Former Coral Gables coach Garry Ghormley stood for discipline and tradition during his four decades on the sidelines.
In an era that saw football and society undergo radical changes, Ghormley never wavered in his ideals, keeping his players on the right path with a no-nonsense style learned from his four years serving in the Marine Corps.
His impact is still felt by many of Miami-Dade County’s most successful players and coaches.
“I ran my programs at Northwestern and Killian based on what I learned at Gables under Coach Ghormley,” said Billy Rolle, who won state titles at both schools and is now an assistant coach at Coral Reef. “No matter how many games we won or lost, that was one thing that I took pride in and was always me — discipline.”
Ghormley, the former Gables coach who succeeded the legendary Nick Kotys and coached the Cavaliers for 12 seasons, died this past Thursday in St. Louis, where he had been living the past 10 years with his family after suffering a stroke in 1999. He was 78.
Ghormley, a member of the Florida Athletic Coaches Association Hall of Fame, followed Kotys’ tenure, which included six state championships (two determined by polls) and four national championships. Ghormley kept Gables on the winning track going 82-37-1 and leading the Cavaliers to 10 winning seasons, including 9-1 seasons in 1977 and 1979.
“He was a very devoted coach, teacher and family man as well,” said Ghormley’s son, Mike, a Gables alum and football coach himself the past 27 years at Mehlville in St. Louis. “He always wanted his players to do the right thing and lived his life that way.”
Ghormley began coaching at Gables in 1959 after playing college football at Miami, Temple and Virginia Tech as a center and linebacker. He also coached basketball at Gables for six years and as an assistant in football. He left Gables in 1967 and returned in 1970, serving as the offensive tackle and end coach before replacing Kotys in 1973.
Ghormley, originally from Hagerstown, Md., moved to Miami when he was 19 and still serving with the Marines as an electronics technician.
After coaching at Gables, he worked as a scouting coordinator at the University of Miami under Jimmy Johnson and later Dennis Erickson before eventually returning to the high school sideline.
Ghormley coached at Southridge in the early 1990s and was the running backs coach during the Spartans’ 1993 state title season, when he coached Troy and Darren Davis — two of the county’s all-time best at the position.
“As far as integrity and caring about kids, Garry was always top notch,” said former Coral Gables athletic director Harold Cole, who coached with Ghormley and played basketball on one of his teams in high school. “He was a drill sergeant in the Marines and he coached that way. You had to be on time, no excuses. That’s how Garry ran his program. He took care of his coaches and players and loved the school.”
Ghormley was buried Monday at the Jefferson Barracks National Cemetery in St. Louis. He is survived by his son, Mike, his daughters, Laura and Janet, and seven grandchildren.
Columbus d Miami Christian 5-2: High Game Alex Yaniz 245 (MC): High Series Alex Yaniz 597. COL 7-2.
• Late Tuesday, Columbus d. Coral Park: High Game: Giovanni Andres (CP) 222. High Series: Giovanni Andres 572. COL 6-2.