L to R: Dexter Wood, John Hill, Dr. Lucia Norwood, Petty Ezell, Mrs. Carole Kell, Melvin Crook, Max Bass, Bob Ward
Dexter Wood, CAA
The Athletic Director at Buford High School is known as a leader with great character. In 2004, he was presented the statewide Shorty Doyal Award by the Georgia Athletic Coaches Association for coaching leadership. And in
John Hill, CAA
2005, he received the “Winning with character” Award for moral character and influence as a coach.
In 1988, Dexter was a charter member of the Georgia Athletic Directors Association and served as a member of the executive Board of Directors from 1989 until 1996. While serving on the Board of Directors, the GADA created its first Constitution and moved the State Conference to the campus of Georgia Southern University where it experienced a period of tremendous growth. Wood served as the President of the GADA in 1991.
As a coach, Dexter won 3 State Championships, 2 State Runners-up, and set the State of Georgia consecutive win streak record at 47 games in 2004. Coach Wood retired from coaching in 2005 with a career record of 257 wins, 92
losses, and 3 ties. During his career, he has coached All-Americans: Eric Zeier-UGA, Scott Sisson-GT, Tim Wansley-UGA, PK Sam-New England Patriots, Darius Walker-Notre Dame.
Since stepping down as the head football coach at Buford High School. Wood has continued to serve as the Athletic Director. He has been a member of the GADA for 21 years and a NIAAA member for 16 years. He received the CAA distinction in 1998. A defining moment of his career as an athletic administrator has been the creation of softball, volleyball, soccer, girl’s golf, swimming, middles school athletics, and a full-time athletic trainer.
Dexter and his wife, Martha have been married for 33 years. They have two married children, Ryan and Rachel, and 3 wonderful grandchildren.
Hill retired in 2001 after 37 years as a coach and an athletic administrator. During the 37 years, John developed an outstanding reputation for rebuilding high school athletic programs and for hiring and mentoring young coaches.
As a coach, John’s career record was 257 wins, 88 losses, and 3 ties. At the time of his retirement, Hill was the 13th winningest coach in Georgia High School football history. His team competed for the state title in 1985 and appeared in the state semi-finals in 1995 and 1999.
John was named Region Coach of the Year 10 times, Georgia AAA Coach of the Year in 1985, and Georgia-Florida Head Coach in 1999. He was honored by the Atlanta Touchdown Club as a “200 Game Winner” and he is a member of the Cedartown High School Hall of Fame.
As an athletic administrator, John was one of the founding members of the Georgia Athletic Directors Association and was instrumental in helping the organization to grow through the difficult early years. Hill served as the secretary-treasurer of the GADA for 11 years.
During his tenure as athletic director at Cedartown High School, John led the school through a title IX complaint that led the school into full compliance with all provisions of the Title IX law.
John was named Athletic Director of the Year in 1995, 1999 and 2000. He received the distinction of Certified Athletic Administrator in 1995.
Dr. Lucia Norwood, CMAA
An influential leader in the world of high school athletics, Lucia Norwood, CMAA, has extensive experience as a coach, teacher and athletic administrator throughout her years of service to high school students and athletic programs through the state.
Norwood retired from her duties as athletic coordinator of the Dekalb County School System in 2003 after an exemplary 38-year career. She has made tremendous contributions at the local, state and national levels.
At the state level, Norwood served on the Georgia Athletic Directors Association Board of Directors since 1991 and was president in 1994, the first woman in history to serve in that position. Since 1995, Norwood has been GADA executive director. For the past 14 years, Norwood has been a member of the Georgia High School Association Executive Committee and serves as the chair of the gymnastics and sportsmanship subcommittees.
Norwood implemented the Georgia State Girls’ Gymnastics Championships in 1969 and has been the state meet administrator since that time. She also initiated the state competitive cheerleading championships in 1992 and established the Cheerleading Judges Association a year later.
A highly involved member of the NIAAA for almost 25 years, Norwood served on its Board of Directors from 1998 to 2001. She received the NIAAA State Award of Merit in both 1994 and 1996, the NFHS Citation in 2002 and the NIAAA
Thomas E. Frederick Award of Excellence in 2006. In December 2009, Lucia was inducted into the NIAAA Hall of Fame in its inaugural class.
Petty Ezell served as director of athletics at Woodward Academy for 27 years. He joined the Woodward Academy staff in 1964 and taught biology and coached basketball and baseball. During Ezell’s tenure at Woodward, his teams were state finalists 31 times. Also during this time, the school’s enrollment increased from 600 to 2,750
to become the largest National Association of Independent Schools high school in the United States.
Ezell is a charter member of the Georgia Athletic Directors Association and served as the NIAAA liaison. He was the first editor of the GADA magazine and served in the planning of the GADA state conferences for over 20 years.
Petty was also a member of the GHSA Executive Committee for six years and served on the track, swimming, baseball, soccer, sportsmanship and cheerleading committees. He was instrumental in working to improve the relationship between public and private schools in the association.
Nationally, Ezell served on the NIAAA Credentials committee. He received the NIAAA State Award of Merit in 1991 and was selected as the GADA athletic director of the year in 1990.
For 10 years, Ezell was the Fellowship of Christian Athletes huddle group leader at Woodward, which had a membership of 250, one of the largest groups in the country.
Carlton "Corky" Kell
During his 30 years as a high school coach and administrator, it would be extremely difficult to find anyone who has made a greater contribution to interscholastic athletics than the late Corky Kell.
As a football coach, Kell’s record was 69 wins, 22 losses, and 1 tie. During that time, his team won many region titles, played in the North Georgia Championship game three times, and played for the state championship in 1973.
Coach Kell was also outstanding as a girls’ basketball coach. He coached girls’ basketball for nine years and qualified for the state tournament in each of those seasons.
During his tenure as coach, Corky was active in several professional organizations. He was a member of the Georgia Athletic Coaches Association, the National High School Athletic Coaches Association, the Touchdown Club of Atlanta, and the Georgia High School Association – Executive Committee.
For his contribution to interscholastic athletics, Kell has received numerous awards. They include being named Who’s Who in National High School Athletics, the National Football Coach of the Year, NIAAA State Award of Merit, the NIAAA Distinguished Service Award, and the Cobb County Citizen of the Year in 1973.
While serving as athletic director for the Cobb County School District, Corky’s influence reached well across county and state lines. He was respected for his passion, commitment, and ability to work with others to get things done. The most substantial tribute to Corky’s respect and accomplishments was the designation of the annual high school kickoff game in the Georgia Dome as the “Corky Kell Classic”.
From his days as a high school coach to his many years as an athletic director, Melvin Crook has devoted his life to improving the high school athletic experience for student-athletes. Starting in Cedartown where he began the school’s first wrestling program in 1968, Coach Crook has always been able to see the big picture. After Cedartown, Crook spent 5 years building one of the finest wrestling programs in the state at Marietta High School. In 1977, Coach Crook began his dual role of coach and athletic director at Lithia Springs High School.
While at Lithia Springs, Melvin served as region secretary for 12 years. He was also a member of the group of athletic administrators who started the Georgia Athletic Directors Association. In 1990, Crook served as the President of the GADA.
In 1986, Melvin was promoted from Athletic Director of Lithia Springs High School to the position of athletic director of the Douglas County School System. During his tenure at Douglas County, Crook was involved in the addition of football and track facilities at Lithia Springs High School, the creation of Alexander and Chapel Hill High Schools, and the establishment of softball as a sport in Douglas County.
In the 36 years that he served in education, Coach Crook considers the year that he spent as president of the GADA as one of the highlights of his career. He considers the establishment of the statewide awards program for all classifications as particularly special.
After a highly successful coaching career, Coach Max Bass distinguished himself as an outstanding athletic administrator as well. As a coach, Max coached in the Georgia All Star game, the Georgia-Florida All Star game and was a member of the committee to begin playing high school football games in the Georgia Dome. In fact, Coach Bass won the first high school football game ever played in the Georgia Dome. In 1993, Max was recognized by the Touchdown Club of Atlanta for winning over 200 games and he served on the Board of Directors for the Georgia High School Coaches Association for 12 years. In 2000, Bass received the Dwight Keith Award from the Georgia Athletic Coaches Association.
Coach Bass is a charter member of the Georgia Athletic Directors Association and served as its President for the first two years of the organizations existence. He was named Georgia State Athletic Director of the Year in 1988 and received the Distinguished Service Award from the NIAAA in 1992.
Coach Bass is proud of the fact that he has touched the lives of so many people has a coach or an athletic director. One of his defining moments is the fact that he has had more head coaches and athletic directors who played for him than any other coach in the country.
In addition to his duties as a coach and as an athletic director, Coach Bass served as the first State President of the Fellowship of Christian Athletes.
Bob Ward, CAA
The former athletic director at the Westminster School, is now retired after an outstanding 22-year career as an athletic administrator. Prior to entering the field of athletic administration, Bob served as the Head basketball coach at Westminster from 1979–1982.
Ward is a charter member of the Georgia Athletic Directors Association and was the first Athletic Director in Georgia to receive the distinction of Certified Athletic Administrator. Bob has received numerous other awards for his outstanding service to Athletic Administration. He was named Region Athletic Director of the Year in 1991 and 1997. In 1997, Bob was named Georgia Athletic Director of the Year. He received the NIAAA State Award of Merit in 1998 and was inducted into the Westminster Hall of Fame in that same year. In 2000, Ward was the first athletic director to receive the GACA, Circle of Achievement Award.
During Bob’s tenure as athletic director, the athletic programs at Westminster experienced a period of tremendous success. The school won 139 Region/Area Championships, 73 State Championships, developed the first student athletic handbook, the first coaches’ athletic policy handbook and completed the Turner Gym. Ward was also instrumental in the school adding lacrosse, ultimate Frisbee, flag football, and water polo.
Ward is also involved in many civic activities in the Atlanta area. He has served as a board member for Athletes for a Better World, The GACA Coaches Hall of Fame selection committee, Sports Champions of Greater Atlanta, and the gymnasium at Wieuca Road Church is named the J. Robert Ward Activities Building for his contribution to the youth in North Atlanta.