Mac McWhorter has quite a resume.
He spent 40 years coaching football, almost every one of them as an offensive line coach. His career included 12 different stops, including two each at Georgia and Georgia Tech.
The former All-SEC player under Vince Dooley even came close to becoming the head coach of the Yellow Jackets. And when many former players and coaches are asked about Hamilton Pierce McWhorter, they all say good things.
Perhaps Penn State offensive guard Miles Dieffenbach says it best: “We love him a lot … he loves to have a good time. He’s a funny guy. I don’t know how old he is, but he’s out there like he’s 25 years old.’’
McWhorter grew up on Atlanta’s Southside, where he was a star linebacker at Therrell High School before graduating in 1969.
His great uncle was Bob McWhorter, the first All-American football player at Georgia, but his mother’s side had ties to Georgia Tech.
McWhorter was a captain and All-SEC as a senior, but at 6-foot and 230 pounds, he wasn’t going to the NFL.
He thought about real estate, but ended up coaching at Duluth High School. McWhorter then spent four years at Douglas County High School and was a head coach for one year at Villa Rica before joining Bill Curry at Tech in 1980.
He spent a year as receivers coach before moving to the offensive line and recruiting coordinator, and was one of the reasons behind the 9-2-1 record and All-American Bowl victory in 1985.
He followed Curry to Alabama before Curry resigned and went to Kentucky. McWhorter was hired as head coach at West Georgia.
That lasted a year and he went to Duke for a season before he received a call from Georgia coach Ray Goff, who brought him to Athens for a season.
Goff was let go in ’95 and Glen Mason was hired. McWhorter was supposed to be on his staff, but Mason got cold feet.
So McWhorter coached three seasons at Clemson before returning to Tech, this time actually becoming the interim head coach for the 2001 Seattle Bowl, after Georgia O’Leary left for Notre Dame.
McWhorter wanted the Tech job, but Tech hired Chan Gailey.
That led McWhorter to join Mack Brown at Texas, where the Longhorns won a national championship (2005).
He stayed there nine years and then retired, but was lured to Penn State by Bill O’Brien. He finished his career with the Nittany Lions.
Where he lives: McWhorter, now 66, lives in Bogart, outside Athens, and has been married to Becky for 34 years. He had one daughter (Kasey) from a previous marriage and two children with Becky (daughter Katie and son Mac).
What he does: He enjoys riding his new Harley, playing golf and tailgating at Georgia football games. He also has three grandchildren.
On his first start at Georgia: “It was against Tech and (All-American) Royce Smith was at right guard and had gotten hurt, and I was the second-team left guard, so they moved me to right guard. They ran the winning play right behind me when Jimmy Poulos jumped in for the score. But I am convinced that the reason they ran the play was because they didn’t realize Royce was on the sidelines with them.’’
On beginning his coaching career as a high school coach: “I thought I was going into real estate, but my father was in sporting goods and he knew the coach at Duluth and they needed an offensive line coach. It was a Class B school. We may have had 250 students, but we had George Rogers, and he not only overran the team we played, but his own teammates in practice.’’
On following Curry to Alabama: “I loved it there. But I think a couple of factors are the reason it didn’t work for Bill. You have to understand there were not a lot of coaches that came out of Tech, but hundreds out of Alabama. There was also the fact that when Tech was in the SEC, Bobby Dodd and Bear Bryant had a falling out and there was a big rivalry between the schools. So there were the people at Alabama wondering why in the world do we have a coach from Georgia Tech.’’
On Goff: “I have said this before that he probably shouldn’t have gotten the job, that he probably wasn’t ready. But he grew into the job and that was the best staff I have ever been on as far as being connected to the state of Georgia with recruiting. Ray knew everyone, he knew the sheriff in every town. I think it would have paid dividends if he had been allowed to continue, but the Vandy loss hurt.’’
On being the interim coach at Tech for one game: “I am the winningest coach ever at Tech. No, seriously, I wanted the job, but initially was told by (athletics director) Dave Braine that I would not be considered. That changed and Dave said he wanted to interview me for the job. I know people were thinking why would Tech hire a Georgia guy, but if you think about it, I was at Tech for nine years, much longer than any of the players who had been there.”
On his final two years at Penn State: “Bill asked me to come out of retirement, and the thing was, of all the coaches I have ever been with, he was the most knowledgeable. I think that has a lot to do with coaching for Bill Belichick as he started, with him getting his coffee, but then really learned the game from him.”