When Patti Threadgill Kochert visits her dad, she says all he talks about is being a Trojan football player back in his day. As he approached his 82nd birthday on Sept. 1, she decided the perfect gift would be something to commemorate his glory days. So she reached out to the Carrollton Board of Education office for guidance.
“When I talk to him on the phone, and he brings up his football career, I’d ask questions but all he could really tell me was he played (the position of) linebacker and that he was in the Trojan Hall of Fame,” Kochert said. “He didn’t have a plaque or anything to show for that, so I really have no idea but thought I would see if there was any way to find out.”
It turns out Carl Edwin Threadgill, Class of 1957, indeed had glory days to celebrate. The former guard and linebacker was captain of the first state championship team in Trojan history when the team shared title honors with Statesboro High School in the fall of 1956. Co-champion teams were commonplace back then, as there was no such thing as regulation play in overtime to break a tie.
Threadgill and another teammate, the late Jimmy Morrow, were also noticed as standout players in the state championship contest, receiving Atlanta Journal-Constitution All-State honors for their efforts. And his recollection held true – his accomplishments as an outstanding athlete were recognized three decades later with his induction into the Trojan Athletic Hall of Fame in 1986, with the plaque he was presented back then now long gone.
After the initial conversations with Kochert, Carrollton City Schools created a new presentation piece for her to give her dad commemorating his achievements. Last Friday, Kochert, who now lives in Colorado, made the trek back to Carrollton to visit her dad, who is a resident at Pine Knoll Nursing and Rehabilitation center.
Carrollton High School Athletic Director Paul Fitz-Simons met Kochert in the parking lot with the piece in hand. They were hopeful Threadgill would be allowed to come out on the porch to receive the gift, considering the facility has strict pandemic protocols in place for visitors in an effort to protect its residents.
Kochert went inside and explained the situation to administrators and received good news. Her dad would be allowed to come out to the porch for just a few minutes to receive the gift.
It wasn’t long before Threadgill, using his walker, came down a long hallway and out the front door with an attendant by his side. His daughter, smiling widely, and Fitz-Simons were there to greet him. Kochert handed the new plaque to her dad.
“Mr. Threadgill, it is such an honor to meet you, sir,” said Fitz-Simons. “You are a great Trojan.”
Threadgill, eying the plaque, suddenly looked connected to a past long forgotten. He recognized his photo in his football uniform (one his daughter had never seen), and picked out his Number 90 jersey in the sea of other players in the team photograph. There also was a picture of Threadgill, as captain, flanked by head Coach Hugh Maddox and then-assistant Coach Charlie Grisham, both legends in Trojan football. He smiled as memories flooded in. The attendant by his side told him he was now officially the center’s celebrity resident and that she couldn’t wait to tell everyone.
Then, Threadgill was asked a tongue-in-cheek question about whether he was ready to play some football that Friday night. He quickly said, “No. I’m ready to go eat.”
As Kochert prepared to go inside to visit with her dad a little more during lunch, she thanked the school system for taking the time to help honor her dad. “This was so special,” she said. “I am so happy for Dad. He is so proud.”