Notebook: Old football coaches don’t just fade away

Article and photos courtesy of the Atlanta Journal-Constitution –> Original Article Here

(Branden Camp / Special to AJC)

(Branden Camp / Special to AJC)

Most Georgia football coaches don’t know what it means to retire.

Rick Tomberlin is one. He unretired this season and is now head coach at Calvary Day in Savannah. It’s great to see Tombo back on the sidelines. He is best known for his three state-championship teams at Washington County in the 1990s. At least he stayed retired three seasons.

Amos McCreary, who started Whitewater’s program and saw it through the 2015 season, announced that he had retired in November. He was 161-81 as a Georgia coach. Now, he’s back in his Kentucky hometown of Evarts – as the head ball coach, of course.

Ed Dudley (193-87) had enough years in to retire at Carrollton this offseason and talked of moving to Athens or the Atlanta suburbs to settle down and raise his kids. He’s now offensive coordinator at Wesleyan.

Remember Michael Gunn? He won 194 games at Athens Academy and walked away after the 2013 season. He is now back in the saddle as offensive coordinator at Clarke Central under new coach David Perno.

Cecil Flowe also retired after the 2013 season. He won four state championships and orchestrated a 46-game winning streak at Parkview. By January of the next year, Flowe had joined the staff at King’s Ridge Christian. He’s now on new coach Robert Craft’s staff at North Forsyth, coaching the offensive line.

Conrad Nix retired as head coach at Northside of Warner Robins after the 2009 season. He had been on high school sidelines since the late 1960s. Nix won 300 games as well as state titles with 15-0 teams in 2006 and 2007. Nix was still working as recently as last year helping out his head-coach son, Patrick, at Scottsboro in Alabama.

One coach who never said he was retired and probably won’t is Charlie Winslette. Or, perhaps this is how a coach should retire.

Winslette is living on Lake Oconee, just a 10-minute drive from the job that fell in his lap this fall as assistant coach at Putnam County as a 49-percent employee. Winslette’s last season as a head coach was 2011 with Greene County, though he’s been an active assistant ever since. Winslette won 260 games and state titles at Greene-Taliaferro (1993) and West Rome (1985).

Putnam is Winslette’s home. He won a state title there as a player in 1968. Putnam County’s head coach is Kyle Gourley, who played for Winslette years ago at Coffee High. Hard to say no to that.

And Winslette is proving you can coach and do all the retirement stuff at the same time. His son Matt is on Valdosta’s staff. “He has a 3-year-old boy who is a live wire,” the grandfather said. “I’m trying to teach him to switch-hit with his whiffle ball bat and tee.” Joy.

On Emory Jones

A few readers, including US Army All-American Bowl national recruiting director Erik Richards, were surprised at the omission of Heard County’s Emory Jones in our list of the 10 best quarterbacks and our discussion of the golden era of Georgia signal-callers. Jones, who committed to Ohio State last week, is rated the No. 3 pro-style QB prospect nationally among juniors. So, yes, any discussion of a golden era should include Jones. He has tremendous upside. Take if from Urban Meyer. Our top-10 list included quarterbacks whose high school careers have been more prolific so far. As a sophomore, Jones passed for 1,213 yards and 14 touchdowns and rushed for 293 yards. Expect those numbers to go way up as a junior and beyond.

On really tall quarterbacks

Our feature on quarterbacks also speculated that Cedar Grove’s Jelani Woods is the tallest Division I quarterback prospect in memory. Woods is 6 feet, 7 inches. Chip Ariail, the football statistician for Bainbridge, reminded us of Mitchell-Baker’s Al Pinkins, the state’s first 3,000-yard passer in 1989. Pinkins played basketball in college and has been an assistant in that sport at LSU, Ole Miss and Tennessee. Not sure of Pinkins’ exact height, but one online source says 6-6.

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