Chattanooga Sports Hall of Fame Honors Twenty-Five

Tuesday, February 26, 2013 - by B.B. Branton

It was a Chattanooga Sports Hall of Fame night to remember and cherish.

Softball great Ronnie Kincer was honored for once beating the King (and his Court), Central High and Vandy baseball talent Rick Duncan gave praise to the King of Kings and all of Chattanooga saluted the Greater Chattanooga Sports Hall of Fame class of 2013 Monday night at the Convention and Trade Center.

Sale Creek High School senior Rachel Price fought back tears as she told the 300-plus audience she is now cancer free, UTC tennis All-American Lori Massengill celebrated a birthday and spoke of her national championship-clinching half volley and Peggy Michaels smiled and told us all – who gave her a richly-deserved standing ovation - of her fight with MS and her great support team.

The late legendary Howard football coach Red Gaston, who once helped put “Hustlin’ ” in the Tigers gridiron program with state championship teams, had his 80-year-old daughter, Alice Ann Gaston Combs, hustle down South from Detroit to tell us about her dad.

Brooke Pancake left her world golf tour to be here and stand alongside fellow golfer Stephen Fox (UTC senior) as the Female and Male Athletes of the Year as this area is blessed to have two high quality players and people calling Chattanooga home.

Former world champion wrestler Gordon Connell conveyed how important a coach is in the life of an athlete and developing lasting relationships far outweigh team championships.

Laura Pitman and Caroline Caulkins Bentley made a big splash in their swimming careers.

Bentley thanked her dad, Bill, for all those years of taking her to pre-dawn and post-dinner practices so she and sister, Betsy, could become All-Americans and Pitman thanked her mom for letting a 13-year-old go 600 miles from home to chase her dream of also becoming an All-American.

And what is a hall of fame without a Guerry involved, as Baylor School and Sewanee great Pat Guerry spoke of being in high cotton and on the same dais with such accomplished hall of famers.

Knowing how to stay the course, Dr. Peter Hunt told of his track and field journey from The Bright School to McCallie to Princeton becoming one of the nation’s best decathletes, while UTC coach Bill Gautier was also honored for his accolades in cross country and track and field.

And how would we know of these hall of fame accomplishments without those who report … and Ch.9 sports and news anchor Dave Staley is one of the best with more local and national awards than the other two Chattanooga television stations combined.

A Few Notes on the Class of 2013

Howard Coach Red Gaston was valedictorian at old Lincoln High School

Dr. Peter Hunt graduated with McCallie’s highest award – the Clifford Barker Grayson Medal

Pat Guerry is the fifth family member to be inducted … following  John (his dad), Alex (his uncle) and Zan and Pem (his cousins)

Softball great Ronnie Kincer pitched back-to-back perfect games and an additional seven no-hitters in 1967.

Ted Shipley earned 12 varsity letters at Baylor School

Football official Will Dickerson is also a member of the Tri-state Gospel Music Hall of Fame

Thought-provoking Quote:  Upon introducing Peggy Michaels, co-emcee Sam Woolwine said, “a great measurement of one’s life is the number of those you have influenced … and Peggy has touched so many lives.”

“Thanks for the Coat Tails”: Rick Duncan told of this chain reaction with Ted Shipley … both played summer ball for Tennessee Plywood out of high school … Vandy scouted and signed Shipley and upon watching Duncan, signed him as well … in1974, Shipley was a first round draft pick by the Minnesota Twins … a year later, the Twins also took Duncan in the first round … Monday night Shipley was inducted into “the hall” as was Duncan.

Sports Analogy: Peggy Michaels said her bench is full of strong prayer warriors … the stands are packed with supportive family and friends … her team includes personal trainers to keep her going each day … her MVP’s are her two daughters who have tirelessly worked to raise money for MS research … and her point guard is her mom “who points me to God’s word for direction, to rejoice pray and give thanks.”

Giving Back: Freg Gregg Jr. Award recipient Brenda Lawson has helped many earn a previously believed not possible college education through her generosity of athletic scholarships.

And Looking to the Class of 2014

A few folks to consider ...

Football playing brothers Charlie and David Hannah … Lookout Valley baseball legends Larry Knight and Harley WoodyEllen Kovacevich accomplished a rare feat at GPS as a multiple state champion in swimming and diving … All-American prep swimmer Betsy Caulkins Bookout ... and longtime swimming official, Bill Caulkins ...

wrestlers Luther Killian, Steve Gross and Danny GilbertKeith Michaels for basketball …  

… and the media short list should include former Chattanooga News-Free Press writers, Paul Schulz (prep editor and national award winner for wresting coverage), Eddie Baker (tennis, college basketball) and longtime Southern League writer of the year winner David Jenkins … the late Marion Gaston who led the way in the early 1960s for the Fellowship of Christian Athletes to flourish in Chattanooga …

world champion skeet shooter Carl Poston Jr. to join is dad, Carl Poston Sr (class of 2000) ...

Mike and Karen Parker for their many years of administering tennis and wrestling tournaments state wide ... the late Buck Stamps who was a longtime high school football official and Lookout Mountain recreation director for 40 years … and Marty Cannon, one of the best female athletes ever from Lookout Mountain, who was good enough to play on the U. of Chattanooga men’s tennis team in the early 1960s.


contact B.B. Branton at

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