Kudos go out to a close friend of mine for a job well done.
Shelbyville Central principal Don Embry was recently named Principal of the Year in Athletic District 4 of the TSSAA, part of the A.F. Bridges Awards program that recognizes the School System Administrator of the Year, Principal of the Year, Athletic Director of the Year, Female Coach of the Year, Male Coach of the Year, Official of the Year, and Contributor of the Year for each district across the state.
"Being recognized for one of these awards as a school or individual should be seen as one of the highest honors in high school athletics in our state," Bernard Childress, Assistant Executive Director of the TSSAA, said. "Those who receive the awards truly reflect what high school athletics should be about, and that's good sportsmanship and good citizenship,"
Bridges was the TSSAA's first executive secretary, serving from 1946 until retirement in 1972.
"Under his leadership, athletics in the state of Tennessee reached a level of excellence and competence that earned the respect of all people," a TSSAA statement said. "Mr. Bridges was a person of high principles who displayed firmness and fairness, as well as the high ideals of ethics and integrity, as he and many other school people established the foundation of TSSAA across our state."
That description of Bridges can be said about Embry as well. Over the years, he has been a part of every aspect of the athletic program at Shelbyville Central.
He started out as a coach, later became the athletic director and is now the principal.
His knowledge of sports and the administration of it are second to none and he has the unique ability to relate to the student athlete as well as the coaching staff.
I have the pleasure of working with him and he has always gone out of his way to make my job of covering Shelbyville Central athletics as easy as possible.
I first met Embry when I was a student at Shelbyville Central.
Later we attended the same church (we still do…Fair Haven Baptist) and he was even a part of a group that took me on a golf outing the day of my wedding.
We've taken a number of MTSU football "road trips" over the years when his oldest son, Kirk, was a manager.
In this day and time, I can't even imagine the pressure of being a principal, teacher or coach.
They all have such a great responsibility in dealing with our children and I know they are taken for granted and are underappreciated from time to time.
I think it's great when one of our educators or administrators is recognized for a job well done.
Every now and then a pat on the back and a thank you from us parents would be welcomed as well.
Gary Johnson is a Times-Gazette sports writer. He can be contacted at firstname.lastname@example.org.