Football’s Garrison Hearst, Manuel Diaz from men’s tennis and coach/administrator Liz Murphey of the University of Georgia have all been chosen for induction into the Georgia Sports Hall of Fame Class of 2017, it was announced on Wednesday.
The trio of Bulldogs who help make up the eight-member Class of 2017 will be honored in Macon, Ga., on Feb. 25 at the Historic Macon City Auditorium. In addition to Hearst, Diaz and Murphey, Laura Coble, who lettered on the Georgia women’s golf team in 1983 and went on to have an outstanding amateur career, will also be inducted.
Diaz is entering his 29th season as the head coach of the Georgia men’s tennis program. During that time, his teams have won a combined 26 Southeastern Conference titles (includes regular season and tournament championships) and four NCAA National Championships. The San Juan, Puerto Rico native, who played at Georgia from 1972-75 and was a two-time All-American as a player, is a three-time ITA National Coach of the Year and five-time SEC Coach of the Year. He took over for legendary coach Dan Magill in 1989 and has compiled an impressive 651-140 record in 28 seasons.
“I know how honored Liz would have been, and I’m sure Garrison shares my pride on being selected for the Georgia Sports Hall of Fame,” Diaz said. “I have been privileged to work at my alma mater as the head men’s tennis coach for close to 30 years. There is no doubt this is the greatest institution in the country, and I am honored to work with so many great people. I want to thank our administration, all of our players past and present, our fans and my mentor Dan Magill for helping make this the premier tennis program in America. I am humbled and grateful to the Georgia Sports Hall of Fame for this honor and putting my name among some remarkable athletes and coaches from across this state.”
Murphey was Georgia’s former women’s golf coach and Senior Woman Administrator from the implementation of Title IX through the mid-90s. Murphey’s fingerprints remain a vital part of Georgia Athletics as she helped hire current coaches Jack Bauerle and Jeff Wallace. All told, coaches Murphey helped hire have led UGA to 19 NCAA Championships – including the latest title by swimming and diving in 2016 – and 44 SEC Championships. Murphey, the 1984 National Golf Coach of the Year who led her team to six top-10 finishes, was inducted into the UGA Circle of Honor in 2001.
Hearst, a native of Lincolnton, Ga., was an All-American at Georgia in 1992 and lettered for the Bulldogs from 1990-92. The consensus All-American led the nation in touchdowns in 1992 and was named the Doak Walker Award recipient as the top running back in the nation that same season. He finished third in the 1992 Heisman Trophy race and wrapped up his remarkable career as the school’s second all-time leading rusher behind only Herschel Walker. Following his time at Georgia, he was selected by the Arizona Cardinals as the third overall pick in the 1993 NFL Draft.