Carla Sisson Boutin. In 1986, during Senior Night ceremonies , Carla Sisson Boutin received an honor that had never been given to any athlete in the history of athletics in Fannin County. The school rewarded Carla for her outstanding athletic accomplishments at the school by announcing that her basketball jersey, number 15, would be retired and never worn again by any female athlete at the school. As a one time exception and at Carla’s behest, the school has brought number 15 out of retirement to be worn by Molly Chandler, Carla’s niece and current Fannin County girls basketball player in 2013-14.
28 years later, Carla will again be rewarded for her outstanding athletic accomplishments at Fannin County High School, and in subsequent years, when she is inducted into the Fannin County Sports Hall of Fame Class of 2014.
Carla’s basketball career at Fannin County began in 1983-84, only two years after the arrival of Johnny Farmer as head girls basketball coach at the school. She won a letter for the Junior High team in 1982-83, and went on to become a varsity starter for the next three seasons, becoming the first true superstar in the Farmer era at Fannin. During her three seasons at the high school, Fannin County had a record of 48 wins and 23 defeats.
Carla’s contributions to the team grew each year while she was at Fannin County, culminating with her outstanding senior season of 1985-86. During that year, her scoring average soared to a lofty 23.7 points per game while she also pulled down rebounds at a 10.5 rate per game. For her 3-year career, she scored 1,372 points, grabbed 532 rebounds and had 246 steals.
Carla Sisson Boutin’s individual awards were many while she competed at Fannin County. On a team level, she was named as Fannin’s Best Offensive Player as a junior and senior and won the team Most Valuable Player honor as a senior in 1985-86. She was also selected as the ‘Most Athletic’ Senior by her classmates in 1986.
On a competitive level, Carla had an impressive array of accomplishments. She was selected as a Region 7AAA first team all star as a junior and again as a senior. She was the leading scorer in the region for her senior season. At the time of Carla’s athletic participation, the Atlanta Journal-Constitution selected, each week, an honor roll called the ‘Top 10 Performances’ throughout the state of Georgia during the previous week. Carla was recognized in this group an impressive three times during her senior season. She was also named as the MVP of the Northwest Georgia Christmas Tournament in 1985.
In addition, Carla earned two prestigious Corporate Awards during her senior season of 1985-86. The Milky Way/Women’s Sports Foundation recognized her accomplishments with their High School All-Star Award in 1986 and the Atlanta Coca-Cola Bottling Company presented her with the Fanta Award for ‘Outstanding Accomplishment in Academic and Athletic Performance’, also in 1986.
If her basketball accomplishments were not enough, Carla was also a top-notch softball player. She won the Fannin County High MVP award in that sport in 1985 and followed up with the Best Offensive Player Award in 1986.
College basketball opportunities for women had begun to present themselves by the time Carla finished high school in the spring of 1986. Although Title IX, the Federal act providing for equality in women’s sports at the college level had passed in June of 1972, the first NCAA Women’s Basketball Tournament was not held until 1981-82. By 1986, young ladies who possessed advanced basketball, and other sports, skills, could realistically expect to receive scholarships to pay for their college educations. Several schools came calling to offer to provide a college education to Carla if she would only agree to compete for their women’s basketball teams.
Carla Sisson Boutin considered the opportunities available and signed a full basketball scholarship with Georgia Southern College in Statesboro, Georgia. Georgia Southern is a Division I school for athletic competition purposes, and Carla was expected to contribute right away as a ‘shooting guard’ for the Lady Eagles. Carla stayed at Georgia Southern for two seasons winning varsity letters in 1986-87 and 1987-88. Georgia Southern won the New South Women’s Conference Championship (both regular season and tournament) both years that Carla competed for the school.
After the 1987-88 basketball season, Carla decided that a change of scenery was in order and North Georgia College in Dahlonega was waiting with a full scholarship offer to her for her final two seasons of varsity competition. She continued her outstanding play at North Georgia winning letters in each of her two seasons. As a senior in 1989-90, Carla averaged 15.7 points and 5.3 rebounds per game and scored 20 points or more eight times. She was named the team’s Most Valuable Player for the 1989-90 season and was selected to the All-Conference and All-District 25 teams for that year.
After her college career, Carla decided to enter the coaching profession and was quickly offered a job as assistant to Johnny Farmer at Fannin County High School. The foundation laid by Carla and her teammates in the early to mid-80s had been built upon by subsequent teams, and Fannin County was a legitimate state contender by the time of Carla’s return in 1990. During her three years coaching at Fannin County, her teams would make it to the ‘Sweet Sixteen’ in 1990-91, the ‘Elite Eight’ in 1991-92 and, in the dream season of 1992-93, the Fannin County girls basketball team would win the first State Championship in the history of Fannin County athletic competition.
What does one do after winning a State Championship, the ultimate goal of every high school coach? Carla was quoted in the April 2013 Dawson Community News as follows: “I wasn’t sure if education was where I wanted to be. I wanted something that was more financially rewarding. I felt like I wanted to do a little bit more”.
After the 1993 school year, Carla decided to leave coaching and pursue a business career. Her successes have been numerous and today she owns her own State Farm Insurance Agency and is an active community leader in Dawsonville, Georgia. She serves as President of the Rotary Club of Dawson County as one of her many activities. Carla Sisson Boutin’s life is one of great success in her athletic career and as a business entrepreneur and community leader. The Fannin County Sports Hall of Fame is proud to welcome her as a member of the class of 2014.
Carla and her husband Charles, currently reside in the community of Big Canoe, Georgia.