rent like champion

May 12, 2016

Always Happy to Beat Tech

CLIFF KIMSEY (1921-2016)
Rest In Peace, Mr. Kimsey.

A couple of days ago, CLIFF KIMSEY, Georgia's oldest living football letterman, died at his home in Cornelia, Ga., at the age of 94.

A few years ago, I had the honor of interviewing Mr. Kimsey from his home, primarily in regards to his memories of the Bulldogs’ 21-19 win over Georgia Tech in 1941—what he considered the “game of his life”—which earned Georgia a spot in the Orange Bowl. A lasting memory of mine from that interview was more so than the extraordinary game he played against the Jackets was, simply, how proud Mr. Kimsey was to have been a part of defeating rival Georgia Tech—and, Mr. Kimsey absolutely loved it when Georgia beat Tech.

It all started in August of 1938, when Mr. Kimsey was hoping to earn a scholarship to attend and play football in college.  Georgia Tech’s head coach, Bill Alexander, was coaching the South team in the state’s GACA North-South All-Star Game. Mr. Kimsey was playing for the North coached by UGA’s head coach, Joel Hunt. During a week of practice leading up to the game, out of the blue, Alexander approached Mr. Kimsey, who had recently turned 17 years old. The Tech coach informed the youngster that he would actually be a better fit for the Jackets’ backfield than the boy he was recruiting at the time. But, Alexander then curiously added, “You can’t make it at Tech!” 

Mr. Kimsey told me, “Now, I’m not sure if he meant I couldn’t make it academically or football-wise, but either way, it looked like I wasn’t going to Tech.”

In what was the first annual high school all-star football game in the state, the North defeated the South 25-6 in front of 6,000 spectators at Tech’s Grant Field. Much to Hunt’s delight, and Alexander’s chagrin, Mr. Kimsey was recognized as a “star” in the North’s victory, scoring a touchdown in the third quarter.

“And, beginning with that all-star game,” Mr. Kimsey informed me with a chuckle, “I’ve always been happy to beat Tech.” 

In closing my interview with Mr. Kimsey, I referred to the Bulldogs’ recent dominance over the Yellow Jackets in football. “I’ve really enjoyed it,” he stated. “And, any win over Tech is a good win!”

3 comments:

Teddy Bennett said...

He raised some fine boys and they are great athletes as well. Cliff will be missed and he will always be a DGD! Hate Tech!

Anonymous said...

Wreck eck!

Jud said...

And those fine boys love to see the Bulldogs beat tech, too!