Taking the Tankersley name to new heights at Irwin County

Taking the Tankersley name to new heights at Irwin County
Drew and Cliff Tankersley reminiscing about the 1997 State title run (Source: WALB)

OCILLA, GA (WALB) - Indian baseball has seemingly been apart of the Tankersley's lives for over 25 years.

With 42 combined years of coaching between Drew and Cliff Tankersley… history is something the Tankersley's have a lot of at Irwin County.

"I wanted to get back home because I just bled red," said Cliff Tankersley. "We've been red all our life."

"That was always a dream of mine," said Drew Tankersley. "I didn't know that it would happen this soon. But this town and these kids, they mean a lot to me."

But neither of the Tankersley's started their coaching careers at Irwin.

But when the chance came, they knew that Ocilla was were their hearts lied.

"Montgomery County I couldn't get use to saying go big blue," said Drew. "I just had go big red in my mind and just wanted to get back."

In coach Cliff's time at Irwin he took his team to 6 straight semi final games.

Finally, breaking through that wall, and bringing Irwin the state title in 1997.

Now, over 20 years later, Drew, would help get them back to that semifinal round.. and now looking to bring them their first state title since 97.

"For that team to be so young," said Drew, "and just kind of come out of nowhere and win a region title and advance to the semifinals was a huge building block for the future and I was extremely proud of them."

Over the years Drew and Cliff knew that coaching was something that could help them impact a young athletes life.

Given that opportunity, and putting the wins and loses aside, the Tankersley's took that opportunity to help transform their players into not just better athletes, but also better kids.

"Tough times are gunna come," said Cliff. "You get knocked down but you get back up."

"The relationships you build with the kids," said Drew. "At the end of the day that's what it's about."

"Do what's right," said Cliff. "Do you're very best. Treat people the way you want to be treated."

Now with the torch being passed on to Drew, his father hopes everything he has taught him, will allow him to carry to the Tankersley name, to new heights.

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