Macon Cove Campus
5983 Macon Cove
Memphis, TN 38134-7693

Union Avenue Campus
737 Union Avenue
Memphis, TN 38103-3322

Fayette Center

Gill Center

Millington Center

Southeast Center

Whitehaven Center

901/333-STCC *

DATE: February 22, 2002
CONTACT: Calvin Burns, 901/333-5338 or Keith Gentry, 901/333-4114

Coach Verties Sails Day Set at STCC

President Nathan Essex has declared Friday, March 1, Coach Verties Sails Day at Southwest Tennessee Community College. Coach Sails, athletic director and men's head basketball coach at STCC, earned his 500th career victory at the College on February 16. He is being honored for that landmark win and 23 years of exemplary service to the institution now known as Southwest Tennessee Community College.

The honor presentation will start at 2 p.m., in Verties Sails Gymnasium on the Union Avenue Campus, Manassas and Linden. It is free and open to the public.

Leon H. Griffin, Jr., a weather forecaster and feature reporter for FOX 13-TV, will be master of ceremonies for this special honor presentation. Griffin is a 30-year veteran in the broadcasting arena. Currently, he handles the morning weather/anchor duties on FOX 13's Good Morning Memphis news program.

Dr. Essex noted that Coach Sails is most deserving of the honor. "Five hundred victories in any sport is an incredible milestone," Dr. Essex said. "We appreciate all that Coach Sails has done in developing young men. We also appreciate the manner in which he represents STCC."

Organizers of the event said leaders from every segment of the community will pay tribute to the legendary coach of the men's basketball team. Proclamations and letters of congratulation have come from the federal, state, city, and county branches of government.

A native of Shelby County, Coach Sails is a graduate of Woodstock High School. He earned a B.S. from LeMoyne-Owen College and an M.S. from the University of Memphis. The personable coach and educator started his coaching career with the Memphis City Schools as men's head basketball coach at Melrose High School. He finished with a 132-35 record at Melrose, which included a 35-0 record and State Championship for the 1973-74 campaign.

In 1974, Coach Sails made history as the first full-time black assistant coach at a major university in the South by joining the staff at the University of Memphis. He coached at the University until 1979, when he took over the STCC program. During his 33-year career, Coach Sails has been named Coach of the Year 10 times, both at the high school and collegiate levels. During the 1997-98 campaign, he led the Saluqis to a second -place finish in the National Junior College Championship Tournament.

Other honors include being named The Commercial Appeal's Sportsman of the Year for 1999, being named as a recipient of The Thousand Points of Light award by former President George Bush, and serving as a member of the 1982 Leadership Memphis class.

Southwest Tennessee Community College is a Tennessee Board of Regents institution.