Appling Co.’s Tomberlin retiring after 34 years coaching

Led nine different programs in career, winning 270 games and three state titles

Appling Co.’s Tomberlin retiring after 34 years coaching
Longtime Georgia high school football coach Rick Tomberlin is retiring after 34 years with nine different programs. (Source: WTOC)

BAXLEY, Ga. (WTOC) - Appling County head football coach Rick Tomberlin tells WTOC he is retiring, ending a career spanning nearly three and a half decades.

“It’s time. I need to spend some time with my grandchildren,” Tomberlin said in a phone conversation Thursday afternoon. “I’m going to be a full time paw paw and a better husband.”

The 63 year old led nine different teams over his 34 year career, winning 270 games across Georgia. He led Washington County to three state titles between 1994-1997, with all three championship teams going 15-0.

Tomberlin led nine different teams to 270 wins, three state titles, and ten region championships in his career. He coached Appling County for the past three seasons.
Tomberlin led nine different teams to 270 wins, three state titles, and ten region championships in his career. He coached Appling County for the past three seasons. (Source: WTOC)

Tomberlin’s final stop happened in his hometown of Baxley, leading Appling County for three seasons. The Pirates went 24-10 during his tenure and reached the state playoffs every year. In 2020, Appling went 9-2 and reached the Class AAA quarterfinals. It was the program’s deepest playoff run since 2011.

It’s not the first time Tomberlin has retired, but he says this will be the last.

“Today is my first official day of retirement. This is it. I’m going to relish this new role,” he says. “I’m glad to have ended my career in Baxley.”

Tomberlin says he made the decision last week after thinking about it over Christmas break. He says he spoke with school administration and his assistants earlier this week and broke the news to his players Wednesday.

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