Bobby Joe Johnson 2005 CC HoF; 1999 AHSAA Sports HoF
BOBBY JOE JOHNSON – Reached the elite group of football coaches with 200 career wins during his 30-year career—26 of those at Cherokee County High School where his teams posted a 198-80-3 record and made the state finals in 1984. He climaxed his career by rebuilding the Saks program from an 0-10 record the previous season to the state finals (1996) in four years. He was the state coach of the year twice and coached in the state all-star game. A graduate of Cherokee County High School and Jacksonville State University.
Dale Welsh 2007 CC HoF; 2008 AHSAA Sports HoF
Dale Welsh is a graduate of Spring Garden High School and Jacksonville State University. He left a legacy of winning basketball in Cherokee County—coaching girls and boys teams at two schools to 328 career victories. He coached 10 Spring Garden boys teams to 188 wins and the state finals in 1979. At Cherokee County he directed the boys to a four-year 71-43 record and the girls to a four-season 80-37 mark and a state championship in 1992 when he was named 4A coach of the year. He also coached baseball and football at Spring Garden. Named recently to the Cherokee County Sports Hall of Fame, he now serves on the county commission. The Spring Garden gymnasium is named in his honor. He has had a lasting, positive impact on the Spring Garden community through his dedicated service as a teacher, coach and county commissioner.
Roy Knapp 2005 CC HoF; 2012 AHSAA Sports HoF
During a coaching career that spanned five decades, Knapp coached at 10 Alabama high schools–Midland City (twice), Washington County, Choctaw County, Gaylesville, Ranburne, Randolph County, Macon Academy, Sand Rock, Spring Garden and Coosa Christian. He also coached in Mississippi and Tennessee, at a junior college and a U.S. Naval base.
Despite incomplete records, Knapp’s teams won more than 130 games. His leadership as principal and coach at Gaylesville was instrumental in keeping the school open after it was destroyed by a fire. During the summers he played minor league baseball for 13 teams.
Now deceased, he was followed in the coaching profession by his son Buddy and his grandson Brian.
Eugene F. Weatherly 2013 CC HoF; 2014 AHSAA Sports HoF
EUGENE WEATHERLY – After serving in the Army in World War II, Eugene Weatherly returned to Gadsden’s Carver High School and captained the football and basketball teams before graduating in 1948. He graduated from Alabama State in 1952 and earned a master’s degree from Georgia State. He began his teaching and coaching career at Hatcher High School in Cherokee County in 1953. He was the first coach in school history and was the only coach the school ever had. He was named Coach of the Year by the Northeastern Interscholastic Athletic Association twice (1961 and 1968). His 1961 boys’ basketball team was unbeaten until losing in the state finals and his football teams won district titles in 1961 and 1967. He coached Anniston’s Cobb Avenue High School basketball team from 1971-74 and ended his coaching career with 21 years at the Georgia School for the Deaf. His 1990 team won the Mason-Dixon basketball tournament.
Russell Jacoway 2014 CC HoF; 2017 AHSAA Sports HoF
RUSSELL JACOWAY – The head football coach and athletic director at Sand Rock High School from 1983-2014, Jacoway began his coaching career in 1978 as an assistant coach at Early County High School in Blakely, Ga., where he remained for four years. He then moved to Smiths Station as an assistant coach for three.
He came to Cherokee County’s Sand Rock High School in 1983 inheriting a team that went 1-9 in 1982. His first team in ’83 was 0-10. His third season, however, the Wildcats were 15-0 and won the Class 1A state championship. That team outscored opponents 400-54. He went on to compile a 228-132 head-coaching record at Sand Rock over 32 seasons and reached the Super 6 2A finals at Legion Field in 1997.
The football stadium at Sand Rock was named in his honor in 1999. A book chronicling his 1985 championship was published in 2010, and he was inducted into the Cherokee County Sports Hall of fame in 2014. He coached in the North-South All-Star Game in 2002 and was named Coach of the Year by the Alabama Sportswriters Association in 1985 and 1997. He graduated from Collinsville High School in 1975 and Auburn University in 1978.