Four years ago, he was T. McFerrin’s top choice to coach the offensive line. When the Dragons’ legendary coach retired recently, Ben Hall was also his top pick to take over at the helm.
And on Thursday, the Jefferson school board went with McFerrin’s recommendation and approved Hall as Jefferson’s next head coach.
Hall was the offensive coordinator and offensive line coach last season for the 14-1 Dragons, helping the program to its first state championship and overseeing a balanced offense that averaged 38 points per game and scored 31 against then-defending Class AA state champs Calhoun in the title game in December at the Georgia Dome.
Hall was the offensive line coach for one season at Flowery Branch — the year the Falcons reached the Class AAA state championship game in 2008 — before moving to Jefferson, the same year McFerrin had come out of retirement to coach the team for the next four seasons.
McFerrin recalled he had asked around at the time to find the best offensive line coach he could, and of all the names mentioned, Hall’s was one that kept coming up. McFerrin looked into Hall, and after the interview, he said he didn’t remember if he even interviewed anyone else before offering Hall the job.
“I found our philosophies were closely aligned,” McFerrin said. “He didn’t want to just throw one every play and always be in the shotgun, he wanted to run and be physical.
“I knew I had to give him more than he had to get him, so I offered him the offensive coordinator job as well — which he was glad to take — and he’s done a great job as offensive line coach and coordinator.”
Hall was at least as excited to work with one of the state’s winningest coaches.
“Coach McFerrin’s just an incredible person,” Hall said. “And it was an opportunity to work with one of the all-time greats, and we meshed from the start.
“I’ve grown really close to McFerrin, and his recommendation’s very special.”
While Hall only had one year of high school coaching experience before first moving to Jefferson, he has considerable experience in the game.
“He had a great resumé,” McFerrin recalled.
Hall was an all-state lineman at Franklin County High as a senior in 1994, then went on to play offensive line at Furman University, where he became a graduate assistant and then part of the staff after graduation in 1999.
Hall said he then left coaching after five years at Furman for the business world down in Tampa, Fla., but decided he wanted to get back into coaching.
“I just couldn’t get away from it, just couldn’t shake the itch,” he said. “I found myself going to ball games nearly every Friday night.”
So he made his way back up to Georgia and got the job as the offensive line coach under former Flowery Branch High coach Lee Shaw.
After getting to Jefferson, Hall said he has felt comfortable and had not pursued another coaching job until the one at his present school.
Now he’s excited to move the program further in the direction his former head coach has been steering it, while still remembering the past.
“I’m excited about the opportunity,” he said. “I feel like I have a good feel for the place, we’ve generated a lot of momentum over the last four years, and it’s our job to keep it in the right direction.”
McFerrin will be there to watch it.
“He says he’ll come to all the games,” Hall added. “And he made me promise to have him a parking spot.”