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Jefferson's McFerrin announces retirement
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Fresh off the Class AA state championship win, Jefferson football coach T. McFerrin has decided to call it a career. 

The veteran coach announced his retirement Thursday after meeting with his assistant coaches and players to inform them of his plans.

“This is it for me,” McFerrin said. “This will be my last job.”

In a long and storied career, McFerrin, 70, coached 38 seasons as a head coach, including 35 in Georgia, where he suffered only two losing seasons and won two state championships. He finishes with a career record of 340 wins, 102 losses and four ties.

He took over at Jefferson in 2009 after a four-year hiatus from coaching and went 39-9 with two region titles. His run with the Dragons culminated in last month’s 31-14 win over Calhoun in the state championship game, delivering to the school its first state title. On Dec. 25, he was named the Class AA Coach of the Year by the Georgia Sportswriters Association. It was the third time he’d been named the state Coach of the Year; he also won region Coach of the Year 14 times and won 13 region championships.

McFerrin said he thought seriously about retiring after the 2011 season, but was coaxed into one final season by Jefferson superintendent John Jackson.

“And I’m glad he talked me into it,” McFerrin said. “I wouldn’t trade this season for anything. I told the players, ‘you gave the greatest retirement gift I could imagine.’”

The Jefferson players responded with a standing ovation for their departing coach.

“I’m happy for coach that he’s going out on top,” said Bryant Shirreffs, who played all four years under McFerrin and was the team’s starting quarterback for the last three. “It surprised me in a way, but on the other hand, I think it was just time for him, and I’m glad we got him that state championship in his last season.”

Jefferson athletic director Tim Corbett said the task of replacing McFerrin will be a tall one.

“His results speak for themselves,” Corbett said. “He took a group that had been successful in some regards and took them to a higher level, and that can be tough to do.”

Corbett said there’s no timetable for naming McFerrin’s replacement and all options are on the table as of now.

“I wouldn’t say we’re actively searching at this point,” Corbett said. “I think it’s a job a lot of people would want to have, and to say we’re going in any certain direction would be premature.”

Whoever inherits the program will have big shoes to fill and key pieces from the 2012 team to replace. The outgoing Shirreffs was named the Class AA Offensive Player of the Year, and a stout linebacker corps helmed by Kody McDonald and Class AA Defensive Player of the Year Wesley Simonton will also graduate in May.

But as Cobett pointed out, “the cupboard is not bare.”

Sophomore quarterback Evan Shirreffs completed 14 of 16 passes for 248 yards while backing up his older brother this season, and leading rushers Sammy Williams (907 yards, 13 TDs) and Tristen Jackson (704 yards, 18 TDs) will also return, along with the bulk of the offensive line, receiving corps and defensive backfield.

“I’m not going to predict the future as far as wins and losses,” Corbett said, “but Coach McFerrin did a lot of good things behind the scenes and the program is in good shape.”

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