By Thomas Sellers Jr.
It all started with a phone call.
Back in 2009 a somewhat familiar voice was on the other end of my flip-phone. The cool, calm tones with a Southern twang simply said, ‘I got some good news for you to report on.’ After recapping the upsets of the Tipton-Rosemark Academy Baseball team, the voice finally identified itself. ‘You know this is Coach Womack? Andrew Womack with TRA?’
There in that conversation a great working relationship developed. But even more importantly, a friendship was born.
Recently I got word that Womack was taking a job in Athens, Ga., this month. So comes to an end my timely source, frequent Rebel updater, champion for the students/coaches and my walking Rebel Sports History Book.
The school will miss him serving as a coach, teacher, athletic director, administrator and so much more like being the voice of Rebel Basketball. ‘Too many steps!’
No matter what hat Womack wore at Rosemark, he did his job with a joy and passion. His presence brought happiness to those near him. And his energy made you care deeper for the student/athletes.
Womack didn’t just talk the talk, he walked the walk. He has been on the grill cooking Rebel Dogs, taking tickets at the gate, washing uniforms and even riding the lawnmower.
He was not only a familiar face on the TRA campus. Graduating from Munford, Womack had friends at all the neighboring schools.
His genuine charm made him a great conversation. The topics would range from sports to Miley Cyrus. Womack is a very intelligent man who disguises it well. Those who have been blessed to work with him know he is a go-to guy for knowledge.
Which brings me back to our first phone conversation. From Tipton County to TRA, Womack and I have had a few chats. And I gave him my cell number just in case he needed to share anything.
So when my ringtone played that May 2009 day, I knew it was something important. But the last thing I was expecting was the news Womack gave me. The subpar, youthful Rebels were enduring a tough season.
But Head Coach Brad Smith and the boys started to click. The Rebels kept pulling off upset after upset. And Womack got on the horn to spread the good news.
He told me if TRA wins one more game, they will be at State. The Rebels won and Womack kept me updated hundreds of miles away.
‘Promise me this, if we make the State championship game, you’ll be there to cover it.’ As a Doubting Thomas, I agreed.
As I drove I-40 the eve of the Division II-A State Baseball championship game, my phone rang again with a now common number popping up. ‘Are you on your way to Murfreesboro? We’re in the show!’
Womack gave me the great news that TRA, the upstarts were still alive. In this conversation I learned another important characteristic of Womack – his honesty. ‘We have SBEC. We don’t have a great chance of winning. They’re loaded and we spent a lot of energy just getting this far.’
SBEC dominated the championship game. But the Rebels left the field that day winners as well because that was the birth of TRA Baseball as we know it today.
Womack was a vital part of the start of the winning traditions around Rebel Baseball. And his influence has seen more historic sports moments from TRA Soccer to Lady Rebel Volleyball.
He can give you a detail scouting reports on each TRA athlete and predict the future. He told me 3 years ago Lady Rebel Basketball will be winners.
I’m going to miss that insight. TRA was blessed to have Womack on its side for so many years. It’s a part of me that believes that special run in 2009 was spiritually guided through the prayers and love of people like Womack.
Womack is precious commodity in my business. He is a person who believes in the power of the press to spread good news. He also understands we have a responsibility to report the hard news, but do it in a way that will be beneficial in the long run.
In return I respect him for the dedication he brought to his job at Rosemark. He was a member of the field crew and would stand in at a moment’s notice to help a colleague.
He has had my back a few times and been there to celebrate highs in my life. And he has been there for a kind word and a firm pat on the back during tough times.
There is so much I’m going to miss about Coach Womack not having him around on a routine basis. Those things I’ve learned from him will continue to guide me in my career. Great sources who care about the greater good are treasures.
Thank you Coach and I love you Brother. It’s like you told me one night at a Lady Rebel Softball Game, ‘I’m not the most famous Andrew Wommack. But I’m the most important Andrew Womack in your life.’