Veteran high school football coach T. McFerrin and former Georgia Bulldog Ben Zambiasi will be among eight individuals inducted into the 2019 Georgia Sports Hall of Fame, it was announced on Monday.
Others who will be inducted into the Macon-based hall of fame the weekend of Feb. 22-23 include:
-Brenda Cliette, a former Northeast High track and basketball start who was a seven-time All-America sprinter at Florida State and was a alternate for the 1984 U.S. Olympic track team.
-Calvin Johnson, a three-time All-ACC selection at Georgia Tech and one of Matthew Stafford’s favorite receivers when both played for the Detroit Lions.
-Broadcaster Ernie Johnson Jr., who joins his father, Ernie Johnson Sr., in the hall.
-Takeo Spikes, a Washington County native who starred at Auburn and five NFL teams and played in two Pro Bowls.
-Gary Stokan, President and CEO of the Peach Bowl and creator of the Chick-fil-A Kickoff Game.
-Mark Texeria, who played baseball at Georgia Tech and spent 14 years in the big leagues, playing for the Atlanta Braves and New York Yankees, among others.
McFerrin, whose team won state championships at Elbert County (1995) and Jefferson (2012), was inducted into the GACA Coaches Hall of Fame in 2014 and said Tuesday morning he was delighted to receive this latest honor.
“This is the pinnacle, there’s no doubt about that,” said McFerrin, who retired after leading Jefferson to the Class 2A state championship in 2012. “I am very humbled and very honored by it.”
In his 38 years as a coach, McFerrin posted a won-loss record of 340-102-4 and is ranked fourth all-time in victories among Georgia coaches.
Besides coaching state championship teams at Elbert County and Jefferson, McFerrin’s teams had two second-place finishes (Lithonia, 1969) and Peachtree (1982), and he coached a state-record four teams to the state finals and a state-record five different teams – including Forest Park in 1971 – to the state semifinals.
Seven of McFerrin’s teams won a total of 13 region championships, another state record. He also had 10 undefeated regular seasons and won 10 or more games 18 times.
McFerrin began coaching in Georgia in 1968 at Lithonia and also coached at Forest Park (1971), Peachtree (1976-1982), Southwest Whitfield (1984), Tucker (1986-1989), Elbert County (1991-1996), South Gwinnett (1998-2004) and Jefferson (2009-2012). McFerrin also coached the Tucker boys tennis team to state championships in 1988, 1989 and 1990.
He was also named the Atlanta Journal-Constitution’s Coach of the Year in 1982, 1995 and 2012. McFerrin also was the Atlanta Touchdown Club’s Coach of the Year in 1976 and received the Atlanta Falcons’ Lifetime Achievement Award in 2013.
Zambiasi, a Macon native, led Mt. de Sales Academy to three state football championships and was a 1976 All-American and a two-time All-SEC selection at Georgia.
He recorded 467 career tackles, which after 41 years remains the standard in the Bulldog record books (Greg Bright, who played from 1994-1997, is second with 453 tackles). Zambiasi is also a member of Georgia’s all-century team and is a member of UGA’s prestigious Circle of Honor.
He was drafted in 1978 by the Chicago Bears but spent the bulk of his professional career in the Canadian Football League, leading the Hamilton Tiger-Cats to the 1986 Grey Cup and earning CFL Player of the Year honors in 1979.
Zambiasi has been inducted into the Canadian Football Hall of Fame and the Macon Sports Hall of Fame and in 2010 was named an SEC Football Legend.