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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Angela joined the News 12 team in November of 2017 as the weekend sports anchor and reporter. Angela is a proud member of an Army family, which means she has hometowns all over the Eastern Seaboard. Most recently, she calls Peachtree City, Georgia, home, where she graduated from Trinity Christian School and spent her free time driving her purple golf cart. She then headed to Milledgeville, Georgia, to attend Georgia College and State University. A proud Bobcat, Angela graduated Summa Cum Laude with a BA in Mass Communication and represented her December 2016 class as one of three valedictorians. Angela comes to the Scenic City from Myrtle Beach, South Carolina, where she worked at the NBC affiliate, WMBF News. Before the big move, she worked as Georgia College's Sports Information Assistant, which let her get paid to be the Bobcats' biggest fan. It all started in Savannah, Georgia, though, where she interned for SAV's number one station, WTOC. When she's not working, you can find Angela watching the New York Giants, Rangers or basically any other game that's on. She also loves traveling, hiking and exploring new places, all with her camera in hand. If you have any story ideas, big or small, feel free to reach out to her on Facebook and Twitter, or email her at amoryan@wdef.com."