CLASS OF 1989
Athens native Daniel (Danny) Birchmore was the University of Georgia's first men's tennis All-American in 1971. Birchmore lettered on the Georgia team from 1970-73. He repeated as an All-American in 1972 in addition to earning four first team All-SEC awards. Danny is one of the school’s single-season winningest doubles players in both singles (.962) and for a career (.905). He also holds a career singles winning percentage (.882). At UGA, Birchmore won the Osuna Memorial honor for sportsmanship and competitive excellence in '71. He was Georgia's captain in 1972 and the team's annual training award is named in his honor. He is a member of the University of Georgia Hall of Fame. After college, Birchmore embarked on a career in medicine. He attended the Medical College of Georgia then completed his residency in internal medicine at Vanderbilt and rheumatology fellowship at University of Virginia.
A native of Phoenixville, Pennsylvania, Joe Geri came to the University of Georgia as a freshman in 1942. He was a highly-touted, triple-threat halfback. But he saw limited action that season, playing behind Georgia's first Heisman trophy winner, Frank Sinkwich. The following year, Geri traded his Bulldog uniform for a service uniform. He was a gunner in a Marine detachment aboard the U.S.S. Quincy, which took part in the invasion of Normandy, France. Geri returned to Georgia as the No. 2 fullback in 1946. In 1947, he scored 94 points on runs, receptions, field goals and PATs, playing every backfield position except quarterback. As a senior in 1948, Geri was the starting halfback on the Bulldogs' SEC-championship team. He led the conference with 90 points scored. He also converted 36-of-39 extra points as placekicker. Geri was the fourth-round draft pick for the Steelers and earned NFL Rookie of the Year honors in 1949 for his running and kicking. With this performance Geri became one of just four players to garner unanimous All-Pro honors. In 1953, Geri took a position as backfield coach at the University of Chattanooga under former Georgia quarterback Scrappy Moore, where he served for 18 years.
Jimmy Hightower was born in Cedartown, but spent many of his years in Americus, where he would start his impressive coaching legacy. During his tenure at Americus High School from 1954-1971, he led his Panther football teams to an incredible 103-16-4 mark, winning Class A State Titles in 1962 and 1965. He coached many great athletes including 2 men that would eventually coach in the NFL: Dan Reeves and Chan Gailey. Hightower was named Class A Coach of the Year in 1962, 1965, and 1968. Jimmy coached more than just football at Americus. He guided the Panthers golf team to State Titles in 1966, 1968, and 1969. He also spent 10 years as the head coach of the basketball program, claiming the school’s only basketball state championship in 1961. And as baseball coach, Americus won the 1955 Class AA State Championship. Hightower moved to LaGrange and lead their football team to a 47-34-1 record and one region title from 1972-1980. Hightower returned to Americus and became the first head coach for Georgia Southwestern College’s new football program. Hightower compiled a 24-17 record in five seasons at Georgia Southwestern from 1982-1986.
Wallace (Wally) Moses was born in Uvalda, Georgia and attended Vidalia High School where he was a standout athlete especially on the baseball diamond. He started a professional career with Galveston of the Texas League in 1934, where he batted .316. He debuted with the Philadelphia Athletics in the 1935 season. He batted over .300 each of his seven years with them, with a career-best .345 in his second season. Moses had his most productive season in 1937, when he hit career-highs in home runs (25), RBI (86), runs (113), hits (208) and doubles (48), batting .320. Turned out that his 208 hits would be the last by an A’s player during the 20th century. In the 1946 World Series with the Boston Red Sox, Moses hit .417 (5-for-12) and tied a WS record with four hits in a game. He finished his 17-year career with a .291 average with 89 home runs and 679 RBI in 2012 games played. He also made the American League All-Star team in 1937 and 1945.
Oscar Randy Rhino grew up in Charlotte, North Carolina, and led Olympic High School to a football State Championship in his final game. He signed with Georgia Tech as a running back but during his freshman campaign he was moved to defensive back. Rhino intercepted eight passes as a sophomore in 1972 and led the nation in punt returns, including a 96 yard return for a touchdown. He was named a first-team All-American by the Football Writers Association of America. His junior and senior season, Rhino was once again named All-American becoming the school’s only three-time, first-team All-American. Randy was also a standout on the Jackets baseball team batting a career.368. He was drafted by New Orleans in the 14th round of the 1975 NFL Draft but ended up on the CFL playing five seasons for the Montreal Alouettes. He was a member of the 1977 Grey Cup championship team. He played one season for the Ottawa Rough Riders before retiring and beginning his career as a chiropractor. He was named to the College Football Hall of Fame in 2002 and also is in the Georgia Tech Hall of Fame.
Kenneth Earl (Ken) Rice was born in Attapulgus and moved to Bainbridge where he played football, basketball, baseball, and was State Champion in shot put and discus at Bainbridge High. Heavily recruited he chose Auburn accepting a football scholarship in 1957. As a sophomore in 1958, Rice was named to the SEC's All-Sophomore Team as the Tigers posted a 9–0–1 record. After being named the top offensive lineman in the Southeastern Conference as a junior in 1959, Ken Rice out did himself as a senior in 1960. Not only did he repeat as the SEC's best blocker on offense, Rice also earned the honor as the league's best defensive lineman. Ken was drafted in the first round in both the 1961 NFL Draft and the 1961 AFL draft. He would go first to Buffalo and in his rookie season was selected to the 1961 AFL All-Star game. He was also named a second team All-AFL lineman that season. He would play professionally for seven years with the Bills, Oakland Raiders, and the Miami Dolphins. Rice retired from football after the 1967 season due to a back injury.
Lawrence W. “Chip” Robert was on one of the very first Georgia Tech cross country teams, as well as the baseball and football teams. He earned twelve varsity letters between three sports and was captain of each team at least once. He earned degrees in civil engineering in 1908 and electrical engineering in 1909. He founded Robert and Company, an architectural and engineering firm, in 1917. Robert was appointed as Assistant Secretary of the Treasury (1933-1936) by President Franklin D. Roosevelt. After World War II, Chip served as envoy and special delegate under President Truman and traveled the world assessing conditions. He was one of the first American businessmen to travel to the Soviet Union and also was instrumental in bringing Northern businesses into partnerships with Southern industries. Robert had a love affair with Georgia Tech. He had more influence over Tech Athletics than any other individual as he was responsible for bringing Bobby Dodd to Tech to coach football and he worked out the details for the Tech series against National power Notre Dame. Chip was a member of Tech's Athletic Board for over half a century. In 1934 he was presented with Tech's first distinguished alumni award.