Buck Godfrey has been doing things his way at Southwest DeKalb High School for nearly 30 years.
He has won 250 football games in 27 seasons and has helped hundreds of student athletes earn athletic scholarships. His lessons go beyond the books – he teaches students about character and discipline.
Godfrey’s endless dedication to helping DeKalb County youth is being recognized as the coach is one of four people who will be inducted into the Atlanta Sports Hall of Fame in June in a ceremony at the Rialto Theater in Atlanta. Godfrey joined inductees former Atlanta Brave Tom Glavine, golfer Larry Nelson and college football coach Bill Curry at a recent luncheon to announce the Atlanta Sports Hall of Fame Class of 2010.
“I’m really humbled by it,” Godfrey said. “When I found out it took me off guard, and I had a range of emotions from honored, surprised, humbled all at the same time. I’ve been doing the same thing for so many years and to all of sudden get an honor like this is nice. I’m thankful they put my name in the hat.”
Godfrey was reunited with Curry, who grew up in Atlanta and coached at Georgia Tech, Kentucky and Alabama.
“I had a chance to meet people I’d never met before,” Godfrey said. “(Former Braves pitching coach) Leo Mazzone gave me his cell number. And it was good seeing coach Curry. I’ve had a lot of players end up playing for him going back more than 20 years.
Fletcher Salter, a longtime coach at Southwest, is one of many who recognize Godfrey’s endless dedication to helping youth in DeKalb County. Salter nominated Godfrey and the HOF committee narrowed the nominations to 50. From there, 16 semifinalists were chosen before whittling down to the four selected.
“I nominated him because of the kind of person he is,” said Salter, who has coached with Godfrey since 1986, except for a six-year stint at McNair in the 1990s. “He has a caring attitude toward the kids, and he’s a humanitarian. He wants what’s best for the kids and wants them to be successful in life.”
In addition to his success as a football coach, Godfrey has coached high school swimming and baseball during his career.
“I think my legacy will be scholarships,” Godfrey said. “Hopefully, I’ll be remembered as doing things the right way with integrity, dignity and class.”
Those are the same qualities he has tried to instill in the students at Southwest since 1983.