011. She received a scholarship to Bethune-Cookman University. The Statesboro Blue Devil Ladies 4 X 100m relay team from 2011 holds the Relay Record of 48.8. The team members were Alisha Jenkins, Mahogany Lanier, Shanice Walker and Heather Watson.
Plans for the 2014 Relays are in place. Team trophies will be given for first, second and third place finishes for Boys and Girls Teams. Patented designed individual medals will be given for the first, second and third place winner of each of the sixteen events for Boys and Girls. In addition, custom ribbons will be given for fourth, fifth, sixth, seventh and eighth place winners for each of the sixteen events for Boys and Girls. A High Point Trophy, in memory of SHS track standout Levon Jones, will be given to the individual Boy and Girl athlete that compiles the most points during the competition. An individual may compete in a maximum of three individual events plus two relays. The three individual events may be a combination of 3 field events or 2 running events and 1 field event.
This year’s meet is sponsored by the United States Marine Corp, WINGS MAXX, Ellis Meat Market, Gailey Trophy, Action Signs and Chick-fil-A.