ROSWELL, Ga. — One of Georgia high school football’s most illustrious coaches, and a perennial persona in North Fulton football, has stepped down. Blessed Trinity head coach Tim McFarlin, who led two North Fulton teams to multiple state titles, has announced he is stepping away from the program.
McFarlin said he had been mulling the idea and had conversations with Blessed Trinity Athletic Director Ricky Turner and Principal Cathy Lancaster on the subject. McFarlin first came to the school with the intention of staying for about five years. That commitment doubled.
Whether McFarlin’s departure from the program is a retirement or just a springboard for a new opportunity is still up in the air.
“I’m going to need some time to figure that out,” McFarlin said. “Last Monday was the first time in 40 years I woke up and I hadn’t gone to teach a class. I’m going to enjoy a little bit of time off right now and see what’s next. It could very well be a retirement, but my energy level is still good.”
McFarlin said there are other things he wants to do in the community, including being a more active Rotary member, and he wants further involvement in his church and its philanthropic endeavors.
The coach has been a staple in the North Fulton community his entire life.
McFarlin was born in the Crabapple area of Milton and graduated from Milton High School in 1976.
Shortly after receiving his diploma, McFarlin joined the football coaching staff at Roswell and spent the next 30 years of his life and career at the school. Then it was on to BT, where he has spent the last decade.
Through teaching and coaching, McFarlin’s impact on the community has been widespread. He has coached many of the children of his former students and has seen his former students grow to become successful, both personally and professionally, right in his backyard.
“The whole community is special for a lot of reasons,” McFarlin said. “There is the quality of life, but also there is the quality of people committed to doing good things. It’s just a wonderful place for me and my wife, and we raised children here and they went to these schools. I’m very thankful that God has allowed me to be in this community. What really makes my heart smile is to see those I’ve taught, as adults, giving back and raising kids in the area.”
Among the thousands in the community influenced by McFarlin are scores of football players.
McFarlin had a remarkable run leading Roswell and Blessed Trinity, two schools separated by less than a mile. In 20 years, split equally between Roswell and BT, McFarlin compiled a 194-54-2 record (77.5 percent wining).
McFarlin was promoted to Roswell’s head coach in 1998 after serving under the legendary Ray Manus. Roswell did not have a losing season in McFarlin’s 10-years as head coach, compiling an 82-34-1 record.
In 2000, Roswell captured its first region title in eight seasons. The program won 39 games over the next five years, including four berths in the playoffs, and earned another region title in 2005.
In 2006, McFarlin led Roswell to its third and most recent state championship. The Hornets went 13-1-1 that season, tying with Peachtree Ridge for the Class 5A state championship, the last GHSA tie for a state title. After another deep playoff run in 2007, McFarlin stepped away from the head coaching spotlight.
After helping get the King’s Ridge football program off the ground and serving as Roswell’s quarterbacks coach in 2010, McFarlin got the itch to lead a program again. He joined Blessed Trinity as its second head coach, taking over from Ricky Turner.
Blessed Trinity had already tasted some success ahead of McFarlin’s arrival, but their prominence quickly rose when he arrived in 2011.
BT won 16 games, including two playoff contests, in his first two seasons. Then, the region and state titles piled on.
The Titans won their region crown from 2013-16 and began their incredible eight-year streak reaching at least the quarterfinals of the state playoffs. In 2015, the program reached the state finals for the first time but were downed in an overtime heartbreaker to Westminster.
After another strong 2016 campaign, BT began its championship dynasty.
The Titans won three state Class 4A titles from 2017-19, joining just a handful of programs in the state to three-peat, with two region crowns and just two loses in their three-year run.
This season, BT went 8-1 in an abbreviated season and reached the quarterfinals. In 20 seasons with Roswell and BT, McFarlin’s teams missed out on the playoffs just twice.
Of all the football memories amassed over the last 40 years, McFarlin said it is not championships, wins or losses that will stick out in his mind, rather, the relationships he created.
“All my best memories are relationship-based,” he said. “The No. 1 thing is the faculty and staff at Roswell and BT were just some of the finest people to work with. And nothing is better than being on a football staff that has the same goals. I got to work with some great men in football. Our families are close, were good friends. We’ve been to weddings, graduations and even funerals together.”
Of all the players to suit up for McFarlin, he said the “great ones are easy to remember,” including Super Bowl winners Jermaine Phillips (Tampa Bay Buccaneers) and Chris Reis (New Orleans Saints), to more recent grads like JD Bertrand (Notre Dame) and Steele Chambers (Ohio State).
“But people don’t realize what is equally as important and impactful are all the young men who played their last game in high school and you see them in the community, being great citizens,” he said.
For all his triumphs on the field, in the classroom and to the community at large, McFarlin hopes the legacy he leaves behind, whether or not 2020 was his final season as a head coach, is straightforward.
“I just hope people will say I was a good person and tried to treat everyone fairly,” he said. “That’s what I hope.”