Troy one of the best sports cities around

Published 12:00 am Friday, August 10, 2001

Sports Columnist

Troy, Alabama is ranked as No. 145 in The Sporting News Best Sports Cities in America poll.

Believe it or not, out of thousands of cities in the United States, this very prestigious newspaper says we rank 145 when it comes to being a good sports town.

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Of course, New York received the No.1 ranking. Birmingham was 76, Mobile, 109 and Montgomery was the 144th best sports town.

What a nice compliment to our city.

If you think about the ranking very long, it really has significance. Just think of the thousands of cities and towns in our country that play sports and take pride in their sports programs.

This is the kind of acclaim that any city in our country would want and we’ve got it right here in Troy.

I think it’s worth billboard exposure. "Welcome to Troy, the 145th Best Sports Town in American." If I was the Pike County Chamber of Commerce, I would add this ranking to the City of Troy’s credits.

If you think about it, The Sporting News is also telling us that we have an outstanding fan base.

I’ve said it for years that if you love sports, Troy’s a great place to live. Division 1-A college football on beautiful fall Saturdays with great pageantry because of the Sound of the South Band and a great social atmosphere with our huge tailgate parties. Then you have exciting high school football at Charles Henderson and Pike Liberal Arts on Friday nights.

In the winter, we’ve got Division 1-A basketball. To watch Coach Don Maestri’s TSU team is like watching an acrobatic showcase. With an outstanding pep band in the "Backcourt Posse" and those beautiful Trojan dancers, reserved seating for TSU basketball is big time entertainment.

Of course CHHS has a very good boys and girls basketball program, if you can’t get enough of the college game. The last week in February every year, TSU hosts the Southeast Regional High School Basketball Tournament, which draws 15,000-plus fans during those five days.

The State High School Cross Country meet, which attracts over 1,500 participants has found a home in Troy every November. The Trojan Oaks Course is a perfect layout for the annual three mile event that includes six different classifications.

Baseball comes early to Troy every year. Coach John Mayotte’s Trojan baseball team opens its 56 game season the first week of February and ends it in late May. Some of the nation’s most prestigious schools find their way to Riddle-Pace Field each year. This season, Troy State will play its 36 home games in a brand new facility at the same location.

Coach Jerry Hester puts a solid Division 1-A women’s basketball program on the court each year. This year’s team will host the Atlantic Sun Conference Women’s Basketball Tournament in March. This is another big event for the City of Troy.

Troy State also fields one of the nation’s best women’s softball teams. Coach Melanie Davis’s team, that finished 2001 with a 37-23 record, will also play in a brand new softball complex this spring.

The new softball park is already receiving accolades as one of the best places to play softball in the south and no one has played a game in it yet. You’ll get a firsthand look at this beautiful facility come softball season when the Trojans host the Atlantic Sun Tournament.

Track and Field is another sport that puts Troy on the map. Coach Bob Lambert’s Troy State teams are top conference contenders each year. In fact, Lambert’s men’s team has won three of the four last conference championships.

The Jesse Hall Track at Memorial Stadium is the state’s best place to watch a track meet. TSU has hosted the state’s 1A, 2A and 3A state high school meet for the past 20 or so years.

CHHS baseball, PLAS baseball and American Legion Baseball, as well as the Dixie Boys and Belles baseball and softball, have given the City of Troy its baseball reputation.

Some of the finest baseball in this state is played right here in Troy. Just ask cities like Ozark, Dothan, Montgomery, Enterprise, Andalusia, Eufaula, Greenville and Opp.

Fan support is good in Troy for all sports when there is an important game going on. Just look at the record numbers that showed up to support the Dixie Boys 13 and 14 year old teams when their respective World Series were held at the Troy Sportsplex.

This football season, Trojan fans will go to the gate in record numbers to support Troy State’s efforts to become a Division 1-A football team.

Troy people love their sports, whether it’s golf, playing tennis at the city’s brand new 12 court complex, watching football, baseball, softball or basketball, or getting in a few laps at the track for exercise.

Troy’s a great sports town, a Division 1-A city and yes, The Sporting News hit it right on the head; we are the 145th best sports town in America.