McFerrin retires from JHS

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Players, coaches and Dragon fans listen as legendary Head Coach T. McFerrin speaks to the crowd during the parade in Jefferson. Katie Justice/The Paper.

After nearly four decades of coaching high school football, Head Coach T. McFerrin announced his retirement on Jan. 3.

McFerrin has been at the helm of the Jefferson High School football team for the past four years, and the news probably didn’t come as a surprise but it certainly hasn’t been the easiest pill to swallow in the Jefferson community.

McFerrin leaves JHS the way any coach would want to – with a state championship. It occurred in the most astonishing way but he noted that’s what makes it so extraordinary.

“I told the seniors today it could not be a better retirement gift. It’s got to rank up there,” said McFerrin. “[It was a very] special season. [It was the] best season in [my] 38 years [of coaching].

“I told our seniors they have made history with this school,” said McFerrin.

In 2009, McFerrin promised he would devote four years to the Big Blue and stayed faithful to his commitment. That year, the Dragons finished the season undefeated in region play and 11-1 overall. They fell to Buford in the first round of the state playoffs by just eight points.

The next season presented more challenges as Jefferson entered into the 8B-AA region; the Dragons finished 6-4 yet, the following season McFerrin led to them to an 8-3 record. It was an improvement that showed wins over North Hall and Hart County High School which both stumped the Dragons the year before. McFerrin turned Jefferson from a team that suffered 20-point or more losses to returning the favor in 2012.

The standard he brought to Jefferson is just a snippet of what McFerrin has accomplished in his coaching career. Players such as Lucas Redd, now at the University of Georgia, and Carson Newman, who is at the University of the Cumberlands, have spoken highly of McFerrin’s character and the way he cared for the players.

“Coach McFerrin brought a completely new style of football to Jefferson, but it has seemed to be successful. I enjoyed any time [I spent] playing under him,” said Redd.

“It was definitely a different experience playing for Coach T. I have moved around and played for a lot of coaches and it seems like Coach T. was the one who cared the most about protecting his football players at practice,” said Newman. “Most coaches would have had us hitting every day but Coach T. installed mental practices that helped you understand your assignments.”

Coach Matt Stephenson, who worked alongside McFerrin at Jefferson, said, “My experiences with Coach T. will last a lifetime. He taught me aspects about the game that I, as a young coach, didn’t even know existed. I am very thankful for what he has done for this community, this school and this program.

“He is going out on top,” said Stephenson. “That’s a coach’s dream.”