Jimmy Elmore only played one football season at Athens High School, but the standout quarterback from a famous football family made it a good one. Elmore did it all his senior season at AHS, lettering in three sports while making the All-Tennessee Valley Conference team in football and basketball.
The eldest son of 2005 HOF inductee Ferman Elmore, Jimmy will join his dad and brother, Jerry, in the Limestone County Sports Hall of Fame Saturday.
“He was just one of those guys that was good at everything he tried,” said younger brother Jerry, who was inducted in the Limestone Sports HOF in 2012. “He grew up in a coaching family and was very intelligent about the game. Jimmy was one of those guys that did the extra things and was the type of guy you were looking for in a quarterback.”
The Elmores moved back to Athens in 1963 after spending seven years in Dothan. Jimmy’s father, Ferman, began coaching Athens High’s football team in 1948 before accepting the Dothan head coaching position in 1957. When Jimmy was a senior, Ferman was asked to return to Athens where he coached for three more seasons before becoming principal.
“He was a really good player,” said Jerry. “He would have started at quarterback for more than one year, had he not been behind a really good player at Dothan.”
In his one season as Athens’ quarterback, Jimmy was team captain and MVP. During an era where teams predominately ran the ball, Elmore didn’t hesitate to throw the ball with his eldest son as the signal caller.
“He was an outstanding player in high school and a lot of our success was because of him,” said Jerry. “We threw it quite a bit for those times. He was a good passer and a good runner.”
Jerry, who went on to have a Hall of Fame coaching career, was moved to the varsity team as a freshman and was able to play one year of football with his brother.
“We played one year together,” said Jerry. “That was still my favorite year of football that year when we were on the same team together. It was a really good season.”
Limestone County Sports Hall of Fame board member John Witt remembers watching Jimmy play that year at Athens.
“He was just an outstanding athlete,” said Witt. “He was like 'Cool Hand Luke.' You couldn’t rattle him. He was smooth and cool under pressure. He had that 'it' factor and was a good team leader.”
Jerry Elmore followed in the footsteps of many former Athens football players by accepting a scholarship to Memphis State. Elmore played quarterback on the freshman team before moving to safety as a sophomore.
“He was probably an over-achiever in college,” said Jerry. “He played ahead of some guys that might have been better athletically ,but because he was so smart and coachable, he was able to play early.”
Elmore recorded three interceptions and recovered two fumbles his sophomore season before suffering a career-ending injury. As a senior, Elmore coached Memphis State’s freshman team and served one season coaching Austin High School.
In 1970, Jimmy Elmore joined Taylor Publishing Company where he still works today.