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Film honors Athens ’75 state football champs

ATHENS — “Willie’s Gift,” a documentary film honoring the 1975 Athens Golden Eagles state championship football team, will premier next month in a benefit showing.

The film by AHS alum Keith Dunnavant, a nationally acclaimed author, documentarian, and historian, will be shown April 20 at 6:30 p.m. in the Athens Performing Arts Center.

Coach Larry McCoy’s Golden Eagles finished with a 12-1-1 record in 1975 and claimed Athens High School’s first state title.

“This is the story of a great football team, one that was a big part of my life growing up,” said Dunnavant. “And it’s also a story about the connective tissue between the program and its community.

“It digs into the power of pride and shared values and how a loving parent can make all the difference.”

Dunnavant’s film features interviews with McCoy, running back/linebacker Freddie Smith, and key players including John Marshall, Steve Parker, Bill Ming, and Thomas

Fans are encouraged to walk the red carpet and mingle with the team members. After the
presentation, Dunnavant will host a brief Q&A session with team members.

“This will be a night of celebration for Athens,” Dunnavant said. “This is our opportunity as a community to recognize this championship football team and also what high school football represents to our culture.

“I look forward to seeing old friends and sharing this special moment with my hometown.”

Tickets are $20 each and available online here  or in person at Mauldin & Jenkins
CPA and First Metro Bank (Athens locations). Tickets will also be available at the door.

Proceeds will benefit The Black and Gold Circle’s Feed the Eagle, a food and nutrition program supporting the Athens High School football team.

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