“Marietta as a community, Marietta as a school district has always been special, better, [and] different,” said Adrian Wright, MHS ’01, to his former Blue Devil teammate and fellow MCS employee Coach Derrick “Bup” Tinsley. The two recently reminisced about the historical significance of Marietta being back in the football state championship for the first time since 1967, the year Marietta was integrated.
Tinsley, who was inducted into the Marietta High School Hall of Fame this year for his accomplishments as a student athlete, was coached in his early football years by a member of the original ’67 State Championship team, Coach Harold “Buster” Brinson.
“Me personally, my little league football coach – I’ll never forget – he used to take me to all the Marietta football games, even when we moved away from Marietta. To have a coach be on the ‘67 state championship team, and personally introduce me to Coach Friday, and for me to play at Marietta the way I did…it brings everything back together, so I’m connected to it [in] more ways than one,” explained Tinsley, MHS ’01.
To celebrate the journey of the 2019 statebound Blue Devil team, Marietta is hosting a week of #bluedevilpride festivities. The outpouring of community support is no surprise to Wright, who was in the stands with other Blue Devil alumni supporting his team in their semifinal win over Parkview High School last Friday.
“I sat in the stands, and you had that class of the late 60’s in front of me and sitting behind me was the class of the early 80’s, and what I ended up seeing was those two classes interacting as family members because they were all Marietta Blue Devils,” said Wright.
As the final moments of the fourth quarter came to an end with the Blue Devils leading 42 to 31, the visitor’s side exploded into chants of “we’re going to the ‘ship!” Coach Tinsley, who is the current running backs coach, understands why the support runs so deep in this community.
“The fact that we are here [the championship], every Blue Devil has still been there, it just hasn’t been our time, but now that we’re back, that’s why you get all the support, that’s why all the alumni are still there…everyone always has been paying attention to Marietta, because you know, back in the day, Marietta was the team to beat!”
The legacy of #BeSomebody, started by Marietta coach Ben Wilkins in the late 60’s and popularized by Coach Friday, is now being built upon by Coach Rich Morgan who is guiding his players to make an IMPACT (Integrity, Mental Toughness, Passion, Accountability, Courage, and Teamwork).
It is the hope of the current coaching staff that, win or lose and whether or not they continue playing football, the current Blue Devil team will carry on the legacy of being somebody by having an IMPACT on their community.
“That’s what really matters,” says Tinsley as Wright agrees. “When you have that Marietta blue on, when you run into anybody, it’s immediately a hug; not a handshake, we hug. Because it doesn’t matter what year you are, if you graduated in ’77 vs 2007, we’re all family members across the board.”