By David Shivers
Even after decades under his belt as an educator, athlete, and athletic director for Dougherty County school system, DoCo Kiwanian Johnny Seabrooks continues to pursue goals for improving athletic facilities and the academic performance of student athletes.
Seabrooks, or “Coach,” as he is often called, spoke to the Kiwanis Club of Dougherty County on June 28 to update members on the current status of athletics in Dougherty County schools and preview some facilities goals.
Seabrook has been athletic director for nearly two decades. He noted that in 2009 he was in charge of 124 coaches throughout sports programs in county schools, and there were approximately 2,200 student athletes participating.
As a Miami native, Seabrooks is no stranger to the Southern heat and has taken steps to assure that players are protected in extreme conditions. The Georgia Athletic Association, he noted, allows football coaches to set their own practice heat policies, but he took the extra step of recommending the county board of education set a system-wide heat policy, which states that when the outdoor heat index reaches 105 degrees F. or more, all outdoor activities (team practices, band drills, etc.) will be shut down. Additionally, a heat index of from 90 to 105 degrees calls for a mandated water break every 20 minutes.
Seabrooks recalled that as a football coach, he was once scolded by a caller concerned that because of his team heat policy, the number of practice hours was falling behind other competitor schools.
Seabrook said he appreciated the concern, but his response was, “I would rather be behind (in practice drills) than behind a casket following it in to a church.”
Seabrooks named several current and future initiatives he has in mind as his tenure goes forward:
Installing artificial turf and state-of-the-art viewing boards at the stadium.
Implementing a program to train student first responders to assist team medics in on-field treatment.
Maintaining and improving security at all athletic events (excluding swimming, tennis, and golf).
Honoring student athletes for academic achievement with recognition from the Dougherty County School Board of Trustees. (Seabrooks said that students’ education is the top priority and added that academic scholarships outnumber athletic scholarships in availability by a ratio of 70:1.)
Seabrooks is also enthusiastic about plans he is helping formulate for a junior all-star game to be held probably in December. He said this will be a chance for Albany to host the first-ever such event in the state and will give college coaches an early opportunity to evaluate potential prospects.
The game would also be an economic asset for Albany, he said. “When I hosted the GISA track and field championships,” according to Seabrooks, “it generated about $475,000” in economic return for the community.
The athletic director also commended and thanked the DoCo Kiwanians for providing pre-game team meals. That represents a tremendous fiscal benefit for the program, he observed.
Dougherty County schools’ athletics director Johnny Seabrooks (right) talks to DoCo Kiwanians about the athletics program and his future goals.