With that in mind, Worthy and Palmer are being recognized as part of the 2013 induction class for the Georgia Dugout Club Hall of Fame.
They join a class that also includes Middle Georgia College coach Robert Sapp, former South Georgia College coach Scott Sims, former DeKalb College coach Tommy Barber and Redan High School coach Marvin Pruitt.
Eight other coaches with Cobb County ties are already in the Hall — Mickey McMurtry (Lassiter), Terry Cadenhead (Sprayberry), Dave McDonald (Wheeler), Donnie English (Osborne, Kell), Steve Smith (Campbell), Harvey Cochran (North Cobb, Mount Paran Christian), Joe Lattanzi (Campbell) and Mike Sansing (Kennesaw State).
Worthy and Palmer both made their marks as head coaches at South Cobb High School.
Worthy coached the Eagles from 1960-78, and his teams won at least 15 game every season. During that period, South Cobb won two region titles and more than 250 games.
“It’s a great honor to be included in the Hall of Fame with these outstanding coaches,” said Worthy, who was also head coach of the South Cobb football team from 1962-76.
Worthy said his best memories came not only from winning the region titles, but from being able to coach “awesome athletes” who eventually went on to become coaches, including Cochran and Dennis Jordan, the former Walton and Kell coach now at North Paulding.
Palmer played football at Presbyterian College before transferring to Georgia in 1974 to complete his degree in education. He began his coaching career at Lithia Springs (1976-79) and Villa Rica (1979-83) before finding his way back to South Cobb, where he did his student-teaching under Worthy, in 1984.
Palmer went on to coach South Cobb for nine seasons, making the state playoffs each year. He was the 1991 Cobb County and Georgia Athletic Coaches Association coach of the year.
How many games Palmer won with the Eagles is up for interpretation. Tim Morse, publisher of Georgia Dugout magazine and a Georgia Dugout Club historian, said Palmer has more than 350 victories to his credit.
Palmer wasn’t so sure.
“Two-hundred-ninety-eight,” he said. “I knew I’d get a plaque from the Dugout Club for 300 wins, and I don’t have that plaque.
“(But) it’s quite an honor to join this group. I feel like I’m the (odd ball) of the (Cobb County hall members). You go to clinics in Chicago or wherever and those guys are the ones everybody knows.”
Palmer, who said he owes a lot to his time looking up to Worthy as a mentor, didn’t expect the Hall nod since he has been an assistant coach since 1991, when he joined Cochran’s staff at North Cobb, and later again at Mount Paran.
Cochran, however, said Palmer and Worthy are worthy honorees.
“They are both exceptional people,” Cochran said. “It’s been an honor to know both guys.”
Worthy and Palmer, as well as the other class members, will be inducted during the Georgia Dugout Coaches Clinic on Jan. 19.