by Chris Chilton
DeKalb County Schools Athletic Specialist
Another DeKalb County coaching legend is now a member of the Atlanta Sports Hall of Fame.
Columbia head boys basketball coach Dr. Phil McCrary was one of five new members inducted in the latest class June 9 at the Roswell Cultural Arts Center.
McCrary joined Jackie Bradford, Bill Hartman, Melvin Pender and Randy Rhino as the honorees at the event.
Legendary Southwest DeKalb football coach Buck Godfrey introduced McCrary to rousing applause from several DeKalb County and Columbia supporters.
Godfrey became the first DeKalb County individual to be inducted into the Atlanta Sports Hall of Fame two years ago in the class of 2010.
The event featured appearances by former inductees Tommy Nobis, Jeff Van Note, James “Red” Moore and Godfrey. The wife of the late Skip Carey and the daughter of the late Bobby Dodd were also recognized.
Former Georgia Tech men’s basketball coach Bobby Cremins, another past honoree, saluted both Bradford and McCrary by taped video for their inductions and for their many contributions to the sport of basketball.
The late Furman Bisher and Carey were remembered, and the Emory women’s swimming and diving team and Kyle Maynard were given 2012 Star of Year Awards.
Godfrey stepped to the podium following the ceremonies for Bradford and Hartman and delivered a special introduction for McCrary that highlighted his accomplishments at Columbia both on and off the court.
Aside from the obvious coaching lessons passed on by McCrary, Godfrey also singled out the character that the 25-year leader has instilled in his players. Discipline and classroom excellence were two of the primary themes mentioned.
McCrary, meanwhile, turned emotional when speaking of his family and the support they have provided to him over the years during his pursuit of basketball excellence.
The mention of his mother and her influence on him led to a couple of long pauses. McCrary also praised his wife as being “his rock.” He also singled out other family members as well as many individuals who have been positive influences in his career.
Several Columbia cheerleaders made the trip and turned vocal whenever McCrary’s name was mentioned.
McCrary then closed his induction speech by inviting a large contingent of former players to join him on the stand. He again turned emotional while describing how proud he was of them and the things they have accomplished since graduating from Columbia.
McCrary just completed his 25th season as the head coach at Columbia and has produced a record of 546-185.
He has won five state championships in the past seven seasons—2006, 2008, 2010, 2011 and 2012.
Columbia also lost in the state final to Southside in 1990, Dougherty in 1997 and Tucker in 2007, giving McCrary eight state title game appearances overall.