Tim's Take: The sad fate of Armstrong sports - WTOC-TV: Savannah, Beaufort, SC, News, Weather & Sports

Tim's Take: The sad fate of Armstrong sports

Tim's Take: The sad fate of Armstrong sports

(Source: WTOC) (Source: WTOC)

Before he spent 25 years in youth sports molding athletes, Mark Mamalakis was a Hall of Fame baseball player at a school whose sports legacy is about to have the legs cut out from under it.

"The history of Armstrong was there,’’ said Mamalakis. “And I just hate to see it taken away.’’

There has been no confirmation that the Armstrong athletics program will be dissolved in the merger with Georgia Southern, but there's no logical way to preserve it either, no way for Savannah teams to represent a Statesboro school or for a Division II program to survive inside a Division I framework.

There's also no way to justify what will be lost.

"I'm all for Georgia Southern being a major, Division I program,’’ said Armstrong alum Cliff McCurry. “But there's a real place for Division II athletics in a city like Savannah.’’

Before he became a leader of the local business community, McCurry was on the basketball team at Armstrong in the 1960s. That makes him another Savannah athlete who played here and stayed here, but who will no longer be able to root for his school.

"Fifty years is a long time ago, but still, it's part of my history that I'm very proud of,’’ said McCurry, who has served on the Armstrong Foundation. “I made great friends out there and I've been a follower of Armstrong athletics ever since."

"I've been a supporter over there for over 40 years,’’ added Mamalakis, who played baseball at the school from 1970-73, and also played one year of basketball there. “I still go to games, and there's not going to be games to go to anymore.’’

It's a loss for Savannah sports, really, as much as the coaches and athletes there now who will have to find new schools.

They also will no longer get to build on the Armstrong name that has been carried onto fields and courts for decades.

"It's just something we should all have a lot of pride in,’’ said McCurry. “Look at the national championships in tennis. That's world class competition.’’

"Joe Roberts, the baseball coach who was there forever, has the record for most wins by a Division II coach,’’ added Mamalakis. “And he's going to have that record at a school that no longer has sports, and I think that's sad.

It’s part of the saddest loss in the soon-to-be-ending history of Savannah sports.

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