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Get to Know: Thad Burgess, basketball, baseball coach
Get to Know Thad Burgess mug

This article is the second of a summer series of "Get to Know" sessions with various high school and middle school coaches in Dawson County.

Each week a coach will be featured answering questions about their personal lives and coaching careers.

This interview is with Dawson County veteran coach Thad Burgess.

Burgess is the varsity boys' basketball and baseball coach at Dawson County High School.

Tell me about your family and what they do?

I've been married 28 years to my wife, Barbara and we have four daughters. I have twin daughters who are current students at Dawson County High School, one daughter that is a senior in dental school in Augusta and my oldest daughter just got married and is working with Dawson County Family Connection. My oldest daughters are both graduates of UGA and Dawson County High School.

What are some high school and college accomplishments?

I played on state tournament teams in baseball and basketball at Auburn High School in Alabama. I lettered at Auburn University in basketball and also coached at Auburn while in school.

How long did you coach in Alabama?

26 years

What is your coaching record in both Alabama and now in Georgia?

In basketball my record is 314-195 and in baseball 221-82.

How many years have you been in Georgia?

I just finished my 11th year in Dawson County.

What brought you to Georgia to teach and coach?

The community, the makeup of the school, a good place for my girls to go to school. Although Mr. Rick Brown, principal at Dawson County High School at the time, and I did know each other from Alabama. Mr. Brown was aware of the school and community that I was coaching in Alabama. I felt very comfortable with him and have a great deal of respect for him and his family.

What do you teach at the high school?

I have taught project success, marketing, physical education and do our credit recovery.

You have a picture of you and Charles Barkley in your office. Tell me about Auburn and your experience with Charles:

Auburn is my home. I grew up, attended high school and college there. I dreamed as a youth to play there. I had an opportunity to coach there as well. I'm lucky to have had a great relationship with Charles [Barkley] at Auburn during his freshman year. Charles is an unbelievable player, but also one of the best individuals you could ever be around. A lot of people read him wrong, that is just him. He is very loyal to Auburn and to those that he made relationships with while there. We see each other at football, basketball, or other events, and he is the same person he was way back at Auburn.

What has your experience been like coaching at DCHS?

When I came to Dawson County High School 11 years ago, I never could imagine that I would be here that long. The school and community have been very good to me and my family. What a great place to raise a family and work.

What have been some highlights of your coaching career here at DCHS?

I believe the respect that the program has gotten throughout the state.

Receiving the No. 1 ranking in January two years ago in basketball.

The first Dawson County team, was really a "wow" moment for me. I never could have imagined that when I first came to DCHS. Our boys have bought into the program and are taking great pride in making it better each year.

Of course the Elite Eight run with one of the biggest wins ever against Buford and the excitement throughout the community that year.

Last year's Sweet Sixteen run was so unexpected since we lost so many quality players from the year before.

The first state playoff game, then back to back, and then our streak of seven of eight times in the state tournament has been fun.

Just seeing the expectations every year to win, and the quality kids that I have had the privilege to coach, have all been highlights to me.

How was it coaching baseball this year?

Honestly it was very hectic. Making a Sweet Sixteen run [in basketball] and doing both sports at the same time was tough. I got such a late start, getting things ordered, helping with the new hitting facility, learning the players, getting coaches, putting in a new system and everything else that goes with starting new was a big challenge.

I was proud how we ended the year. We got on a roll at home by beating No. 1-ranked Buford, No. 7 West Hall and then beating North Hall all in a row. That really should be a jump start for the future.