Class of 2009
Jimmy Beasley remembers when his father the late Jim Beasley would make him shell corn after school. He also recalls the two lessons his father instilled in him. One, you could accomplish anything through determination and two, the bigger they are the harder they fall. Young Jimmy took the lessons to heart and went on to have a successful athletic career that earned him a place along his father in the Limestone County Sports Hall of Fame.
Athens High School football in the 1950's under the guidance of Coaches Ferman Elmore and Bill Nichols was fast becoming a powerhouse that annually produced outstanding teams. Beasley played for the Golden Eagles in 1952 and 1953. While not documented, he might have been the first football player ever to start for AHS as a freshman. "I was fresh out of playing Pee Wee football," said Beasley. "I didn?t know the difference between a good player and bad player. I found out quick the difference. There were a lot of good players for Athens during those days. Guys like J.C. Arban, Jerry Daniel, Carl Wayne Bolton, Baxter Booth, David Martin and many others were really good football players."
Booth says that Beasley is one of the greatest athletes to ever come out of Athens. "Jimmy was just a great athlete. He and Cliff Coggin were probably the two best athletes I ever saw. I competed against Jimmy all during my youth. I'm thankful I was a year ahead of him because he was some kind of athlete," said Booth, a 2007 LCSHOF inductee.
Beasley would only play two seasons for the Golden Eagles before transferring to Baylor Prep School in Chattanooga, TN. The 1953 season saw AHS go 8-1-1 and defeat Decatur for the first time in 20 years. The Golden Eagles gave up only 55 points that season and Beasley played end on that team.
Beasley transferred to Baylor before his junior season and would be part of great teams. He was chosen to play in the Tennessee All-Star football game and received a scholarship to play football at Georgia Tech. He played four years for the Yellow Jackets and legendary coach Bobby Dodd. "Coach Dodd was a fair fellow," said Beasley. "He would honor scholarships even to the players who never contributed. I was impressed with the man." Beasley's time at Athens High and Baylor prepared him well because he would start on the freshmen team at Georgia Tech. He was red-shirted his second season but traveled with the varsity being one of only two players chosen to do so. Beasley would letter two seasons for the Yellow Jackets and helped the team earn a spot in the Gator Bowl against Arkansas during his final season in Atlanta.
While professional football tempted him, Beasley said he found his calling in the business world. His father owned Sweet Sue Kitchens in Athens. "I just knew when I saw it that I was trained for one thing and that was to run the family business. The day after I came home from college, Pops said here it is, run it. My brother Andy and I would run the family business," said Beasley.
The ultra competitive Beasley would find competition in the business world but his athletic achievements were far from over. A tremendous tennis player and golfer, Beasley would receive notoriety both locally and nationally. In tennis, he captured five Athens City Championships, represented the state of Alabama at the Southern States Championship in singles and doubles, won four senior Southern Championships, represented the state of Alabama in two senior Olympics having won the qualifying state competition and won an estimated 30 tournaments.
He was the winner of the Athens Country Club Championship in 1966, 1969, 1971, 1972 and 1973. He played 25 of the greatest golf courses in the world and would score in the 70's on most of them. Beasley won at least 20 golf tournaments and he achieved what only a few golfers have ever accomplished, he broke 60 once by shooting a round of 59.
"Guys like Jimmy don't come around very often," said former Golden Eagles player and Athens resident Johnny Harlow. "He was one of those natural athletes. He excelled in all the sports he participated in."
Beasley says he has lived a charmed life. "I was blessed with a silver spoon planted somewhere. I praise God everyday for the life he has given me," said Beasley.
He might have lived a charmed life but Beasley took what skills the good Lord blessed him with and combined them with what his dad taught him many years ago to become one of the greatest athletes the city of Athens ever produced