You want to hear a good recruiting story? Check out “Burying a 30-year-old UGA hatchet” by the Albany Herald’s Carlton Fletcher.
It finishes with an apology – more than three decades later – from former UGA coach Ray Goff.
It started with Tift County High School winning the 1983 state championship and having seven seniors sign D1 scholarships. Surprisingly, none were recruited by UGA. On signing day that year, Fletcher (then with the Tifton Gazette) called the Bulldogs to inquire why no Tift players were recruited.
Goff, who played at a nearby rival (Colquitt County High School), was in charge of UGA’s recruiting efforts at the time under Vince Dooley. Goff was out of the office on that signing day, but Fletcher heard back from Dooley about 10 minutes later:
“We talked a while, and the head Dog (Dooley) said, basically, “We screwed up by not recruiting those Tift players.” I wrote a column based on the conversation.
A couple of months later, the sportswriter bumped into Ray Goff at Tift County High School:
He asks what I do for a living and I tell him I’m sports editor of the Tifton paper. Goff says, “You’re the guy who wrote that terrible column about us not recruiting any of Tifton’s players.”
“I acknowledge that I am, and Goff says, “I expect you to write a retraction. None of those guys will ever play Division I ball.”
I say, “Why don’t we wait and see, coach?”
I felt vindicated when several of the players had nice college careers and one, free safety Stan Shiver, became an All-American at FSU.
Flash forward more than 30 years later: Fletcher mentioned the story in a recent column for the Albany paper. Through a mutual acquaintance, it got back to Goff, who phoned the sportswriter out of the blue after all the time. Goff apologized if he had done anything to upset Fletcher or his family.
We laughed about it, and Goff half-jokingly said, “I’ll have to admit I don’t remember that, but I’m not doubting that it happened. I took a lot of shots to the head playing in the SEC.”
Read more HERE. What’s Goff doing these days? He and his brother own 11 Zaxby’s.