ALBANY, Ga. — Former Dougherty boys basketball coach Charlie Givens, who won two state championships in a 20-year career with the Trojans, died Sunday night at Phoebe Putney Memorial Hospital.
He was 59 years old.
Givens coached Dougherty from 1982 until 2001, winning GHSA Class AAAA state championships in 1997 and 2001.
During Givens' two decades at Dougherty, basketball in Albany was at its zenith. Westover and Dougherty combined to win eight state championships, and Albany made two finals, losing both times to Westover. Monroe made two semifinals and four quarterfinals.
Carlton Fletcher, who spent eight years as an assistant coach under Westover legend Willie Boston, lined up again Givens' teams many times. When you played Givens teams, Fletcher said, you always knew what you were going to face.
"The thing about Charlie's teams is that they were relentless," Fletcher recalled. "That's the way he coached and that's the way his teams played. They rarely had as much talent as we did, but they always played us close if they didn't win outright."
Givens earned his basketball chops as a player at Monroe, playing under local coaching icon Lewis Smith. His final game as a head basketball coach was the state championship win over Mays at the Macon Coliseum.
Two months after winning that state title, Givens was charged with inappropriate touching and fondling of a 16-year-old student on school grounds. In November of that year, he pleaded guilty to two misdemeanor counts of sexual assault and his teaching certificate was revoked.
"At the time, it never crossed my mind that would be my last game," Givens, who departed with a 396-147 career record, said in a February interview with The Herald. "We were on a roll, and there was nothing but good things in front of us. But I've put all that (the assault charges) behind me. My wife and my family stood with me during those hard times. I don't think about it anymore."
Givens earned his basketball chops as a player at Monroe, playing under local coaching icon Lewis Smith.
In 2005, Givens suffered a debilitating stroke that left him paralyzed on his right side. He spent nearly four weeks in the hospital, and upon release began three days a week of grueling rehab, treatment he was that he was still undergoing at the time of his death.
After his stroke, and unable to work, Givens filled his days with going to as many local basketball games as he could, sitting in the same spot at each gym — midcourt, front row.
Meadows funeral Home is in charge of final arrangements, which are pending.