Sunday, February 3, 2013
- by B.B. Branton
Even though it’s not the 50th anniversary of the Greater Chattanooga Sports Hall of Fame, this year’s induction dinner will be a “Golden” one as a world champ and one who beat the King (and his Court) one ‘60s summer night are among the 20 inductees.
From athletes competing on the various sports venues to officials who call the games and a national media award winner who covers so many and so well, the people comprising the Class of 2013 and their accomplishments are impressive and worthy.
In Pre-World War II days, Red Gaston coached remarkable Howard High championship football teams, in the 1960s, it was softball’s Ronnie Kincer beating King and His Court, while in the 1970s, UTC All-American Wayne Golden and his running mates were the best on their court with an NCAA D-II national championship.
In the 1980s, Pat Guerry continued the family tennis legacy at Sewanee and in the new millennium Gordon Connell left his shoes in the middle of the mat (sign of retirement) but not before winning a world freestyle wrestling crown.
The hall of fame dinner is Monday Feb. 25 at the Chattanooga Convention Center at 6:30 p.m.
Tickets: banquet tickets are $35 and can be purchased by calling hall of fame president John Farr at 423-875-9282. Ticket purchase deadline is Feb. 15.
Class of 2013 (20)
* Randall McDowell (boxing): A national Silver Gloves champion in 1982 and runner-up in 1983 … McDowell participated in 192 fights during his career, losing just 23 times …. was 13-1 in Golden Gloves competition and was region Junior Olympic champion from 1981 to ’83 ... McDowell also is an accomplished archer, ranked second in the world in the Men’s Limited Class in 1994 ... He participated in the Red Bank Dixie Youth baseball program from the age of 6 through 18 and in football was an All-Sequatchie Valley Conference and All-Tri-State safety for Whitwell.
* Rick Duncan (baseball): A three-time All-SEC performer for Vanderbilt in the mid-1970s … 2nd round draft pick of the Minnesota Twins in 1975 … When Rick’s eligibility at Vanderbilt expired in 1975, the school held a day for him since he owned or shared 15 school records and 11 SEC records. A three-time All-SEC performer (1973-74-75) who led his team to two titles, he led the conference in RBI, doubles and stolen bases as a sophomore, in hits, RBI and doubles as a junior and hits, RBI and triples as a senior ... His lifetime batting average in college was .340 ... played five years in the minors before retiring with a .283 batting average.
* Ted Shipley (baseball): A first-round draft choice of the Minnesota Twins in 1974, Ted was a shortstop on a Vanderbilt team that won back-to-back SEC championships. He led the SEC in hits in 1973, set a record for stolen bases in 1974 and hit over .300 all three years he started for the Commodores ... Was a Southern League all-star pick at shortstop in 1976 while playing for the Orlando Twins but left professional baseball after just three seasons ... Shipley prepped at Baylor, where he earned 12 letters and was an all-star in all four sports: football, basketball, baseball and track.
* Wayne Golden (basketball): Led UTC to the 1977 Division II national championship ... 1977 All-American and is UTC’s all-time career leader in scoring with 2,384 points, a 20.4 average ... His UTS jersey (No.10) has been retired ... He was ranked in the top10 of every offensive category by the time he finished his junior year ... an all-state prep player at Kentucky’s Shawnee High School … played professionally in Europe, South America and on the U.S. Army team ... Halls of Fame: UTC
* Jeff Strong (basketball): Former Kirkman basketball star who played at Moberly Area Junior College and the University of Missouri ... At Kirkman, he was all-city and all-state, leading the Golden Hawks to a runner-up finish in the state tournament in 1982 ... All-Big Eight his senior year at Missouri … Led Moberly to a fifth-place national junior college finish and was team MVP ... Strong was drafted by the Milwaukee Bucks … played three years in the World Basketball League with Las Vegas and four years in Europe.
* Theodore “Red” Gaston (football): An outstanding athlete at the now extinct Lincoln High School in Chattanooga and collegiately at Tennessee State, Red Gaston is perhaps best known as a legendary football coach at Howard High School, 1939-1954 ... coaching record at Howard was 191-58-6 and guided the Hustlin’ Tigers to state black high school championships …Gaston was also an accomplished football official in the Southern Black College Conference ... Gaston had several of his players earn college scholarships … was a track star at Tennessee State.
* Edwin Lovelady (football): Former professional football player in the NFL with the New York Giants and in the Arena Football League with the New York Knights. Lovelady played collegiately at Memphis State as a receiver after an all-star high school career at Brainerd as a quarterback. Lovelady led MSU’s Tigers in receiving his junior year ... Lovelady had a stellar senior season at Brainerd …passed for 1,000 yards (nine TDs) and rushed for nearly 500 yards as a senior … He was a star player for the Knights, twice scoring five touchdowns in a game ... played only one year with the Giants, as a replacement player, but caught 10 passes, two for touchdowns, in three games.
* Ronnie Kincer (softball): Pitched in the old Dixie Major League with Chattanooga Gas and Capital Toyota ... In 1967, he won 19 straight games including a back-to-back perfect game and no-hitter ... He also beat the defending national champion Aurora (Ill.) team and the world famous King and His Court that year ... Kincer was all-state and all-region three times … During his 1963-66 Chattanooga Gas tenure, his team won state and region championships each year ... Kincer’s team won the All-Army championship of Korea while he pitched for 8th Army.
* Pat Weller (softball): A Dixie Major League all-star best known for his speed, he also was a power hitter while playing for DuPont, Toyota and Combustion from 1967 to ’83 ... A first baseman and outfielder, he was the most valuable player in the 1972 all-star game ... Weller was chosen for that game 10 times in his career …. He played four times in the state tournament and twice in the regional ... member of the 1980 state champion DuPont team ... Weller was among the Dixie Major leaders in home runs and RBIs virtually every year he played.
* Caroline Caulkins Bentley (swimming): Two-time high school All-American swimmer at GPS ... Captain of swim team as junior and senior and was on varsity for six years (7th-12th grade) ... won high-point honors for age group at Fairyland Club from age 10 forward. MVP at Fairyland Club from age 14 forward ... qualified for YMCA nationals at age 13 ... qualified for NCAA meet as a freshman at Brenau University ... suffered career-ending injury following freshman year ... coached Fairyland Club 1980-87 and 2007-present … also head coach of the McCallie-GPS Aquadics program.
* Laura Sawyer Pitman (swimming): Former All-American swimmer at the University of Tennessee, the Cleveland native shattered numerous age-related records while competing in the Chattanooga Area Swim League for the Cleveland Aqua Tigers ... won the high-point award in the CASL four of the seven years she competed ... Qualified for the YMCA nationals at age 12 ... Set 42 team records for Cleveland. Qualified for junior nationals and named to the 1977 AAU all-star team ... Was listed on four national AAU top time lists in 1979 ... All-American at Mercersburg Academy and set several records there ... She was a top 16 NCAA finisher in both backstroke and relay events for UT ... Held Lady Vols 100 backstroke record at one time and has been an assistant coach for nationally top-ranked Baylor School teams.
* Pat Guerry (tennis): Four-time All-American at Sewanee: The University of the South ... Sewanee won conference championship three of his four years ... Won Arthur Ashe National Award during senior year at Sewanee ... Charter member of the Sewanee Athletic Hall of Fame (2004) … Member of a Baylor tennis team that did not lose a match during his six-year career ... Ranked No. 1 in 30s singles and doubles ... President of USTA Atlanta, largest community tennis association in country, and USTA Georgia, largest state association in country ... Is USPTA P-1 teaching pro.
Halls of Fame (2): Sewanee (2004), Tennessee Tennis (2011).
* Lori Massengill (tennis): Two-time All-American at UTC … played on three NCAA D-II national championship teams … also played at East Ridge HS … At UTC, did not lose a match in the Southern Conference postseason tournament for three years ... won six individual SoCon titles (singles and doubles) ... No. 1 ranked women’s tennis player in Tennessee in 1986, when she won the Tennessee State Open singles and doubles titles ... four-time state women’s doubles champion (1983-86) with Sue Bartlett ... past city and TVI champion ... Halls of Fame (1): UTC
Track and Field
* Bill Gautier (Track/Field): In his 22nd year as UTC track and cross country coach where he has produced numerous championship teams in both areas, winning 11 Southern Conference titles in cross country and one in track … SoCon coach of the year 13 times, 11 in cross country and twice in indoor track ... He was regional coach of the year in 1998 and his teams were NCAA regional cross-country champs in ‘98 and 2005. He has produced 15 conference athletes of the year in cross country, 10 in outdoor track and five in indoor track. His teams are perennial top 20 academically and were No. 1 in 2011 with an accumulative 3.81 in cross country and 3.67 in track.
* Peter Hunt (track and field): All-city and all-state in football and track his junior and senior years at McCallie … state decathlon and intermediate hurdles champion and high hurdles runner-up his senior year ... 1984 Scrappy Moore Athlete of the Year and the Thom McAn Scholar-Athlete winner … 1988 NCAA Division I track All-American at Princeton, where he still holds the decathlon point record ... He also set a school record in the pentathlon ... four-year letter-winner in track and field at Princeton and team captain as a senior.
* Gordon Connell (wrestling): 2004 World Veterans Freestyle champion … has won an individual or team championship in five straight decades (1960s-2000s) … state Brainerd High School’s first state wrestling champion in 1966 ... has a state, national and world championship … coached Hixson (1) and McCallie (13) to state traditional and duals titles .. Nine-time Tennessee Wrestling Coach of Year, two-time Scrappy Moore winner … 1976 Southern Coach of Year while at MTSU ... U.S. national champion in freestyle D-division (50-55 years) ... Crew leader of NCAA/NWCA wrestling video team since 1995. ... Halls of Fame (2): Tenn. Chapter, National Wrestling HOF, MTSU Wrestling
* Ed Woodham (wrestling): A former principal at East Ridge High School, Woodham worked with Mack Franklin to start the school’s wrestling program in the early 1960s … an assistant coach with the school’s first state wrestling championship in 1966 and head coach when the Pioneers claimed mat titles in 1967 and 1962 … head coaching record of 85-16-3 ... lettered in football and wrestling at the University of Chattanooga in the 1950s … organized and coached East Ridge to three straight national handball championships (1972-74).
* Dave Staley (media): national-award winning broadcaster with WTVC Ch. 9 … Staley is perhaps best known for “Dave’s Diamond Darlings,” a weekly feature in the spring and summer months, featuring young players learning softball and baseball … He has been a member of the WTVC Channel 9 team for 29 years ... has won an NATAS Mid-South Emmy three times and the Edward R. Murrow regional sports award 10 times, winning the national award three years in a row (2004-06) ... He is also a three-time Associated Press Tennessee winner for first place in sports reporting ... A Minnesota native, he came to Chattanooga from Wyoming in 1984.
* Willard Dickerson (officiating/administration): Hall of Fames nothing new to “Will.” … Member of Heartland Softball Hall of Fame and Tri-State Gospel Music Hall of Fame. He is being inducted in the Greater Chattanooga HOF as a football official ... officiated in several state championship games when it was the Clinic Bowl and played at Vanderbilt Stadium ... once ranked the No. 1 back judge in the state by former TSSAA executive director Ronnie Carter ... Officiated in most state playoff games from 1970-1986 … played in the Tri-State Baseball League and Dixie Major Softball League.
Halls of Fame (2): Heartland Softball, Tri-State Gospel Music
* Antinio “Tony” Petty (officiating/administration): NCAA Final Four official I 2011 … A familiar face in NCAA tournaments, Petty has been officiating collegiate basketball since the 1990s …. a former Howard athlete and UTC grad (1986), he has officiated in the NCAA tournament every year since 2004, the Southern Conference postseason tourney since 1999, the Ohio Valley Conference since 1999 and the Southeastern Conference since 2005 ... He got his start in the TSSAA in 1987 and quickly rose up the ranks, calling the state finals in 1993, then moving to the NAIA where he called the national final in 1997 ... He began officiating in the SoCon and OVC in 1999.
contact B.B. Branton at email@example.com