Former Dougherty High football coach passes away at 78

Coach Welsh's yearbook entry from the 1969 Dougherty High School yearbook. This was his first season with the team. / 1969 Dougherty High School Yearbook

Luther Welsh, former Dougherty High football coach, died Thursday morning at the age of 79. Welsh had been at University Hospital since Wednesday morning. McDuffie County Coroner Rhusha Mack said Welsh died around 9:05 a.m. on Thursday due to heart complications.

Welsh has spent the past 19 seasons coaching at Thomson High School in Augusta, Ga. Welsh won 333 games and three state titles during his 46 year career. Welsh was the Dougherty head football coach before taking the job at Thomson, and made a lasting impact on many Albany's local coaches.

"He was not a tall or big guy in stature, but when you watched him walked the sidelines he was one of the most fiery coaches that I'd probably ever been around. When it comes to enthusiasm and getting kids ready to playâ|he's one of those that will be truly missed," Dougherty County Athletic Director Johnny Seabrooks said.

Seabrooks coached against Welsh with Monroe High School early in his career. While current Dougherty head coach Jesse Hicks, knew Welsh on several different levels. Hicks coached against Welsh with Baldwin High School, played against Welsh's teams with Glen Hills High School and recruited Welsh's players to Albany State.

"On any level, you want to have a coach that cares about the people that he's coaching and that he has hands on with them. Coach Welsh was a great man and just somebody that I adored as a coach and, personally, thought was a great person," Dougherty Head Coach Jesse Hicks said.

CORRECTION: Welsh died at the age of 79.