Before the emergence of ESPN and other 24-hour sports television coverage, Furman Bisher was the man! It is unlikely there will ever be his equal as sports writer and television analyst.
More than a half century ago, Bisher, sports editor of The Atlanta Constitution, hosted a Sunday television show featuring film highlights and analysis of Saturday college football games. Two of his sidekicks were sports beat writer Jim Minter, who later became the highly respected editor of the AJC, and former University of Georgia football coach turned sports writer Harry Mehre. Coach Mehre’s success as the head coach at UGA and Ole Miss pales in comparison to his reputation as one of Knute Rockne’s most fierce players at Notre Dame.
Bisher’s weekly television programs featured winning teams of the fifties such as Oklahoma, Georgia Tech, Tennessee, Michigan State, Ohio State, and Notre Dame. He was a “homer” giving special attention to the powerful Southeastern Conference which was dominated by Georgia Tech and Tennessee. It may surprise some readers that Georgia Tech was in the Southeastern Conference for more than 30 years.
He loved to write and talk about the games between Georgia Tech and the University of Georgia. The rivalry was always newsworthy because it matched neighbor against neighbor and sometimes brother against brother. It was “good old fashioned hate” for one day. It featured Bobby Dodd versus Wally Butts and the prizes were conference standing, bowl games, recruiting advantage and bragging rights from Hiawassee to Folkston. The fierce rivalry has never been the same since Tech left the Southeastern Conference in 1964.
Bisher covered the Tech-Georgia games objectively and was respected by both sides. His sports columns in The Atlanta Journal were magic and his television show made football more exciting than coverage by the loud-mouthed celebrity sports personalities of today.
I am thankful for Furman Bisher and his role in fostering my interest in sports. He is famous for his annual Thanksgiving columns and his work inspires me to list some things for which I am thankful.
I am thankful for:
• The highly competent Peachtree City paramedics, firemen and police officers who respond to calls promptly and professionally.
• The opportunity to live in a country where I can enjoy Thanksgiving without civil unrest and riots in the streets.
• The men and women serving our country in the armed forces, especially those in harm’s way.
• The memories of Jimmy Deacon and Steve Prince who lost their lives in Vietnam.
• Warren Huddleston, my minister, who has a great sense of humor to go along with his caring attitude toward others.
• My thoughtful daughter, Kathryn, who baked chocolate chip cookies for me last Easter and picks out great sweaters and polo shirts for gifts. (I hope she can take a hint.)
• My wife, Jeanie, who patiently tolerates me and is always sympathetic and supportive when things don’t go my way.
• Jeanie’s brother, Jerry, and sister-in-law, Paula, who host the entire clan for Thanksgiving dinner in Swainsboro. The trip to Swainsboro is more fun than cleaning up at home after the holiday.
• The community volunteers who pick up trash on Sumner Road and the Smokerise communities in good and bad weather.
• My twice a year trips to Casey Key near Venice, Fla., in October and January. It is a pleasure to sit on the beach or play golf in warm weather instead of facing cold weather at home.
• Returning home after every vacation. Peachtree City still has the best quality of life in the Southeast.
• Living in a county with state representatives Matt Ramsey and Virgil Fludd who actually return phone calls from constituents.
• The Peachtree City Council members who treat me politely and fairly despite my constant criticism of their actions.
• The hundreds of charitable and civic organizations in Fayette County that raise money and provide programs for citizens in need of help.
• My classmates from the Carrollton High School class of 1958. We stay in touch and meet for breakfast monthly.
• The consistently improved play of my beloved Georgia Bulldogs since the beginning of the season. I hope they disappoint my Georgia Tech friends by 30 points on Saturday.
[Scott Bradshaw, a resident of Peachtree City, is a real estate broker and residential real estate developer. He may be contacted at email@example.com.]