To the chants of "LUTHER, LUTHER," three long-time coaches were honored after the Josey game Friday night. Curtis Williams, defensive secondary coach; John Barnett, defensive coordinator and assistant head coach; and Luther Welsh, head coach, coached their last regular season home game together in a 42-9 win.
Coach Welsh is in his second stint serving as athletic director and head coach for THS. He is a graduate of Presbyterian College and has 54 years in coaching and teaching. He has taught and coached at 8 schools including Thomson. He was the Star Teacher and Teacher of the Year in 1985. His coaching record includes three state championships, 19 state playoffs and an overall record of 330-178-6.
He was the coach of both the South team of the Georgia All Stars and the Georgia-Florida All Stars. He was named Coach of the Year by The Augusta Chronicle, Atlanta Journal Constitution and the Atlanta Touchdown Club for High School.
"I would like to say a few words on how much Anne and I loved to be here both times. I know we left but you never forget where you came from so we came back. We appreciate all your help and support and we still have family here and maybe we'll have a grandson one day that will be running up and down this field," said Welsh.
"I am sure I am going to miss it, many old coaches told when I asked them when do you know to retire, they said no one will have to tell you, you'll know yourself. That happened this year and I am retiring. But I am going to miss Thomson and I know I am going to miss coaching football because I love it. I appreciate it all and thank ya'll," he continued.
Williams is a graduate of Albany State University where he earned a bachelor of science degree and Valdosta State University where he earned a master of education degree in health and education. He came to THS in 1999 and retired last year after teaching in the classroom for 35 years. His coaching record consists of one state championship, six region titles and 102 wins.
Barnett was born and raised in Thomson; he attended Augusta State University where he earned a bachelor of arts and master of education and education specialist degrees. He retired from the classroom last year after teaching for 31 years. His coaching record consists of three state championships, 12 region titles and 193 wins.