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An institution – and a wealth of institutional knowledge – lost

By Walter Geiger Big Kenny Green was plugged into sports like no one else I have ever known and he was really plugged into Lamar County sports where he played football back in the day. He went on to play at West Georgia College and then did radio work and helped launch one of the first ever sports roundtables on local cable television. He was also a fixture in the old press box at Summers Field where he spotted for former announcer Lee Otis Butler and then took over when Lee Otis moved away. He was great at that job. I particularly enjoyed Friday nights at the old ball field when it happened that the Braves were playing a postseason game. Kenny could keep up with all the action on the field and relay all we needed to know about the Braves over the PA at the same time. It was simply amazing. Kenny was one of those people who loved the Yellow Jackets. Though he never attended GeorgiaTech as far as I know, he loved the school’s football program. Most years, Georgia would defeat Georgia Tech and he took the ragging like a man. In those few years in which the Jackets prevailed he got his money’s worth in returning the ribbing. For years, Kenny wrote sports for us here at The Herald Gazette and he was very good at it. He had cell phone numbers and email addresses for every coach and administrator around and gathered information for the last several years when he couldn’t even get out of the house. Kenny died June 28 at his home after a long illness. His family lost a fine son, brother and father. The local sports community lost an institution and vast institutional memory. While confined to home, a wheelchair or golf kart for the past decade or so, Kenny became an expert on local sports history. He could tell you about Gordon Institute football games that took place long ago. He joined the fledgling Georgia High School Football Historians Association and made sure his knowledge was recorded for posterity in its records. I cannot tell you how many times I have called him from the sidelines at a high school game to check some record like Lamar’s longest winning streak, largest margin of victory, etc. He could usually tell me off the top of his head. If not, he would look it up and call me right back. I am really going to miss having the Big Green Sports Encyclopedia on speed dial. Kenny was really excited that three stars -Lance and Lawrence Austin and Qua Searcy – who led the Trojans the past four years signed scholarships to play at Georgia Tech starting this fall. I think they are the first local Yellow Jacket signees since Smitty Graham. I wish I could call Kenny and ask. Kenny will have the best seats in the house at Grant Field and at any sporting venue he wants to visit now and, most importantly, he will be pain free. Finally, there are rumblings of a movement to name the press box at Trojan Field in Kenny’s honor. I think that would be an appropriate acknowledgement and Kenny would be proud. Let’s make it happen! Walter Geiger is editor and publisher of The Herald Gazette and the Pike County Journal Reporter.

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