Class of 2005
Ferman Elmore came to Athens in 1948 to help Hal Self with the Golden Eagle football program. Together, they led the squad to a 9-1 season. By the time he left Athens High for good in 1971 , he had helped to build, then rebuild, the Golden Eagles into a state recognized power.
Elmore became head coach at Athens in 1949, a position he would hold for the next eight years. During that time Athens football teams won more than 50 games and finished among the top 12 in newspaper polls four times.
The 1954 squad, which was 9-0-1, was runnerup to Bessemer in the Birmingham Post-Herald poll. That finish also earned him Coach ofthe Year honors.
In 1957, Elmore moved to Dothan where his teams had only one losing season in six years. His best team at Dothan was the 1960 squad which finished, 7-2-1, losing only to Robert E. Lee ofMontgomery and Bay High School of Panama City, FL.
Meanwhile, back in Athens, the Golden Eagles had fallen on lean times, suffering through four consecutive losing seasons. Coach Elmore was asked to return and resurrect the program. Beginning in 1963, he produced three straight winning seasons to get Athens back on the road to success.
During those three years he was also serving as assistant principal. He became principal in 1966, serving four years, then one year as vocational guidance counselor. In 1971 he moved to Butler High School in Huntsville where he was assistant principal and athletic director, a position he held until his retirement in 1978.
During his career he served on the AHSAA District Board from 1959-63. He was president ofthe state coaches association in 1959-60 and was asked to coach the North All-Star team two times, winning both games.
He was instrumental in the organization of the Tennessee Valley Conference, one of the toughest and most respected leagues in the state prior to the advent ofthe state play-offs, serving one year as president.
He was a member ofthe Tennessee Valley Conference Sports Hall of Fame and in 1996, Elmore was inducted into the Alabama High School Sports Hall of Fame.
James Ferman Elmore was born in Pickens County on July 22, 1919. Elmore graduated from Pickens County High School at Reform, Ala., in 1940. He attended The University of Alabama and played on a national champion freshman team. When World War II broke out, he enlisted in the army. He served in the artillery and fought in North Africa, Italy, France. He was in Germany when peace was declared. He never talked much about the war. In fact, his sons didn't know he was in the Battle of the Bulge until after his death.
He returned to Tuscaloosa and finished school on the G.!. Bill. He was graduated in 1948. He later earned a Master's degree from George Peabody College in Nashville.
He was married to Wiletta Cooper. Coach Elmore passed away on June 19,2000 at the age of 80.