Howard Edmonds "Doc" Ayers, who became synonymous with Cedartown athletics and lifting up local youth, passed away Saturday morning, Dec. 19, according to a family post on Facebook.
He was 98.
Ayers, who grew up in Toccoa, became the head football coach at Cedartown High School in 1952.
In 12 seasons, Ayers led the Bulldogs to two region championships, seven sub-region championships and Cedartown’s first, and only, state championship in 1963.
His record of 91 wins and 40 losses is still the best in program history.
Ayers' grandson, Trey Ayers, posted the news of his grandfather's passing on Facebook Saturday morning.
"It is with the heaviest of hearts today that I share Howard Edwards Ayers (Doc) went peacefully into heaven this morning," the post reads. "He was truly a one of a kind man who will dearly be missed."
When Vince Dooley took the head coaching job at Georgia in 1964, Doc Ayers was the first assistant coach he hired.
Ayers coached the UGA freshman team to a three-year 28-12 record. It remains the best record in Georgia freshman team football history. He remained on the Georgia staff for 17 years.
Ayers held Cedartown close to his heart, helping with charities and staying busy with the annual Ayers-Beck Celebrity Golf Tournament, which he started with former Cedartown standout and Georgia Tech All-American Ray Beck in 1991.
The tournament, held at Cherokee Golf and Country Club, and has raised several thousand dollars for both community organizations and college scholarships.
Below is the complete Facebook post by Trey Ayers:
"It is with the heaviest of hearts today that I share Howard Edwards Ayers (Doc) went peacefully into heaven this morning. He was truly a one of a kind man who will dearly be missed. Doc taught many of us how to be tough, do things the right way, and believe in ourselves. He was a loving husband, father, grandfather, great grandfather, uncle, great uncle, friend, mentor, and to many more Coach. Doc taught me so many things over the years, but the one that really sticks with me is 'God only gave you one body, so you better take care of it.' He obviously believed in that himself living as long as he did. I Love you Doc and please try and go easy on those folks in Heaven. They may have gotten soft over the years and need some coaching, but hopefully they can also teach you to relax and smell the roses because you deserve it! RIP Coach "Doc" Ayers."