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Basketball superstars return to coach JV teams
Former Lady Tigers point guard Carly Anglin returned to her alma mater to head the girls’ junior varsity basketball team. She will also be assisting her former coach, Steve Sweat, with the varsity girls’ team this season. - photo by Jessica Brown

Not one, but two basketball stars from the class of 2013 have come back to coach at Dawson County High School.

Five years after ending their playing careers in Dawson County, Will Anglin and Carly Gilreath Anglin have returned to their alma mater ready to take the reins of the junior varsity basketball programs.

“I’m excited,” Will Anglin said. “It still has the same feel as when I played. The community’s behind you. The community wants to support you which is exciting. I’m just really glad to be back.”

Will was a star basketball player and was voted to play on a second Region 7-AAA All-Region team his senior year at DCHS.

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Dawson County Tigers superstar Will Anglin returned to his alma mater as the head coach of the boys’ junior varsity basketball team and will assist varsity Head Coach Chad Pittman this year. - photo by Jessica Brown

Carly was also formidable on the court and was selected to play for the Region 7-AAA All-Region team her senior year and was voted Player of the Year.

The pair were eighth grade sweethearts and married in June of last year.

 Will graduated from the University of North Georgia in May, where he pursued his bachelor’s degree in secondary education mathematics, while Carly earned her degree in Early Childhood Education from the Aiken campus of the University of South Carolina last year.

“It was cool because he didn’t play basketball during (college),” Carly Anglin said. “He didn’t do any sports whereas I did so he could always come to my games.”

Every chance Will got, he would make the three-and-a-half hour drive to South Carolina to see his girlfriend play, and he realized that he missed the sport.

“I always loved the game and I decided not to go play college so I was like ‘I need to get back into the game’ and coaching was my way in,” Will said.

Since he was 16 years old, Will has been a coach in Dawson County in some form. From coaching travel ball teams to being a community coach under his head coach Thad Burgess for three years, to taking the reins of the ninth grade boys team, Will has seven years of coaching experience under his belt as he enters his first year as a fulltime Dawson County Schools employee and coach.

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Carly Anglin. - photo by Jessica Brown

Carly, whose team was state runners-up her senior year, began her teaching career in Forsyth County last year.

But then one day, the phone rang. It was her former coach, Steve Sweat, letting her know the position for the girls JV coach was open and that he’d love to have her on board.

“I was like ‘oh my god yes!’ and then I ended up getting the job here in Dawson and it’s kind of just been a God thing, like it’s just really worked out,” Carly said.

Will also felt the same way.

“It couldn’t have worked out any better,” he said. “God had a plan for sure.”

Carly accepted the position of first grade teacher at Robinson Elementary and Will accepted a position teaching math at DCHS.

“What’s really cool is getting to come back and coach with Coach Sweat. That’s like the best dream because I played for him,” said Carly. “That to me is just like the coolest part about it – to be able to come back and to coach with the guy that I actually played for for four years.”

It’s been a surreal experience for the couple as they walk the halls of their high school with a new perspective.

“It’s awesome. Everyone’s been so supportive. It’s been crazy,” Will said. “Everywhere I go people’s just like ‘oh my god we’re so glad to have you back.’ It’s different walking the hallways as a teacher than it was as a student.”

Carly vividly remembers her days as a Lady Tiger and her feelings the first day she entered the gym.

“I so remember when I was a freshman coming in and I was petrified of (Coach Sweat) like I was terrified…now I’m like on the other end and I’m like ‘guys I know how you feel. It’s okay. I know how scared you are because I was in that position a couple years ago,’” Carly said.

Now that they’re the heads of the JV program and assistant varsity coaches, the Anglins have been developing their coaching strategies, which of course have been shaped by their influential former coaches.

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Will Anglin high fives a Tiger player during practice May 30. - photo by Jessica Brown

“I’m all over the place. I played for Thad Burgess and those who know him – he’s all over the place. He’s yelling, he’s screaming and I feel like I’m the same way,” Will said. “I’m energetic. I feel like the kids respond and love to play for me. I think it’s because that’s how I played as a player. I was never the biggest, never the strongest so I had to make up for it with effort and I’m the same way as a coach. I’m running up and down the sidelines, clapping my hands, yelling – it feels like I’m playing.”

Carly, on the other hand, wants to emphasize the importance of defense and attitude.

“Defense and attitude is everything to me,” she said. “I mean, defense is all about effort and heart and I think as long as you step out on the court and give it everything you have that’s all I can ask for: effort, attitude and defense.”

The 23-year-olds hope to bring energy and a different perspective to the DCHS coaching game. Since they are only a few years older than the kids they’re coaching, they hope they will be able to relate more to them and make an impact on their lives.

“The man I am today was because I had coaches who cared, coaches who showed me what it meant to care for your players, teachers who showed me what it meant to say ‘hey how you doing today,’ ‘I’m here for you’ – going just beyond the game,” Will said. “There’s a lot more than wins and losses. It’s making an impact on kids.”

“My passion’s just always been young kids and developing them not only to be good basketball players but good people. That’s what matters to me,” Carly said. “When they leave I hope I’ve made an impact on them not only as a coach but just as a human being and understanding that it’s important to be a good person as well.”