It was a big day for the Callaway High football program.
The Cavaliers obviously didn’t play a game Sunday afternoon, but it was nonetheless a special occasion for the team as it held its football banquet.
A year ago, Alabama defensive coordinator Kirby Smart was the guest speaker.
So how was Callaway head coach Pete Wiggins going to top that this year?
All he did was go out and get Auburn head coach Gus Malzahn, whose team was coming off an appearance in the national-championship game.
The day was about more than just Malzahn, though.
It was primarily a chance to recognize the most successful football team in school history.
The Cavaliers went 12-2 last season, and they made it to the Class AAA semifinals where they came as close as any team did all season to beating Buford.
Also on Sunday, tours were offered of the new multi-purpose athletic facility that is nearing completion on the school’s campus.
“For me, this is one of the biggest days that I’ve ever been a part of, for a whole bunch of reasons,” Callaway head coach Pete Wiggins said during his introductory remarks.
Wiggins invited Malzahn to speak at the banquet, and the coach agreed.
During his speech, which he requested not be recorded, Malzahn talked about his experiences as a high-school coach, and the road that eventually led him to Auburn where he recently completed his first season as head coach.
Malzahn replaced the fired Gene Chizik, and he led the Tigers to an SEC championship and a berth in the national-championship game against Florida State.
The Tigers lost that game, but it was still one of the great turnarounds in college-football history.
At the moment, Auburn is in the midst of spring practice, and it’s annual A-day game will be on Saturday.
That will be the last of the 15 practices Auburn is allowed to hold during the spring.
“It’s going to be exactly like it was last spring game and we’re going to put the ball down and we’re going to get after it,” Malzahn said last week. “We’re going to do what we do.”
Wiggins said he appreciates Malzahn taking the time out to come to the banquet during this busy time.
“It’s amazing to me that a man on his level, in the midst of spring football practice, takes the time out of schedule to come here,” Wiggins said. “I can’t thank him enough.”
After Malzahn finished speaking, Wiggins invited anyone interested to tour the athletic facility, which is expected to be open sometime this spring.
The ground-breaking ceremony was held in June, and work began soon after.
The centerpiece of the facility is an indoor practice field, which will give the school’s sports team a place to go when the weather is bad.
There will also be locker rooms, storage areas, batting cages, golf nets, a training room, offices, film rooms and laundry rooms.
Also, there will be filming towers overlooking the football practice field.
“It’s going to change our school, and everything we do,” Wiggins said.
Also during the banquet, a highlight film was shown from the 2013 season, and there was plenty of great footage available.
The Cavaliers won a region championship, and then won three straight playoff games before falling to Buford 24-14.
Callaway was up 14-7 at the half against a Buford team that blew out every other one of its opponents on the way to a 15-0 season.
Most of the players and coaches from that team were in attendance at Sunday’s banquet.