Great men never die; their memories and good deeds live forever.
On January 15, 2011 residents of Liberty, Chatham, Glynn, Camden, and other surrounding counties will come together in Liberty County in honor of a great man – Donell Woods, Sr., a former educator, athletic director, basketball coach, football coach, athlete, lover of children and community supporter.
The Sixteenth Annual Donell Woods Memorial Tournament will be held Saturday, January 15, 2011. Some of the area’s youngest basketball players are set to take center stage. The one day tournament allows junior varsity and 9th grade basketball players the opportunity to compete at the end of their regular season.
Five junior varsity girls teams will compete from Glynn Academy, Camden County, Johnson High School, Brunswick High School and Bradwell Institute. Five junior varsity boys teams will compete from Brunswick High School, Benedictine Academy, Glynn Academy, Camden County, and Bradwell Institute. Five 9th grade boys teams will compete from Glynn Academy, Camden County, Johnson High School, Benedictine Academy, and Bradwell Institute.
The tournament will kickoff at 8:00A.M. at three different arenas. The Quarter-final and Semi-final games will be held at Lewis Frazier Middle School, Snelson Golden Middle School and Bradwell Institute. The Championship game will take place at Bradwell Institute.
The Donell Woods Memorial Tournament was started sixteen years ago by former rival coach Willie Graham, who coached at Statesboro High School during the time Woods coached at Bradwell Institute.
The tournament gives the ninth grade and junior varsity squads a chance to show the fans their hoops skills as they battle for a first place trophy and bragging rights for a year.
The tournament is named after the Late Coach Donell Woods, Sr., a former Liberty County educator, head basketball coach, football coach, athletic director, physical education and drivers education teacher, whose life was devoted to the education and development of our youth, until at the early age of forty, he succumbed to lung cancer.
Coach Woods taught at Liberty County High School for eleven years and at Bradwell Institute for eight years, until his untimely death on June 8, 1980.
Donell Woods was the first college graduate in his family. He was an honor graduate of Liberty County High School in McIntosh, Georgia (Midway, Georgia). Woods played baseball, basketball, and was a member of the track and field team. In 1961 he received a Bachelor of Science Degree in Health and Physical Education from Savannah State College, and in 1972, he earned a Master of Science Degree in Health and Physical Education from Indiana University.
Under Woods’ leadership as athletic director, and Sam Harris as head basketball coach, in 1967 the Liberty County High School boys basketball team won the only state boys high school basketball championship in Liberty County.
Woods received numerous awards and recognition. Some of these include: 1974- 1974 – named Boys Basketball Coach-of-the-Year by the Georgia Athletic Coaches Association; In 1979, while battling cancer, the Bradwell Tigers went undefeated (10-0) during regular season with Coach Woods as the assistant coach of defense; 1980 he was named Official-of-the Year by the Hinesville Officials Association; and in 1980 the Harvey Overton Boosters named a scholarship in his honor. Even in more recent years, several honors have been awarded him posthumously. In 1991 the Donell Woods Memorial Basketball tournament was organized by Coach Willie Graham; in 2004 he was inducted into the Liberty County Hall of Fame; 2008 – the new Liberty County High School Football Stadium was named the Donell Woods Stadium, in honor of a devoted educator, coach, athlete, and native son. You can help honor Coach Woods’ memory by attending the tournament, which is free and open to the public, or by sending a tax-deductible donation to the Donell Woods Memorial Tournament Committee.
For additional information or to make a donation, please call Faye Baker, Tournament Coordinator, at (912) 572-3351 or Henry Baker, Jr., President of the Donell Woods Memorial Tournament Committee, at (912) 977-4844. Your support will be greatly appreciated.