Long-time Columbia boys basketball coach Phil McCrary reached the 500-win milestone last weekend. The Eagles defeated Jamesville-Dewitt (N.Y.) 55-40 in the University of West Virginia Prime Time Shootout on Jan. 22.
McCrary is 501-183 in his 24th season at Columbia. The Eagles, the defending Class AAA state champions, are 15-3 this season and ranked No. 1 in the Georgia Athletic Coaches Association AAA poll.
The Eagles have won state titles under McCrary’s direction in three of the past five seasons (2006, 2008, 2010). McCrary has guided the Eagles to 12 state tournament appearances since taking over the program in 1988, including seven in a row.
His teams have averaged more than 20 wins per season and from 2006-10 McCrary and the Eagles compiled a 150-14 record.
First-year Stone Mountain boys coach Kerry Sandifer reached the 200-win mark recently and two other coaches in the county are nearing the milestone. A 67-48 win over Arabia Mountain on Jan. 7 gave Sandifer his 200th win. Sandifer, with a career record of 204-171, is in his 15th season as a coach in DeKalb County with stints at Lakeside (six seasons), Stephenson (eight seasons) and Stone Mountain.
Tucker boys coach James Hartry is 196-110 in 11 seasons with the Tigers and led the team to the Class AAA state championship in 2007.
Southwest DeKalb girls coach Kathy Walton also is nearing 200 wins with a record of 195-58 in nine seasons. Walton has led the Panthers to three consecutive Class AAAA championships.
“I told him when I grow up I want to be just like him. Seriously, it’s just awesome. I can’t even fathom that. He’s consistently had a championship program and consistently gets young men into college. They all come back to visit, in fact three assistants on his staff are former players. That says a lot about a program.” Chantay Frost, Columbia girls basketball coach
“He’s a living legend, one of the best coaches in the history of Georgia basketball. Just to be able to do that at one school, that shows his love and passion for the game. He has a level of intelligence and understanding of the game that’s more than most people.”
Caesar Burgess, Chamblee boys basketball coach
“To be able to stay at one school and accomplish that is a fantastic feat. I’ve known him since I came to the county and I’ve been here 22 years. He needs to know people appreciate what he’s done for basketball here and I wish him and his team well the rest of the season.”
Jerome Lee, Druid Hills boys basketball coach
“When I came into the county in the 1990s he was winning then and he’s kept it going. It’s a significant feat because he’s been a mark of consistency for so long.”
Kerry Sandifer, Stone Mountain boys basketball coach