George inducted into TSSAA Hall of Fame

Wednesday, April 17, 2019
Former Marshall County High School baseball head coach Joe George stands proudly with his family at the 2019 TSSAA Hall of Fame induction ceremony Saturday at the Embassy Suites Hotel in Murfreesboro.
Tribune photos by Anthony S. Puca

2019 Tennessee Secondary School Athletic Association Hall of Fame inductee Joe George won 803 baseball games during his 37 years as head coach at Marshall County High School, guiding the Tigers to three Class AA state championships (1983, 1993, 1994) and four runner-up finishes in 12 trips to the state tournament.

“It feels great,” George said. “I never really expected to be here and to be in such great company is really an honor and I’m tickled to death.”

George was also the defensive coordinator on 2015 TSSAA Hall of Fame member Bob Edens’ Tiger football squad for 22 years, including the 1984 season when MCHS posted an undefeated record and captured the state title.

2006 TSSAA Hall of Fame member and Board of Control President Mike Reed (left), presents former Marshall County High School head baseball coach assistant football coach Joe George with his plaque as 2015 Hall of Fame member Bob Edens looks on as George’s presenter.

The “Doctor of Defense” compiled a 180-118 record on the gridiron and posted 71 shutouts while making 15 playoff appearances and playing in four Bowl Games.

“Me and Bob worked so close for 22 years and I was so honored for him when he did it,” George said. “I could not have asked for anybody to work with any better than Bob was, we never had a cross work, it’s just been great.”

The 2019 TSSAA Hall of Fame Class inducted on Saturday at the Embassy Suites Hotel in Murfreesboro also included Jim Barr, administrator from Nashville; Ike White, administrator from Memphis; Tommy Colvin, coach from Humboldt, Mickey Marley, coach from Jackson; Hubie Smith, coach from Nashville; Tom Weathers, coach from Chattanooga; C. A. Dockins, official from Cleveland; and Ed “Jabbo” Hessey, contributor from Nashville.

The 2019 TSSAA Hall of Fame Class top row from left are, Ike White, Joe George, Hubie Smith, and Jabbo Hessey. Bottom row from left are, C.A. Dockins, Mickey Marley’s son Jordan, Tom Weathers, Tommy Colvin, and Jim Barr.

“I give everybody a lot of credit for this, the community, the administrators at the school, and all the teachers,” George said. “Everyone has been very supportive, you can’t do this all by yourself, and I certainly couldn’t.”

George’s baseball accomplishments are lengthy and impressive as the 2005 Tennessee Baseball Coaches Association Hall of Fame member had 36 winning seasons (31 in a row) and won 22 district titles and 21 region titles before retiring in 2009.

What speaks volumes about the success of the program is highlighted by over 150 players entering the college ranks and seven being drafted by Major League Baseball.

The seven draftees were Dwight Robinson, Mike Lentz, Clark Lambert, Jason Maxwell, Jeffery Terrell, Byron Ewing, and Seth Lintz. Danny Borne was a free agent and Brent Henry played semi-pro ball.

“That shows you one thing, we have had some talented kids,” George said. “It’s been my honor and my privilege to coach those guys and the big thing is to see them go on and succeed in life.”

George coached squads also played in 19 sub-state games and posted as 31-0 record in the 1983 championship season and in the back-to-back championship years of 93 and 94, the Tigers went 56-5.

In 2003 George picked up win number 662, making him the winningest coach at the same high school.

The 1967 Tennessee Tech University graduate’s success has also rubbed off on 11 of his former players that are or previously have held head baseball coaching positions.

“These kids I had at one time are coaching at other places, so it’s just great to see them carry on the great tradition we have here,” George said.

Joe George is still out on a daily basis at the field named in his honor in Lewisburg, preparing the baseball diamond for play.

Retirement from coaching does not mean stepping away from Tiger baseball as George has been a confidante to past MCHS coach Steve Reese and current head coach Mike “Monk” Reese.

Coach George also prepares the baseball field named in his honor to this day and drives the school bus that takes his beloved Tigers to the games.

“It’s just good that I can still do it as long as my old back holds out,” George said. “I still drive the bus and I just still enjoy being around the kids.”

When not at Joe George Field in Lewisburg, the 75-year old legend can be seen at the Little League or Babe Ruth Park watching his grandchildren play.