Recreation Center Named For Coach Bill Thornton
Former Berry basketball players on hand for the naming ceremony were (L to R):
Danny Howard ('77), Joel Thornton ('78), Jack Pigott ('69), Paul Cushman ('75),
Wayne Howard ('72), Stanley Geraldson ('70), Coach Thornton, David Thornton
('77), Mike Keith ('70) and Sam Edmondson ('73).
|Left to Right: Mike Keith, Wayne Howard, Stanley Geraldson and Sam Edmondson
|Paul Cushman and Coach Thornton
David Thornton (blue cap) shares a story with Danny Howard, Paul Cushman, Wayne
Howard, Mike Keith and Sam Edmondson.
|The following article appeared in the Rome News Tribune on July 30, 2011.
Thornton Honored by Rec Center Dedication
by Kim Sloan, staff writer
It was something Bill Thornton said he never expected.
On Friday, the North Floyd Recreation Center, located in North Floyd Park, was named the Bill Thornton
Center and a plaque in his likeness was unveiled at the center.
The park is located in Armuchee across U.S. 27 from Armuchee High School.
“It was just awesome,” said Thornton, 77. “You never expect to have an honor of this magnitude.”
The center is located in the neighborhood where Thornton started his own athletic career. He graduated
from Armuchee High School in 1952 where he played basketball.
After graduating from Berry College, he started his teaching and coaching career at Berry Academy.
Thornton coached the girls and boys basketball teams, coached baseball and started the soccer program
there in 1968.
While at Berry Academy, he served as athletic director and was eventually named dean of students.
He returned to his alma mater in 1975, where he would spend 20 years as a coach before retiring in 1995.
While at Armuchee, he coached boys and girls basketball, tennis, cross-country and was the assistant
Since his retirement, he has remained active.
He has been a part of the Coosa Valley Tennis Association, serving on the board of directors and as
president. He was the Associated Tournament Director for the Georgia Tennis Association District I.
He has also coached basketball for the Rome-Floyd Parks and Recreation Authority.
Last year he had the privilege of coaching the 5- and 6-year-old recreation basketball team that had a
special team member, his grandson Henry Thornton. It was the youngest team he had ever coached, he
“It was the most interesting season I have ever had,” he said.
Thornton has three children and five grandchildren. The dedication on Friday in front of family, friends and
county officials was an “unimaginable feeling,” he said.
“I was just having fun,” he said. “I didn’t expect any of this.”