It's an honor like no other - to be named coaches of the year.
Such acclaim now belongs to Thomson High School varsity boys' soccer coaches Barry Arrington and Patrick Kabuye.
The two recently were selected as The Augusta Chronicle All-Area Boys Soccer Coaches of The Year.
Arrington, who is the shop/construction teacher at Thomson High School actually served as head coach of the team, while Kabuye, who lives in Columbia County, served as a community coach.
"This is a great honor to receive such recognition," said Kabuye after learning of his selection. "I will always cherish this honor. It really is special to me."
Arrington expressed similar sentiments.
"This is a really nice honor," said Arrington. "I had no earthly idea this was going to happen."
He said the success of the team this past season was due largely in part to the players and their understanding of the game through the coaching abilities of Kabuye.
"Our kids had a real desire to play this season and to listen to Patrick, because he really understands the game," said Arrington. "I don't really know that much at all about soccer. I'm still learning and probably will be for a long time to come."
The coaches helped the Thomson Bulldogs to their best ever soccer season in school history - the team finishing with an 11-4 record. They just missed advancing into Class AAA State Boys Soccer Playoffs.
Kabuye, whose native country is Uganda, first came to the United States in 1994 to play soccer at Alabama A & M. For the past two seasons, he has been a successful coach with the Augusta Arsenal Gunners Club.
It was in Augusta that Kabuye first was discovered and in a sense recruited by Thomson orthopedic surgeon Dr. John Bieltz.
"Patrick was a great addition to our overall soccer program at Thomson High School," said Dr. Bieltz. "He did a lot of things to help our kids understand soccer."
Later in the season, Arrington and Kabuye teamed up to oversee the girls' varsity soccer program, too. Again, it was a successful venture - the Lady Bulldogs recording their best record in school history - posting a 15-3 season and making it into the second round of the Class AAA State Girls' Soccer Playoffs.
Several Thomson soccer players also recently were honored by The Augusta Chronicle. They included:
- Jay Bieltz, a sophomore, who scored 26 goals this season, was named to The Chronicle's Second Team;
- Matt McEver was named Honorable Mention as a forward;
- Stuart Strouble was named Honorable Mention as a midfielder;
- Pop Chambliss was named Honorable Mention as a defender;
- Casey Brooks, who led the Lady Bulldogs in scoring, was named to The Augusta Chronicle Second Team;
- Miranda Barker was named Honorable Mention as a forward;
- Chelsea Jones was named Honorable Mention as a defender; and
- Sarah Kellogg was named Honorable Mention as a goalkeeper.