LFO’s big man makes big impacts for special needs students

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CATOOSA COUNTY, Ga. (WDEF) — LFO senior Zach Coots is a big man making a big impact for the Warriors — and I’m not talking about just on the court. Coots is a two-sport straight-A student who spends his free time volunteering with special needs students.

“I’d say he’s one the best examples here at LFO. You know, just all around great guy,” freshman Brent Bowman said.

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Center Zach Coots leads the young Warriors team with his selfless attitude and hard work.

“Zach is really the guy that’s willing to do whatever it is for the team, to make the team successful,” Coach Joshua Laney said. “He steps up. He’s willing to take kids home after practice. He’s making sure everyone is here on time. He pushes kids to the limit at practice. He doesn’t let anybody slack off. So it really makes him unique to our team because of that.”

This year, LFO appeared in just their second state tournament this century. Coots’ dominance has been a foundational part of the Warriors success.



“He plays the center position, but he really wants to be a guard at times,” Laney said. “He likes to get out of the paint and shoot. I don’t like telling him this, but he’s got a pretty good jump shot. So it really helps stretch defenders out because a lot of big guys don’t like leaving the paint area.”

“You just got to be big with them,” Coots said. “If be big with them, they’re going to back down from you. If you show them you’re above them, they’ll back down.”

However, it’s Coots’ caring character that particularly stands out — not only on the team, but in the school as well. He’s found his passion just down the hall, with the special education department.

“My uncle, he’s special needs. Ever since I’m young, I just worried about what goes through his mind. What needs he needs, and it just makes me want to be somebody that can help them,” Coots said.

“He looks at everybody the same and tries to treat everybody the same,” Laney said. “He doesn’t like labels on people or anything, and like I said, I think it just shows that he’s got a big caring heart. He wants everybody to have fun and to be a part of something.”

“It just makes me feel like I’ve done something with my life,” Coots said. “Just to see them happy with some of the things that they have at home, you know some parents don’t really care about them because they’re special needs, it just makes me happy to see they’re happy here.”

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