Ken’s Column: Put Cheek and Kinslow in the Hall of Fame!
Published 4:17 pm Sunday, May 26, 2019
The Schley County Wildcat baseball team very nearly won their third state championship in five years. Unfortunately, they fell last week to the Trojans of Gordon Lee by scores of 2-0 and 9-3 at Grayson Stadium in Savannah.
Led by Head Coach Chuck Cheek, the Wildcats finished the season with a record of 29-7 and finished as the state runners-up. Since 2015, Cheek has amassed a record of 138-22 at SC and has led the Wildcats to two state titles (2015, 2017). Back on Wednesday, May 15, Cheek notched his 400th career win when SC took down Irwin County by the score of 10-1 to win the series and qualify for the state championship. From what I’ve heard, he built the SC baseball program from scratch into what it is now today.
Why am I mentioning all this? It’s because in my opinion, Chuck Cheek deserves to be inducted into the Georgia High School Coaches Hall of Fame.
Another hometown hero that belongs in the Georgia High School Coaches Hall of Fame is Melvin Kinslow. Kinslow was a long-time baseball, basketball and football coach at both Americus High School and Southland Academy. He was also an assistant coach at Deerfield-Windsor.
While at AHS from 1957-69, Kinslow served as the head baseball coach of the Panthers and led them to five state titles (1961, 1964, 1965, 1966, 1969). In 1966, Kinslow led the AHS Lady Panther basketball team to the school’s first ever girls’ basketball state championship. During his time as head coach of the Lady Panthers, Kinslow amassed an overall record of 120-25 and had two undefeated regular season records. Kinslow was also an assistant football coach under AHS head coach Jimmy Hightower. During that time, he helped lead the AHS football team to two state championships (1962, 1965).
While at Southland Academy (SA), Kinslow led the SA boys’ golf team to five state championships (1986, 1987, 1988, 1992 and 1994). In total, Kinslow has won 12 state championships as a head coach and at least two more as an assistant. He also coached two men who would go on to be great coaches in the NFL: Dan Reeves and Chan Gailey.
In my opinion, both Cheek and Kinslow are among the greatest high school coaches to have ever coached in the state of Georgia, but as far as I know, neither has been inducted into the Georgia High School Coaches Hall of Fame, though Kinslow’s name is on the list of candidates for induction.
I would strongly encourage the Georgia Athletic Coaches Association (GACA), the organization that runs the Hall of Fame, to induct these two fine men. They are deserving of it. Their records speak for themselves.
For more information about the Georgia High School Coaches Hall of Fame, go to www.gacacoaches.com.
Ken Gustafson is the sports editor for the Americus Times-Recorder. To contact him, email him at email@example.com or call 229-924-2751.