01/12/06 — Whitfield Clinic set to begin

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Whitfield Clinic set to begin

By Gabe Whisnant
Published in Sports on January 12, 2006 2:11 PM

George Whitfield admits his baseball clinic, currently in its 34th year, thrives on consistency and the clinic's focus doesn't change much from year-to-year.

Simply, Whitfield wants to supply as many young baseball players as possible with knowledge about the game with teaching from college and professional coaches. Also, the long time coach and mentor hopes the athletes will learn valuable lessons about life they can use to be successful off the field as well.

Still, a somewhat minor addition to the clinic recently has left Whitfield with an increased sense of satisfaction with his annual, one-day camp.

"It hasn't changed much through the years, but recently I've let fathers of campers under 16 come to the camp for free," Whitfield said. "I wish I would have started doing it sooner, because the dads have come and I've got some wonderful letters. One dad from Hickory wrote me and talked about how much they learned, and how much fun it was to have a nice day with his son. He said it was the most time he's spent with his son in a while.

"I think that's very important to young people."

The clinic's festivities will begin on Friday night at Goldsboro High School. Where, as always, Whitfield will treat the campers to a meal, before the induction of the 2006 Hall of Fame. This year, former Goldsboro High wrestling coach Bill Kemp, along with former Goldsboro standout athletes, Donnie and Larry Frederick, and long-time area trainer, R.L. Gurley are among the 12-person Hall of Fame Class.

Also included in the this year's class are; current East Carolina Athletic Director Terry Holland, veteran Farmville Central A.D. Dixon Sauls, former Major League manager Dave Bristol, N.C. High School Athletic Association's Que Tucker, Oval Jaynes (former A.D. at several major colleges), Herb Appenzeller (retired Guilford College coach and A.D.), Alex Cosmidis (White Sox scout) and Fran Lanford (long-time South Caldwell coach).

Whitfield, currently an assistant baseball coach at East Carolina, will also honor the 2005 state championship baseball teams from nearby North Lenoir, Farmville Central, D.H. Conley and Greenville Rose as well as the Goldsboro Country Club 3.0 tennis team that recently won the national championship.

Following the supper and HOF inductions, the N.C.-based bluegrass band, Constant Change, will perform.

The day-long clinic starts Saturday morning with coaches from as close as Mount Olive College and as far away as Texas.

"I think we've got one of the best staffs we've ever had. They've all been good, but we've got an excellent staff this year," Whitfield said. "The military academies, The Citadel, Army and Navy are all represented with coaches here for the first time. We've got a good group with knowledge for the young people who are going to attend."