THOMASVILLE –—The coach who brought championships to Thomas County Central football will now be forever linked to the program he made a state power during the 1990s.
Central will honor legendary football coach Ed Pilcher before its regular season finale Friday night. The honor includes the renaming of the team's football stadium to, “Ed Pilcher Field at The Jackets' Nest.” The honor recognizes Pilcher, who guided the Yellow Jackets to five state championships in the 90s.
“It is such an honor for us as a school system to be able to do this for him, for the amount of impact he's had on players and coaches, this community and the state of Georgia,” Central athletic director Sam Holland said. “In my career, I've been blessed with three state titles of my own, but to be able to be a part of this is every bit as honoring as anything else I've ever done.”
Pilcher resigned from Central in 2008. He compiled 169 wins in 17 seasons, which included state championships in 1992, '93, '94, '96 and '97. Central also advanced to the state title game in 2002. The Yellow Jackets never missed the playoffs during Pilcher's tenure.
He also had a hand in developing some great players during his tenure while running the famed split-back veer offense. These included quarterback Leonard Guyton, running back Joe Burns, quarterback Erik Walden and running back Debrale Smiley.
“Our paths have crossed before over the years, the coaching fraternity. Even before I got here I knew about coach Pilcher and what he's done,” Holland said. “Somebody who didn't run it out of the split-back but I ran the triple option out of the wing-T, I've always been aware of what they were able to do here. I knew exactly what he's known for.”
Pilcher later spent five seasons as head coach at Bainbridge and three at Berrien. Pilcher finished with a 250-116-1 career record. He is the 26th winningest coach in state history and was elected to the Georgia Athletic Coaches Association's Hall of Fame in 2017.