Coach Frank Emmitt Clay becomes the final member of the inaugural class of the GCHS Sports Hall of Fame. It’s a fitting honor for a very good coach and an even better man.
The Hall of Fame committee is in the process of drafting a ballot for the 2014-2015 Hall of Fame class. Members of the committee and those who have been voted in this year will vote on that ballot soon and the next class will be announced at the Hall of Fame banquet in August.
Coach Frank Clay became the final inductee of the 2013-2014 Inaugural class of the Grundy County High School Sports Hall Fame Saturday after the Yellow Jackets defeated DeKalb County in Coalmont.
Coach Clay served as head baseball coach for the Yellow Jackets from 1971 through 1984. Frank Emmitt, as he is known to those who love him, had a successful career with over 170 wins and at least four players who went on to play at the college level. He and his teams also registered some pretty big wins with a win over Tullahoma the year the Wildcats won the state championship and a win over then #1 ranked Murfreesboro Oakland.
He is credited with keeping the program alive through lean times doing everything from driving the bus for the team as well as working to keep field in reasonable shape.
Former player Gary “Rooster” Brewer had high words of praise for his former coach.
“I think the head baseball coach job came about out of necessity. No one else wanted it or had other obligations, so Mr. Clay took it. Without him we probably wouldn’t have had a team. Needless to say Mr. Clay had his plate full, but you would never know it by his unselfish attitude he displayed to us each day. I’m sure there were times when he felt loaded down and worn out but as a baseball player and general shop student I never say anything but professionalism out of Frank Emmitt Clay. His demeanor as a coach was calm and relaxed. He just let you play and enjoy it with no pressure. He was definitely a players’ coach,” said Brewer.
During his tenure Coach Clay’s teams didn’t have a field at the school. They didn’t have a booster club. They didn’t even have a bus driver as Coach Clay had to also drive the bus to the games. He and his players not only made do with what they had but produced some good teams and successful athletes. More importantly Coach Clay helped produce successful, responsible adults who have contributed to their community.
After the ceremony Saturday Coach Clay was almost too emotional to say how he felt about the honor.
“It feels super. I was the bus driver, fixed the field and coached the kids. We were busy. I guess I did the best I could. The kids had a lot of talent. The kids helped fix the fields and I wore a truck out dragging the field. I had a great time,” said a visibly moved Coach Clay.