Randy Smith: Sports Hall Of Fame Banquet A Big-Time Event

Tuesday, February 26, 2013 - by Randy Smith
Randy Smith
Randy Smith


After 47 years and hundreds of deserving inductees, the Greater Chattanooga Area Sports Hall of Fame Banquet just keeps getting bigger and better. Monday night at the Trade Center, a sold-out crowd watched, clapped, cried and even stood in appreciation of the many award winners. Some of the highlights included the male and female athletes of the year presentations; golfers Steven Fox from UTC and brand new LPGA Tour member Brooke Pancake. Cleveland’s highly successful businesswoman Brenda Lawson was presented the Fred Gregg Jr. Award for her great philanthropic work in the Volunteer state, and Sale Creek basketball star Rachel Price thrilled the crowd and brought plenty of tears as she accepted the Walt Lauder Award for courage and perseverance. Rachel made the announcement that she was now cancer free after her doctor, who was in attendance, gave her the great news just before the banquet. (You just can’t make stuff like this up.)

The tears that were shed were tears of happiness at the wonderful news that Rachel received. There were other tears shed on Monday night; tears of love and admiration for GPS Physical Education Instructor and Department Head, Peggy Michaels, who received the Betty Probasco Award for lifetime achievement.   Peggy has battled Multiple Sclerosis for twenty-seven years, yet she still teaches every day. She was there when my daughter Christi was a seventh grader in 1991, and to this day she still gives Peggy Michaels credit for helping her make it through GPS. That was twenty-two years ago, and Peggy had been fighting MS for seven years at that time. We all admired her for her perseverance back then, but I had just assumed she had retired years ago and done what I would very likely would have done; gone to the house and sat down when walking became very, very difficult.

But not Peggy Michaels. She walks slowly with the assistance of a cane, and she also has a small motorized vehicle she uses to get around while she teaches each day. After the banquet I walked over to where Peggy was standing with family and friends, thinking she worked just a partial schedule. I asked her if she was at GPS every day and she replied, “Yes…..I still work full time. I’m there every day.” I should have known. The dedication she has for her students and the love she has for her job is more than just a part-time deal. In 1993, she was honored as the Tennessee Secondary Schools Teacher of The Year. She designed a physical education program called, SHAPE, which is a model for fitness/wellness programs in the southeast.

Peggy Michaels considers herself blessed to be able to work at GPS, where she is surrounded daily by youngsters of all shapes and sizes. She says they are also a blessing to her, but if you ask any one of them, they would say Peggy Michaels is a real blessing to them as well.

Speaking of blessings…we were all blessed by her presence and her speech at the Hall of Fame Banquet. We were also blessed to hear Rachel Price’s words describing the tough year she has had battling cancer, followed by the tearful announcement, “I’m now cancer free!” We were also blessed by the humility shown by the great athletes, coaches, and officials who were enshrined into the Hall of Fame.

As my wife Shelia and I were leaving the Trade Center, we both commented on how tired we were when we got there, but how great we felt just three hours later. Thanks to the Greater Chattanooga Area Sports Hall of Fame; you literally made our day.


rsmithsports@comcast.net

---

Randy Smith has been covering sports in Tennessee for the last 43 years. After leaving WRCB-TV in 2009, he has continued his broadcasting career as a free-lance play-by-play announcer. He is also an author and is a media concepts teacher at Brainerd High School in Chattanooga. He is also the Head Softball Coach at Brainerd. Randy Smith's career has included a 17-year stint as scoreboard host and pre-game talk show host on the widely regarded "Vol Network". He has also done play by play of more than 500 college football, basketball, baseball and softball games on ESPN, ESPN2, Fox Sports, CSS and Tennessee Pay Per View telecasts. He was selected as "Tennessee's Best Sports Talk Show Host" in 1998 by the Associated Press. He has won other major awards including, "Best Sports Story" in Tennessee and his "Friday Night Football" shows on WRCB-TV twice won "Best Sports Talk Show In Tennessee" awards. He has also been the host of "Inside Lee University Basketball" on CSS for the past 11 years. He was the first television broadcaster to ever be elected to the "Greater Chattanooga Area Sports Hall of Fame", in 2003. Randy and his wife, Shelia, reside in Hixson. They have two married children (Christi and Chris Perry; Davey and Alison Smith). They also have three grandchildren (Coleman, Boone, and DellaMae).



Prep Wrestling: Host Blue Tornado Wins McCallie Invitational

Led by champions Alex Whitworth (126) and River Henry (285), the host Blue Tornado won the McCallie Wrestling Invitational Saturday with 209.5 points while runner-up Woodland finished with 193.5 points. North Hall (166), West Laurens (155.5) and defending champion Union Grove (155) completed the top five in the 33-team field. Woodland, who won this tourney in 2015, had ... (click for more)

Stoker Beats Ensign At End To Win Wauhatchie

Rodney Stoker is hard to beat and it doesn’t matter if it’s on a road or a slick trail on the side of Lookout Mountain. The 41-year-old Stoker won the Sports Barn Turkey Trot 8K on Thanksgiving and he made his return to the 33 rd annual Wauhatchie Trail Run on Saturday a successful one as he caught 10-time winner Tim Ensign in the final quarter mile to win the challenging and ... (click for more)

Person Shot With Life-Threatening Injuries On The Southside Early Sunday Morning; Delivery Driver Carjacked On Southside

A person was shot on the Southside early Sunday morning. Police said the victim had life-threatening injuries. The shooting happened just before 3 a.m. at 1400 Cowart St. One resident said, "I was walking my dogs this morning in SouthSide and there has been a shooting (again) in the parking lot off of 13th Steet. "There have been two shootings in this lot in the last ... (click for more)

Bradley County Deputy Shoots And Kills Stabbing Suspect At Charleston

A Bradley County deputy shot and killed a man who was a suspect in a stabbing early Sunday morning. The Sheriff's Office said, "At approximately 11:54 p.m. on Saturday, a call was received at the Cleveland/Bradley County 911 Center to report a stabbing at a residence on Leyland Drive in Charleston. "The caller indicated a male had been stabbed and another male had fled from ... (click for more)

The Growing Monopoly

Over the last decade, five tech giants have risen to the top, and created, discovered and invented services and products that have made these companies worth billions today. Those five, of course, are Facebook, Apple, Amazon, Microsoft, and Google. Each of these companies are responsible for several products and services that we use in our everyday lives. They have devoured the ... (click for more)

Roy Exum: Those We All Ignore

I was in the midst of my “morning readings” the other day when a number leapt off my computer screen. Hark, heralded angels, did you know in the state of Iowa there are two (2) inpatient psychiatry beds for every 100,000 people? I’m not the best with percentages but there are some people in Iowa who aren’t getting the help they need. There are roughly 3.2 million people living in ... (click for more)