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Golf tourney raised funds for boosters

Twenty three-player teams turned out Saturday at Belle Meade Country Club to support the Thomson High School Athletic Boosters.

The Coach Bruce Blasingame Memorial Golf Tournament featured a shotgun start that filled the course at 9 a.m.

"And then we got through before the rain," said Paul Leroy, a former Thomson football coach and an organizer of the event.

"We were well pleased with it," Leroy said of the planning. "Walter Hopkins, Andy Knox Jr. and Richard Downs did an outstanding job of putting the tournament together."

Downs, the president of the booster club, would have a tally of the profit available soon, Leroy said. Most of those closest to the event were busy Saturday through Monday at services for Anne Welsh, the wife of longtime football coach Luther Welsh.

Leroy said the results would be available in time for the 7 p.m. July 25 meeting in the biology room of the athletic building at Thomson High School.

Also on hand Saturday were several members of Blasingame's family, including his wife, Lora. The coach died in April 2010 at age 81.

Janie Blasingame said her father-in-law was principal at Laura Jones Junior High School, Pine Street Elementary School and Thomson High School. He coached baseball, football and basketball at various points in his Thomson career. He retired in 1983. "He did a lot of recruiting and helped a lot of people in the community," she said.

Leroy said Blasingame played a key role in his coaching career. "He was responsible for bringing me here in 1962," Leroy said. Leroy had compiled a 35-14-1 record in four years at Hayneville, Ala. "We were the second-smallest school in the state playing football," Leroy said. He said Jim Gurley was principal at that time, but assistant principal Blasingame made the decision to hire him. "They were looking for a math teacher and a coach and I was a mathematics teacher," Leroy said.

Leroy said Blasingame coached at the junior high school level. "He was very instrumental in helping build our program," he said.

Football coach Milan Turner and assistant coach Sean Patrick rode a cart around the course, thanking those who paid $300 a team for golf and a Lowcountry boil. "It was a good chance to meet people," Patrick said.

Web posted on Thursday, July 14, 2011

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