TIFT CO., GA (WALB) - For the past 47 years Walter Burgess has earned the moniker Mr. Blue devil as he has been dedicated to Tift County High school athletics. Friday night he retired.
Burgess started in 1968 as a manager with the Blue Devils. He has attended 510 straight varsity games, and he has been synonymous with Tift County sports.
The only game he missed in the past 47 years was the 1979 state championship game. He was out with the flu and his family refused to allow him to travel.
Retiring was solely his decision citing health concerns.
"Been tough all day long on me," said the Blue Devil lifer. "I'm a blue devil. I don't know how I'm gone act up in the press box, but it's time. I've been having trouble with my leg. I've been asking the good Lord and he gave me an answer so I'm satisfied with it."
The Athletic director of Tift County described the moment at halftime when Burgess was honored.
"Coach Ashley Anders myself and Bobby Bennett," said Rusty Smith. "We all gave him a nice football trophy. Coach Anders gave him a ball and Mr. Bobby Bennett presented him with a beautiful gold ring for his 47 years of service. Everybody was just ecstatic. Standing ovations. And everybody loves Walter."
He knows the sidelines will not be the same without Mr. Blue Devil cheering on his squad.