MACON SPORTS HALL OF FAME
CLASS OF 2013
Brannon Bonifay was outstanding in football, basketball and baseball at Lanier High School and was the Poets Senior Athlete of the Year in 1967. He signed at Georgia Tech and played shortstop on the Yellow Jackets baseball team from 1968-1971. Brannon played one season of minor league ball, appearing in 20 games for the Wytheville Braves in 1971, batting .286 while playing second base. After his playing days, Bonifay managed the Macon Peaches for a portion of the 1980 season and was later a Major League scout for the Arizona Diamondbacks
and Pittsburgh Pirates. He was head baseball coach at Brentwood Academy in Sandersville for more than a decade and winning numerous State Titles.
M.L. Clark was involved in baseball in Macon for more than 50 years primarily as a volunteer. He was a founding father of Macon Little League. Clark was a volunteer coach at River North for fellow Hall member Bobby Hendley and later for yet another Hall-of-Famer, Bubber Adams at Stratford. Clark was an assistant where he was part of four State Championships at each school. Stratford recognized his contributions to the baseball program by inducting him into the school’s Athletic Hall of Fame in 2014.
Latavia Coleman led the Southwest girls to the State Basketball Championship game in each her sophomore and junior seasons. Her talents earned a scholarship to Florida State where she ranks as one of the top players in FSU history. She finished her career ranking fifth all-time in points with 1,428 and a scoring average of 15.7 and was in the top ten in rebounding with 603 boards. In her senior season she earned second team All-ACC honors after leading the league in field goal percentage at 50 percent and ranking second in scoring at 16.1 points per
game. She also earned ACC Tournament First Team honors after scoring 31 points in FSU’s win over Maryland. After her playing days, Latavia moved into coaching and is currently the head girls coach at Howard.
Larry Emery prepped at Northeast High School where he was an All-City back in 1982 earning a scholarship to the University of Wisconsin. Emery played four years with the Badgers rushing for over 1,100 yard his junior season and 800 more his senior campaign. Larry totaled 2,979 yards for his career and scored 19 touchdowns. He is ranked in the top 15 all-time rushing leaders at the school. His quarterback Paul Chryst later became the Wisconsin head football coach. Emery was drafted in the twelfth round of the 1987 NFL Draft by the Falcons and played that season with the team. He was primarily relegated to special team’s duty and had 21 kick returns for 440 yards.
Terry Fair played on one of the greatest basketball teams in Georgia high school history, the 1979 Southwest Macon Patriots. He averaged 21.1 points and 15.2 rebounds for a squad that captured state and national championships. The 6’7 center was heavily recruited and picked the University of Georgia where he was a four-year starter for the Bulldogs, highlighted by the team’s 1983 SEC tournament title claiming their first NCAA bid. Fair was an integral force leading Georgia to an improbable Final Four appearance. In the East Regional semifinal against third-ranked St. John's, Fair scored a career-high 27 points to go along with 9 rebounds and 5 steals. The Dogs would lose to eventual National Champion N.C. State 67-60 in the National Semi-finals. Fair was picked by the Indiana Pacers in the fourth round of the 1983 NBA draft. He went on to play professionally in Israel for a decade.
Mark Farriba was a standout athlete playing football, basketball and baseball for Stratford in the early 1970's before signing a football scholarship to the University of Georgia. Farriba was a member of the 1976 SEC Championship team. Following his college career he entered the coaching profession and his stops have included: First Presbyterian Day School, Prince Avenue Christian in Athens, and Stratford Academy. Farriba led the Vikings to the GISA Class AAA State Championship in 1985. In 2004, he turned the tables leading Stratford to the State GISA AAA title with a 35-34 win over his former school FPD. He led Stratford’s transition from the GISA in 2014 to the Georgia High School Association and guided the Eagles to the State Class A Private School Semifinals in 2015. Farriba was in the first class inducted into the Stratford Hall Of Fame.
Barry Myers loved baseball and spent more than a half a century sharing the American pastime with young athletes. He coached hundreds of baseball players across four colleges and universities, including 26 seasons as Head Coach at Mercer University where he won over 650 games and three Conference Championships. His ’81 team posted the best record during his tenure of 39-12-1 and took the A-Sun Title. Myers got his first head coaching assignment at Jacksonville University and became the youngest head college baseball coach in the nation. While serving at Jacksonville, he compiled a 191-88 record and led the Dolphins to their first two NCAA Tournament appearances. He took over at Mercer in 1978 and was conference coach of the year four times.
Al Pollard led Central High School to the 1972 GHSA Class AAA football championship game against Lakeside-Atlanta after transferring from Northeast prior to the start of his senior year. He was First Team All-State rushing for 1,229 yards that season gaining a scholarship to the University of Georgia. Pollard was a three-year letter winner at Georgia and the starting fullback on the Bulldogs 1976 SEC championship team. Head coach Vince Dooley calls Pollard the best blocking fullback he ever coached. In Georgia’s SEC title-clinching victory against Auburn, Pollard rushed for 158 yards on 27 carries, and in the following game against Georgia Tech he had a team-best 112 yards on 24 carries in a 13-10 win. Pollard also has excelled as a coach. He led Jonesco Academy to the GISA Class AA baseball championship in 1984, and he duplicated that feat the following year at Robert Toombs.
Steve Putnal played was a football standout at Lanier for Coach Godfrey “Goot” Steiner in the late 1960’s. He signed with Georgia Tech and was a starting linebacker for the Jackets. In 1973, he was named team captain. Putnal was known for his vicious tackles, one of which came on Southern Cal wide receiver Lynn Swann in a game in Atlanta during that ‘73 season. Unfortunately, multiple injuries prevented Putnal from having an NFL career. He is the younger brother of Macon Sports Hall of Famer Rex Putnal who ironically played at the University of Georgia. The brothers met twice in the Good Ole Fashion Hate game in 1971 and 1972 with Rex getting the best of his little brother in both contests.
Larry Tharpe played on his high school football at Southwest and earned a scholarship to Tennessee State University where he was an outstanding offensive lineman. He was the fifth pick in the 6th round of the 1992 NFL Draft by the Detroit Lions. He played 11 games during his rookie season but after two years in Detroit signed with Arizona in 1995. In just one season with the Cardinals he started all 16 games at offensive tackle, but then signed with the New England Patriots in 1996. He was inactive for the first seven games of the season before he was waived and re-signed with Detroit. Larry was the starting right tackle for the Lions in 1997, and helped running back Barry Sanders become the third player in NFL history to rush for over 2,000 yards during the season. Tharpe closed his eight-year, 76-game playing career with the Pittsburgh Steelers.