Cleveland State's impressive inaugural class of 25 men and women was inducted into the school's athletics hall of fame Saturday.
Steve Williams, 1970-71
played basketball and baseball during the 1970 and ’71 seasons and and insists his experience at was extremely rewarding, thanks to the school’s staff, coaches, and fellow athletes .
.. following graduation, he attended Carson-Newman College, coached Bradley High School’s boys’ basketball program for 12 years, and attended Life University, where he earned his chiropractic degree.
Gene Meadows, 1970-71
Zandra Montgomery Morris, 1975-76
Earned All-Region both years at Cleveland State ... an NJCAA All-American in 1975 ... During her two seasons at Cleveland State, she and her teammates had a combined record of 54–6.
Data Caldwell, 1977-78
All-Region and All-State in 1976-’77 … All-American as a sophomore in 1978 …She led the Cougars to a 54-6 record and two state chamionships
Liz Hannah Jackson, 1975-76
first player to sign with Cleveland State’s women’s basketball team …All-Region player in 1975, 1976 … leading scorer in the ’75 National Tournament … member of national all-tournament team both years as Cougars finished seventh (’75) and fourth (’76) … averaged 22.9 ppg (1975) and 23.8 pg (1976) … Cougars 1976 Region MVP … Junior College All-American in ’75 and ’76 … . also played two years at MTSU … member of Tenn. All-Stars vs. Russian Olympic team in 1976 ... also a member of the Greater Chattanooga Sports Hall of Fame
Dr. Melinda Shell Strickland
honorable mention All-American … all-conference forward on the Eastern Division team … MVP of the Chattanooga Tip-Of tourney and the Cleveland Coca-Cola tourney … She is currently high school principal at Floyd County Education Center ... her book, More Than a Test Score: Strategies for Empowering Youth at Risk, was published recently; she is president of the Georgia Association of Alternative Education; and she presents across the globe on working with at-risk youth, empowerment, and service learning.
Rhonda Snow, 1982-84
Lettered twice softball and basketball,1983-84 seasons ... NJCAA All-American in softball as a sophomore in ’84 … member of the Cougar softball teams that finished 5th (1983) and 3rd (1984) at the national tournament.
Kim Gentry Smith, 1983-85
Tossed a no-hitter in the NJCAA softball tournament ... second team All-American … the Cougars finished fifth nationally in 1983 and third in 1984.
Mike Fitzgerald, 1967-68
Cleveland State’s first “Most Outstanding Athlete lettering in basketball and baseball … led the Cougars basketball team in scoring, twice …also had the teams highest batting average both years … at UTC, he was a 1971 Sporting News honorable mention All-American in baseball and was twice a first team ASA All-American for slow-pitch softball.
He and his dad, the late Lou Fitzgerald are members of the Greater Chattanooga Sports Hall of Fame and the Cleveland Old-Timers Hall of Fame.
First Cleveland State baseball player to earn first team All-American honors and MVP of that all-star squad … led the 1976 Cougars in batting average, wins and earned run average and was team MVP … 1976 team was ranked eighth, nationally … co-founder of the Ooltewah Youth Association ... a member of the Greater Chattanooga Sports Hall of Fame, and coached 2012 American League Cy Young Award winner David Price.
Tossed a no-hitter in 1976 and led the Cougars to the state championship … that same season, Cleveland State was region runners-up and finished ninth nationally ... earned all-state honors in 1977 … drafted in the first round of the free agent draft by the Boston Red Sox and the third round of the secondary phase of the June draft … played two years for the University of Georgia, 1978-79.
Ted Williams May, 1977-78
Played two years for the Cougars and led the nation in home runs in 1977 ...as a high school player, Ted was scouted by every Major League Baseball team and received more than one hundred major college scholarship offers ... signed with the Chicago Cubs in 1978 … hit more than 30 home runs in his first year of pro ball and made the all-star team … in 1980, he signed with the New York Yankees and that spring he beat Reggie Jackson in a home run hitting contest during batting practice … his dad played minor league ball in the St. Louis Cards organization in the early 1950s … Ted is named for baseball hall of famer Ted Williams.
Larry Simcox, 1978-79
All-state TJCAA as a shortstop in 1979, batting .408 … All-Western Division and All-SEC tournament team selection at Ole Miss … has the seventh highest batting average in Ole Miss history - .356 … once struck out only once in 174 official at bats, an NCAA record that still stands … played three years in the Houston Astros organization, 1981-83 ... also served as an assistant coach at Ole Miss and Tennessee … coached 107 players who went on to play professionally, 25 All-Americans, 36 All-SEC players, and three players of the year ... he is currently a baseball instructor at Diamond Baseball–Simcox Academy ... played high ball at East Ridge and is a member of the Greater Chattanooga Sports Hall of Fame.
Lettered twice in tennis and basketball in 1972 and 1973 … was the basketball team statistician in 1974 … he is now a minister at First Baptist Church in Cleveland.
Lynn Griffith, 1973-74
Lettered two years for the Cougars … in 1974, won TJCAA state and NJCAA Region 7 singles and doubles titles at No.2 singles and doubles positions … earned his doctorate of arts degree from MTSU … is now a professor of kinesiology at Lipscomb University in Nashville …where he coached tennis for 21 years.
Ralph Buckner Jr., 1975-76
CEO of Buckner Funeral Home in Cleveland … in his acceptance speech at Saturday’s induction ceremony he said, “even though I am a positive guy, I am the last one to put you down!”
A walk-on for the Cougar tennis team he had to beat 12 other players on the roster to earn a spot on the team … he played No.1 singles and doubles and finished the season 13-2 ...two-time Tennessee State Opend doubles champion … also won seven singles doubles and mixed doubles titles in the Cleveland Country Club Championships
Mike Benson, 1973-74
Helped the Cougars to the 1974 Region 7 golf championship and qualified for the NJCAA National Tournament ... he graduated from Alabama and was a place kicker for the Tide in 1975 and 1976 … for 27 years, he taught at Scottsboro High School, where he coached football, boys’ and girls’ basketball, baseball, and boys’ and girls’ golf.
Tom Maupin, 1972-73
As a freshman in 1972, Tom was selected to the TJCCAA State first team and NJCAA Region 7 second team … in 1973, he was the first Cleveland State golfer to advance to the NJCAA Nationals played in Roswell, New Mexico.
Joe Crabtree, 1967-1975
Fifth person hired at Cleveland State … taught physical education and was the athletic director and head men’s basketball coach from the program’s 1967 inception until 1975 ... His 1971 team won the TJCAA conference championship ... he oversaw construction of Cleveland State’s first phase of athletic facilities construction in 1968 and 69 and led his team to a 75–71 victory over Johnson Bible College in the first game ever played in the L. Quinton Lane Gymnasium ...
he coached golf and tennis for two years and baseball for one year at Cleveland State ...a founding member of the Tennessee Junior and Community College Athletic Association, he was named director of the TJCAA when it was established in 1968.
Hugh Walker, 1974-1985
Hugh coached the first women’s basketball team at Cleveland State and led them to a 205-60 record from 1974-84 … the Cougars were 7th in the nation in 1975 and 4th in 1976 ... His teams won four straight NJCAA Region championships, 1975-1978 … selected Tennessee Junior College Coach of the Year in 1976 and NJCAA Coach of the Year in 1978 …
coached four All-Americans, one Academic All-American, and 35 players who signed scholarships to four-year schools ... he was nominated by the NJCAA to be assistant coach in the 1982 Pan-American Games and was the sixth winningest women’s basketball coach in NJCAA history when he retired in 1984 ... he also coached women’s softball at Cleveland State from 1981 to 1984 … two of his four teams were region champions and finished third and fifth in the nation … Hugh also served as NJCAA Regional Director for Kentucky and Tennessee from 1982 to 1984 … is a member of the TCCAA and Tennessee Wesleyan College Halls of Fame.
Steve Longley, 1970-1993
Before coaching at Cleveland State, he played college baseball at the University of Tennessee and professionally with the Cincinnati Reds ... at Cleveland State, he taught health, physical education, and recreation, while serving as head baseball coach for 14 years, assistant baseball coach for five years, golf coach for three years, assistant softball coach for two years, and athletics director for one year ...
during his time at Cleveland State, he was five times voted by his peers as the TJCAA Eastern Division baseball coach of the year and four times as TJCAA baseball conference coach of the year ... overall coaching record of 446–181, and his teams and individual players had incredible successes, including a second-place finish in the NJCAA JUCO World Series and seven players going on to play major league baseball ... Halls of Fame (3): Tennessee Sports, Tennessee Baseball Coaches, and Greater Chattanooga
Jim Cigliano, 1967-2005
Cleveland State Vice President Emeritus and one of the college’s original administrators … Cleveland State’s original Admissions Director, he was the college’s Director of Athletics from 1974 to 1996 ... During his 22-year tenure as Athletics Director, he helped Cleveland State become the first two-year college in Tennessee to have all its sports programs participate in national tournaments ...
He organized the Cougar Club to raise funds for student-athletes and athletic programs at Cleveland State, was Director of NJCAA Region 7 for 12 years, and was director of the NJCAA National Tennis Championship Tournament. Additionally, he extended Cleveland State’s athletics to the community, sponsoring athletic events for community participation ... is serving his fifth year as TCCAA Commissioner … Halls of Fame: TCCAA, Bradley County Old Timers.
Robert Kincaid, 1986-2012
One of the true friends of the Cleveland State athletics program … After attending Cleveland State from 1979 to 1981, he came back for more ... and from 1985 to 2012, he eagerly volunteered his time as the college’s basketball scorekeeper, proving beyond a doubt that his love for Cleveland State Community College runs deep.
Norma Davis was hired at Cleveland State in 1967 as a stenographer in the admissions office … She was a clerk / typist from 1979 to 1985, also in the admissions office ... From 1985 through 1988, she served as secretary to the Dean of Students and from 1988 until her retirement in 2002, she worked in the office of athletics and student activities.
Norma was an outstanding supporter to the athletic department giving of her time running the concession stand for Cougar basketball, baseball, and softball games, high school basketball tournaments and athletic camps ... a true friend to the Cleveland State Athletic Department, she would do whatever she could to help students, whether it was in the office or during an athletic event ... No athlete would go hungry on Norma’s watch—she was always there with a “Norma Dog” and a smile! Ask around… if you’ve never tried one, you sure are missing out!
The college dedicated the crosswalk between the gymnasium and the student center “Norma Davis Way” in 2002.
Her spirit and positive attitude left a lasting impression to all that she touched. She will always be a part of Cleveland State Athletics.
contat B.B. Branton at email@example.com