‘I’ve been real fortunate.’ Cedar Grove honors Ray Bonner


Cedar Grove High School football and track coach Ray Bonner was brought to tears April 5 after the Cedar Grove faculty and student body honored him for his 10 years of coaching at the Ellenwood high school.

Bonner is retiring this year after 35 years of coaching. The school honored him with a pep rally that included the marching band, all the sport teams, cheerleaders and Hot 107.9 radio station. Bonner’s family was also in attendance. Bonner said the tears he shed were tears of joy.

“I’ve been real fortunate,” he said. “God has really blessed me to teach and coach for 35 years and the lives I’ve been able to touch – it’s sometimes so overwhelming when you look out and see what they’re doing – it’s amazing and it’s especially amazing when they come back and say, ‘Coach, thanks.’”

Bonner began his coaching career in 1978 at Columbia High School, where he spent six years as the head coach of the football and track teams. Bonner moved to Southwest DeKalb High School and was assistant head football coach and the head track coach from 1985-89. He left the high school level to move up to the college ranks to become an assistant head coach at Alabama A&M University in 1989. He was named head coach in 1991.

He moved on to Texas Southern in 1994 and spent five years as assistant head football coach and head track coach. He was also an assistant football coach at Tennessee State, 2000-2003, before moving back to DeKalb to take the head football coaching job at Cedar Grove.

Bonner has a 134-97 record, eight region championships, four area championships and a North Georgia Championship as a high school coach. On the college level he has a 69-85-1 record and three SIAC Conference championships.

Bonner has helped hundreds of players reach the next level in their careers, whether college level or professional level. He had 11 players who made it to the NFL and three track athletes who have participated in the Olympics.

In his final year as coach, he helped 12 athletes earn football scholarships to college. Bonner said he was most appreciative of the parents for entrusting their children to him.

“I’m grateful and I’m humble by the whole thing,” he said. “I did what I was supposed to do, and that’s come to work. I’m just happy.”


3 thoughts on “‘I’ve been real fortunate.’ Cedar Grove honors Ray Bonner

  • May 16, 2013 at 7:08 pm

    Coach Bonner is one of the greatest individuals I met in life, and while at Columbia High School, he made men out of boys. Much love to him and congratulations on his retirement, he is truly a legend. CHS 1985

  • May 16, 2013 at 7:25 pm

    Congratulations Ray B, and you will always be my favorite football coach. The mighty Columbia Eagles from the early 80’s. Romone M West

  • July 30, 2013 at 9:37 am

    Thanks for allowing me to be part of your coaching experience. I am a better person and coach.


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