Sitting at Miller Grove last week, we couldn’t help but marvel at all the state title banners that hang from the walls.
At The List HQ, there’s nothing we love more than a winner (OK, maybe bacon, but still). And the Miller Grove boys certainly embody that – four straight titles. Nobody has ever done five, but they’ve got their shot at it this year.
Of course, talking about that got us discussing all the great dynasties the state has had over the years, and where the Wolverines stand in that group.
So, here are the top 10 boys basketball dynasties ever …
10. Savannah 1930-32
Coached by John Varnedoe, who eventually became principal and gave the go-ahead for the school’s first girls basketball team, the Blue Jackets broke up former Macon power Lanier’s run with three straight titles in the early 1930s. Each time, they had to take out Lanier, once in the semifinals and twice in the finals.
9. Mitchell-Baker 1998-2000
During 20 years at Mitchell-Baker, this turned out to be coach Rufus McDuffie’s best stretch, despite losing future Georgia star Jumaine Jones to graduation after the 1997 season. They apparently didn’t need him, winning 85 games and three straight titles heading out of the decade.
8. Woodbury 1981, 1983-85
Long-time coach Anzy Hardman notched four of his six total titles during this five-year run. From 1984-85, Woodbury went 59-1 and ran off the school’s only undefeated season en route to the 1984 title.
7. Hogansville 1970-72, 74
John Penland took over a pretty nice situation when he became Hogansville coach going into the 1971 season, with a defending state championship team that didn’t have a single senior on it, now coming back for more. He would go on to win three more titles, including a 30-0 season his first year, which ended with a 48-game winning streak.
6. College Park 1974-76
Coach Ken Ross – who would eventually be inducted into the Georgia Athletic Coaches Association Hall of Fame – took the Rams on one heck of a three-year run in the mid 70s. They were 94-3 in that stretch, including a 56-game winning streak and one of fewer than 20 undefeated seasons in state history.
5. Norcross 2006-08
You all know the names – Jodie Meeks, Gani Lawal, Al-Farouq Aminu, Jeremy Lamb, among others – who first made a name for themselves during this dominant stretch for the Blue Devils, then went on to become stars at the next level. It’s one of the more impressive groups ever to come through one Georgia school in such a short stretch.
4. Columbia 2006, 08, 10-12
One of the most amazing things about Columbia’s stretch has been the Eagles’ postseason dominance. In five championship runs, the Eagles have only had four games they’ve won by single digits, none of those coming the past two years. During a time when there’s never been more talent in the state, Columbia is consistently elite.
3. Westover 1990-93
One of the most celebrated players in state history, Dontonio Wingfield was the catalyst for four straight titles for coach Willie Boston, who died in 2006, with many of his former players from what they called the Quad Squad returning for the funeral. They were just the second team to win four straight titles.
2. Lanier 1922, 25-28, 33-34, 36, 38-40, 42, 45, 48, 50-51
This clearly isn’t the new Gwinnett school we’re talking about. Think of these guys as sort of the Valdosta of the basketball world, racking up 16 state titles and losing in the finals six more times between 1922 and 52. They were an immense power in basketball, featuring legendary players like eventual College Football Hall of Famer Vernon “Catfish” Smith and popular 1920s boxer Young Stribling. Hey, the 20s were a different time.
1. Miller Grove 2009-12
While Lanier did it over a longer period of time, we think there’s nothing tougher than winning four in a row in the state today. Well, maybe five. And, at 17-3, this team has a shot at doing just that, even with five new starters in the lineup this season. Coach Sharman White has been a successful head coach for a decade, first taking a Carver-Atlanta team from 3-17 to the state final in a year, then building Miller Grove into a behemoth. He’s said he’d like to coach college one day, and that day should eventually come. Until then, let’s enjoy watching.
Now we want to know what you think. What are the best dynasties in state history? Is Miller Grove’s run overrated? Would you embrace the nickname “Catfish”? Let us know in the comments here or on Twitter at @ajcprepsports.