A strong sports program is a vital part of student life and provides a balance with academics, which the students need for a well-rounded high school experience. Young bodies need physical exercise, and students also learn to work together as a team in many of the sports programs offered.
DeKalb County Schools offers 25 different high school athletic participation sports including adapted sports, baseball, basketball (boys and girls), cheerleading, cross country (boys and girls), football, flag football (girls), golf (boys and girls), gymnastics (girls), lacrosse (boys and girls), soccer (boys and girls), fast-pitch softball (girls), swimming (boys and girls), tennis (boys and girls), track (boys and girls), volleyball (girls) and wrestling (boys and girls).
Basketball, baseball, football, soccer, track, wrestling and cheerleading are offered at the middle school level, and eighth graders can participate on the junior varsity level at the high schools, if a sport is not offered for them in the middle school.
DeKalb also has an American Association of Adapted Sports Program (AAASP) offering junior varsity participation in wheelchair handball, basketball and football throughout the school year. The program has won 4 junior varsity state championships and two varsity titles as the home of AAASP.
DeKalb County Schools is home to 321 state championships dating as far back as the 1938 literary state title won by Lithonia. Clarkston won the first athletic state championship in 1940, as the boys basketball title came home to DeKalb County Schools.
The school district went 11 years without a title until Druid Hills won the 1951 boys track title to start a string of 48 consecutive years with at least one state title coming home to DeKalb County Schools. The streak ended in 1999 as no state titles were won. A new streak began in 2001 as Lakeside won the boys tennis title to start the current streak of 22 years. The 321 state titles have come from 26 different schools, (seven of which are no longer in existence) and the Adapted Sports Programs.
Lakeside leads the way with 41 state titles, with Dunwoody a distant second with 29 state titles to the school’s credit. Southwest DeKalb is third with 25 while Tucker 21 and Druid Hills hold 20 to round out the Top five.
Boys’ track has outshone the other sports in the school system bringing home 49 state titles, while girls’ track follows with 31. Track has a 15-year run going with at least one state track championship and 19 total (10 girls, 9 boys) during this streak.
Wrestling has third highest total with 29 followed by boys’ basketball with 25 (boys and girls combined have 45) and girls’ gymnastics with 20 and boys’ cross country and girls’ basketball joined the 20 state title group in 2016 as part of the Top 5 athletics programs in DCSD.
A high of eleven state titles for the school system came in 1981. The school system won 10 in a year twice, 1970 and 1983. The school system won six state championships three consecutive seasons in 2008, 2009, 2010 and 2012 and repeated the feat in 2013 with 7 total.
Miller Grove’s 2016 Class 5A Boys’ Basketball State Championship was a big one for DCSD as it marked the 300th state title for the district. Repeat state titles in boys’ track in 2016 by Southwest DeKalb (5A) and Cedar Grove (3A) gave the District 6 for the year.
A 13-year streak with at least 1 basketball state title came to an end in 2017. DeKalb won 31 basketball state titles (16 girls, 15 boys) from 2004 to 2016. That streak includes 7 by the Miller Grove Wolverines (6 consecutive from 2009-2014) along with five by the Columbia Eagles and 5 by the Southwest DeKalb Lady Panthers.
DeKalb is home to 16 football state championships led by Cedar Grove with four (2016, 2018, 2019, 2021). The Saints became the first DeKalb program to win four football championships. Cedar Grove was previously tied with Avondale (1958, 1963, 1976) and Lakeside (1970, 1972, 1991) with three each.