As he walked off the field after South Gwinnett's 14-0 win over Shiloh on Oct. 29, 2004, T. McFerrin thought he had coached his final football game.
That didn't waver over the next four football seasons, but the 300-game winner was talked out of retirement this offseason by an old friend.
McFerrin, 67, was approved as Jefferson's head football coach on Tuesday.
"The principal who hired me at Elbert County in 1990, John Jackson, is the superintendent now at Jefferson (City Schools)," said McFerrin, one of seven 300-game winners in state history. "He was great to work for, just terrific. He was one of a kind. We've remained friends and when John called and asked me to come talk about it, I couldn't turn him down.
"I've been out of coaching four years, but I haven't really thought about getting back into coaching. This is the first time."
McFerrin's name has swirled in rumors about job openings since his retirement, but the veteran coach said he hasn't pursued any positions and hasn't discussed jobs with anyone else until this one.
Retirement couldn't keep him away from football though. He worked regularly as a consultant and lecturer at the nationwide Frank Glazier Football Clinics.
"I didn't know what a Webinar was until six months ago and they wanted me to do one," said McFerrin, who just returned from a clinic last weekend in Providence, R.I.
McFerrin also went to a local high school football game each Friday night, sitting in the stands with fellow coaches. Now he's back on the field at Jefferson, which gets a coach with a 301-93-4 overall record. He won 12 region titles and a state championship at Elbert County in 1995.
The coach went 54-27 as South Gwinnett's coach from 1998 to 2004, taking the Comets from a struggling program to the playoffs five times in seven seasons. South was 0-10 in 1997, but went 8-5 and made the state quarterfinals the following season, McFerrin's first at the Snellville school. His best season at South came in 2003 with the school's first 10-0 regular season and first Region 8-AAAAA title.
He returns to coaching at Jefferson, which went 11-1 last season but lost a good number of key seniors.
McFerrin replaces Bill Navas, who coached the Dragons for seven years and left to take the A.D. job at Duluth.
"Right now I've got a thousand things to do," McFerrin said. "I've got to set up a meeting with the coaches, with the players. I'm behind right now. They're not, but I am."