Woods, Whitley named top coaches

Published 12:00 am Wednesday, July 26, 2000

Natchez High track and field coach Henry &uot;Doc&uot;&160;Woods has been there before.

Woods was honored with his sixth Coach of the Year Award by the Mississippi Association of Coaches for his girls teams’ performance in finishing second at state.

So when longtime assistant coach and close friend Wilbert Whitley was honored as Assistant Coach of the Year, Woods couldn’t hold his excitement.

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&uot;Coach Whitley is the best assistant coach in the state,&uot; Woods said. &uot;There is nothing he can’t do. A lot of coaches call him the ‘fix-it coach’ because if there’s a problem electrical or on the track, he can always solve it.&uot;

Woods began coaching track at Thompson High, took over the North Natchez Track program and has been at Natchez High since its inception in 1989.

&uot;I think it’s important any time you receive an award,&uot; Woods said. &uot;And when the coaches vote for you, it makes you feel as if your program is better than adequate. It’s the kids who win the award and the hard work they put into the program.&uot;

Woods and Whitley have coached together for more than 20 years, dating back to 1978.

&uot;It’s been a great experience,&uot;&160;Whitley said. &uot;Doc and I have the same ideas about everything.&uot;

Whitley is head coach of the junior high track team.

&uot;I call myself the orchestrator in getting the young athletes ready for high school,&uot; he said.

Whitley, who is also an assistant at the Natchez Recreation Department, served as an official in the Special Olympic Games in North Carolina this year.

He is also on a committee to coordinate athletes for the Special Olympics Games to be held in Ireland in 2003.

Whitley officiated at the state basketball tournament in the spring.

&uot;It’s been a mind-boggling year,&uot; Whitley said. &uot;And a great year.&uot;