Valdosta crowned title town USA! - WALB.com, Albany News, Weather, Sports

Valdosta crowned title town USA!

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By Alicia Eakin - bio | email

July 28, 2008

VALDSOTA, GA - (WALB) -  Anyone living in Lowndes County will tell you, they have the best sports community in the nation.  Now, they have the trophy to prove it.

In front of a crowd of more than 10,000, ESPN presented the Title Town trophy to Mayor John Fretti, Lt. Governor Casey Cagle and Atlanta Falcons legend Jesse Tuggle.

"When I first saw the competition we were up against-- LA, Boston, New York. But they couldn't produce all the titles we won," Tuggle says.

With over 800 wins, Valdosta High remains the winningest high school football team in the nation. Lowndes High has won three of the last four state football championships. Valdosta State has won two of the last four National Championships. All together the schools have 439, now 440 titles.

"It validates everything we've done throughout history in our sports department and our athletes," says Mayor John Fretti.

"It must be something in the water. I remember coming to this town 25 years ago, and I knew there were some great things here," Tuggle says.

ESPN first visited the city on July 9th after naming Valdosta one of the top 20 finalist.

"By in large, it was the biggest turnout. The passion, the signs, the tailgating. It was fantastic, so I'm not surprised Valdosta came out the winner," says ESPN Reporter Wendy Nix.

Together, the city got more votes than Green Bay, New York and Boston--showing that the underdog can still come out on top.

The win will officially be announced on ESPN Monday. 

The top six "TitleTown USA" communities (in terms of percent of the fan vote):

Valdosta, Ga.: 29.2%

Parkersburg, W.Va.: 24.4%

Green Bay, Wisc.: 11.2%

Massillon, Ohio: 6.7%

Boston, Mass.: 5.8%

Gainesville, Fla.: 5.2%

School leaders are now searching to find a permanent home for the trophy and a tribute to the community that helped them earn the right to be called Title Town USA.