Randall Boldin Named 2021 Recipient of Bonnie Sloan Courage Award
The Bonnie Sloan Courage Award is given annually to a college or professional player, coach, or staff member who has overcome obstacles to achieve greatness. This award is named for Middle Tennessee native Bonnie Sloan, who became the first deaf person to play in an NFL game when he made his professional debut for the St. Louis Cardinals in 1973.
This year’s recipient of the Bonnie Sloan Courage Award is Randall Boldin, head coach of Waverly Central High School. After serving a stint in the Unites States Army and graduating from the University of Tennessee at Chattanooga, Boldin took over as head football coach of Whitwell High School in Hamilton County in 2017. He would make an immediate impact, leading Whitwell to a 26-2 record over two seasons, including an undefeated state championship in 2018. Boldin, who starred at quarterback for Waverly Central in the early 2000s, returned to coach his alma mater in 2019. He has guided the Tigers to three consecutive winning seasons and playoff appearances, despite facing significant challenges along the way.
On August 21, 2021, the Waverly community was ravaged by massive flooding after more than 15 inches of rain fell in a 24-hour period. Twenty people in Humphreys County would lose their lives, and thousands more would be left without homes. Included in the devastation was Waverly Central High School, which would lose its primary school building and all of its athletic facilities, including the football field and stadium, locker rooms, weight room, and training area.
Despite the tremendous setback that his team faced, Boldin and the Tigers regrouped and elected to continue the 2021 season, playing all of their games on the road. The football team became a rallying point for the town and concluded the regular season with a 9-1 record, finishing second in Region 6-3A and earning a berth in the state playoffs. Randall Boldin displayed remarkable leadership and resiliency during this time and impressed these qualities upon the young men on his team. He is a truly deserving recipient of this year’s Courage Award, reflecting the spirit and determination of Bonnie Sloan.