Triumph and tragedy: Top 10 sports stories of 2013

Top 10 sports stories of 2013

kprice@ledger-enquirer.comDecember 30, 2013 

1) Alabama wins BCS championship

The Crimson Tide won its second straight BCS national championship and third in four years with a 42-14 rout of Notre Dame on Jan. 7.

The Tide lost to Auburn and missed on a chance to win a third straight BCS title.

Coach Nick Saban also made news off the field.

No one will ever likely know if the rumors held any truth in them or not, but there were multiple reports that the Texas Longhorns wanted to hire Saban away from the Tide.

But in mid-December, Alabama and Saban announced a new contract extension that included a raise to more than $7 million a year.

2) Auburn wins SEC title

The Tigers' 2013 SEC championship has to be one of the most improbable of all-time.

The Tigers were coming off a disastrous 3-9 season with a new coach and were picked to finish sixth in the SEC West.

But the Tigers responded to new coach Gus Malzahn and found a way to win big games with late-game heroics, including a long, tipped pass to beat Georgia and a 100-yard field-goal return for a touchdown to beat Alabama.

3) Tim Hudson leaves Braves for Giants

Hudson, who played at Glenwood, CVCC and Auburn, ended his long tenure with the Atlanta Braves when he signed a two-year, $23-million contract with the San Francisco Giants.

Hudson's 2013 season ended early when he was stepped on during a game against the New York Mets.

Hudson suffered a fractured leg/ankle on the play.

Hudson, whose off-season home is in Auburn, had stated that he hoped to remain with the Braves, but Atlanta reportedly offered a far smaller contract.

4) Jarvis Jones drafted in first round by Pittsburgh Steelers

After two record-setting seasons at Georgia, linebacker Jarvis Jones decided to forego his senior season and enter the NFL draft.

After some questions were raised about his health (neck), Jones was taken in the first round by the Pittsburgh Steelers with the 17th overall pick.

Jones has been a part-time starter in his rookie season with the Steelers.

5) Georgia's football season derailed by injuries

After coming up 5 yards short of beating Alabama in the 2012 SEC championship game, Georgia had high hopes that 2013 would be the season the Dogs got over the hump and win its first SEC title since 2005.

But injuries to a number of key players and an inconsistent defense hampered the Dogs, who finished the regular season with an 8-4 record.

6) Philip Wheeler signs $26 million contract with Dolphins

After one season with the Oakland Raiders, former Shaw and Georgia Tech standout Philip Wheeler signed a five-year, $26-million contract with the Miami Dolphins.

It was an up-and-down season for Wheeler, who managed just 0.5 sacks. He had three the year before with the Raiders.

7) Columbus and Brookstone win state titles

The Columbus boys tennis team beat Madison County in the finals of the Class AAAA state tournament, giving the tennis program its first title in the modern era.

Columbus' volleyball team won its second state crown in seven years.

Meanwhile, the Brookstone boys golf team continued to dominate in Class A, winning its fourth straight championship.

8) Manchester/Auburn's Korvotney Barber drowns in Florida

Barber drowned in Panama City Beach, Fla., in July.

His body was found between the Boardwalk Beach Condominiums and the nearby Top of the Gulf Condominiums by a passing civilian.

Barber went missing the night before after going into the water with his wife and another friend, despite the beach being under double red flag conditions.

While at Manchester, Barber earned Gatorade Player of the Year honors for the state.

He was also selected as a McDonald's All-American. Barber was also a member of the Georgia Blazers, a Columbus-based AAU team.

He averaged 10.9 points and 7.2 rebounds in a four-year career at Auburn, which ended in 2009.

9) Marion County wins three state championships

The Marion County athletic department had quite the year, winning three state championships in the GHSA Class A public school class.

The Eagles won two in the spring, one for girls track and one for boys tennis, 3-1 over Irwin County.

Marion County's football team capped off the year with a state title with a 12-3 win over Charlton County at the Georgia Dome.

10) CSU volleyball resumes after 32 years

Columbus State shut down its volleyball program after the 1981 season, but the Lady Cougars were back on the court this past fall, beating Johnson C.Smith 3-0 on Sept. 6.

The season was a successful one as CSU went 20-11 and advanced to the Peach Belt Conference tournament.

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