CLASS OF 2019
Donnie Allen played high school football and ran track at Tattnall Square Academy from 1982-84 leading the Trojans football team to an 11-1-1 record and a Region Championship his senior season. In his final year he had 11 TD receptions while earning Team MVP honors as well as All City, All Region, and All-State recognition. Following his high school playing days he enrolled at Georgia Southern University and was a two-year starter for the Eagles. As a junior he caught 11 passes for 92 yards and as a senior, when Southern won another National Championship, he snagged 18 passes for 300 yards for an average of better than 16 yards per catch. Allen’s totals came on a team that relied heavily on the running game as their major mode of offense. He signed with the New York Jets of the NFL after college but his professional career was cut short because of an injury suffered during preseason camp.
Gerald Fitch was AAAA Mr. Basketball in Georgia in 2000 after averaging 26.5 points a game for Westside High School. The Seminole standout signed a scholarship to play for Tubby Smith at the University of Kentucky. His first season Fitch was named to the All-SEC freshman team after averaging 6.8 points, 4.4 rebounds, and 2 assists per game. As a senior Gerald was All-SEC first team averaging 16 points and 4.1 rebounds. Over his four seasons in Lexington the ‘Cats compiled a 105-29 record which included three regular season and three SEC Tournament championships. In one of those tourney titles, Fitch was named tournament MVP averaging 19 points a game. Gerald was lethal from long distance nailing 8 three pointers in wins over Georgia, South Carolina and Florida. Fitch played professionally for 13 seasons, mainly overseas, and was with the World Champion Miami Heat during the 2005-2006 season. He received his degree from Kentucky in 2017.
Southeast High School in Macon was in operation for a little more than a decade, but the school produced a major college athlete in football player George Foster. An offensive lineman, the 6’5”, 330 pound Foster would start two seasons at the University of Georgia. He helped the Bulldogs to 13 wins, the 2002 SEC Championship, a 26-13 Sugar Bowl win over Florida State, and a final number 3 ranking in both major polls. Georgia averaged 32 points per game that season. Foster was invited to play in the 2003 Senior Bowl football game, and was a first round draft choice of the Denver Broncos as the 20th overall pick. Foster spent three seasons in Denver starting all 16 games in 2004 without missing a single offensive snap. He started all 16 games again in 2005. In nine NFL seasons, Foster played 67 games with 57 starts. His career included stints with the Lions, Browns, Saints, and Colts. After his playing days, he spent time as a scout with the Rams organization.
Mercer women’s coach Susie Gardner has restored the pride in the Bears basketball team that the school enjoyed back in the early 1970’s. During her time at Mercer the Mt. Juliet, Tennessee native has become the Bears all-time winningest coach. Her team’s won or shared four consecutive regular season Southern Conference championships and won tournament titles in 2018 and 2019 to secure bids in the NCAA tournament. They took a 27 game winning streak into the 2018 NCAA tournament before losing to the University of Georgia in the first round. She is a two-time Southern Conference Coach of the year having won the award in both 2018 and 2019. Prior to coming to Mercer, Gardner served as Head Coach at Austin Peay State University and the University of Arkansas. A standout player at the University of Georgia, Susie served as a graduate assistant at her alma mater and also was an assistant at San Diego State and at the University of Florida.
EDITH HILLMAN GERHARDT
Edith Hillman Gerhardt was voted the best athlete at Macon’s Miller Girls High School both her junior and senior years where she excelled in both basketball and tennis. She was the Wesleyan College tennis champion both her freshman and sophomore years. After transferring to Mercer University, she played both basketball and tennis for the Bears. Her senior year Mercer tennis team went undefeated. In 1938 the Mercer Cluster newspaper rated her as the best all-around athlete in Macon. After college she played semi-professional basketball for the Peeler Hardware Red Devils. She also went on to win women’s singles championships of the Middle Georgia Tennis Association numerous times in the 1930’s, 1940’s and early ‘50’s. Many Maconites from her era have said that she was possibly the best all-around female athlete Macon has ever produced. She joins her son Al Gerhardt, Jr. in the Hall. Edith is a member of Mercer’s Athletic Hall of Fame.
Michael Mimbs is one of the finest baseball players to ever come out of Macon. After a stellar career at Windsor Academy, he played collegiately at Mercer University for fellow Macon Sports Hall of Fame member Barry Myers. He was picked in the 24th round of the Major League baseball draft by the Los Angeles Dodgers in 1990. After being released by the Dodgers he signed as a free agent with the Montreal Expos led their Class AA Harrisburg team with an 11-4 record and a 3.46 ERA. His performance attracted the attention of the Philadelphia Phillies. Mimbs made his way to the major leagues in 1995 with the Phillies and spent three years with the big league club appearing in 73 games with 37 starts. His first season he had a career best 9-7 record. In his second major league start against the Atlanta Braves, he allowed just one hit over six innings in picking up a win against his home state team. During his time in the Majors, Mimbs pitched 264.2 innings while compiling a 12-19 record and a 5.03 era.
John Rocker was a fire-balling left handed pitcher at First Presbyterian Day School in the early 1990’s. He pitched three no hitters for the Vikings baseball team and faced the tough decision of signing a scholarship to pitch for the University of Georgia or try his hand at professional baseball. He opted for the latter and the Atlanta Braves drafted him in the 1993 Major League draft. After four seasons in the minor leagues, which included a stint with the Macon Braves, he was called up to the majors in 1998 and immediately made his mark. That first season he went 1-3 with a 2.13 era in 32.1 innings pitched. In 1999, Rocker moved into the closer’s role and he responded with 38 saves and a 2.49 era while finishing with a 4-5 record. In 2000 Rocker had 24 saves with a 2.89 era and a 1-2 record. He was traded to the Cleveland Indians in 2001 and had a 3-7 record and a 5.45 era for the Tribe which made it to the American League playoffs that season. Rocker also played for Tampa Bay and Texas in the big leagues before retiring in 2005.
Jimmy Turner is a Macon-Bibb County Coaching legend. He spent 33 seasons mentoring young baseball and softball players with 32 of those at First Presbyterian Day School. As a softball coach for the Vikings he compiled a 257-105 career coaching mark that included 7 Region titles and 8 visits to the Final four. His 2007 FPD squad won the GISA State title. His baseball record is just as impressive. His overall coaching mark in that sport is 370-216 with GISA State titles in 1992 and 2010. He also captured 10 region titles between the GISA and GHSA where Presbyterian competes. Turner was an outstanding baseball player in his own right. He was a star shortstop at Lanier High School before going on to the University of Georgia on a baseball scholarship. With the Dogs he was a four year letter winner, captain of the 1973 team and a member of the All-SEC Academic team in 1974. Turner was drafted by the Cincinnati Reds organization in the 26th round and played minor league ball in Billings, Seattle, and Tampa.