Tuesday, May 19, 2009

Each school should have an athletic hall of fame

SouthWest Edgecombe held its fourth induction for the school's athletic hall of fame Monday night and the main honoree was, fittingly, Yancey Thigpen.

For those who don't remember, Thigpen was a Cougar football standout from 1984 to 1986 before going on to Winston-Salem State University and then a stellar NFL career. A two-time Pro Bowler with the PIttsburgh Steelers, Thigpen ended his career with the Tennessee Titans. He now lives in Charlotte.

He was the first male athlete to be enshrined by SouthWest which is taking it slowly in its choice of inductees. There will be plenty more candidates from which to choose in future installations.

But the whole hall-of-fame thing got me to thinking, yet again, that it's a shame Hunt or Beddingfield hasn't put together a hall of fame yet. Fike, which opened its doors in the fall of 1958, started its hall of fame in 2000 with 12 inductees. Jim Boykin Jr. has been the driving force since its inception and can be counted on to put together a credible class every 2 or 3 years.

Someone at Hunt or Beddingfield needs to step up. Both schools are now in their 31st year and each has produced numerous candidates. I could put together the initial classes for each school.

Let's say we start with five honorees to open each school's mythical hall of fame. Let's make it unavailable to athletes who have graduated in the last five years or coaches or administrators still on staff.

For Hunt, I'd go with Bill Williamson, Octavus Barnes, Jennifer Laughridge, William Hesmer and Willie Harris.

At Beddingfield, let's start with William Lewis, Tommy Hawkins, Dennis Barron, Corey Thomas and Latonya Joyner.

Hey, this is fun. Let's throw Greenfield into the mix. How about Joe Warenda, Rick Helms, Badie Clark, Catherine Thomas and Anthony Atkinson?

If I'm off base on some of those or have forgotten anyone, please let me know.

The thing about organizing a hall of fame for a high school is that someone really has to bear the mantle of responsibility and then find someone else to pass it on. Boykin has been that person at Fike and at SouthWest, I suspect Sandra Langley has done quite a bit of work but she probably has more help than Boykin requires at Fike.

So maybe we'll see such institutions crop up at Beddingfield, Hunt, Greenfield or Wilson Christian in the near future. I hope so.

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