Twelve new members will be inducted into the Clay County Sports Hall of Fame on Saturday, Jan. 23.
Inductees will be recognized at a banquet and ceremonies at the high school cafeteria. Current Hall of Fame Committee Chairman Don Napier will be the master of ceremonies. The entertainment for the day will be a highlight film of the 1969 Blanket Bowl, won by Celina High School over East Robertson. Along with that film, the HOF will introduce each individual player in attendance.
The special day will begin with a fellowship period from 1 to 2 p.m. The banquet will get underway at 2 p.m. with a buffet meal. Induction ceremonies will begin immediately after the meal. In past years, inductees had been introduced at halftime of the Clay County girls’ basketball game played the same day. This year, there is no Saturday night home game on the schedule for January, so the new class will be introduced at halftime of the Clay County girls’ game vs. Clarkrange on Feb. 11, the last home game of the 2015-16 season.
Eight members of the 2015-16 Hall of Fame class are in the “Athlete Division,” reserved for people who have been out of school for 10-plus years. A player can be in this category and excel on any sporting field, whether associated with a school or not.
The newest class includes a cross-section of older and younger members, and includes a bus driver. This year, HOF voters were asked to rank their top 7 “Athletes” from over 30 nominations. Athletes ranked first received 7 votes. Athletes ranked 7th got one vote. A tie occurred for 7th place, resulting in a total of 8 athletes for the current class. The winners are ranked in order of votes received.
The top (athlete) vote-getter in this class is Holly Wright, the all-time leading career scorer for the Celina High School girls basketball program. She joins an elite list of top vote-getters from past classes. They were: 1st class – Joey Coe; 2nd class-Teia Burchett Adams; 3rd class-Rob Holston; 4th class-Teia Ashlock Arms; and Wright this year, the 5th class.
The “Athlete” winners for the 2015-16 Class were: Wright, John Carlisle, Dewayne McLerran, Toopy Kerr, Jeff “Wildman” Watson, Tricia Fox Strong, Mark Grace and Melissa Webb.
Three of the members of the 2015-16 Hall of Fame class are in the “Heritage Division,” reserved for those who played 50+ years ago. Those winners were: James “Tiny” Capps, Kenneth Cherry and Bobby Stone.
The only person to be elected this year to the Hall of Fame from the “Contributor” category is long-time sports bus driver, Cecil “Chin” Anderson. “Contributors” are administrators or people who were involved in promoting sports in some capacity besides playing.
Inductees or their representatives will be allotted time to say a few words following their name and accomplishments being announced to the audience.
The public is encouraged to attend the induction banquet, but tickets must be ordered in advance. Tickets can be reserved by calling Jeana Edwards at 397-6184 or 243-3070. Prices are $7 for children (4-12) and $12 for adults. Deadline for reserving tickets is Saturday, Jan. 18. Reserved tickets can be picked up and paid for at the registration table prior to the banquet. If you are a member of the 1969 Bulldog football team, you will also need tickets for this event.