Effingham County Recreation Department Celebrates 45 years
Effingham County Recreation Department Celebrates 45 years
Effingham County Recreation & Parks Department (ECRD) celebrated 45 years of service in 2020. It is a huge milestone for Effingham and the many thousands of residents whose lives have been impacted by the “rec department” and the wonderful people who make it all happen. (A community celebration has been put on hold due to the pandemic and is scheduled to take place later in 2021.)
The recreation department has a rich and interesting history, filled with stories of volunteers, public servants, coaches, referees, kids of all ages and an enormous amount of hard work and dedication. No one article can do it justice, so below are just a very few highlights:
Prior to 1975, community recreation was provided by local athletic associations. There wasn’t any centralized county department but that changed in December 1974 when the Recreation Commission was approved by Effingham County Commissioners.
- In the first full year of being a recreation department, Effingham produced State Championships in both baseball and softball.
- The 97 acre Sand Hill/Stagefield Property (presently the Sand Hill Complex) is deeded to the county by the Federal government.
- First Spring Run—now known as the Jacan Brown Coca-Cola Spring Run— debuted and has since been run continuously for 44 years.
- 3,045 YOUTH participated in department activities.
- 900 adults participated in basketball, softball, flag football and volleyball.
- The county accepted ownership of the Pineora Ball Park.
- Clarence Morgan was approved as Part Time Director for the first of three times before becoming full time director in 2001, a position he currently holds today.
- County Commissioners signed contract for lights at Pineora Ball Park.
- Effingham County Recreation started NYSCA Coaches Certification program.
- The Old Effingham Academy on Hwy 119 was purchased, a major improvement to the growth of the Effingham Recreation.
- Sandhill hosted a Fly-Inn for Small Model Aircraft in the mid-80s for many years.
- Pineora Ball Fields added a second field.
- New Shelter/Pavilion and lights were added at the Recreation Complex in Springfield.
- 1997 was the first year ECRD offered Fall Baseball. There were four teams the first year.
- 1997 was also the year the two Sandhill Soccer fields were built with lights.
- Effingham County received 100,000 from GDNR to improve Tuckasee King boat landing.
- 2001—first-ever fast-pitch softball league.
- County Commissioners approve New Veteran’s Park
- Baker Pond opened to the public in 2003. It is one of Effingham County’s most prestigious recreational facilities, located on Courthouse Road in Springfield. The 20-acre pond is stocked with a variety of fish and has a lighted one-mile walking trail around it, as well as a pavilion, public restrooms, and a picnic area.
- In 2003 a lighted tennis complex was built.
- ECRD worked with Chatham County Health Department and the Pilgrim Mission Baptist Association to secure a grant for the Pilgrim Walking Trail in Guyton. ECRD was the principal force behind the walking trails design and construction. The land is owned by the PMBA and they agreed to lend it for a 10-year period, upon which the agreement will be revisited.
- ECRD won five Georgia Recreation and Parks State Championships and placed second in three other divisions.
- Effingham County Sports Hall of Fame inducted their first class (29 individuals who helped with the success of youth and adult sports since the early days and beyond). The plaques are located in the Hall of Fame Gym.
- NFL Punt Pass Kick National Runner Up Nate Sisolak placed second at the AFC Playoff Game
- Youth Teams (All Sports) – 295 teams
- Adult Teams (All Sports) – 58 teams
- At the Sand Hill Complex, 5 new scoreboards were donated from Rick Terrell and Coca Cola. That started a partnership that includes the following donation: 6 baseball/softball scoreboards at the Clarence E. Morgan (CEM) Sports Complex, 4 basketball scoreboards at the CEM gym.
- In 2006, Youth Teams (all sports)—298 teams
- Adult teams (all sports)—56 teams
- Senior Bingo Starts in 2006, and as of December 2020, 555 bingo events have taken place.
needed upgrades and improvements made at Tuckasee King.
Effingham Orchestra debuted their first concert and continues to use the gym for community concerts three times a year.
- Olde Effingham Days added Effingham Idol to the festivities.
- First Back to School Blowout held at the Rec Gym.
- In 2011 Youth teams number 316 Adult teams number 90 (all sports)
The Clarence E. Morgan (CEM) Sports Complex Timeline
- March 2016 – Groundbreaking at the CEM Sports Complex
- August 2017 – Josh Reddick donates 1 million to build Field & Stadium.
- November 2017 – Groundbreaking of Josh Reddick Stadium
- December 2017 – Grand Opening of the CEM Sports Complex
- July 2018 – Grand Opening of the Josh Reddick Stadium
- February 2020 -Groundbreaking for the new gym at the CEM Sports Complex
- November 2020 – Grand Opening of the New Gym
History Of Championships
Over the years Effingham has been extremely successful at the district and state level.
- Basketball – Won 3 State Championships and placed Second 5 times.
- Baseball – Won 5 State Championships and placed Second 6 times.
- Softball – Won 9 State Championships and placed Second 7 times.
- Football – Won 3 State Championships
Effingham Co. Recreation Directors
- Mike Moss, 1975-1977
- Dan Horne, 1978-1980
- Clarence E Morgan, 1980 -1981
- Patt Hallisey, 1981-1990
- Clarence E. Morgan, 1990-1992
- Ed Nelson, 1993
- Clarence E. Morgan, 1993
- Robert Fears, 1993 – 2001
- Clarence E. Morgan, 2001 - present
“From the 60s until the present, so many have helped to provide recreation to our community,” says Director Clarence E. Morgan, reflecting on those who have made the Effingham Recreation Department such a success. “We have depended on community spirited volunteers for coaches, umpires (until the 1990s), concession workers, association officers, field workers and many more. Our seasonal workers have played an outstanding role, as have our officiating officials, because without them we could not exist.”
“One true thing is that the people of Effingham have always supported any and all efforts to provide quality recreation for the children and citizens of Effingham county.”
Facebook/Effingham County GA Recreation & Sports Management