Bobby Pope

Pope: Georgia College celebrates baseball program’s history

Georgia College has established itself as a major player in the college baseball ranks since the program was started at the Milledgeville school in 1969.

Intercollegiate athletics at Georgia College were born during the 1968-69 school year after the former Woman’s College of Georgia (formerly the Georgia State College for Women) went coed in 1967.

The Bobcats opened the 2015 season with a 1,327-841-6 record in 45 seasons, with four trips to the College World Series.

The 1984 and 1985 squads advanced to the NAIA tournament, while the 1995 and 2010 teams made it to the NCAA Division II championship round. The 1995 team finished as runner-up to Florida Southern.

If you take a look at this year’s Georgia College roster, you will find 19 pitchers listed. That is six more pitchers than the school had as players in the initial season when only 13 players dressed out for head coach Floyd V. (for Van Wert) Anderson, who was actually the chair of the school’s physical education department. His assistant coach was Larry Bosserman, who also taught in the phys ed program. Anderson and Bosserman coached for just that one season. Allen McNamee took over in 1970 and was the team’s head coach for four years.

When the program started, Georgia College was known as the Colonials and the baseball team played games at Baldwin, Boddie Junior High and at GMC. As I recall, the school’s official colors at the time were brown and gold, but the baseball team opted for navy and white uniforms.

The team finished 6-10 in that first season and didn’t have a winning record until 1976. Since going 21-10 in 1977, Georgia College has had only three seasons below .500.

All 13 players on that first team graduated, 12 from Georgia College and one from Augusta State after transferring. They all went pro, but in something other than sports. More than half the group is now retired, with a handful still working.

Shortstop Jimmy Corbitt, who played high school baseball at Lanier, is one of two players who went in to the ministry, and he currently serves as senior pastor at Bethany Baptist Church in Bolingbroke. Third baseman Bill Fogarty of Albany is the senior pastor at First Baptist in Weddington, North Carolina.

Catcher Sam Jones, the player who transferred to Augusta State, is a licensed marriage and family therapist in Newnan, and outfielder Jerry Seymour of Elberton is still working with Advanced Disposal in Milledgeville.

A number of the players went into teaching and coaching. First baseman Charlie Bryant of Monroe worked in the Rockdale County system, Outfielder Dicky Erwin of Cochran was with the Houston County system, and pitcher Jim Wildman of Milledgeville taught in the Newton County system.

That trio is all retired, along with outfielder Wayne Allen of Macon (Lanier), who retired from GlaxoSmithKline Consumer Health Care. Second baseman Steve Blair from Tucker was an accounting professor and now teaches part-time at Gainesville College.

Mike Bryant of Griffin worked as the superintendent in Cartersville and now manages AdvanceED in Kennesaw.

Al Dixon of Macon (Lanier) worked with the State of Georgia Vocational Rehabilitation, and Danny Edmonds of Greensboro retired from the Georgia Farm Bureau in Henry County. One member of the team, outfielder Larry Herndon of Macon (Mark Smith), passed away in 2004.

As is the case with most teams, there is a strong bond among that group of Georgia College players. They have met on an annual basis since 2009, when they were honored by the Georgia College program on the 40th anniversary of the school’s first team.

All 12 surviving members are usually in attendance at a barbecue hosted by Anderson and his wife, Melissa.

The former players are scheduled to be together this weekend in Milledgeville.

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