Johnny Farmer

Johnny Farmer Biography – 2013 FCSHOF Inductee

Johnny Farmer (29)When he took on the challenge of coaching the high school girls basketball team in the remote North Georgia town of Blue Ridge, Johnny Farmer said he wanted to “put Fannin County on the map.”

Nearly 600 victories and two state championships later, one can safely say, “mission accomplished.”

The route Farmer mapped out with his stellar playing and coaching career has taken him to a prime destination — the Fannin County Sports Hall of Fame as an inaugural member of the class of 2013.

Born in McCaysville in 1956, Farmer played basketball in local youth leagues in the 1960s and found success on the court early in his career at West Fannin High School.

Watching his older brothers Tony and Greg excel at athletics helped provide Johnny with extra motivation to succeed. Greg was a star basketball player at West Fannin who went on to play at Truett-McConnell and West Georgia, while Tony was a state golf runner-up in 1971 who spent 10 years on the PGA tour.

Johnny started as a sophomore for West Fannin’s basketball team that went 19-8 and made it to the Class A state tournament in 1972, where Farmer’s team-leading 20 points helped the Yellow Jackets to a first-round victory over a Coosa team led by future NBA star Mike Glenn.

Farmer continued to progress as a player under the direction of head coach Tom Foster and assistant T.J. Thompson, both fellow Fannin County Sports Hall of Fame inductees. Farmer averaged 14 points a game as a junior and 23 points and 16 rebounds as a senior Prep All-American.

After graduating from West Fannin in 1974, he attended Cumberland Junior College in Lebanon, TN. While there, he played for rising star Cliff Ellis, who later was the head coach at Auburn and Clemson. Farmer followed Ellis after a year at Cumberland to the University of South Alabama, where he started for three years and earned a bachelor’s degree in education in 1979.

Upon graduation from South Alabama, Farmer and his wife Donna, who have been married since 1976, spent a year in Europe while Johnny played for a professional team in Luxembourg. Midway through the season, Farmer inherited the role of player-coach, and it was there that he picked up his first 15 wins as a head coach before returning to Fannin County.

He spent a year as assistant boys coach and JV girls head coach at Fannin County High School and then took over the varsity Lady Rebels in 1981.

Beginning with a 13-10 record in the 1981-82 season, Farmer’s teams won consistently for the next quarter century, with only one losing record in his 25 years as the girls’ coach. After leading the Lady Rebels to the school’s first-ever state championship in 1993 and another in 1999, Farmer had solidified Fannin County as a well-known destination on the Georgia basketball map.

In fact, Blue Ridge could have been considered the state basketball capital from the 1995-96 season through the 1999 state championship year, when the Lady Rebels posted a state-best 103-9 record, a remarkable 92 percent winning rate over that four-year span.

Farmer was named the 1993 Class AA Coach of the Year by the Atlanta Journal-Constitution and the Atlanta Tip-Off Club

Farmer’s girls teams won 75% of all their games, with a 509-167 record through the 2006-07 season, after which he moved over to coach his sons Jonathan and Jordan who competed for the Fannin County boys team.

Farmer’s first Rebels boys squad started out with a 17-0 record, and finished with a school-record 22 victories and first-ever appearance in the State Tournament for a FCHS boys team.

Farmer retired in 2011 with a final tally of 577 wins, 239 losses (71% winning percentage) and:

– Two state titles.

-Two state runner up finishes.

-Six Final Four appearances.

-Nine Elite Eight appearances.

-13 Sweet Sixteen appearances.

-Five region titles.

-A 24-10 record in state tournament games.

-Fifteen 20-win seasons.

-20 consecutive winning seasons.

Johnny Farmer article in The News Observer Blue Ridge GA

Johnny Farmer Bio Video at HOF Game

Johnny Farmer Banquet Video

 

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