Thomson's Welsh says, 'To heck with retirement!'

If you're thinking about asking Thomson's Luther Welsh about retirement, don't even bother. Most of us think about hanging it up when we hit the big 60, but the 70-year-old head coach at Thomson won't even hear of it.

Call him the Bobby Bowden of Georgia High School football, Welsh will coach until someone tells him not to.

"I like what I do", says Welsh. "I enjoy it. I look forward to coaching. People always ask me if I'm retiring after the season. It's not gonna happen. I'll go when I can't go anymore."

So to answer the question: 'Will Welsh be back next season?' You bet! The 15-0 Bulldogs gave Welsh a chance to do something he hasn't done since 1985: win a state championship.

Welsh led Thomson to state titles in 1984 and again in 1985. If you remember, he left Thomson in 1991, only to return, and he's been back for four years now.

"The '84 and '85 titles happened because I was left with good teams. We were good before I even got here," said Welsh before the championship game. "I'm a little older now, hoping for one more chance. I'm 70 years old, I've been at this for 45 years. I still love the game, and I can still move around, get on my knees and show the kids what they need to do."

Friday night, Welsh competed against another Georgia coaching legend in Ed Pilcher of the Thomas County Central Yellow Jackets. Pilcher and Welsh have a strong respect for one another dating back to their own playing days.

"I've known Ed Pilcher from when I was at Daugherty; we have a good relationship," says Welsh, "I remember him at Early County. We aren't close, but we respect one another."

Friday night in Thomson, Ga., Luther Welsh showed the state that age doesn't matter anymore.

"It would be great to win it at home," Welsh commented prior to the game. "At my age, that would be the sweetest thing that could ever happen."

And "sweet" is what happened. Welsh took his Bulldogs to a 42-27 win over the Jackets to secure the state Class AAAA title.

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