Between 1985 and 1993 Tim Jabaley played the game of football as an offensive lineman first at Fannin County High School and then at the University of Tennessee at Chattanooga. His proficiency at that craft has been recognized by the Fannin County Sports Hall of Fame voters who have elected him to the induction class of 2018. Tim also played in the defensive line at Fannin County but is best remembered for his performances on the offensive side of the line of scrimmage.
Generally offensive linemen slug it out with their opponents in the trenches and do not get a lot of publicity unless they miss a block that causes a hot-shot running back or quarterback to get clobbered by the opposing defense. Tim Jabaley, however, enjoyed a notable exception to that situation on the night of September 11, 1987. That evening, the Fannin Rebels met arch-rival Copper Basin in a football contest played in Blue Ridge. The Copper Basin Cougars were in the midst of their gridiron glory days and had defeated Fannin County in 6 of the 7 games that the rivals had played in a series that began in 1982. The teams met two times in 1982 and 1983 with Copper Basin winning each game.
The 1987 Copper Basin game saw the Rebels rush for 234 yards in a 29-14 victory. At 6’ 5”, 255 pounds, Tim Jabaley was a standout during the entire game. After reviewing and grading the game films, the Fannin County coaches fully realized the formidable force that Tim had been in the game and named him as the OFFENSIVE PLAYER OF THE GAME. That’s right, an offensive tackle named as the outstanding offensive player in a big game. In an ironic twist, Rebel running back Brian Satterfield, arguably the best running back in Fannin County history and member of the Fannin County Sports Hall of Fame, was selected as the defensive player of the game in recognition of his 13 tackles and pass interception return for a touchdown.
Tim Jabaley played football, basketball and baseball as a youngster but his football career began in earnest when he played Little League football for a team coached by his father, Dr. R. T. Jabaley Sr. in the seventh grade. His father was an outstanding athlete in his own right and is also a member of the Fannin County Sports Hall of Fame. Then as an 8th grader, Tim played football at West Fannin Junior High School where his coach was yet another Hall of Fame member, Mike Ballew.
In his first season at Fannin County High, Tim played defensive tackle and was also a member of the wrestling team. He began to play both offense and defense as a sophomore and found his niche on the gridiron on the offensive side of the ball. On a team level, his high school career had dramatic ups and downs including an 0-10 record his freshman season followed by 6-4 and 7-3 records the next two seasons. Individually, his high school career reached a high water mark during his senior season of 1988. He was elected as team captain that season and was rewarded for his outstanding play by being named to the Atlanta Journal/Constitution Class AA All-State Honorable Mention team. He was recruited by numerous colleges and universities including the University of Georgia, Clemson, North Carolina State and UT Chattanooga. Tim and his family were treated to numerous on-campus visits and he has a stack of major college football game ticket stubs several inches thick as a reminder of his recruitment.
After completing his senior season at Fannin County, Tim Jabaley was awarded a scholarship to play college football at the University of Tennessee in Chattanooga. His goal from the get-go was to become a medical doctor so he embarked on his college career pursuing a rigorous pre-med academic regimen in addition to the considerable time demands of playing football at a major school. Tim is a very intense and motivated individual and he managed to handle the academic and athletic demands in exemplary fashion.
Academically, Tim Jabaley completed his stay at UTC graduating Summa Cum Laude with a degree in Biology in 1993. He won three varsity letters in football, starting for the Mocs at offensive tackle in 1991 and 1992. In 1990 the Chattanooga Quarterback Club named him as the Most Improved Player on the squad. In 1992 he received the Dayle May Award for having the highest overall grade point average of all athletes at UTC.
During his career at UTC, Tim competed against powerhouses such as Alabama, Clemson, Boise State and Marshall. He played at historic Legion Field in Birmingham, Alabama, Death Valley in Clemson, South Carolina and on the famous blue field at Boise State in Idaho. He says that Alabama defensive ends Eric Curry and John Copeland were his toughest individual opponents. The opening game of the 1992 season against Boise State in faraway Idaho stands out as his biggest thrill in college. The Mocs upset the Broncos 35-20 in that memorable contest.
After graduating from UTC, Tim Jabaley headed for the University of Tennessee College of Medicine in Memphis and then on to Birmingham, Alabama to serve his internship and residency. He then found his way home to Fannin County where he opened his Internal Medicine practice in McCaysville in 2003. He remains in his local practice today in his hometown where lots of people refer to him as ‘Doc’. Tim says that his love of the area and its people and his family will keep him in Fannin County until he retires. He has two teen-age children, Timothy and Olivia. Timothy plays basketball and Olivia plays volleyball and is a cheerleader. His mother Kay continues to make her home in McCaysville. Tim’s father, Ron Jabaley, passed away in November, 2013.
Dr. Ronald Timothy Jabaley Jr. joins his younger sister Leslie as a member of the Fannin County Sports Hall of Fame Class of 2018. Both join their father, the late Dr. Ronald Timothy Jabaley Sr., who was inducted into the Hall of Fame in 2015.