• A tribute to former coaches, players who died during the offseason

    By: Todd Holcomb, AJC Sports

    Updated:

    Georgia lost many prominent high school football personalities during the offseason. Here is a tribute to some of those. 

    • Don Savage, head coach at Dunwoody (1997-2001) and Northview (2002-08), died at age 51 on Dec. 12 of respiratory failure complicated by a degenerative auto-immune neuropathy that he had battled for 10 years. Savage coached Georgia football for 29 years, most recently with Norcross in 2017. 

    • Dale Williams, who won state championships as a Valdosta player and Waycross head coach, died on March 6. Williams was the starting quarterback for Valdosta’s 1956 and 1957 championship teams and a backup to Fran Tarkenton at Georgia. Williams’ 1977 and 1981 Waycross teams won state titles, and his coaching record was 230-112-3. He was the father of former Georgia quarterback Todd Williams, a star on the 1981 Waycross state champion. Dale Williams was 79. 

    • Bill Yoast, a former head coach at Roswell and best known as the top assistant coach on the Virginia team that inspired the movie “Remember the Titans,” died on May 23. Yoast was a graduate of Georgia Military Academy and Mercer University and coached at Sparta and Roswell before becoming head coach at Hammond in Virginia. Hammond was absorbed into T.C. Williams in 1971, where Yoast became the defensive coordinator under Herman Boone. Yoast was 94. 

    • Jack Rudolph, an assistant coach at Valdosta through 11 state championship teams with Wright Bazemore and Nick Hyder, most notably as defensive coordinator, died on June 23. Rudolph was a star player at Grady High in Atlanta and Georgia Tech. He played six seasons in the AFL with the Bills and Dolphins. He was the father of former Georgia Tech and NFL defensive end Coleman Rudolph. Jack Rudolph was 81. 

    • Tyshon Dye, an all-state player at Elbert County and running back on Clemson’s 2016 national championship team, died on July 5 of a drowning in Lake Russell. Dye rushed for 1,561 yards for Elbert County in 2011 and was a four-time letterman in basketball and track and field. Dye was 25. 

    • Others: Dennis Payne, a former associate director of the Georgia High School Association, died on Feb. 25. Payne was the director of football for most of his 15 years at the GHSA, which he left in 2014. Payne was 72. ... Jim Frazier, for whom Sprayberry’s stadium is named, died on July 4 at age 86. He was a coach at the school from 1959 to 1986. ... Jerry Smith, head coach of Calhoun from 1980 to 1988 and later its athletic director, died on May 14 at age 84. ... Norman Olson, head coach at Lakeside of Atlanta, Dublin and Newton in the 1960s and ’70s, died on Feb. 22 at age 84. 

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