GACA Hall of Fame Inductees
- Don Richardson
- Manson Hill
- Ed Pilcher
- French Johnson
- Jimmy Dorsey
COACH JOHNNY FARMER
Coach Johnny Farmer
Coach Johnny Farmer was inducted into the Georgia Athletic Coaches Association Hall of Fame on may 31, 2014. Coach Farmer was a coach in Georgia for 31 years with 30 years as a head coach at Fannin County high school. He served 26 years as the head girls basketball coach, 4 years as the head boys basketball coach, and 19 years as the head girls softball coach. In 816 games, his record was 577 wins and 239 losses. His teams won two state championships, two state runner-up titles, and five region championships.
Coach Farmer’s girls basketball team made the final four six times, the elite eight ten times, and had 20 plus wins eleven years in a row. He was the Atlanta Constitution and the Atlanta Tip Off Club Coach of the Year twice, the Northwest Georgia Tip Off club Coach of the Year five times, and received the Atlanta Constitution sports award for top ten coaches in the state. Coach Farmer has been a loyal member of the GACA for many years and was head coach of the North in the GACA North-South all star girls basketball game. Even though Coach Farmer’s success is admirable, he is highly respected by his players, their parents, other coaches, and the community of Fannin county. It is only appropriate that he should be heralded as an elite coach in the state of Georgia.
COACH WILLIAM “BUCK” GODFREY
COACH WILLIAM “BUCK” GODFREY
Coach William “Buck” Godfrey was inducted into the georgia athletic coaches association hall of fame on may 31, 2014. Coach Godfrey was a head football coach, a head swimming coach, and a head baseball coach in his 39 year career. He coached at Gordon and towers high schools, and spent his last 30 years at Southwest Dekalb high school. In 363 games, his teams won 273, lost 89, and tied 1. His coaching record includes one state championship, one state runner-up title, thirteen region championships, seven sectional titles, and twelve quarter-final appearances.
Coach Godfrey was the Dekalb county Touchdown Club coach of the year five times, the Georgia Athletic Coaches Association coach of the year thirteen times, and the recipient of the Atlanta Touchdown Club’s coach of the year and outstanding coach of the year. The Atlanta Falcons have chosen him twice as coach of the year and also presented him with their lifetime achievement award.
Coach Godfrey is in the Delaware state hall of fame as well as the Atlanta sports hall of fame. He was a coach in the GACA’s Georgia-Florida game and the North-South all star game two times. Coach Godfrey’s civic and community awards are hard to surpass. A true renaissance man, he has college degrees in English, american literature, and linguistics. He has published two books of poetry and written a documentary. “Getting a good education is key to being successful in life” has been coach Godfrey’s legacy. Through athletics, he has enabled 264 players to receive full college scholarships with 218 getting their bachelor degrees, 18 with masters, and 8 with doctorates. His tremendous influence has extended far beyond the playing field.
COACH LEE GOWER
Coach Lee Gower
Coach Lee Gower was inducted into the Georgia Athletic Coaches Association Hall of Fame on May 31, 2014. Coach Gower coached 26 years in Georgia, 25 of those as a head boys and girls track and field coach, and 22 years as a head boys and girls cross country coach. He coached at Walton, North Cobb, and McEachern high schools. Coach Gower led his girls and boys cross country and track and field teams to ten state championships, three state runner-up titles, and thirty-one region championships. His teams were the cobb county track and field and cobb county cross country champs over ten times.
Coach Gower was the Atlanta track club Coach of the Year three times for his girls teams and four times for his boys teams. He was also track Coach of the Year for the Atlanta track club and the GACA cross country cross country Coach of the Year. He was inducted into the Georgia track and cross country coaches Hall of Fame in 2003. Coach Gower was responsible for the set up of field events during the 1996 Olympic games in Atlanta. He taught his athletes to be champions not only on the track, but in the classroom, at home, and in the community. Coach Gower has had a tremendous impact on everyone he touched, and is a highly respected addition to the Hall of Fame.
COACH JIMMY HIRES
Coach Jimmy Hires
Coach Jimmy Hires was inducted into the Georgia Athletic Coaches Association Hall of Fame on May 31, 2014. Coach hires was a head coach for 39 years, serving 30 years as the head boys basketball coach at Wayne County and Richmond Hill high schools. During that time, he also coached baseball and boys and girls cross country. His basketball teams won three state championships, one state runner-up title, and ten region championships.
Coach hires led his players to the state tournament sixteen times, and to the final four five times. In 798 games, his record was 641 wins and 157 losses. Coach hires was the GACA state Coach of the Year three times and the head coach of the South in the North-South all star basketball game. He has also been inducted into the Wayne County Hall of Fame. As a basketball coach, his record speaks for itself, but even more impressive is the winning culture and sense of purpose he brought to his players and community. He instilled loyalty, work ethic, responsibility, caring for others and integrity in the lives of hundreds of players he touched. Coach Hires induction into the Hall of Fame is well deserved.
COACH THOMAS "T" McFerrin
Coach T. McFerrin
Coach Thomas “T.” McFerrin was inducted into the Georgia Athletic Coaches Association Hall of Fame on May 31, 2014. Coach McFerrin was a head football coach for 38 years, 37 in the state of Georgia. During that time he was also a head tennis and wrestling coach. Coach McFerrin built winning teams at Lithonia, Forest Park, Peachtree, Southwest Whitfield, Tucker, Elbert County, South Gwinnett, and Jefferson high schools. In a total of 446 games, he won 340, lost 102, and tied 4. His football teams won thirteen region championships, two state runner-ups, and two state championships.
Coach McFerrin took four different schools to the state finals, five schools to the state semi-finals, seven schools to the state quarter-finals, and won region championships at seven Georgia schools. His outstanding football career ranks 4th on the all time wins list of Georgia football coaches. While head tennis coach at Tucker high school, his boys team won three state championships. He was head coach of the GACA Georgia-Florida football game, assistant coach of the GACA North-South all star game, the Atlanta Touchdown Club and Atlanta Journal-Constitution state Coach of the Year five times, a GACA Coach of the Year two times, and a GACA region Coach of the Year ten times. He received numerous awards from other organizations including DeKalb county, Northeast Georgia, Clayton county, the GHSA, and the Rotary club. Coach McFerrin has met with politicians to implement and fund a junior college football program in Georgia, volunteered tirelessly at his church and in his community, and lectured not only to football clinics, but to historical societies on the civil war. Coach “T” has performed all of this with impeccable character, integrity, and respect and love for others.
COACH RODNEY WALKER
Coach Rodney Walker
Coach Rodney Walker was inducted into the Georgia Athletic Coaches Association Hall of Fame on May 31, 2014. Coach Walker was a head coach for 43 years, 42 of those in the state of Georgia. He served as head football coach, as well as head girls basketball and boys track coach at Villa Rica, Gilmer, Habersham Central, West Rome, Cartersville, Stephens County, Peach County Sandy Creek, and Mary Persons high schools. His career record was 302 wins, 150 losses and 3 ties.
He led his teams to one state championship, two state runner-up titles, and 10 region championships. Coach Walker was the head coach of the GACA North-South all star football game, head coach of the North-South Georgia-Florida game, and assistant coach in the Georgia-Florida game. He was the GACA coach of the year 10 times, the GADA state athletic director of the year one time, and the GADA region athletic director three times. Coach Walker was chosen as the Atlanta Journal state Coach of the Year as well as the Atlanta Touchdown Club state Coach of the Year twice. While a faithful member of the GACA, he served as president, vice-president, state football chairman, region director, and was on the board of directors. He also served on the Georgia high school executive committee for eleven years. He has been an inspiration to his players, coaches, and the state of Georgia. Coach Walker is a class act, a legendary coach, and a tremendous addition to the Hall of Fame.
COACH DEBBIE BALL
Coach Debbie Ball
Coach Debbie Ball was inducted into the Georgia Athletic Coaches Hall of Fame on June 4, 2016. In her 39 year career, she was the head softball coach at Shaw and Brookstone high schools. Coach Ball also served as the head girls tennis coach, head girls basketball coach, head cheerleading, track, swimming and wrestling coach at Johnson, Shaw, and Brookstone high schools. Coach Ball’s softball teams played 915 games with 643 wins and 272 losses. They won 10 region championships and 2 state runnerup titles. She also won 3 region championships in basketball and tennis. Coach Ball’s numerous awards include the Columbus Ledger-Enquirer softball Coach of the Year 8 times and the Columbus Ledger-Enquirer all sports Coach of the Year 1 time. She was the President of the Georgia Athletic Coaches Association and received the GACA region softball Coach the Year award 7 times and the GACA state Coach of the Year award 1 time.
Coach Ball served as the GACA all star slowpitch coach and the GACA fastpitch coach and coordinator. She was nominated for the National High School Athletic Coaches Association slowpitch softball Coach of the Year and was a finalist for the National fastpitch softball Coach of the Year. Coach Ball received the National High School Southeast Coach of the Year award in 2004 and was the recipient of the Georgia Dugout Club Coach of the Year award, the Chattahoochee Valley sports Hall of Fame award, and the fellowship of christian athletes West Georgia Women’s Coach of the Year award. As a pioneer of women in sports, Coach Ball has been regarded as the “queen of softball in Georgia”. A woman of great faith, she reflects everything a great coach should be: skillful, competitive, caring, guiding, and compassionate. It is truly an honor to induct Coach Debbie Ball into the Georgia Athletic Coaches Association’s Hall of Fame.
COACH RON CLANTON
COACH Ron Clanton
Coach Ron Clanton was inducted into the Georgia Athletic Coaches Association’s hall of fame on June 4, 2016. In his 35 year career, he was the head boys and girls track and field coach and the head boys and girls cross country coach at Westover, Duluth, Lee county, and Peachtree Ridge high schools. He also coached boys and girls swimming and girls basketball. Coach Clanton’s track and field teams won 18 region championships, 1 state runner up title, and 3 state championships. His boys and girls cross country teams won 31 region championships, 3 state runner up titles, and 2 state championships.
Coach Clanton’s many honors include the Paul Koshewa award for outstanding dedication, the Atlanta Track Club all metro track coach of the year 2 times, the all metro cross country coach of the year 1 time, and the Gwinnett county cross country coach of the year 2 times. Coach Clanton was also inducted into the Georgia track and cross country hall of fame. He also served as co-meet director and judge for 29 years at the girls state track meet in Albany, and hosted and served as meet director for 29 region championships and 6 Gwinnett county championships. Coach Clanton worked tirelessly to represent both track and cross country with integrity and professionalsim, but the love, mentoring and personal interest in his athletes are also his legacy. It is an honor to induct coach Ron Clanton into the Georgia Athletic Coaches Association’s Hall of Fame.
COACH BUCK CRAVEY
Coach Buck Cravey
Coach Buck Cravey was inducted into the Georgia Athletic Coaches Association Hall of Fame on June 4, 2016. In his 37 year career, he served as the head football coach at Ware County, Vidalia, Briarwood Christian, Pinewood Christian, and Emanuel County Institute high schools. In 400 games, his record was 270 wins, 126 losses, and 4 ties. Coach Cravey led his football teams to 16 region championships and 2 state championships. He is the only coach in Georgia to win state titles in the Georgia High School Association and the Georgia Independent School Association.
Coach Cravey received the Georgia high School Association’s Coach of the Year award, the Georgia all star Coach of the Year award 2 times, and the Georgia Independent School Association’s distinguished service and Coach of the Year award. Pinewood Christian Academy named the main avenue in front of their school “Buck Cravey Drive”, while Vidalia high school named their football field “Buck Cravey Field”. Always a gentleman, Coach Cravey was a master of game preparation, a champion of character building, an instructor of discipline, and an excellent role model both on and off the field. It is our honor to induct Coach Buck Cravey into the Georgia Athletic Coaches Association’s Hall of Fame.
COACH AL REAVES
Coach Al Reaves
Coach Al Reaves was inducted into the Georgia Athletic Coaches Association Hall of Fame on June 4, 2016. In his 38 year coaching career, Coach Reaves served as the head football coach at Dodge County, Jackson, and Putnam County high schools. During those years, his career record was 217 wins, 160 losses, and 5 ties. He led his teams to 5 region championships, 2 state runner-up titles, and 1 state championship. Coach Reaves also served as head baseball coach winning 3 region, 1 state runner-up, and 1 state championship titles.
Being a member of the Georgia Athletic Coaches Association for 51 uninterrupted years, he served as President, Board Member and Chairman of the Hall of Fame committee. Coach Reaves received the GACA region Coach of the Year award 6 times, the state Coach of the Year 2 times, and the Touchdown Club of Atlanta Coach of the Year award 1 time. In 2001, the Putnam County Board of Education named the high school football field the “Al Reaves Field”. Coach Reaves had the reputation of being tough, fair-minded, knowledgeable, and caring. He always strived to do his best and led by example both on and off the field. He developed boys into young men with a purpose in life. Coach Al Reaves richly deserves his place in the Georgia Athletic Coaches Association Hall of Fame.
COACH KEN ROSS
Coach Ken Ross
Coach Ken Ross was inducted into the Georgia Athletic Coaches Association Hall of Fame on June 4, 2016. During his 35 year career, he served 25 years as the head boys basketball coach at Murray County high school. In 648 games, Coach Ross led his teams to 455 wins and 193 losses. He won 7 region championships and 3 state championships. His teams were also invitational champions 14 times.
Besides receiving the GACA distinguished coaching award 1 time and the GACA Coach of the Year award 5 times, Coach Ross was also the North head coach of the North/South all star game. The Atlanta Tip Off Club honored him with the Georgia’s winningest basketball coach award in 1997. Coach Ross has touched the lives of many people over the years and is highly respected in the state of Georgia. It is our honor to induct Coach Ken Ross into the Georgia Athletic Coaches Association Hall of Fame.
COACH KAREN RUFF
Coach Karen Ruff
Coach Karen Ruff was inducted into the georgia Athletic Coaches Association Hall of Fame on June 4, 2016. Coach Ruff served as the head girls and boys tennis coach for 37 years. All of those years were spent at Cartersville high school. During that time, she led her girls teams to 277 wins and 47 losses, 10 region runner-up titles, 12 region championships, 4 state runner-up titles, and 1 state championship. Coach Ruff led her boys teams to 221 wins and 88 losses, 12 region runner-up titles, 5 region championships, and 5 quarter-final appearances.
Over her career, Coach Ruff has won many coaching awards, but her greatest honors have been her continuing relationships with her players. It is said that the true testimony of a great coach lies within the hundreds of students who have benefitted from their time with that coach. Through Coach Ruff, they have grown from her wisdom, support, and care continuing well past their high school years. Her love and respect of school, community, and self, she taught by example every day. Coach Karen Ruff is a most worthy addition into the Georgia Athletic Coaches Association’s Hall of Fame.
COACH LARRY CAMPBELL
Coach Larry Campbell
Coach Larry Campbell was inducted into the Georgia Athletic Coaches Hall of Fame on May 30, 2015. Coach Campbell served as the head football coach at Lincoln County high school for his entire 44 year career. While at Lincoln county, he had an incredible record of 477 wins, 85 losses and 3 ties. This record makes him the winningest coach in the state of Georgia. His record also makes him the 3rd winningest coach in the nation.
Coach Campbell led his football teams to 11 state championships, 7 state runner-up titles, 33 region championships, and 10 sectional titles. Among his many awards are the Atlanta Touchdown Club Coach of the Year 5 times, Georgia Coach of the Year 9 times, Georgia Athletic Coaches Association Coach of the Year numerous times, sports report Coach of the Year, and Augusta Chronicle Coach of the Year. In 2000, he was inducted into the National High School Hall of Fame, and in 2007 he was inducted into the Georgia sports Hall of Fame. All of coach Campbell’s success came at a small rural school with less than 1500 students. He cared deeply for his players and influenced and impacted countless young men. Coach Larry Campbell is most deserving of the Georgia Athletic Coaches Hall of Fame honor.
COACH NAPOLEON B. COBB
Coach Napoleon B. Cobb
Napoleon B. Cobb was inducted into the Georgia Athletic Coaches Hall of Fame on May 30, 2015. He coached over 40 years in the state of Georgia, 28 of those years as head boys and girls track and field and cross country coach at Gordon and Southwest DeKalb high schools. Coach Cobb also spent 14 years as the head track and field and cross country coach at Morehouse college. During his high school career, coach Cobb won a national championship, 10 state championships, 2 state runner-up titles, 12 region championships, and 12 DeKalb county championships.
Coach Cobb received recognition for being the only coach in NCAA History to have 3 track athletes run together on a state champion team and graduate at the same time from the same university. He also became the first high school coach to have two former athletes earn olympic medals in the same olympic games. These two young men won 8 medals in four olympics. Coach Cobb was also the personal coach of the Olympic silver medalist in 2004. His numerous awards include being inducted into the Georgia track and field and cross country Hall of Fame, the Atlanta track Coach of the Year 3 times, the Georgia Athletic Coaches Association Coach of the Year 10 times, and the National Track and Field Association Southeast region Coach of the Year. An ambassador for competition at the highest level, coach Cobb was foremost a builder of young men and women. In his years at Southwest DeKalb high school, he sent over 100 student athletes to colleges and universities on Athletic scholarships throughout the nation. Coach Napoleon B. Cobb has earned an elite place in the Georgia Athletic Coaches Association Hall of Fame.
COACH HARVEY COCHRAN
Coach Harvey Cochran
Coach Harvey Cochran was inducted into the Georgia Athletic Coaches Association Hall of Fame on May 30, 2015. He spent 42 years as the head baseball coach at Brown, North Cobb, North Atlanta, and Mt. Paran Christian high schools. During that time, he was also the head softball coach for 12 years at Mt. Paran Christian high school. Coach Cochran won 682 games and lost 348. He won 9 region championships, 12 runner-up titles, and 4 Georgia dugout club tournament championships. In softball at North Cobb, his teams won 2 region championships, 1 region runner-up title, and 2 Cobb County championships. Coach Cochran served for 4 years as the Georgia Athletic Coaches Association state baseball chairman, 4 years on the National High School Baseball Coaches All American selection committee, 10 years as President and treasurer of the North Cobb high school foundation and 37 years as the executive secretary of the Georgia Dugout Club. Coach Cochran developed the Georgia Dugout Club to be one of the best in the United States.
He coached team Georgia to the USA trials, coached the USA squad to a silver medal, was Marietta Daily Journal, Atlanta Journal, and Georgia Dugout Club Coach of the Year numerous times. Coach Cochran took squads to Australia, England, France, and Germany for games and was on the committee to host the World baseball games in Atlanta. Not only did Coach Cochran show leadership on athletic fields, he served as an excellent english teacher, teaching Shakespeare, Thoreau and Emerson during the day and calling pitches and plays in the afternoon. Coach Harvey Cochran richly deserves the honor of being inducted into the Georgia Athletic Coaches Association Hall of Fame.
COACH ODIS SPENCER
Coach Odis Spencer
Coach Odis Spencer was inducted into the Georgia Athletic Coaches Association Hall of Fame on may 30, 2015. Coach Spencer was a head football coach in the state of Georgia for 26 years. During his career at Spencer and Hardaway high schools, he led his teams to 4 state championships, 5 state runner-up titles, 10 region championships, and 10 sectional titles.
Coach Spencer was instrumental in organizing the Georgia Interscholastic Association for black high schools during segregation and accomplishing an overall football record of 154 wins, 54 losses and 14 ties. He was the Georgia Interscholastic Association coach of the year 4 times, the loser and liar coach of the year, and was inducted into the Chattahoochee valley sports Hall of Fame in 1999. Coach Spencer’s style of coaching built strong character and instilled in his players the confidence to succeed not only in their football careers, but in their private lives and as citizens of their communities. His successes have long been heralded by sports fans and sports writers alike, and the time is right to pay coach Odis Spencer the honor of admitting him into the Georgia Athletic Coaches Association Hall of Fame.
COACH JANE WILLIAMSON
Coach Jane Williamson
Coach Jane Williamson was inducted into the Georgia Athletic Coaches Association Hall of Fame on May 30, 2015. She was the head girls basketball coach for 25 years at Oak Mountain and Haralson County high schools. During her high school career, she also coached girls softball, girls and boys tennis, and track. She also coached for 12 years at the college level. Coach Williamson’s high school girls basketball teams won 519 games and lost 148. She led them to 2 state championships, 3 state runner-up titles, 12 region championships, and 5 sectional titles.
Coach Williamson has been a loyal member of the Georgia Athletic Coaches Association for many years including the first woman President of the organization. Her numerous leadership roles include National High School Athletic Association Chairperson, USA Basketball Olympic Selection Committee, which produced a gold medal team, Atlanta Tip-off club board, Georgia High School Association region chair, and National Amateur Athletic Union coaching staff and chair. Her many awards include the Georgia Athletic Coaches Association Coach of the Year 3 times, Georgia Athletic Coaches Association region Coach of the Year 10 times, and Atlanta Tip-off club Coach of the Year and National High School Coaches Association Coach of the Year. Coach Williamson was also admitted to the Haralson county Hall of Fame, the National Amateur Athletic Union Hall of Fame, and the University of West Georgia Hall of Fame. She has always motivated her players to achieve success in sports, academics, and life. Coach Jane Williamson has always been an ambassador to the game of girls basketball, and we honor that commitment by admitting her into the Georgia Athletic Coaches Association Hall of Fame.
COACH DEXTER WOOD
Coach Dexter wood
Coach Dexter wood was inducted into the Georgia Athletic Coaches Association Hall of Fame on may 30, 2015. Coach Wood was a head football coach for 30 years, his last 21 years in the state of Georgia. His career record was 257 wins, 92 losses and 3 ties. His state of Georgia record was 210 wins, 52 losses, and 2 ties. While coaching at Lassiter, Marietta, and Buford high schools, his teams won 3 state championships, 2 state runner-up titles, 10 region championships, and 7 state semifinals. During his time at Buford high school, his teams won 118 games and had only 17 losses in ten seasons. Coach Wood’s Buford football team broke the Georgia High School Association’s state record for most consecutive wins at 47 over a four season period.
Other honors for Coach Wood include the Atlanta Journal and Constitution state Coach of the Year 4 times, the Georgia Athletic Coaches Association North-South all star head coach and assistant coach, Georgia Athletic Coaches Association Georgia-Florida coach and the 2002 winner of the Shorty Doyle award. During his football career, Coach Wood also served as the athletic director for his respective schools. He has been president of the Georgia Athletic Directors Association, served on the Board of Directors, and was chosen as the state Athletic Director of the Year. Coach Wood’s record and awards speak for themselves, but his character, ethics, and dedication to the young people he coached is without equal. Many lives have been impacted forever by Coach Dexter wood’s leadership and standard of excellence, and he is most deserving of being admitted into the Georgia Athletic Coaches Association Hall of Fame.
- Leslie C. Baker
- William T. “Bill” Holleman
- Chuck Miller
- Jack William “Billy” Peek
- Joseph C. Williams
- Charles F. Winslette