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where are they now: Jeff McCord

By Joe Joe Wright

joejoe.wright@cordeledispatch.com

Born in the small town of Alexander, Alabama a town much like Cordele located in East Alabama. Jeff Kelley McCord was an all around athlete playing football, baseball and basketball.

Coach McCord is one of the more traveled of any Coach that ever taught here in Crisp County. A lot of that has to do with continuing to work long past his retirement age. After Graduating High School in 1960  from Goodwater High School Coach McCord attended Auburn University where he graduated in 1965.Taking his first job at Lindley Middle School in Cobb County. After that he headed South for a stint at Cairo High and then up to Dodge County before finally landing here in Crisp County in the fall of 1976. Once Coach McCord arrived in Cordele one of his first duties besides coaching football was to take over as Head Coach of the girls basketball program which he did in the fall of 1977. The Cougarettes as they were called back then had just finished a dismal 6-18 record but them days were about to end. The following year Coach McCord would lead the girls to a 20-7 record and one of the best teams in Georgia. The following year would show even more improvement going 21-4. Then in the 1979-1980 year the girls team would go an impressive 22-4 and finish with a .846 winning percentile, which is a record in girls basketball till this day. It must also be noted that this record was set while Crisp County was still apart of the most powerful   Region in all of Georgia 1AAAA. This record was also established while playing the likes of Tifton, Valdosta and Lowndes County High and the famed twin towers. Coach McCord led the girl’s team for five years   compiling a record of 80-23 and an overall winning percentage of .776 another record that still stands.

Coach McCord coached Football during all these years and was one of several coaches instrumental in the rise of Cougar football during the glory years of the 1980 and 1981 seasons. “Coach McCord always expected your best, he expected 110%  on and off the court.. His words set the tone  for a players success, it was his encouragement  that helped make my basketball success,” said Emma Mumphery Beal a former star. ” He taught me so much and talked to a lot of colleges and helped  me get a scholarship in basketball, I appreciate all he did for me as a coach and a friend and I am forever grateful,” said Risa Turton Rambo another former star for the Cougarettes.” The fact is “said Ferrell Henry long time retired Head Football Coach and Athletic Director  “is that Jeff McCord is probably the most versatile coach I or anyone else has ever known.” “ There are not many coaches that can coach and coach at his level the multitude of sports he is qualified to do.” He is just a great guy.”

After leaving Crisp County in 1983 Coach McCord took the Head Coaches job at Jeff Davis County. Then he moved North to Johnson High in Gainesville   and then West Hall High School where he started their football program. By now Coach had reached his retirement but just felt like continuing to coach. On to Jefferson High School and a State title as an assistant coach and several more schools over about a 15 year span. It was in 2007 when Coach Jimmy Hughes called on his old coach to come help him in his first year in Monticello, “ Coach McCord is as good a Coach as I have ever been around, very knowledgeable about any and all sports. I am thankful to have played and coached with such a man as Jeff McCord “said Jimmy Hughes.  One actually can see the benefit of a really good seasoned ball coach.. Jeff McCord much like the energizer bunny just keeps going and going.

Coach  McCord is married to the former Renae Halbrooks of Decatur, Ala a former basketball player at Auburn. He has two kids his daughter Mallie McCord Bragg of Atlanta is expecting twins in March his first grandkids and his son Matt also lives in Atlanta. Nowadays Coach McCord works part time with special needs kids at an Elementary school and officiates baseball and basketball with GHSA. “ I always enjoyed Cordele it was a wonderful place and time in my life, I have many great friends there,” said Coach McCord.

A jack-of-all-trades and the master of  many in the coaching profession. . A journeyman coach if ever there was one, his epitaph should read  “now here is a real  great coach.”.”