Former coaches reflect on careers at FCHS as induction into hall of fame nears

Tue, 03/04/2008 - 2:00pm
By: Michael Boylan

Trigg Dalrymple and Gary Phillips, two of the four people being inducted into the Fayette County High School Athletic Hall of Fame on Saturday, March 8, have had a major connection with the community and the school for much of their careers. They met with members of the media a while back to talk about being inducted into the school’s athletic hall of fame.

Both Dalrymple and Phillips were around when Fayette County was the only high school in the county. They remember a time when there were 400 students in grades 8-12 and all of the graduates could fit on the stage of the auditorium.

“We felt pretty big when we had to move graduation to the gym to fit the senior class,” Phillips said.

Dalrymple came to the community in 1967 and instantly fell in love.

“I just enjoyed every minute,” Dalrymple said. “We worked with kids who were eager to learn and to play and being inducted into the hall of fame just means a lot.”

Dalrymple was the head basketball, football and golf coach at the school. He was at the helm of the Tigers basketball team that played in the world’s longest overtime game (10 overtimes) in 1971.

“It was in the region tournament and was the equivalent of two full games,” Dalrymple said. “The game was so back and forth that we were calling people back into the gym as they made their way to the parking lots, yelling ‘it’s tied back up again’.” The Tigers lost that game 105-103 but the game itself made the Guinness Book of World Records and a player in that game was mentioned in Sports Illustrated’s “Faces in the Crowd.”

Dalrymple also recalled that was the same school year where the football team came back from a 12-0 deficit with six minutes to go to defeat the top ranked team in the state, Haralson County, 14-12.

Dalrymple served as both an assistant and head football coach, head golf coach, athletic director and assistant principal during his time at the school. He was the principal of Huddleston Elementary from 1979-1985 and superintendent of Fayette County Schools from 1985-1996.

Fayette County marked the first place where Phillips coached. He was an assistant coach under Dalrymple in football and basketball and was also a head coach, starting the cross country and girls track programs.

“The girls asked for a track team and we were unsure if they would put in a sincere effort,” Phillips said. “We held tryouts and 70 girls showed up.” The first team had 35 girls on it and they won the region title their very first year, winning two more titles in the two years following that first win as well.

Phillips left Fayette County to coach football at Johnson County High School. His new job gave him the opportunity to coach Herschel Walker and the team won the state championship in 1979. He returned to Fayette County High School in 1984 and served as assistant principal for two years before taking over as principal.

He added that as an administrator at the school he was at the helm when the school was named a National Blue Ribbon School of Excellence in 2000 and a Georgia School of Excellence in 2001.
“That was like winning a state championship,” Phillips said. “To be recognized like that was a big highlight.”

Both men praised incredible support from their colleagues on staff at the school and their families.

“So many people helped us out over the years,” Phillips said. Dalrymple agreed, “You don’t do something like this by yourself.”

Both men considered their colleagues at the school to be like family and both agreed that they couldn’t have asked for a better situation.
Dalrymple will be presented by his son, Matt, and daughter, Paige and Phillips will be presented by his son, Bart.

The Hall of Fame banquet starts at 6:30 p.m. on Saturday night. Tickets are $20 per person and are available at Fayette Sporting Goods and at the Principal’s Office at Fayette County High School.

For additional information on the event please
contact Don Apking at 404-683-4799.

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