Turner Jackson, a two-time state champion at Butler High in Huntsville, Ala., who was a two-time NCAA Division II champion at UT-Chattanooga, has been named to the Huntsville-Madison County Athletic Hall of Fame.
The current athletic director at Bradley Central High School won 55 consecutive wrestling matches during his final two years at UTC. He was named Tennessee’s 1976 Amateur Athlete of the Year and is in UTC’s Hall of Fame.
He was among athletes representing nine different sports who have etched their names in the history books locally, nationally and internationally. Among the honorees are an Olympic medal winner, the first NHL player born in Alabama and the first black athlete to play in the Alabama High School Athletic Association state championship.
The Huntsville-Madison County Athletic Hall of Fame banquet, presented by TOC, will be Monday, April 10, 2023 at the Von Braun Center’s South Hall. The class of 2023 was selected by a vote of the Hall of Fame board of directors after receiving nominations from the public.
The members of the Class of 2023 also include: Adam Bass (baseball), Darrell Blackburn (football), David Cain (coaching/track and field), Kenyon Hambrick (football), Margaret Hoelzer (swimming), Holly Richards (volleyball/coaching), Jared Ross (ice hockey), Marvin Stone (basketball), Dr. Warren Strickland (outdoors), Jon Sumrall (football) and Gary Wagner (football).
The Special Achievement Award will be presented to Danny Treadwell, who played one season at Butler High School and led the Rebels to the state championship, enduring the taunts of fans as he was the lone black player on the floor at Tuscaloosa’s Foster Auditorium.
Adam Bass played for Madison Academy and UAH before pitching five years in the minors in the Arizona and San Diego systems, ending his career in Japan.
Darrell Blackburn, a Butler graduate, started at linebacker at Alabama as a freshman. However, his promising career was cut short by a degenerative kidney disease that ultimately necessitated a transplant.
David Cain, who participated in track and field and cross country at Grissom High and Mississippi State, has been the track and field and cross country coach, for both men’s and women’s teams, at the University of Alabama in Huntsville since 1998, He is an eight-time Gulf South Conference Coach of the Year and his teams have won a total of 15 GSC team titles, including the men’s track and field championship in 2022.
Kenyon Hambrick, a J.O. Johnson graduate, played wide receiver for Alabama A&M, where he caught 102 passes and scored 14 touchdowns in two seasons. He was signed by the Baltimore Ravens and spent two years on their practice squad, and one season in Frankfurt in NFL Europe before returning home and starring for the Tennessee Valley Vipers.
Margaret Hoelzer, a Huntsville High and Auburn graduate, won three medals in the 2008 Summer Olympics at Beijing, and was also on the U.S. team in 2004. She set a world record in the 200 meter backstroke during the 2008 Olympic trials. She was a 22-time All-American and won six national titles at Auburn.
Holly Richards was a star volleyball player at Westminster Christian Academy and went on to become a second-team All-SEC choice at Alabama. She has coached for a quarter-century with club, college and high school teams, winning a state title at McGill-Toolen in 2004 and has won back-to-back titles in 2021 and 2022 at Westminster.
Jared Ross, the son of the late UAH hockey coach Doug Ross, a 2008 Hall of Fame inductee, was signed by the Philadelphia Flyers after his UAH career and in 2008 became the first Alabama-born and raised player to appear in an NHL game. He wrapped up his pro career with five seasons in Germany.
Marvin Stone was a high school All-American at Grissom, which he led to the 1999 state championship. He signed with the University of Kentucky, then transferred to Louisville after 2 ½ years with the Wildcats, scoring 10.3 points per game for the Cardinals as a senior.
Dr. Warren Strickland, a widely respected cardiologist, has been a nationally renowned bowhunter and archer, producing a plethora of hunting-related videos and programs. He is also an active conservationist, with more than a dozen years as a member of the Alabama Conservation Advisory Board.
Jon Sumrall was a two-time All-State football selection at Grissom and lettered three years as a linebacker at the University of Kentucky. After serving as assistant coach at a number of schools, including Kentucky, Ole Miss, Tulane and San Diego, he was named head coach at Troy University last December. He led the Trojans to an 11-2 season and a Cure Bowl bid.
Gary Wagner was an All-State football player at Grissom and state wrestling championship finalist. He spent his freshman year in college at Wake Forest before transferring to Jacksonville State, where he was named All-Gulf South Conference and Little All-American.