Flag retired in honor of Byars

In honor and memory

Houlka baseball team honors team mate and former coach

By Lisa Voyles

Chickasaw Journal

HOULKA – April 27 was a bittersweet day for the Houlka Wildcats as a team mate returned to the field and a memorial was dedicated to a beloved coach.
The Wildcats retired the flag that flew over the home field this season in honor of the late coach and teacher Jimbo Byars and presented it to his family members. Byars passed away November 2013 after a battle with cancer and the team dedicated their season to him in his memory. The flag was presented to Byars’ wife, Sonja, and sons, Joby and Sawyer.
The event marked Joby’s return to the ball field for the first time this season after he, Sawyer and Walker Winter were involved in a vehicle accident earlier this year.
As Joby rounded the corner into the dugout in his wheelchair, he asked with a smile, “Did you miss me?”
Coach Jimmy Guy McDonald presented the flag to Sonja Byars and a collage of photos and a baseball signed by the other team members to Joby in the brief ceremony prior to the Houlka/Shaw playoff game. McDonald said Joby’s return to Houlka put emotions running high.
“I couldn’t have gone too much deeper,” McDonald said.
Joby threw out the first pitch of the game to his brother, Sawyer, and saw his Wildcats sweep Shaw in the first round of playoffs.