Mr. Howard Edwards “Doc” Ayers, age 99, of Cedartown, Georgia, passed away on Saturday, December 19, 2020. He was born on October 30, 1921 in Toccoa, Georgia. He was the son of the late C.L. Ayers and Helen Edwards Ayers.
Doc grew up in Toccoa, Georgia; he attended Toccoa High School where he played football. After graduating high school, he attended Darlington School in Rome where he played football, and received honors as an outstanding back. He was offered an athletic scholarship to University of Georgia and the University of Alabama. He attended UGA where he played football until a knee injury kept him out. He later attended Peabody College (Vanderbilt in Nashville, TN) where he received his Masters Degree.
He served in the US Navy during WWII. He coached a Navy team, and served on the Air Craft Carrier U.S.S. Card in the Atlantic and Pacific; he was voted outstanding man in platoon in boot camp in the US Navy.
Doc began his coaching career at a small school in Lavonia, Georgia where they had a winning record. He spent one year at Winder, then thirteen years at Cedartown winning several sub-region and region championships. He was voted Coach of the Year in 1956. In 1963, they won the State Championship.
Doc was the first coach that Vince Dooley hired when he went to UGA. He wore many hats during the eighteen years while coaching there. He was head freshman coach, head recruiter for several years, and worked with the offense on the varsity team. He was named administrative assistant to the head coach. He recruited several All American players and many All South Eastern Conference players. He was proud of the many walk-on players that he got to come to the university, and helped over 44 of his players to receive college scholarships. He coached the former Governor Sonny Perdue in football also while at UGA. He coached on staff of UGA’s National Championship team in 1980 defeating Notre Dame in the Sugar Bowl.
Doc was presented the Scottish Rite Hospital Child of the Universe Award. He also served on the fund raising board for the Scottish Rite Hospital for many years. He was presented the Sam Burke Award by the Georgia High School Athletic Coaches Association. Doc was appointed by former Governor Zell Miller to serve on the Georgia Sports Hall of Fame Authority Board where he served until 2010.
Doc received the Georgia Football Centennial Award given by UGA. He was awarded by UGA the varsity “G” and “G” Club membership. He was a member of the Kappa Alpha Fraternity, Gamma Chapter. Doc was given a special citation of outstanding service by the Floyd County Sports hall of Fame Committee in 1989. He was presented a special award from the American Heart Association for stimulating public support and raising money to support their program.
Doc was also inducted into Georgia Sports Hall of Fame in 1990, along with also being inducted into the Stephens County School’s Sports Hall of Fame. (This was great coming from home town folks) Doc had a GA/GA Tech freshman game played in his honor. He was the second person in the state of Georgia to be presented the Green Leaf Award by the Shriners. He was a member of the Boy Scouts of America and member of several other civic clubs.
Doc was honored by having the Cedartown High School football field named “Doc Ayers Field”. He coached the North/South High School football game with Fran Tarkenton as his quarterback. Also he served as a Grand Marshall of the Christmas Parade and was honored with the “Citizen of Excellence” award both of Cedartown.
Last, but certainly not least, he was a long time member of the Cedartown First United Methodist Church and he also attended First Baptist Church.
Doc is survived by his wife, Glenda Jackson Ayers; daughters, Buzzy Shelnutt (Doug) and Bunny Travis (Gary); son, Bucky Ayers (Linda); grandsons, Tobin Ayers (Heather) and Trey Ayers (Tracey); great-grandchildren, Ansley, Hudson, Tristin, Tillman, Dorry Ann and Connie.
Doc is preceded in death by his parents; brothers, Clarence Ayers Jr. and William Ayers; sisters, Mary Helen McGhee and Margaret Brown.
A private graveside service will be held in Toccoa, Georgia and a memorial service will be planned at a later time in Cedartown, Georgia.
The family respectfully requests that floral arrangements be omitted and donations can be made to The Doc Ayers Ray Beck Community Foundation INC at 400 Turner McCall Blvd. Suite 102 Rome, Ga. 30165; The First United Methodist Church of Cedartown at 201 Wissahickon Avenue, Cedartown, GA 30125 and The First Baptist Church of Cedartown, 101 N. College Street, Cedartown, GA 30125.
Messages of condolence can be made to the family by visiting our website and signing the online guestbook at gammagefh.com.
The Olin L. Gammage and Sons Funeral Home is handling the arrangements for Mr. Howard Edwards “Doc” Ayers.