Randy Smith: Mikey's Fishing Team

Thursday, June 15, 2017 - by Randy Smith
Randy Smith
Randy Smith
My family moved from Whitwell to Big Ridge in Hixson more than 17 years ago. We had spent the previous 23 years living at 154 South Spruce St. in Whitwell before moving to town. Just up the street about three country blocks away lived the Powells. Miss Gail kept my children each afternoon for an hour or so in the gap between when I left for work and until my wife got home from work. My children loved her and we loved their whole family. Miss Gail's husband Wayne was as good of a country singer as you would ever hear, and their children, Tim, Kimberly and Mikey have all grown up to be wonderful people.

On June 22-24 in Paris, Tennessee on Kentucky Lake, Mikey will lead the Whitwell High School fishing team into the Costa Bass-master National Tournament.
That's right... Whitwell High School has a team competing for a national championship. There will be more than 5,000 young people competing in the three-day tournament and Whitwell will have three teams of two members each in the competition.

To say that Whitwell High School's athletic teams have been less than successful over the years might be a bit of an understatement, at least that's the perception. In reality, year in and year out, they have a few programs that can compete with any school in the state. Girls softball is one that is good every year, and some of the other sports have a great year every so often. This is the first time in my memory that any team from Whitwell will be competing for a national title, and I am so proud of what these kids have accomplished in such a short period of time.

 This is just the third year that bass fishing has been offered as a team sport at Whitwell High School. The first year it was nothing more than a fishing club and principal Teena Casseday made Mikey Powell the coach. The team had six anglers that first year, but now the team has close to a dozen members, and now half of the entire team will be fishing for that title on June 22nd. The teams are Baylor Lane and Dalton Powell, Cameron Bankston and Spencer Minter, and Chase Cantrell and Nathan Powell.

This tiny former coal mining community has taken its share of derogatory comments and jokes through the years, but the school's fishing team is yet another example of how many good things come from this wonderful community. From attorneys and federal judges to well-respected doctors and educators as well as successful business men and women, Whitwell, Tennessee continues to produce outstanding citizens. Coach Mikey Powell's fishing team is now part of that tremendous legacy.

The team is still a bit short of funds to make the trip to Paris, so if you would like to donate you can send a check to: Whitwell High School Fishing Team  in care of Citizens Tri-Community Bank 14087 Highway 28, Whitwell, TN 37397.      

* * *

Randy Smith has been covering sports on radio, television and print for the past 45 years. After leaving WRCB-TV in 2009, he has written two books, and has continued to free-lance as a play-by-play announcer.  His career has included a 17-year stretch as host of the Kickoff Call In Show on the University of Tennessee’s prestigious Vol Network. He has been a member of the Vol Network staff for 30 years. He has done play-by-play on ESPN, ESPN II, CSS, and Fox SportSouth, totaling more than 500 games, and served as a well-known sports anchor on Chattanooga television for more than a quarter-century. In 2003, he became the first television broadcaster to be inducted into the Greater Chattanooga Area Sports Hall of Fame. Randy and his wife Shelia reside in Hixson. They have two married children, Christi and Chris Perry; Davey and Alison Smith. They have five grandchildren, Coleman, Boone, Mattingly, DellaMae, and CoraLee.


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