Accolades keep coming Eddie Lee Ivery's way many years after he starred as a running back with the Georgia Tech Yellow Jackets.
The latest honor being bestowed to Mr. Ivery, a 1975 graduate of Thomson High School is being named one of this year's Dr. Pepper Atlantic Coast Conference Football Championship Game Legends. Mr. Ivery and the other recipients will be honored at this year's ACC Football Championship Game weekend, set for Dec. 4 and 5. He also will be honored at the ACC Night of Legends, which will be held at the Grand Hyatt Tampa Bay the night before the game.
The game will be broadcast by ESPN at 8 p.m. on Dec. 5.
"This is really a big honor and I'm deeply appreciative of it," said Mr. Ivery, who works with the McDuffie County Board of Education and serves as an assistant football coach at Thomson High School. "It's nice to be remembered after so many years. It really is special."
As a little boy playing football at the Thomson-McDuffie Recreation and Leisure Services, he dreamed of the day of playing for the Thomson High Bulldogs. Once he began attending high school in the early 70s, Mr. Ivery was one of those players who stood out above the rest. He drew the attention of his coaches here, as well as those he played against.
The late W.G. "Red" Bullock, Mr. Ivery's former football coach when he played at Thomson High, has said Mr. Ivery "was the best all-around athlete to ever come out of Thomson."
Many others agree.
The more that Mr. Ivery played, the better he seemed to get on the gridiron. And soon, he was drawing the attention of big name schools like Georgia Tech and the University of Georgia.
During his senior season at THS, Mr. Ivery made a verbal commitment to play for the Bulldogs at the University of Georgia, when Vince Dooley still was the head coach.
He later opted to forgo playing at Georgia and instead decided to sign with Georgia Tech. Pepper Rodgers was the head coach at that time.
Mr. Ivery's decision wasn't firmed up until after coach Rodgers sent Dick Bestwick, one of his assistant coaches down to Thomson to visit with the star running back along with coach Bullock and the late Willie Williams, who served as an assistant coach and boys' head basketball coach.
"I definitely made the best choice by going to Georgia Tech," recalled Mr. Ivery during a recent interview. "They treated me mighty good at Tech."
While there, he broke many of the school rushing records. He later drew the attention of dozens of professional football scouts who wanted to sign him to an NFL team.
Mr. Ivery was later selected as the first-round draft choice by the Green Bay Packers, where he played for eight years.
He often appeared on ABC's Monday Night Football, where he was talked about by such sports broadcasters as the late Howard Cosell.
In 1978, Mr. Ivery set the then NCAA single-game rushing record with 356 yards in only 26 carries against Air Force in Colorado Springs.
The game was played in frigid temperatures on a frozen field. In that game, Mr. Ivery had touchdown runs of 57, 73 and 80 yards, respectively.
Mr. Ivery rushed for 1,562 yards that season. He finished his stellar career at Georgia Tech, totaling 3,517 yards.