I’m sure that you have heard the phrase “out of my league” before and I had a personal experience where I felt that phrase was appropriate on Tuesday. I was given the distinct opportunity to serve on the Honors Court of the Georgia Sports Hall of Fame. This is the committee that makes the final decision on who enters the Hall each year.
When I entered the meeting room and saw the name tags on the tables, I knew immediately that I was “out of my league”. Now don’t get me wrong! I feel that I have the ability to make an accurate and knowledgeable decision in evaluating the nominees for the Georgia Hall. I have always kept up with athletics in the state and feel comfortable with my knowledge. It was just very obvious however that my athletic pedigree didn’t match most of the people in the room.
Let me introduce you to some of the other people who were a part of the Honors Court. I think that you will be impressed.
There was Ray Goff. Goff was one of the best quarterbacks in Georgia football history from 1974-76 and then went on to become the Dogs’ head football coach from 1989-95. He fashioned a 46-34-1 record as Georgia’s head man.
There was Jeff Van Note. Van Note was a pillar along the offensive line for the Atlanta Falcons from 1969-86 and is a member of the Falcons’ Ring of Honor. This guy was a 5-time Pro Bowl performer.
There was Lucius Sanford. Sanford was a standout football performer at Georgia Tech before enjoying a 10-year NFL career with the Buffalo Bills and Cleveland Browns. Sanford was mainly a linebacker.
There was Taz Anderson. Anderson was a great football player at Georgia Tech before going on to an NFL career with the Atlanta Falcons and St. Louis Cardinals from 1961-67.
There was Garland Pinholster. This gentleman is a legend when it comes to college basketball coaches in the state of Georgia. He was the head coach at Oglethorpe College in Atlanta from 1956-66 and also coached the 1963 U.S. team in the Pan Am games. That team won the Gold Medal. He is also noted as the developer of the “wheel” offense which became very popular for many years.
There was Jim Hughes. Hughes is the former head football coach at Thomasville High School and Colquitt County High School where he won 247 games from 1970-99.
There was Mark Slonaker. He was the head basketball coach at Mercer from 1997-2008 and enjoyed a very successful career at the Macon school.
There was Frank Glover. Glover was the fourth black official in the NFL, where he worked for 18 years.
Combine this group with a few other outstanding Honors Court members and you can see why I felt that I was “out of my league.” With that being said, let me say that I really enjoyed the day. I got to sit beside an old West Georgia classmate, Tony Moye, whom I hadn’t seen in about 40 years. That was really fun too.
I spoke with most of these individuals and they were all very friendly, making a point of introducing themselves and shaking hands. This was a great group of people who gathered to do a very difficult job. Breaking down the list of nominees and choosing seven inductees was an almost impossible task, but we got it done.
These folks made me feel welcome. I appreciate that. I hope that I can be asked to serve on this Court again in the future. Maybe next time I won’t feel that I was “out of my league.”
Jim Fowler is a sports columnist and retired teacher and coach who worked in the local school system for many years. He is a founding board member of the Thomaston-Upson Sports Hall of Fame and is also the statistician for the Upson Lee football team, and has written a book about the history of football at R. E. Lee High School.