FCHS teacher, Lightle, discusses several of his books

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Bill Lightle, a history and economics teacher at Fayette County High School, was a newspaper man after graduating from college. He worked at newspapers like the Greenville News and the Florida Times Union, winning some Associated Press awards along the way. He eventually moved to a teaching career, where he could also continue to work in athletics as a coach. He is the head coach for the Lady Tigers volleyball team and was an assistant coach for the baseball team this past spring.

Lightle is also an author and he has three books to his name, two of which are sports-related and one which focuses on a part of Georgia history.

“The books are all non-fiction,” Lightle said. “I like hearing good stories and I try not to get in the way.”

“Made or Broken: Football and Survival in the Georgia Woods,” is a story about the notorious Graves Springs football camp which Lightle attended in the 1970s. The camp was created in the 1930s by Albany High School and players endured harsh conditions as they practiced three times a day. Players made it through the camp through mutual support and camaraderies. One of the stories that came out during the research of the book was that of Rev. Grady Caldwell, the first African-American player to be integrated with the Albany high School football team.

Lightle’s other sports book, “My Mother’s Dream: Baseball with the Bankers,” focuses on the semi-pro baseball team his father helped organize in Indiana in the 1950s. Lightle served as the team’s ball boy and fondly recalls his memories with the players on the team and his family.

The other book is “Mill Daddy: The Life and Times of Roy Davis.” The story is a tribute to Davis’ spirit which sustained him and his family through sharecropping, the Great Depression and the hard life in a Georgia cotton mill. Lightle worked under Davis in the Flint River cotton mill in the 1970s. “Mill Daddy” was used in Lightle’s Georgia History class at Albany State University as well as at the high school level in the area.

Lightle, already preparing to head back to class this fall, is working on a book about Rev. Caldwell. He writes the first draft by hand and makes the first round of revisions as he types up the first draft.

Lightle’s books have an extra element to the story because he had his own experiences with the subjects. He hopes to finish the book on Caldwell before school starts again this August when a full schedule of teaching and coaching will make it hard to sit down and write.

Lightle’s books are available at Omega books in Peachtree City, Scott’s Bookstore in Newnan and on Amazon.com