2021 GDC Awards

Posted 1/10/2021

Longtime Georgia Tech ambassador Walter Smith, middle, is honored with the inaugural Harvey Cochran Legacy Award as his granddaughter Erin Starnes, left, and Georgia Tech coach Danny Hall look on.

Smith, Griffeth, Brown honored by GDC

Editor's Note: A photo of Charlie Griffeth will be posted at a later date.

Longtime Georgia Tech ambassador Walter Smith and former Madison County head baseball coach Charlie Griffeth were awarded the inaugural Harvey Cochran Legacy Awards during a virtual Georgia Dugout Club Awards ceremony Sunday night.

In addition, Parkview baseball coach Chan Brown was awarded the Ethics in Coaching Award, one of the highest honors awarded by the GDC.

The seven newest members of the GDC Hall of Fame -- Chuck Beale, Steve Franks, Paul Glass, Keith Hansen, the late Jack Martin, Brent Moseley and Tommy Seward -- were recognized as Hall of Famer Tommy Barber moderated the event.

In a strange year in which the coronavirus pandemic shut down the 2020 season as well as the deaths of GDC Executive Director Harvey Cochran and Hall of Famers Eddie Ashley and Martin, Sunday night's ceremony was welcomed.

Steve Smith, a Hall of Famer who is now a professional baseball scout, opened the ceremony with a short tribute to Cochran, who passed away in late August. Smith joked that if Cochran was here today, he would have opened the Coaches Clinic "with well-creased khaki pants, a super-starched sports shirt and a sweater with the Georgia Dugout Club logo."

"Harvey worked tirelessly to make this organization into what it is today," Steve Smith said.

He added that the Georgia Scouts Association is awarding three Lifetime Achievement Awards to Cochran as well as to Hall of Famers David McDonald and Bobby Howard.

Walter Smith, an athletic trainer and ambassador at Georgia Tech for nearly three decades, touched countless lives and wore many hats before retiring in 2015.

Its unbelievable. He may be the most caring person Ive ever been around, Georgia Tech coach Danny Hall said in a story published on ramblingwreck.com in 2015.

He wants to help everybody, especially our players his work ethic was that strong.

Smith was sick and unable to attend, but his granddaughter Erin Starnes accepted the prestigious award on his behalf.

Griffeth coached the Madison County baseball program from 1988-2016 and compiled an overall coaching record of 532-320. One of his former players, Chad Gillespie, introduced him Sunday night.

"When I heard of this (Legacy) award, I immediately thought of Coach Griffeth," said Gillespie, now the head coach at Madison County. "The ground work he started and carried on at Madison County is second to none."

Griffeth guided Madison County to the Class 3A state championship series in 1998.

"I appreciate the kind words Chad ... I guess I'll bring you $100 tomorrow for all of those kind words," Griffeth joked. "It's an honor for me to be put into the same breath as Harvey Cochran, which means a lot."

Greg Frady, who chairs the Ethics in Coaching Committee, introduced Brown as the 10th recipient of the Ethics in Coaching Award.

Brown, who was inducted into the GDC Hall of Fame as part of the Class of 2018, talked about the award being a community award. He thanked his assistants, former players, administration and his family for supporting him.

"It's not about me ... it's about Parkview," Brown said. "Fourty-six years, a lot of people have put in. It started with Coach Buck (Buchanan). I was fortunate enough to carry it on."

Parkview baseball coach Chan Brown, right, was awarded the Ethics in Coaching Award Sunday night.