CELINA -Sixteen new members will be inducted into the Clay County Sports Hall of Fame on Saturday, Jan. 25. Inductees will be recognized at a banquet and ceremonies at the high school cafeteria. Former Clay County resident Randy York, District Attorney General, will be the Master of Ceremonies.
A fellowship period will be held from 12-1 p.m. The official banquet will get underway at 1 p.m. with a buffet meal being served. Induction ceremonies will begin immediately after the meal. Inductees will also be introduced at half-time of the girls’ game that night. Clay County is hosting Macon County. Game time is 6 p.m.
The newest class includes a cross-section of older and younger members, and includes not only players, but coaches, administrators and support people. The inaugural class included 24 people, the second class (2011) included 20 inductees and the third year, (2012) 13 people were voted into the Hall.
This year, HOF Committee Members and past inductees were asked to rank their top 12 “Athletes” from all nominations. Athletes ranked first received 12 votes. Athletes ranked 12th got one vote. Total votes were tabulated and certified by the independent firm of Kim Hartman CPA of Crossville, TN. A tie occurred for 12th place, resulting in a total of 13 athletes for the current “player” class.
Two athletes in the “Heritage Category,” were voted in. Heritage is designated by athletes who played before 1960. Two “Contributors,” were also voted in. “Contributors” are administrators or people who were involved in the promotion of sports in some capacity besides playing.
Three additional persons, who were voted in last year, but were unable to attend the banquet, will be inducted this year. The HOF Committee requires that inductees attend the banquet in order to be included with their class.
Inductees or their representatives will be alloted time to say a few words following their name and accomplishments being announced to the audience. All posthumous inductees will have a family representative to receive his/her honor and speak.
The primary HOF category is for athletes who excelled as a player either in school or on independent teams. An individual must be out of high school for 10 years in order to be eligible.
Held over from 2012
Three of the members of the 2013-14 Hall of Fame class, were actually voted in last year, but were unable to attend the banquet for different reasons. They are: Hermitage Springs basketball and baseball star Jock Profitt; One-man track team Rob Holston who brought home Clay County’s first State Championship in any sport (Track); and Billy Melton, a TSSAA Hall of Fame game official and administrator. Melton is the third member of his family to be inducted, following the late Joe Melton and Fred Melton (brothers).
Two of the members of the 2013-14 Hall of Fame class, are in the “Heritage Division,” reserved for those who played before 1960. Inductees are listed in the order of votes received.
1) Burnice Scott (deceased) was inducted into the hall of fame as the star fullback of Celina’s two great teams that played in the first and second Tobacco Bowl. Burnice Scott was part of a truckload of outstanding players from that era: Halfback Joe Neal Eads, QB Charles Vaughn who are already in the Hall. Their old running mate “Swivel Hips Scott”’ is now in there with them — in what was called the best backfield in the history of Celina football. Named the fullback on the Nashville Tennessean’s prestigious All-Midstate Team in 1955, Burnice Scott was an all-around player, seldom coming off the field. This was before classification, there was one 11-man team chosen and Burnice was the fullback, an unparalleled honor by today’s standards. Played in the 1950’s.
2) Arnold Gray Pace (deceased) is remembered by all the surviving members of the golden era of football at Celina for his size and toughness, Arnold Gray Pace was a football player in the 50’s but his body looked like it was built in the weight rooms of the 90’s. Arnold Gray Pace stood out whenever he stepped on the field. Arnold Gray was a bull of a fullback who punished tacklers who tried to stop him and also ruled on defense. He received a scholarship to Middle Tennessee State but forfeited it to join the Air Force, where he had a 25+ career. He played for Celina in 50-51-52-53 when Coach Clifton Carter and Charlie Hoard were the coaches. Played in the 1950’s.
Thirteen members of the 2013-14 Hall of Fame class are in the “Player Division,” reserved for people who played since 1960 and has been out of school for 10+ years. A player can be in this category and excel on any sporting field, whether associated with a school or not. The numbers next to their name represent where they finished in the tabulation of total votes.
1) Teia Ashlock Arms was one of the greatest high school basketball players of the Joe Sims era. Her left-handed hook shot was unstoppable. She scored a whopping 1,788 points in her career (which at the time was the school record for most points scored). To this add 900 career rebounds. Her Lady Bulldog team made their first trips to the State Tournament riding her shoulders. She was named All-State Tournament her junior and senior year. Her record for steals is still in the state tournament record books. As a 4-year starter, she made every All-Star team there was, including: All State, All Mid-State, Robert Teeples Award, Class A Basketball Player of the Year and TN Coaches Assoc. choice for Class A Player of the Year in Softball. Played in 1990’s.
2) Gary Eads guided the CHS football team to one of it’s most successful 2-year runs ever (1980-1981) when they won 16 and lost 6. They went to the Boyce Smith Bowl and the Mid-State Bowl, where they defeated a strong Westmoreland team 48-12 behind Bowl MVP Gary Eads. He was a bonafide, first team All-State QB as chosen by the Associated Press to go with a handful of other awards. His stats are staggering. He passed for 1,671 yards and 19 TDs and rushed for 1754 yards and 19 more TDs. He also had 10 interceptions in his career. Gary Eads was the same kind of quarterback as we are being entertained by today: He was a Cam Newton, Johnny Manzel, Tim Tebow kind of QB, who could pass but kill you with his running skills. Played in 1980’s.
3) Wendell Cherry, a native of Clay County and a 1982 graduate of Celina High School, excelled as a world-class Clay Shooter. He began shooting clay pigeons fulltime in 2002. He has shot a “hundred straight” an amazing four times in competition. He broke the U.S. Open record in 2003 and again in 2006. He has competed in Canada, England, France, Italy and Prague. He has been featured on ESPN, TN Outdoorsman and Woods & Water TV shows. He has also been featured on the cover of many national magazines. He has brought attention to Clay County in a way that most of us could not imagine as he has been introduced all over the world in competitions. He has also coached students who have gone on to become World, National and U.S. Open Champions. He has earned All American Honors, an amazing nine times! Competed in 2000’s.
4) Nicole Davis is a member of the prestigious 1,000 point, 600 rebound and 100 assist club, Nicole Davis became the first member of a girls basketball team to sign a division I scholarship and NCAA Letter of Intent (Tennessee State University). She also had 127 steals, 61 blocks and 100 assists. First team, Associated Press All-State her senior year, all state tournament her senior year, District Tournament MVP and All Region three years in a row is just a sampling of her All-Star credentials. She was also the 1997 CHS Female Athlete of the Year, winner of the Robert M. Teeples Athletic Award and a member of the TSU Womens Basketball team for two years. Today, she continues her love for sports, coaching basketball, track and cross country at Northbrook High School in Houston, TX. Played in 1990’s.
5) Linda Cherry Brown Koch led her 1965 Hermitage Springs basketball team to its only District Tournament championship in school history and a stellar 25-3 record. She was a three-year starting forward from 1963-65. In addition to scoring 50 points against Monterey, her career high, she averaged 31.0 points in victories over York Institute, Byrdstown, and Rickman during the 1965 District Tournament. They lost to Dekalb County by four points. Dekalb was the number one team in the state at the time. Honors: She was named to the Nashville Tennessean All Mid-State team and is considered to be the best forward on the best team ever at Hermitage Springs. Played in 1960’s.
6) Jason Edward Hamilton was an outstanding player in football, basketball and baseball for all four years of high school. During his four years as a starter on the football team, the Bulldogs’ record was 32-13 – earning trips to the TSSAA Playoffs each year, including advancing to the second round twice. Two of their playoff losses were to powerful Trousdale County by scores of 14-8 and 27-20. His teams could compete with anybody. He received the Carmon C. Brown award given annually to the best athlete. He was a bruising fullback. He averaged 5.9 yards per carry rushing for 1,788 yards and 24 touchdowns. After his high school career ended, he continued his love for sports by becoming a High School Football Official, refereeing games all over the Upper Cumberland. Played in 1980’s.
7) Randall “Red Monk” Arms earned his vote into the Hall of Fame as a “world-class” softball player. At the height of his career, he was one of the most recognized athletes in the county. As a slow-pitch softball player, his skills were on display four or five times a week. He played for 20+ years and was a major threat every time he stepped to the plate. He started playing for his employer, OshKosh B’Gosh, later playing for Clay Apparel and Dairy Chef. Randall Arms was to softball what Russell Richardson and Earl Davis were to football. He could run like a deer, had a strong arm and a strong bat. He was always the best player on the field in any game he played. Played in 1960, 1970 & 1980’s.
8) Derrick Anderson was an outstanding basketball player at Hermitage Springs 1993-1995. A three-year starter for the Wildcats, he scored 800 points his senior season, carrying an average of 30.2 points per game, a school record. He scored 60 points in a win over Gordonsville and had two other games where he scored over 40. He received numerous awards including All District, All District Tournament, and All Tournament in some holiday tournaments. He was the subject of a story in the Tennessean about his 60-point game which is said to be a county-wide record. He was recruited by Aquinas College and Vol State. Played in 1990’s.
9) Darryl Reecer played all sports at Celina High School, but excelled as a football player. More importantly to the legacy of Clay County Sports is the fact that Darryl started Pee Wee Football in Celina in 1974 and spent several years organizing and working with AAU athletes. Darryl played on four very successful CHS football teams (record 33-11). He caught 65 passes for 1,149 yards and 12 touchdowns. He was also an outstanding defender, intercepting six passes and recovering four fumbles for three total TDs. All four teams that Darryl played on went to bowls or TSSAA playoffs. Played in 1970’s.
10) Dewayne Reecer played softball, basketball and football in Clay County and helped his brother start Pee Wee Football and coach AAU. Dewayne is a member of the 1,000 yard rushing, 500 yards receiving club, which puts him in some rare company. He was a halfback, rushing for 500 yards both as a freshman and a sophomore. He was moved to receiver his senior year, but still finished his career with 1,337 yards rushing and 471 yards receiving. He was also a defensive star, known for the pressure he often put on opposing quarterbacks as a pass rusher. He recorded 93 tackles in his career. Played in 1970’s.
11) Jerry Strong, plain and simple, was a football player, putting all his efforts into that sport, a sport in which he excelled. He intercepted a pass as a freshman in 1968 and returned it for a touchdown in Celina’s first bowl victory, a 22-6 win over East Robertson under legendary coach John Teeples. That one play got his career going and sent a clear message that he was going to be an outstanding performer, playing 10 of the 11 positions in his 4-year career. As a receiver, catching passes from Hall of Famer Larry Austin, he had 899 yards receiving and was an All-Star linebacker. In 1970 he was the team MVP as their quarterback and rushed for 1,000 yards. But it was his linebacker skills that attracted colleges. He was recruited by Western Kentucky but walked on at Tech. A serious hand injury ended any hopes he had of playing in college. He went on to be an assistant and head coach at Celina and has enjoyed a full career in education. Played in 1960-70’s.
12) Freada J. Bailey played forward on a John Teeples’ coached team that is considered by many to be one of the very best of that era. At the time Freada played, the court was divided with guards on one end and forwards (shooters) on the other. She played 1960-1963. She was part of one of the great teams of all time, playing alongside players like Tammy Vaughn, Judy Boone, Jonell Sullivan and Linda Brady. A team player, Freada demonstrated sportsmanship and class everytime she stepped on the court. She was an outstanding athlete, honing her skills practicing on a goal hung on the family barn, where she practiced daily to get better. Much of her scoring was from beyond the 3-point circle of today. Played in 1960’s.
12) Anita Bartlett Spann might be the most accomplished post-high school athlete in Celina history as she played college basketball, ran college track and coached high school basketball in her wide and varied career. As a player, Anita is remembered for making history when she became the first (Clay) girls basketball player to sign a college athletic scholarship, signing a 2-year scholarship to play basketball at Columbia State Community College in 1992. She went on to play two years for Coach Larry Brewer. She then walked on at the MTSU Track team and earned a spot in the regular rotation, running the 400 meter and throwing the javelin for two years as a member of the prestigious MTSU track team coached by legendary coach Dean Hayes. Later she became the head basketball coach at Webb School in Bell Buckle, Tennessee, where she coached future college players. Anita was a decorated high school plalyer, started on a college basketball and college track team, then had the satisfaction to see her own teams win and be successful as a coach. Played in 1990’s.
Two additional members of the 2013-14 Hall of Fame class, are in the “Contributor Division,” reserved for people who made significant contributions to the history of sports in Clay County in other ways than on the field.
1) Donald E. Napier spent much of his professional career keeping stats, “covering” Clay Sports and promoting Clay County athletes while working for five newspapers: The Nashville Tennessean, Banner, Cookeville Herald-Citizen, Clay Citizen and Clay Statesman. He seldom missed a practice, much less a game. He also designed the Hall of Fame logo, printed & donated the banquet programs, letterhead, envelopes and postage used each year. He was instrumental in taking the HOF vote to cyber space, and handled PR. He served as the MC and presided over the banquet for the first three years. His stories and stats helped athletes earn All-District, All-Region, All Tournament and All-State in three decades. Clay County’s reputation for sports excellence in the 1960’s, 1970’s and 1980’s happened on the field of play and on Don Napier’s typewriter/computer (with a big assist from editor Kevin Donaldson). Contributions made in the 1960’s, 1970’s, 1980’s and 2000’s.
2) Carmon C. Brown (deceased) was inducted into the hall of fame because of his outstanding contribution to sports in Clay County as a coach and administrator. For many years, the award for the top athlete at Celina High School was known as the Carmon C. Brown Award. In 1960, in addition to being a principal at Celina High School, he relieved Coach Teeples from duties of being boys basketball coach. He coached the boys team for a few years, and did a splendid job. His teams won many games and he had a great influence on his players. Carmon’s son, Mel Brown was a legendary baseball coach in Nashville and his nephews are Mack (Univ. of Texas) and Watson (Tennessee Tech) Brown. Contributions made in the 1960’s.
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 (931) 397-6184 or (931) 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.
A music video with photos of members of the new class, will be shown at the conclusion of the induction ceremonies. If you have photos or old newspapers, that you can scan, send to [email protected] Photos can be picked up the day of the banquet.