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Looking Back 25 Years
Articles that appeared in the Albany Herald in 1987
Sports Hall of Fame To Honor Local Stars

by Paul McCorvey
   In Merideth Wilsons's The Music Man, Professor Harold Hill Promised the citizens of the ficticious town of River City, Iowa that "as sure as God made green apples" the town would have a boys band and "that band's going to be in uniform."
   With the same kind of determination, the newly formed board of the Albany Sports Hall of Fame is going to see that athletes, coaches and those who have been of service to sports locally will be given their due recognition, and that those honored are given a place for posterity.
  We have had so many good athletes here, it is time some of them got recognized, "board president Pete Cox said."
  Cox, a five-letter athlete at Albany High in the early 1950's and a Georgia state amateur golf champion in 1963, said the genesis for a local sports hall of fame came from discussions he had this past April with Cleve Wester, a 1954 Albany High graduate who went on to earn All Southeastern Conference honors on Auburn University's 1957 national championship team.
  "We talked about how well the idea had been carried through in cities like Savannah and Valdosta," Cox said. "They have excellent Halls of Fame. So we formed a board from interested citizens and got a state charter."

  James H. Gray Jr. who lettered in football and baseball for Albany High in the early 1960's, is vice president of the board. Paul B. Robertson, retired Superintendent of Dougherty County Schools and a former assistant football coach at Albany High, is secretary for the board. Richard Carson is its treasurer.
  Other board members are Wester, Morgan Murphy, Jamil Saba, Jay Walters, Billy Swilley and Joe James.
  The board has appointed a nominating and selection committee, Gray said, to pick the first 15 inductees. Marvin Lorig chairs the committee, which includes R.H. Warren III. Buford Collins, Pat Field, Bud Shemwell, Jerry Gerst, James Griffin, Lamar Clifton, Ralph Satterfield and Brandon Seely.
  Gray Emphasized that athletes of all sports would be given equal consideration by the committee. "This is just not for football players," he said.
  Cox said the committee will select 15 people for the initial induction. Ten more inductees will be added in 1988, he said, and four more each year thereafter. Tentative plans are for the first induction banquet to be held in the spring of 1987.
  Gray said the committee is culling more than 100 nominations for the Hall's first members. He said the criteria the committee would follow in its selections required that an athlete either have attended high school in Albany or have played college or pro ball locally and made residency in Albany for seven years thereafter. The criteria for coaches is seven years of coaching locally.

First Induction Tentatively Planned For Spring Of 1987.
(Harald Staff Photo, Paul McCorvey)

  The committee will weigh nominations according to "50 percent high school career, 30 precent career after high school and 20 percent contributions to the community, "Gray said.
  "There are a lot of highly qualified people," he said. "It is going to be tough to crack that top 15."
  The board also plans to secure a building in which the accomplishments of the Hall's inductees will be permanently displayed.
  "We think a local sports Hall of Fame is a great idea," Cox said, "and one that is long overdue."

Knight, Oates and James Head the Initial
Inductees for Albany Sports Hall of Fame

Herald Sports Editor
  The Most Valuable Player of the 1986 World Series, the starting center for the 1987 Super Bowl champion and the holder of the NFL record for all‑purpose yards in a single season head a list of 15 who will be the first inductees into the Albany Sports Hall of Fame.
  Ray Knight, a Dougherty High graduate, led the New York Mets to victory over the Boston Red Sox in a dramatic seven‑game series last October and brought national acclaim to Albany when he was named the Series MVP.
  Bart Oates, in Albany. High graduate, after playing in the only two USFL championship games as a member of the Philadelphia, (later Baltimore) Stars, shifted to the NFL and quickly became the anchor of the offensive line of the New York Giants, who clobbered the Denver Broncos in Super Bowl XXI this past January.

  Lionel James, a Dougherty High graduate, totaled 2,535 yards in 1985 with the San Diego Chargers to break the single‑season record for all‑purpose yardage set by Terry Metcalf of the St. Louis Cardinals in 1975.
  These three are the only active players among the 15 picked by the 10‑man Selection Committee appointed by the Board of the Albany Sports Hall of Fame. They, eight former standouts and four who will be inducted posthumously are to be enshrined at a banquet Thursday, May 14 at the Alrany James H. Gray Sr. Civic Center. Pat Dye, Auburn University athletic director and head football coach, will be the featured speaker for the banquet.

Dougherty County Athlete of the Year
Also Will Be Announced at the Banquet

  The inactive to be honored include Pete Cox, who lettered in five sports at Albany High and who was the Georgia State Amateur golf champion in 1964; Phillip Clark, a multi‑letter athlete at Albany High who went on to a pro career as a pitcher in the St. Louis Cardinals organization; Harley Bowers, Sports Editor of The Albany Herald from 1948‑1958 and now the Executive Sports Editor of the Macon Telegraph; Alice Coachman Davis, a basketball and track star at Albany State College who won a gold medal in the high ump in the 1948 Summer Olympics; Cleve Wester, a 1954 Albany High graduate who was the Most Valuable Player on Auburn University's 1957 national championship football team; John Duke, a 1947 Albany High graduate who played end for the University of Georgia from 1948‑1950; Walter Burt Jr., a Class B state champion tennis player for Albany High and later the No. 1 player for Baylor School for Boys in Chattanooga, Tenn. in the late 1930's; and Weyman Sellars a 1944 Albany High graduate and a defensive end for the University of Georgia from 1945-48.
  The deceased who will be honored include Jack "the Ripper" Roberts, fullback at the University of Georgia from 1929‑31; Harold E. McNabb, head coach at Albany High from 1931-41 ‑ he posted a 94‑6-4 record that included a state championship in 1939; Neal Allen, a 1935 Albany High graduate who lettered in three sports and who was a second‑team Little All‑America at Mercer University, where he played from 1936-39; and Hugh M. Mills, Albany High football coach in the 1920's who founded the South Georgia Football Conference that served as the foundation on which the Georgia High School Association was built.


Board: (L-R) James, Robertson, Murphy, Saba, Cox, Wester, Gray, Swilly and Carson

  The 15 were chosen from approximately 200 nominations, Pete Cox, President of the 10‑man Board of Directors for the newly-formed Albany Sports Hall of Fame said.
Cox and Wester are the only two members of the Board who were chosen by the Selection Committee. Other Board members are Jimmy Gray Jr. (vice president". Paul B. Robertson (secretary), Richard Carson (treasurer),
Joe James
, Morgan Murphy, Jamil Saba, Jessie Walters and Billy Swilley.
  Marvin Lorig chaired the Selection Committee, which included R.H. "Sonny" Warren III, Bufford Collins, Pat Field, Dermot "Bud" Shemwell, Jerry Gerst, James Griffin, Lamar Clifton, Ralph Satterfield and Brandon "Bugger" Seely.
  The Committee used as criteria for its selection 50 percent high school achievement, 30 percent achievement beyond high school and 20 percent community contribution.
  Tickets for the banquet will go on sale next week. Tickets can be purchased from any board member or at the Albany Chamber of Commerce. Admission to the banquet induction ceremonies will be $10 per person. The ticket price includes a barbeque buffet that will begin at 7:30 p.m., following a 6:30 cocktail hour.
  Gray said the Committee did not solicit nominations, but was given a maximum of 15 it could induct this year. "Ten will be added next year and no more than five each year after that," Gray said. "Nominations will be thrown open every year."
  "The Selection Committee did a good job," Cox said. "It worked nearly three months in narrowing the nominations to the eventual 15 inductees."
  Gray said he thinks the criteria used worked well for the Committee's choices. "We think they are very valid criteria, and we intend to stick with them," Gray said.
  "The Georgia Sports Hall of Fame uses the same type of criteria," Cox, who is on the Board of the State Hall, said. The major difference, he said, is the emphasis the Albany Committee placed on local athletic achievement. ,
  "I think the Selection Committee really dedicated itself," Gray said. "The members took their task seriously. Their meeting were not short meetings by any means. Marvin Lorig did an excellent job chairing the Committee."
  Cox said the committee represented a diversity of ages, but was designed to include "people who have been in Albany a long time and who know the athletes."
  The Hall of Fame will be housed in the Civic Center. Portraits of the members will be hung there.
  Gray said he hoped the Hall of Fame, a non‑profit organization, would in the near future, be able to award a scholarship each to Albany Junior College and to Albany State College.
  "The scholarships won't be Based on athletic achievement," Gray said. "They will go to two needy applicants."
  Gray said all of the money realized from the banquet will be "plowed back into the community."
  The Albany Sports Hall of Fame will also honor the Dougherty County Athlete of the Year at the banquet. The four public and two private high schools were each asked to nominate its athlete of the year. Selected by the schools were Darin Erickson, Albany High; Teresa Brown, Deerfield‑Windsor School; Corey Smith, Dougherty High; Cheryl Cheeks, Monroe High; Curtis Kimbrell, Riverview Academy; and Patrick Davis, Westover High.
  A selection committee appointed by the Board will choose from these six,, Gray said, and the Dougherty County Athlete of the Year will be announced at the banquet.

Albany Sports Hall of Fame - P.O. Box 72203 Albany, Georgia 31708-2203