SAVANNAH, GA- Friends, fellow coaches, players, and longshoremen crowded the Jonesville Baptist church this weekend celebrating the life of Jerry Hampton.
Hampton passed away earlier this week in a car accident.
A saying hundreds yelled out in this weekend’s funeral service summarized Hampton’s impact to those who knew him; “We all knew Jerry, but we all loved Smitty.”
“If anybody had a problem with Jerry Hampton something wrong with them,” says Savannah High boys basketball head coach Tim Jordan.
Jordan coached Hampton to the Blue Jackets ’98 state title championship. He looks back at when Hampton was cut from the team as a freshman but took that rejection and worked even harder to make the team the next year. He eventually would become the player at propelled the jackets into that state title game, Jordan says, when Hampton led in scoring during the teams semifinal match up.
“He really made his offense create his defense, I can picture him now he would be four feet off the ground playing defense that’s the kind of kid Smitty was he loved it, everybody loved playing with him, it was infectious with him,” says Jordan.
Hundreds honored Hampton this weekend. He worked as a longshoreman on the Savannah ports, but his real love was working as an assistant coach for the boys team at Jenkins High, who are coming off a championship season no doubt thanks to his heavy preaching of defense.
“He was just a great coach, he was always spirited, he just lifted the team up in bad situations and just a great person in general,” says Jenkins High shooting guard Dimitri Chambers.
His spirit dozens at Saturday’s service say was taken too soon. Others saying they understand that he had already done so much in his time here, he was being called for help elsewhere.
“Blue heaven I know that’s where he’s gone right now, Blue Heaven so we already know that,” says Coach Jordan.
Chambers says the boys basketball team without a doubt expect to enter the 2015 season playing honor of their coach.