Four Questions with Darlington coach Tommy Atha
GHSF Daily asked Georgia head coaches to answer these four questions. We’ll report from a different head coach each day.
Tommy Atha, Darlington
1. What is the most memorable game you’ve been a part of as a player or coach?“The most memorable game I’ve ever been a part of was the 1998 state championship at Lincoln County. Just to be a part of a state championship game was a dream come true for me, but to be able to go and win the state championship at Lincoln County made it even that much better. We were tied 6-6 going into the fourth quarter and made some big plays late in the game to pull out the victory. We had a critical fourth-and-a-foot and faked the belly, and our QB Robert Hortman turned the corner and went 40 yards down inside their 5, and we went on in and scored.” [Darlington won 16-6.]
2. Which high school coach would you want your son to play for, and why?“There’s no question I wish my son had the opportunity to play for Jerry Sharp. He has been one of the greatest influences on me as a coach. Coach Sharp had the unique ability to motivate players without ever having to raise his voice. His pre-game message was the same regardless of whether it was game 1 or 15: ‘Men, if you play hard, good things will happen!’ His attention to detail was what separated him from other coaches. It wasn’t as much about what kind of elaborate scheme you had with Coach Sharp as it was about hat placement, first step, pad level, carrying out fakes and, ultimately, great effort. He didn’t just talk the importance of little things, he lived it!” [Sharp was head coach of Darlington’s 1998 championship team and also state champions at East Rome in 1977-78.]
3. What is your favorite saying/motto?“Ain’t nothing like a Tiger on Friday night!”
4. Which GHSA policy or high school football rule would you most like to see changed?“I think there needs to be greater consistency in the way blocking rules are applied in the running game from shotgun or pistol formations. There seems to be differences in the way this rule is applied by different associations around the state.”
Produced by Georgia High School Football Daily, a free e-mail newsletter. To join the mailing list, click here.