Photo of Terrence McGee, Barron Tanner and Alex Furr

Athens Independent School District honored three of its most outstanding athletes Thursday evening before a packed and adoring crowd. One hundred and forty people took to their feet in the ballroom of the Athens Country Club to welcome Barron Tanner, Terrence McGee and Alex Furr.

“This is one of my absolute favorite events we do,” said Superintendent Dr. Janie Sims. “To see so many people come together and show their appreciation for former students, it beautifully demonstrates how special our district and this community are.”

Former coaches, teammates and classmates were among the many supporters who met each of the honorees with hugs and handshakes as they returned to Athens, the place it all started.

“I’m truly excited,” said Tanner as the evening began, a sentiment all three shared.


Halfway through his freshman season playing football at Athens High School, Tanner was called up to varsity and became an immediate mainstay along the Hornets’ offensive and defensive fronts. He was an all-district selection in each of his three full seasons on varsity and named to an All-America team as a senior.

After graduating AHS in 1993, he spent the next four years playing defensive tackle for the University of Oklahoma. His senior year he was second team All-Big 12. During the fifth round of the 1997 NFL draft, Tanner was drafted by Jimmy Johnson’s Miami Dolphins.

Following two seasons at Miami, he spent a season in Washington before going to the Arizona Cardinals, with whom he played his final four seasons, from 2000 to 2003. The 2001 season was his most productive. Tanner started all 15 games and racked up 37 tackles, 24 of them solo. During his seven seasons with the NFL, his numbers included three sacks, 79 tackles, two forced fumbles and an interception.


McGee made All-District First Team in defense playing football at AHS his junior and senior years, as well as being named to first team All-East Texas and third team All-State in defense as a senior. After graduating from AHS in 1999, McGee was a four-year starting cornerback at Northwestern State University in Louisiana. He set an NCAA record for punt returns with an average of 23.7 yards per clip as a sophomore and earned All-American honors as a return specialist. McGee was later named to the Southland Conference’s All-Time Football Team.

During the 2003 NFL Draft, the Bills took McGee in the fourth round. He spent the entirety of his 10-year NFL career in Buffalo. He began his second season with the Bills as starting cornerback and quickly proved himself to be an elite kick returner. That season, he took back a total of 52 kickoffs for an astounding 1,370 yards with three touchdowns — just one off tying the NFL record that year. The performance earned him Pro Bowl honors as well as All-Pro distinction. McGee made All-Pro again in 2005 — the same year he became the first player in NFL history to return a kickoff and an interception for a touchdown in the same game.

Over a 122-game career — 90 of them as starter —  he logged 17 interceptions and grabbed a host of team kickoff records, such as career yards (5,450), career touchdowns (five) and longest return (a 104-yard return against Miami in 2004).


Furr was an absolute juggernaut for the Lady Hornet basketball team all four years at AHS, earning all-state recognition three years in a row. Her senior year, she averaged 36 points per game. Over her high school career, she averaged 25.7 points per game, scoring more than 40 points in 29 games, more than 50 in four games, with a career high of 54 points. Furr recorded 3,169 career points and 337 total 3-pointers. In 2010, she received the Texas Association of Basketball Coaches “Miss Texas” award.

After graduating in 2010, she played for Fresno State University in California. As a freshman, Furr played in 26 of 33 games and led the team in free throw percentage. Eight games into her second season, she tore the ACL/MCL meniscus in her left knee. Furr returned the following year — only to have it tear again during the first practice, forcing her to sit out all of the 2012-2013 season. After rehabbing a second time, she returned to lead the team for minutes played for the rest of her career. Furr broke the team’s all-time Top 10 in 3-pointers made and career free throws percentage.

In her first season as an assistant coach and recruiting coordinator at New Mexico Junior College, she put together the number-one preseason NJCAA team in the country. They finished as the 2019 national championship runners-up, and Furr was named Women’s Basketball Coaches Association Juco Assistant Coach of the Year. After three seasons there, she became head coach at Panola College in Carthage, and was named to the WBCA’s “30 Under 30” list in 2020. Following a stop as associate head coach for the University of North Texas, Furr was named this past June as assistant coach and director of player development for Southern Methodist University.