Four Questions with retired coach T. McFerrin
This week, our Four Questions feature will be answered by some of Georgia’s best-known retired coaches. We begin with T. McFerrin, who retired after the 2012 season with a career record of 340-102-4. McFerrin is one of six Georgia coaches to win the first state championships for two schools (Elbert County, Jefferson). He’s the only coach to lead five schools to the state semifinals.
1. What is the most memorable game you’ve been a part of as a player or coach?“Obviously my most memorable games as a coach were the two state championship wins that we had. The first was in 1995 at Elbert County when we were able to beat an outstanding Washington-Wilkes team 27-0 at their field after they had beaten us earlier in the season 14-6 on our home field. The second championship came my last year of coaching in 2012 at Jefferson when we were able to beat the reigning state champs from 2011, Calhoun, in the Georgia Dome by a score of 31-14. Calhoun had beaten Jefferson soundly the year before in the playoffs on the way to their state title. In both situations, two small towns, Elberton and Jefferson, gained a sense of pride that they had never experienced before in football and they still celebrate today. It just shows what winning can do for a community.”
2. Which high school coach would you want your son to play for, and why?“If we talk about who to play for 30 years ago when our oldest son was at Peachtree High School, it would be two of my former assistants who were coaching there when I left Peachtree. Head coach Dave Hunter and his top assistant, Ray Allen, and I had worked together for several years, and they were outstanding coaches and cared about the players. Today there are many fine coaches in Georgia as in the past, but the head coaches who I know the best are the ones with whom I have worked with over the years. They are Shannon Jarvis at Mill Creek, John Small at South Gwinnett and Ben Hall at Jefferson. All of these men are high-character guys who are concerned about and for their players.”
3. What is your favorite saying/motto?“We have used several slogans over the years, but the one that stands out is one that I believe I borrowed from Florida State way back in the ’60s. I was at FSU getting my master’s degree in 1964, and the week of the Florida game I kept seeing signs all over campus that said ‘Never Say Never.’ I believe that FSU had never beaten Florida in football and someone at Florida must have said that in the paper. So the FSU coaches must have come up with that slogan for that game. By the way, FSU won. I was in several schools that had not been winning, so we used this slogan several places.”
4. Which GHSA policy or high school football rule would you most like to see changed?“I think the biggest problem in Georgia high school football right now is the transferring from one school to another, sometimes for three straight years and in other cases just for one’s senior year. I don’t know what the solution to this situation is. There are certainly many legitimate transfers that take place when a parent changes jobs and is moved by his company across a state or even into another state. That is understandable and a player shouldn’t be penalized for that. I have read several suggestions that a transfer would be required to sit out a year if moving from within a city district or within the same county or within a certain distance from his present school. I hope that the GHSA can come up with some solution soon.”
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