CLASS OF 2017
Keith Brooking left East Coweta High School in Sharpsburg for Georgia Tech where he played linebacker from 1994-97 and remains one of the leading tacklers in program history. Brooking made 146 tackles his sophomore season, 147 during his junior campaign, and as a senior Keith had 131 tackles and was a finalist for the Dick Butkus Award. Brooking was selected by the Atlanta Falcons with the 12th overall pick in the 1998 NFL Draft and became a fixture on the Falcons’ defense for 11 seasons. In 2002, Brooking established a new career-high with 22 tackles against Green Bay on his way to recording 200 tackles for the season. Keith appeared in five Pro Bowls and was named one of the 20 best players in team history by the Atlanta Journal-Constitution. He capped his 15-year professional career with a two-year stint with the Dallas Cowboys and then played one season for Denver. Keith played in 225 career NFL games with 1,434 tackles.
MANNY DIAZ, JR.
Manuel Diaz left San Juan, Puerto Rico in 1972 to play tennis at the University of Georgia. He was a two-time All-American and after his playing days decided to pursue coaching. His mentor, Dan Magill named Diaz an assistant coach in 1982. He was promoted to associate head coach in 1985 and head coach during the 1988-89 season. He took up right where Magill left off. Diaz led Georgia to 11 consecutive National top-five finishes from 1989 to 1999, including the ’99 National Championship. Manny has led Georgia to six National Championships, four NCAA titles (1999, 2001, 2007 and 2008) and two ITA National Indoor titles (2006 and 2007). Diaz became the school’s all-time winningest coach when he passed the 700 win plateau eclipsing the 706 wins by Magill.
Willie Gault played wide receiver in football and ran track for Griffin High School where he earned All-State honors in both his junior and senior seasons. Gault signed with Tennessee and continue to play two sports in college. Willie’s breakout year came during the 1980 season when he caught 14 passes for 240 yards and returned three kickoffs for touchdowns. Gault was named All-SEC and All-American in 1982. He was also a prolific hurdler and sprinter for the Vols finishing his career holding 12 school records in football and three in track and field. Gault was drafted by the Chicago Bears in the first round of the 1983 NFL Draft. During the Bears' dominant 1985 season, Gault caught 33 passes for a team-leading 704 yards including 4 catches In the Bears' 46–10 victory over New England in Super Bowl XX. Prior to the 1988 season, Gault was traded to the Los Angeles Raiders where he would play five more seasons before retiring with 333 career receptions for 6,635 yards in 11 professional seasons.
Matt Harpring was better known for his football skills at Atlanta’s Marist School, receiving scholarship offers to play quarterback for several big time colleges, including Northwestern and Wisconsin. The 6-8, 225-pounder was lightly recruited in basketball until he led his high school team to the State Title. Bobby Cremins took note, and Harpring signed with Georgia Tech in 1995. In his career he scored 2,225 points and pulled down 997 rebounds. He was a three-time All-ACC First Teamer and an Academic All-American his senior season. After earning his degree in June of 1998, the Orlando Magic made him the 15th pick in the NBA draft. He was named to the NBA All-Rookie First Team, but a second year injury eventually led to Harpring being traded to Cleveland. After the Cavs traded Matt to Philadelphia he would ultimately sign a free agent contract with Utah. Harpring would retire following the 2009 season having scored over 7,500 points in the NBA. He has since worked in broadcasting as an analyst for the Jazz.
Gerard Garrison Hearst was born in Lincolnton and attended Lincoln County High School where he was an All-State running back. In 1990, Hearst enrolled at the University of Georgia, and played for the Bulldogs until 1992. By his junior season, he led the nation in touchdowns, was the SEC Player of the Year, a consensus All-American, the Doak Walker Award recipient, and he finished third in the Heisman Trophy voting. Garrison was selected as the third overall pick in the 1993 NFL Draft by the Arizona Cardinals. In 1995 Hearst rushed for 1,070 yards, but he was cut by the Cardinals during 1996 training camp. After one season in Cincinnati, Garrison landed in San Francisco. In 1998, Hearst ran for 1,570 yards and 7 touchdowns, but was severely injured in the playoffs and his career was in jeopardy. After over two years of rehabilitation, Hearst made a remarkable recovery rushing for 1,206 yards and winning the NFL Comeback Player of the Year in 2001. Garrison retired following the 2004 season with almost 8,000 rushing yards and 30 touchdowns for his career.
LAURA MAYS COBLE
Born in Augusta, Laura Mays Coble was a member of the University of Georgia women's golf team from 1982-1984. Coble lettered in 1983 and helped the Lady Dogs finish third in the NCAA Tournament. While a professional career was not on her radar, Coble would become one of the top amateurs in the southeast. During a 15 year stretch, Coble was named GSGA’s Women’s Player of the Year 14 times. She has won the Greater Atlanta Women’s Amateur four times, the Georgia Women’s Open and the GSGA Women’s Team Championship four times (with three different partners). Coble is the first golfer to have won the coveted Tommy Barnes Award as overall GSGA Player of the Year three times. Laura was inducted into the Georgia Golf Hall of Fame in 2013.
Elizabeth Dee (Liz) Murphey, was raised in Newnan and would become one of the leading figures in the evolution of women’s intercollegiate athletics at the University of Georgia. Liz joined the university faculty in 1967 as an assistant professor of physical education and women’s golf coach. She was named assistant athletic director for women’s sports in 1978. Under her leadership, UGA won eight of the 14 SEC women’s all-sports awards, which were presented annually to the outstanding program in the conference. During her tenure, UGA women’s teams won four National Team Championships and 31 individual National Titles. When the university officially added women’s golf as an intercollegiate sport in 1978, Murphey led the team to 21 team and 18 individual titles over the next 8 years. Murphey won the 1984 National Coach of the Year Award and is a charter member of the Collegiate Golf Hall of Fame.
Jeffrey (Jeff) Saturday was a two-way football standout football player at Shamrock High School in Decatur. While most SEC schools thought Saturday was too small, he did gain the attention of the University of North Carolina. Jeff turned out to be a four-year letterman for the Tar Heels. He was a team captain and a first-team All-ACC selection at center in 1996 and 1997. Jeff signed with the Indianapolis Colts, and over the next 13 seasons he won a Super Bowl, was selected to four All-Pro teams, and five Pro Bowls. In his final NFL season, he made his sixth Pro Bowl as a member of the Green Bay Packers. Saturday announced he would retire following the 2013 Pro Bowl Game. He was selected as Offensive Lineman of the Year by the National Football League Alumni organization for 2007. After football, Saturday worked in broadcasting as well as coaching high school football.