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Welsh chosen as member of GACA's Hall of Fame

The Georgia Athletic Coaches Association has announced the addition of Luther Welsh to its Hall of Fame Class of 2012.

According to Terry Rogers, the executive director of the GACA, the choice of Welsh was a "no-brainer."

The 14-member executive board unanimously selected Welsh along with three other longtime coaches. The GACA Hall of Fame, in Dalton, is recognized by the Georgia High School Association as the official hall of fame for high school coaches.

When contacted, Welsh's older daughter, Lucia Welsh-Coker, said, "I thank those who thought he deserved to be inducted into the Georgia coaches' Hall of Fame. If he was here, he would give credit for this honor to his dedicated assistant coaches, hard-working players and a supportive family. I only wish Daddy and his biggest fan, Mama, were here to receive the award."

Andrea Welsh Gay said of her father, "It's a great honor for Daddy to be inducted into the Hall of Fame. Coaching for him was not only about football, but helping young people with lessons in life. This honor is a great tribute to his career. I only wish he was here to receive it. Our family is extremely happy and proud to accept this honor on his behalf."

Welsh coached for 55 years in Georgia and South Carolina, 46 as a head coach. Of his 333 wins, 323 were in Georgia. These included 13 region championships and state titles in 1984, 1985 and 2002. Eleven of the region titles and all three state championships were at Thomson High School. Welsh received numerous region, area and state coach of the year honors, including the inaugural Football Friday Night/ESPN Rise Coach of the Year Award in 2010. Beginning this year, the award will be named in his honor. It will be presented live on WJBF TV on Jan. 18.

Welsh retired after the 2010 season. He died July 14 at age 79.

Joining Welsh in the 2012 Georgia Athletic Coaches Association Hall of Fame Class are Mike Hodges, Alvin Copeland and Emmitt Bowers. Hodges, of Warren County, has a record of 149-35-3 in 15 years as a head coach in Georgia. He also served several seasons as an assistant at Georgia Southern and Commerce High School. Hodges won state titles at West Rome in 1982 and 1983 and in 1988 at Thomasville.

The induction ceremony will be held on Saturday, June 2, 2012, in Dalton.

Web posted on Thursday, December 08, 2011

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