Bobby Tamplin’s retired jersey finds a home
By Alvin Richardson
Some of you know this story and many do not. It is, however an enduring part of the history of Morgan County, Morgan County’s football program and of the Tamplin family and needs to be refreshed in our memories from time to time.
It is a story that can inspire us and one that can help us remember that events of the past make a profound impact many years after they occur.
It also serves to show us how one person’s life can lead us and set an example for us long after they are gone.
Bobby Tamplin was the quintessential high school scholar, athlete, and community member.
His life was captioned by characteristics that we all aspire to.
He was one of the top students in his class, he was selected to preside over many clubs at Morgan County High School, he was the captain and quarterback of state championship football teams, and above all he won the respect of everyone he came in contact with.
As a member of the Class of 1961, Bobby was selected as the Class President and “Most Likely to Succeed” by his peers.
He also captained the 1960 football team along with Ben Porter.
Bobby was a part of two state championship teams. He was the backup quarterback to Jake Saye on the 1958 state championship team and took over as the starting quarterback to lead the Dogs to another title in 1959.
In that glorious season, his passing, and in particular his role as field general, played a key role in the team’s success.
During that year he threw four touchdown passes in one game (vs Oglethorpe County) and one of those was to his younger brother Charles.
His touchdown connection with Charles is one of only two brother combinations in school history to be on both ends of a touchdown play.
Bobby scored a key touchdown against Hart County, connected on two important scoring passes against Tallulah Falls in the playoffs and also completed another big touchdown toss to Branham Garth in the state semifinals against Villa Rica. For his efforts he was named Honorable Mention All State at quarterback.
He participated in track and basketball as well to round out a stellar athletic career at MCHS.
Two of his coaches had an opportunity to reflect back on Bobby’s career.
Coach Bill Corry said, “Bobby was probably the smartest football player we ever had. He did not make mistakes and was a leader on and off the field.”
Coach Jack Gnehm echoed some of those thoughts. “All the way through school everyone looked up to him. He and his entire family were always well thought of in Morgan County.”
Bobby’s life through high school was one straight out of a fairy tale.
The All-American kid who won the hearts of everyone he came in contact with.
After graduating in 1961 Bobby went to Georgia Tech and spent two years there majoring in civil engineering.
In the summer of 1963, while home on the family farm, he was involved in an accident that cut his life tragically short.
It was a blow of unimaginable magnitude to his family and the Morgan County community.
That tragedy led to a series of events that culminated in the retirement of his football jersey (number 16) in October of 1963.
His jersey is the only one retired in the long history of Morgan County High School.
Bobby Tamplin’s retired jersey will once again take a place of honor.
This time it will find a home in the new gymnasium on the Morgan County High School campus.
His legacy will long be remembered by those who knew him. For those of us who never met him, we now know the story and can remember one of Morgan County’s finest sons in the proper way.
His wholesomeness, scholarship, leadership, athletic ability and the admiration of his peers all point to a life well lived.
It can direct us all toward goals that we can aspire to. His life made a difference and that is the best thing that can be said about any person.