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Jim Cavan was born in Decatur but is most associated with Thomaston where he coached at R.E. Lee for 23 years.  He was a letterman in baseball and football at the University of Georgia before beginning his coaching career at Gainesville High School. He moved on to Rome where his football team won the state championship in 1942. Coach Cavan eventually made his way back to Thomaston where he enjoyed his greatest success and became a local legend, coaching both football and girls basketball at R.E. Lee. In football, he coached the Rebels to 5 region titles. In 1961, the Rebels were state runners-up and Cavan was selected as coach of the year by the Atlanta Touchdown Club. His Lady Rebels basketball teams won 11 region titles and 2 state championships.

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Spurgeon “Spud” Chandler was a Commerce, native who lettered in baseball and football for The University of Georgia between 1929 and 1932. He played professional baseball for the New York Yankees from 1937 to 1947, compiling a 109-43 record as a starter. Chandler was frequently overshadowed by such legendary teammates as Joe DiMaggio, Bill Dickey and Lou Gehrig, but “Spud” was a four-time MLB All-Star (1942, 1943, 1946, 1947) and a three-time World Series Champion (1941, 1943, 1947). Yankees catcher Bill Dickey called Chandler the best pitcher he ever caught, and this was a man who caught Hall of Famers like Red Ruffing and Lefty Gomez. “Spud” was the American League Most Valuable Player in 1943. His record as a starting pitcher is the best of any pitcher with at least 100 wins since 1876.  He was inducted into the University of Georgia Ring of Honor in 2000.

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Originally from Sumter, South Carolina, Allen Ralph “Buck” Flowers played two years of football at Davidson College before transferring to Georgia Tech, where he was a star halfback and a team captain. At 5’ 8” and 152 pounds, he was one of the most elusive players of his era. In 1920, playing for Georgia Tech against Auburn, he scored on punt returns of 82 and 65 yards and on a run from scrimmage of 33 yards. He also threw a touchdown pass of 25 yards. That year he also made an 82-yard punt against Georgetown and an 85-yard punt return against Davidson. For the season he rushed 80 times for 819 yards, returned 26 punts for 429 yards, completed 9 passes for 255 yards, drop-kicked 2 extra points, and averaged 47 yards on punts. Flowers was a two-time All-Southern Conference and two-time All American performer. He was named to the All-Southeastern Area All Time team of 1869-1919 and the Georgia Tech All Time team. He is a member of the Georgia Tech Hall of Fame and the College Football Hall of Fame.

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Joseph ”Phoney” Smith is considered by many to be the greatest player to ever play football at Mercer University. Smith was a three year letter winner for the Bears from 1925-1927, highlighted by a 95 yard kickoff return against Georgia in the ’27 season. That same year, he was named to the College Football All Southern team. Smith played 7 years of professional football with the semi-pro Ironton Tanks (who would later become the Cleveland Browns). The Tanks were a pretty formidable squad having two wins over the NFL’s New York Giants during the 1930 season. Following his professional career, “Phoney” spent time as a coach of various local teams. He was a baseball umpire and later became a golf pro. He is a member of the Mercer University Hall of Fame.

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