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Picking hall of famers

The Lewisville Hall of Fame induction ceremony held in May, was a wonderful event in every way. It not only put the the most decorated athletic alumnae from the school's storied history together under one roof, it was sort of a reunion for the entire, extended Lewisville family. Also the food was good. Good food is crucial to the success of any reunion.
Anyway, since that event was held, I have often thought that our county's other two schools (Chester and Great Falls) should launch their own athletic halls of fame. The traditions are just as storied and alums just as noteworthy as those from Lewisville.
Those halls will no doubt be established one day and I figure we can save those future selection committees lots of time, effort and research by putting together the first induction class for them. We'll use the same criteria for induction as Lewisville. Eligible for entry in the Lions hall is any former player, coach or team. A player must be at least 10 years removed from their graduation and will be judged on the impact they had on their teams as a whole and what they accomplished individually in their prep career and beyond. Teams must have at least played for a state title and must have done so at least 15 years ago. The criteria for coaches is somewhat less defined and there is no specific timeline for when their accomplishments must have taken place. There will be 10 inductees per school. The "10-year" gap for players eliminates an awful lot of worthy candidates (Devan Downey, Gaither Bumgardner, Torrey Craig, Taylor Roof, anyone from Chester or Great Falls' state title runner-up teams from '07 etc.), and I only included one current coach, though more could easily be added, but anyway, here are my lists.

Chester

Coach Lawrence Spearman- He may not be a familiar name to current sports fans because he coached in the 1920s and '30s, but he should be. Here is all you need to know about him; Chester has won six state football championships...Spearman won five of those.  In Spearman's nine seasons, Chester went 83-5-5. Three of his ties and two of his losses occurred in the playoffs with another loss coming to Asheville after the 1936 season was over. That means the team then called the Red Cyclone lost two regular season games in nine years, and recorded 60 shutouts. His teams outscored opponents 2,092 to 288. His teams gave up just over 32 points a season and 23.7 points per regular season. That equates to about three points per contest and just over two points per regular season game. He coached track and field and was the founder and first coach of Chester's baseball and basketball teams and now-defunct boxing team.

R.E. "Ears" Wilson- Spearman won five of Chester's six football crowns...Wilson won the other one and consistently had strong teams. After he left the school, Chester won one playoff game in the next 43 years.

Joe Collins- After Spearman left Chester for the college ranks, the program had a number of down years. Collins rebuilt it into an annual contender. His 1949 squad went undefeated and was jobbed out of a shot at the state title.

Marion Campbell- His list of accomplishments is almost too long to mention. As a lineman, he was one of the state's only two-time Shrine Bowlers, he starred for the Georgia Bulldogs, he was on the All-Military team during his term of service, he was a Pro Bowl pick with the Philadelphia Eagles, won an NFL title with the team, he coached some of the NFL's most legendary defenses and was head coach of the Atlanta Falcons and Philadelphia Eagles. Any one thing on that list would have been enough to get on my list.

Allison Feaster- The 1994 Chester graduate is still second in state history in points scored (3,427) and remains, in my opinion, the best girls basketball player in our state's history and one of its best all-around athletes. At Harvard, she authored the only 16-over-1 seed upset in NCAA basketball tournament history and has enjoyed a long professional career in the WNBA and abroad. Her husband is a pretty good athlete too..more on him later.

The 1963 football team- It was the last to win a state football title for Chester. In fact, it was the last to win a state title in any boys team sport.

David "Dode" Phillips- Ever wonder why Erskine athletic teams are called "The Flying Fleet?" Phillips played for the school when it had less than 100 students in the early part of the last century. An offensive back, he led Erskine to wins in one season over Clemson, South Carolina, Furman and The Citadel. He scored a touchdown in every Erskine game, was voted the state's all-time most outstanding football player in 1939 and was inducted into the National Association of Intercollegiate Athletics Football Hall of Fame. A sportswriter once noted that Phillips drove the Erskine offense up and down the field "like a flying fleet" and the name stuck. He got Chester to the state title game in 1916 and played professional baseball.

Maurice Morris- The 1998 Chester graduate ran for 1,600 yards as a senior, helped the Cyclones win their first playoff game in 34 years and was picked for the Shrine Bowl. He set national junior college records for rushing and total yards from scrimmage, then became the first two-time 1,000-yard rusher in Oregon Ducks history. He was a second round draft pick of the Seattle Seahawks and enjoyed a 10-year NFL career.

Sue Misenheimer- She coached the Chester girls basketball team to its first state championship in 1993 and holds the program mark for wins. It was the school's first state title in anything in 30 years. She coached a bevy of eventual college players, including Feaster.

Keith Richardson- He was a Shrine Bowl football player for the Cyclones who went on to average 10 wins a year (in 24 seasons) and claim six state championships for Clinton High School.

Great Falls

John Smith- I could pretty much write the word "duh" here and be done with it. He is the winningest basketball coach in the history of the state of South Carolina...actually, at nearly 1,000 victories, he's won more games than any coach in any sport. Great Falls has brought home eight state titles under Smith, has played for (on average) an upperstate title every other year during his tenure and made it to state on 19 occasions.

Banks McFadden- This also falls into the "duh" category. He helped Great Falls win a state football title (1934) and two basketball crowns. He was an All-American in football and basketball at Clemson but track may have been his best sport. He recorded 28 first place finishes in his career and once set three state records in one day. On the court, he averaged 12.9 points a game (an amazing total in the slow paced, shot-clock-free 1930s) and guided Clemson to a Southern Conference basketball tournament win...still the school's only post-season tournament championship. In his senior season of football, he setting punting records that stood for more than 40 years, led the team in rushing and passing was an outstanding defensive player got Clemson to its first bowl game. He nearly single-handedly won that Cotton Bowl contest. He received the national "Most Versatile Athlete" award, was a first round NFL draft pick, led the league in total yards in his one season, then coached at Clemson for many years. Simply put, he may be the finest athlete the state has produced...ever.

Danny Strong- It probably isn't a coincidence that Great Falls won football and basketball state titles in the 1991-'92 school year, since Strong played on both. Strong remains probably the best high school football player I've seen who chose not to play in college. There weren't many athletic, 6-foot-5 receivers back then and it was almost amusing watching defensive backs try to cover him. Smith considers him the best player he's coached (very high praise), he was a double-digit scorer for N.C. State and just last year wrapped up his international basketball career. His wife (Allison Feaster) made my Chester list.
Don Morris- I don't have any stats or much info on Morris, but I'm going with my gut on this. From the time it was founded and for many years after, the Shrine Bowl football all-star game's rosters were almost entirely made up of players from bigger schools and bigger towns. That Morris was picked for the game in 1959 (he was the first Red Devil so honored) speaks volumes to me.

Harvey Stewart- The late Great Falls coach and athletic director is probably best remembered for winning 91 football games, but he also coached the school's golf team to three state titles...and he hired John Smith.

Danny Sawyer- Sawyer, who passed away a few years ago, won Great Falls its last state football crown in 1991. That year's team went 15-0. Speaking of that team...

The 1991 football team- Went undefeated and won one of the state's most exciting state title games ever, a 15-14 thriller over Timmonsville.

Take your pick of basketball state title winners- There have been a state record 10, seven of which are eligible for inclusion. One of the two teams of the mid-to-late 1990s that went unbeaten should probably be the pick.

Antwan Coleman- The 6-foot-8, 300(-ish) pound Coleman was close to unstoppable on the football field, but was even better on the court. He didn't just overwhelm with his size, he could knock down a jump shot and was a deft passer. His 31 point, 15 rebound, six steal, five block, three assist effort in a narrow state title game loss to Hemingway in 2003 remains one of the great all-around basketball efforts local fans have ever seen. He played collegiately at UNC-Charlotte.

The 1986 softball team- My Great Falls entries are a little light on female accomplishments. I may be wrong here, but a quick scan of records indicates this might be the only girls team at the school to win a state crown. Quite an achievement.

So what do you think? Are my lists on point or do you think I'm full of beans? There are lots of names I wanted to include, some I've probably forgotten and others I haven't heard of, but should have. Feel free to add names, leave your thoughts or your own lists in the comment section.

 

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