By PATRICK CASEY
Former Ponce de Leon basketball player Lacey Griffin has signed to continue her playing career at the University of West Alabama after spending two years at Alabama Southern. Griffin was second on the team in scoring, averaging 11.6 points per game last season while putting up 32 points against LSU-Eunice. Alabama Southern fell to Shelton State 62-50 in March in the Alabama Community Conference Tournament to finish the year at 16-17. The squad went 29-34 in the two years that Griffin was on the squad. Griffin scored more than 1,000 points in her career at Ponce de Leon while helping Coach Tim Alford’s squad to the Final Four in Lakeland in 2006 and 2007.
The high school coaching carousel continues to spin in the area. Al Simmons returned to take the head coaching job at Holmes County at the beginning of the year after Carlan Martin was let go. Simmons led Holmes County to two state championship games as the Bluedevils head coach in the late 1970s through most of the 1980s. Holmes County lost the state championship in both 1979 and 1987 under Simmons and has won only one playoff game since the 1988 season. Holmes County’s lone win last year was over Chipley.
Rob Armstrong decided to leave Marianna last week to take over the Chipley football team in 2009. Armstrong takes over for Will Holley who was let go in June after losing his teaching certificate. Armstrong takes over for a program that went 0-10 last season after posting a 15-7 record in two years with the Bulldogs.
Marianna now needs a new football coach and former coach Greg Guy as well as Carlan Martin have been mentioned as possible candidates. Interestingly, both Marianna and Chipley will have new principals to start the 2009 school year as well.
Marianna High School’s Janna Hinson signed with Gulf Coast Community College to play volleyball for the Commodores over the next two years. Marianna volleyball coach Belinda Christopher also saw Jordan Sonaglia sign to play at Pensacola Junior College, while Randa Hickman is on her way to Gulf Coast with Hinson. Hinson played volleyball at the high school level for five years, and club volleyball for three years. Hinson was also a four-year softball player at Marianna High School.
Fans of both Alabama and Virginia Tech have purchased all available tickets for the Chick-fil-A Kickoff Game. Each school was allotted and completely sold through 31,200 tickets so there will be no public ticket sale for the season-opening game. The Chick-fil-A Kickoff Game, a Chick-fil-A Bowl event, will match these projected preseason top-10-ranked powers September 5 at 7 p.m. in the Georgia Dome. ESPN has chosen to make the 2009 Chick-fil-A Kickoff Game its prime time national broadcast on ABC.
The Florida Gator football team’s games against SEC Eastern Division rivals Tennessee and Georgia during the 2009 season will each be televised on CBS at 2:30 p.m. Florida will face the Vols in its Southeastern Conference opener at Ben Hill Griffin Stadium on September 19 and tangle with the Bulldogs in the annual meeting at Jacksonville Municipal Stadium on October 31.
Former FSU baseball player Link Jarrett, who spent the past four seasons as the hitting instructor and recruiting coordinator at East Carolina, has been named the Director of Player Development by Auburn head baseball coach John Pawlowski. Jarrett has also made coaching stops at Flagler College (2000-02), Florida State (2003) and Mercer (2004-05) before moving on to ECU beginning in 2006.
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