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These grants, along with private contributions, will help make this dream a reality! This award is voted on by their readers and the general public online each year. We have received this award two years in a row. We are currently working on our meeting schedule and speakers for the fall as well as the Tour of Homes in Pine Apple, March 25, and its Guest Speaker.
I am excited to announce that our first concert of the fall will be Saturday night, September It will be the Harvest Arts Quintet to include three string players, flute, and harp. You will not want to miss this! Tickets will be available on eventbrite. As you can see, we are continuing to bring positive public exposure, grant funds, concerts, and tax revenue through our events to Wilcox County.
With your help we will realize our vision for the Female Institute as a center for history, research, culture, and the arts. Find a way to get involved and help us Raise the Bell! Have a wonderful 4th of July. Thank you all for joining the WHS! This program continues to support adaptive re-use of spaces, revitalizing neighborhoods. Funded projects involve top-level professionals in urban and community planning, architecture, landscape design, and historic preservation.
Grantees are awarded based on evidence of community support, a key element for large and small organizations enhancing spaces for arts activities. Through the addition of the auditorium wing to the existing building, the goal of our project is to create a space where the WHS can offer performing arts programming to Wilcox County residents.
We met at our church in Birmingham. We have three children: Elizabeth, 28, Andrew, 26 and Caitlin, I have two older girls, Mary Catherine who is married to Travis and Caroline who is married to Byron. I have five grandchildren ages 4 to Our children follow in her footsteps as lovers of books, the theater and music.
I graduated from Livingston University now known as the University of West Alabama and played football there. We celebrated our year anniversary for our National Championship team recently. I started two businesses in the occupational safety and health industry. I enjoy reading, golf, hunting and fishing and spending time in Camden.
We needed a larger home and Garland told us about the Beck-Darwin-Hicks home, c. We purchased the home from Kathryn and Tim Hicks. Pictured at the beginning of this article is a photograph of our home in Camden when it was one of the historic homes featured on the WHS Tour of Homes in Below is our photograph taken at Wakefield in Furman during the Tour of Homes weekend. We both have fallen in love with Camden and all the new friends we have. Everyone has been so welcoming to us.
My ancestral roots are in the Blackbelt of Alabama. Sherry Cawley was brainstorming with Kathy about ways to expand the concerts. Kathy replied that they did not know 30 people in Camden, but Lance Britt does. We connected Lance to the Cawleys and Harvest Arts has expanded its concert series not only in Alabama, but Tennessee and Florida as well.
We always look forward to spending time in Camden and building on our friendships. He graduated from Jefferson Medical College, Philadelphia in After enlisting in the Confederate Army, he was commissioned as Assistant Surgeon and assigned to field hospital duty; captured at Gettysburg; imprisoned two months in Fort McHenry; escaped; two-month furlough; transferred to Fort Gaines; prisoner about two months at Fort Gaines and New Orleans; paroled at Selma at end of war and settled in Furman.
After the War he taught school for several years; engaged in farming; and in he was elected probate judge of Wilcox County, serving until In he was elected a member of the House of Representatives from Wilcox County; and in June, , he was appointed by Gov. Thomas G. Jones to fill the unexpired term of Cyrus D. Hogue as State Auditor, and in November of that year was elected for a full term and re-elected in For a few months in he served as State Deputy Tax Commissioner; and examiner of accounts From he acted as a special expert accountant, and in the latter year was again named examiner of accounts by Gov.
Sources: www. A memorial, birthday, anniversary or just a nice way to say thank you can be done in a donation to the Wilcox Historical Society. Your donation is tax deductible. She can be reached at Don shared with the group the interesting history of the Furman area. The meeting was held in Bethsaida Baptist Church founded in , present building built between The church was recently restored and will celebrate its st anniversary this month.
The group also had the opportunity to tour the original Alabama Baptist Newspaper building, c s, that was moved to Furman from the campus of Judson College in Marion, Alabama. Refreshments were served at the Furman School; now used as a community center. Speir is a native of Furman and attended school in this building.
By , Florida State football's academic progress rate was the worst of any Power 5 institution and fifth-worst in the FBS. Several Fisher staff members said the coach begged the administration for more academic support, including an academic center for players, but was told by Miller that funding would be difficult to come by for a project deemed "not sexy. Some players also got into trouble off the field, including multiple allegations of assault against women and a credit card theft scam that ended in the shooting death of one player's half-brother.
Just weeks after Fisher left, a series of break-ins occurred in the football housing complex. Police reports said the suspects were former FSU players who had robbed their own teammates of jewelry, cash and even an Orange Bowl championship ring. Fisher's final blue-chip QB recruit, Deondre Francois, was an example of the tenuous grasp coaches had on the culture. Francois was critical to FSU's success, but he was often unengaged with teammates, one Fisher era coach said, and after a season-ending injury in , he stopped showing up to team activities, including the Seminoles' game against Delaware State.
A month after Fisher's departure, police responded to an alleged domestic violence situation involving Francois and his girlfriend. No one was charged, and the case was closed after the responding officer determined there was not enough probable cause to make an arrest for battery. Three months later, police raided Francois' apartment after an anonymous tip that suggested Francois had accounting ledgers, firearms and more than 2 pounds of marijuana in his home.
Surveillance revealed assorted drug paraphernalia, along with a hand grinder and zip bags containing marijuana residue that an officer said was typical of a sales operation, according to an affidavit from police. The subsequent police raid, however, found less than an ounce of marijuana, and Francois was cited for misdemeanor possession.
From on, Fisher struggled to regain command of the locker room, often with embarrassing results. It started with the "Yellow Brick Road," a yellow mat painted to look like the yellow brick road from "The Wizard of Oz" that ran along the path to the practice field. Fisher explained at the time that it was to remind players what their purpose was and "what we have to attain. A year later, Fisher followed a humiliating loss against Louisville with a pledge, set in each player's locker , that opened, "As of Oct.
According to sources close to Fisher, he approached administration about a budget increase for assistant coaches in , with an eye toward making changes to his staff. The school declined Fisher's request. He probably should've parted ways with them a couple years earlier but he didn't.
His son's condition, which could be terminal, was a constant source of stress. In October , Fisher's closest ally within Florida State's administration, associate AD for football Monk Bonasorte, was diagnosed with terminal brain cancer. That same year, Fisher and wife, Candi, separated with the highly publicized divorce finalized in January Yet, despite the off-field drama and cultural erosion in the locker room, Florida State kept winning, landing bids to New Year's Six bowls in and But a year later, after Thrasher took the stage to predict a blowout win against Alabama, Florida State's luck ran out.
With the Tide up by 17, safety Ronnie Harrison came on a backside blitz, colliding with Francois, who crumpled to the ground and grabbed his knee. Francois was lost for the year. Florida State was forced to turn to a rail-thin freshman named James Blackman, who wrestled through a disastrous season. People behind the scenes, however, believe Florida State's downward spiral started two years earlier, when Bonasorte announced he had brain cancer.
In a place numerous sources said was defined by "good old boy" politics, Bonasorte was universally loved at Florida State. More importantly, people trusted him. Nearly every source we spoke with, from Seminole Boosters to FSU administration to Fisher's camp, pointed to Bonasorte's illness as a turning point. He fell in love with the place. From the mids, he was an ever-present figure in sports around Tallahassee, but his first love was always Florida State football.
In , he was hired as an associate AD, serving as the go-between among warring factions, acting as the de facto athletic director for football and serving as Fisher's fixer in difficult situations. Without Bonasorte, tensions over spending escalated to a breaking point.
Wilcox focused on several of his goals, including funding an underserved basketball program on the brink of bigger success and promoting a pursuit of comprehensive excellence across all sports. Fisher and Seminole Boosters, meanwhile, often viewed the agenda as counterproductive and siphoning off scarce resources from donors that they believed should have been put toward football.
In June , Fisher had had enough. According to one source privy to the conversation, the coach phoned Thrasher before leaving for a brief summer vacation with an ultimatum: Get FSU a new AD or Fisher would look for work elsewhere. Thrasher, however, was a bigger advocate for Wilcox than Fisher had imagined.
Wilcox's push for "comprehensive excellence" dovetailed with Thrasher's vision for the school, even if it stood in stark contrast to how things worked at other football powers. In the Learfield Directors' Cup standings, which measure a school's success across all sports, Florida State ranked 12th, and every public university ahead of the Seminoles either generated significantly more revenue or didn't focus resources on football.
Meanwhile, Fisher's archetype for how to invest in football, Alabama, ranked 25th. Rivals such as Miami 56th and Clemson 52nd were further behind. When Fisher returned from his vacation two weeks later, he found that not only had Wilcox not been fired, but Thrasher had offered him a promotion to vice president, along with a nice raise. Meanwhile, Miller fumed over Fisher's constant entreaties for money at Booster Club meetings, which many Bowden-era donors found off-putting.
You can't be the kingpin and get the money. Everything went right to the president. Sometimes I think it might have been thought of as being personal, but it really wasn't. It was really more professional, and maybe it was misunderstood at times. During his time at Florida State, the school invested in locker room upgrades, coaches' office renovations, a new dorm and an indoor practice facility, among other things. The arguments, however, always underscored the difficult dynamic of a program hoping to create a level playing field with wealthier SEC schools.
Fisher wanted more money for support staff. Miller begged for a marquee opponent to boost season-ticket sales. Both had valid requests, but neither trusted the other party's motivations. Miller, who was called "a visionary," even by critics, viewed it as his "swan song," according to one source.
And since endowment funds could, by law, be spent only on revenue-generating projects, "College Town" was an appealing one for Miller. But Fisher saw it as a diversion of resources that should have been spent on a stand-alone football facility.
Again, both points of view were valid. Fisher argued for more money, which led to "donor fatigue," according to one booster. Miller invested in other projects in hopes of generating long-term revenue, but as a Fisher staffer said, "there was never a clear path for that money. It just kept rolling into the next project, and at the same time, Clemson is just soaring.
Fisher held out some hope of salvaging a relationship at Florida State. His sons, Trey and Ethan, were constant figures within the football facilities, and they didn't want to leave. He was actively shopping for property around Tallahassee, looking for a ranch where he and his boys could hunt and fish.
Fisher admired Bowden and wanted to create a similar legacy at Florida State. Despite his flirtations with other suitors like Texas, Auburn and LSU, which sources close to the coach said was often about gaining leverage over boosters and administration, those sources believe he always wanted to stay at FSU. In Fisher's final week, key players within Seminole Boosters urged Miller and other leaders to broker peace.
Miller, according to one source, was dubious of Fisher's intentions, noting the coach's previous threats, while also eager to rid himself of the constant haranguing over finances. Fisher and his then-girlfriend now wife , Courtney Harrison, had dinner with Thrasher and the president's wife to discuss a possible agreement. The dinner was cordial, and at one point, the women excused themselves to provide Thrasher and Fisher a chance to discuss the future.
Fisher's primary objective was to get a blank check to hire new assistant coaches. Thrasher would not oblige, and the meeting ended without an agreement. Fisher's tenure at Florida State ended on Friday, Dec. In Fisher's office was a suitcase, packed for a night at the team hotel, a shaving kit and toothbrush on the sink, and a roll of dirty socks on his bathroom floor. When another administrator suggested Willie Taggart, Wilcox scoffed, believing Taggart wouldn't leave Oregon's lavish facilities after just a year on the job there.
But Taggart was a Florida native and a lifelong Seminoles fan. Florida State flew a contingent out to interview Taggart in Scottsdale, Arizona, where he had been recruiting for the Ducks. Wilcox, Thrasher, Coburn, senior associate athletic director Jim Curry and board of trustees chair Ed Burr made the trip. Taggart won over those in the meeting with his passionate belief in Florida State, a marked contrast to Fisher's endless demands. Wilcox pushed for the hire, which was, according to sources, enthusiastically approved by Thrasher and Burr.
Wilcox also failed to properly account for Taggart's buyout with Oregon, according to two sources close to the situation, which also included paying off the remainder of his buyout from his previous stop at USF. Fisher resigned on Dec. Taggart's hiring was announced Dec.
The whirlwind courtship, sources said, meant there was little due diligence that might have clued Florida State's leadership in to problems with Taggart's style. According to those close to Taggart, he butted heads with the administration on finances, including constraints on when he could hire his coaching staff and the pay scale for it. The dynamic resulted in a dysfunctional staff that often argued over roles and responsibilities and failed to coalesce around an organizational philosophy.
FSU denies Taggart's hires were delayed by administration and notes the salary pool for his staff matched Fisher's. Meanwhile, the program's academic progress scores were so low, according to multiple assistants, that Taggart was forced to keep anyone on the roster who made grades, even if the person wasn't helping the team or undermined his efforts to create a new culture. It was a very, very, very, very bad culture.
The players didn't feel like the administration had their back, that they weren't trying to take care of them; a lot of the guys are pissed off that Jimbo's leaving. Whatever frustrations Taggart had with Fisher's locker room management, he found common ground on the problems with the facilities and echoed Fisher's complaints that May by saying FSU can't "Band-Aid anything anymore.
Fisher did not attend the meeting. Florida State brought the firm back to campus to garner input from Taggart. Though officials said they had determined to move forward with a stand-alone facility at that time, Taggart's public comments ruffled feathers inside Seminole Boosters, who thought Fisher's departure meant they were done listening to complaints. According to one source in the meeting, Wilcox believed his vision would showcase the shortcomings in the more austere plans from Seminole Boosters, tilting the balance of power back toward the athletic department and away from Miller.
Instead, the budget line produced audible gasps from some in attendance. The Taggart era's quick ending Taggart was a players-first coach, hellbent on fixing Florida State football's culture. But when it came to the details, Taggart was the antithesis of Fisher's authoritarian style. There were makeshift practices that occasionally meant assistants didn't know what they were doing until they arrived on the field.
Taggart allowed music to blare over the speakers at practice, perhaps the most publicly tangible departure from Fisher. Fans latched onto the gesture as symbolic of a lackadaisical approach that defined the team's game-day performance. Players soon began to revolt. You never won a championship," one former player said. That accountability was out the window with Taggart.
It was a free-for-all. I felt like I was at practice for a Little League team. They didn't care anything about that mess. It was, 'I've got to get mine. When Florida State opened at home against Virginia Tech on Labor Day evening to an electric crowd, one person at the game recalled, "There was something visceral coming off this place that you could feel.
That was everybody coming together trying to rally around Florida State. They're going to catch on to it, and that's exactly what happened. It got worse from there. In the regular-season finale against rival Florida -- a team the Seminoles had beaten five years in a row -- the Gators dominated The year ended with a record, FSU's first losing season since , and no bowl appearance. That's not a thing. We are Florida State. We didn't believe in Taggart. We didn't believe in what they were trying to have us do.
How are you going to win games if the team doesn't believe in you? Taggart didn't sign a QB in the class, in part because the new December early signing date forced a mad scramble to find an uncommitted quarterback. When frustrated offensive coordinator Walt Bell left to take the head-coaching job at UMass, 's top recruit, Sam Howell , de-committed, opting to go to North Carolina.
Meanwhile, Francois' problems reached a boiling point; Taggart finally dismissed him from the program, leaving Florida State with a massive void at a key position. Season-ticket sales and attendance figures plummeted. The Seminoles sold 30, season tickets for , down nearly 5, from Fisher's heyday in The initial optimism and excitement around Taggart's arrival also began to wane and take an ugly turn.
After Taggart's tough first season, a fan posted a meme on social media showing the coach hanging in effigy. Thrasher called out the racist post as "ignorant and despicable," adding that Taggart had the school's "full support.
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