Terry Tuley, North Oconee
Tuley retired this month after 24 seasons as a head coach. His first head coaching job came at Pebblebrook in 1973 at age 23.
1. What is the most memorable game you’ve been a part of as a player or coach?“There are so many, it’s hard to pinpoint one. When I was at Georgia Tech [as an assistant from 1978 to 1982], we went to Notre Dame. We actually played them at Grant Field in 1980, and Johnny Smith kicked a field goal and we tied them 3-3. Bill Curry was the head coach. Notre Dame happened to be No. 1, and we knocked them out of No. 1. Georgia played them for the national championship.
“We had a win here at North Oconee our second year. Daryl Jones was our head coach . We’d gone 14 games without a win. It was just a tough situation, freshmen and sophomores playing a varsity schedule, and we ended up beating Eagle’s Landing Christian [27-20]. Just to see the expression on their faces and the tears of joy, that was something I won’t forget.
“As a player, we played Central Missouri when I was at Eastern Illinois [in 1969]. Central was ranked, and we were just a two-, three-win team. We played in wind-driven rain, buckets upon buckets. We got the ball with a couple of minutes left and started at our own 20. [Tuley was the quarterback.] We did stuff on that drive we didn’t do at that time. I was dropping back in the pocket and reading the linebacker, just make it up as we go, and we went right down the field. I ended up scoring on fourth down. I took off and had to go for the goal line and saw the linebacker and knew we were going to collide. I reached out as far as I could with the ball. The referee gave it to us.”
2. Which high school coach would you want your son to play for, and why?“I had an assistant coach, and he and I played college ball together, and his name is John Allison, a former head coach at Campbell in Smyrna and North Cobb. I brought him down to Georgia as my defensive coordinator at Pebblebrook [in 1973]. Then when I got the job at Glynn Academy [in 1996], I hired him away from North Cobb, and he finished his career there. He’s as fine a person as there is on the face of the earth. And then Bill Curry never did coach in high school, but you couldn’t go wrong with him to coach your son, either.”
3. What is your pet peeve as a coach or favorite saying/motto?“We used to always say, ‘It’s time to go to work; it’s not Club Med.’ And the other one was, ‘This is not the Holiday Inn. You can’t check in and check out when you want to.'”
4. Which GHSA policy or high school football rule would you most like to see changed?“You can’t print what I would answer. Sometimes I feel like blowing up the thing and starting it over. I think we really and truly need two things. One, we’ve got to figure a way to make high school officiating a more attractive vocation because they’re struggling so bad to get officials. They can’t hardly cover all the games that are played now. And the second is recruiting. We might as well call it that because 90 percent of the time players are moving [transferring], it’s because they’re being recruited. Kids don’t have the loyalty to the program that we used to have. It should just be a whole lot tougher to transfer [and be eligible] than just move.”
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