For more than 30 years, I have been on sidelines, dugouts, press boxes, and practice fields and in coaches’ offices. I have known dozens if not hundreds of coaches, from the pros all the way down to T-ball.

I’ve gotten to become friends with many of them and have gotten to respect and admire a few of them.

Among that few is Tony Kirkland.

I was there to see Coach Kirkland tell his seniors goodbye and then the rest of the team after South Effingham’s season-ending loss to Northgate. He did it with unmatched class, which is pretty much the way he went about nearly everything.

There are always coaches you dread dealing with. Then there are coaches you can’t wait to talk to — and Tony Kirkland was among the top of that list.

He’s as a good a teacher of the game of baseball as I’ve seen. His sometimes stern countenance belied how much he cared about his players and cared about how they went about their business.

Enjoy retirement, TK.

And go Sox.

Pat Donahue

Editor, Thomasville Times-Enterprise

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