A near-capacity crowd of family and friends watched as 25 former coaches and players were introduced Saturday as the first class of inductees of the Scott County Sports Hall of Fame.
Walking to the tune of the theme song from the Rocky movies, the inductees were brought on stage to the cheers and clapping of the audience.
The inaugural class induction was held at the Livingston Performing Arts and Media Center at Roosevelt State Park in Morton as the first event of the Hall of Fame committee.
Scott County Sports Hall of Fame President Frank Edmondson said it is believed that this was the creation of the first county-wide sports hall of fame in the State of Mississippi.
“We are proud and blessed for the opportunity to make this new Scott County Sports Hall of Fame a reality. It is a means for the inductees to be honored and recognized in their home county for their hard work and success that made them eligible and worthy of this recognition,” Edmondson said.
“The selection of the first class was not an easy task as there are so many worthy individuals who are qualified and will be considered for future classes,” he added.
Edmondson said the support from the community was special to the committee and the inductees.
“The support for this event was outstanding and we could not have done it without everyone who supported it and us as we began this project,” Edmondson said.
The induction ceremony included an invocation by Bro. Earl Clark of Morton’s First Baptist Church followed by the National Anthem by vocalist Malcolm McBride, a student at East Central Community College.
The presentation of colors and Pledge of Allegiance was made by members of Boy Scout Troop 63 of Forest.
Edmondson presented the 2015 class with introductions and presented their plaques.
Inductee Dave Marler, a graduate of Forest High School and an All-SEC quarterback for the Mississippi State University Bulldogs from 1977-1978, gave a response on behalf of the class.
“I consider this an honor and privilege to speak on behalf of such a distinguished group of athletes. As all of you sit there and listen to these bios, and look at this group of athletes together, you can quickly realize the diversity of pure talent that Scott County has produced over the years,” Marler said.
“As part of this class, I marvel at the talents and accomplishments that these inductees have achieved in their careers — talent that has carried these athletes to extraordinary heights, to extraordinary places and to extraordinary successes,” Marler said.
“Sports, even from an early age, has been a tremendous tool that all of us have used to start our path in life. It has taught us the meaning of hard work, dedication and of teamwork. It has taught us to know what it takes and do what it takes to be successful. In many ways, sports has laid the groundwork and created a framework for what many of us have become long after our playing days were over,” Marler said.
“So for whatever paths our journeys each of us have taken, the recognition from our home, from the Scott County Sports Hall of Fame, of something we did many years ago, is very rewarding and gratifying to each of us. We thank you again very much for this recognition,” Marler concluded.
A keynote address was provided by Sid Salter who reflected on each inductee based on his coverage of sports during his tenure as publisher of The Scott County Times.
“They had great careers on the field, but that only lasts a few years. It’s what you do after you put that ball down. That’s what matters,” Salter said. “That’s a lesson all of us can learn from all of them. It’s the life you live after the game is over that matters.”
The inductees remained after the ceremony to sign autographs for the audience.
The 25 members of the Class of 2015 include:
Forest: Rashard Anderson, Greg Carter, Tutti Calhoun Carter, James “Bo” Clark, Jack French, James (Jim) B. Harvey, Sylvia Howell Krebs, Dr. Charles David Lee, Tom Stewart Lee, Jr., Dave Marler, W. D. “Red” Stroud and Todd Pinkston.
Lake: Freeman Horton, Granville Freeman and Peyton Weems.
Morton: Dr. Howard Clark, Michael Davis, Rita Gail Easterling, Andre Hollis, Michael Kincaid, Jason Latham, Dulymus “Deuce” McAllister and Freddy Roberts.
Scott Central: Marlo Perry
Sebastopol: Ed Amis
Family members for the late Stroud and late Dr. Lee accepted plaques in their memory.
Edmondson said the first class was much larger than the future classes will be due to it being the first.
“We felt the need to more inclusive in the first class but from this point on, each class will have five inductees selected by the committee and a sixth inductee selected by the Hall of Fame Membership,” Edmondson said. “We still have a very large nominee pool to select future classes and it will continue to grow.”
The 11-member committee organized as a non-profit corporation and began meeting in August 2014 to establish the Hall of Fame with the goal of inducting its first class in 2015.
Nomination forms were released and the public was invited to submit nominations. Committee members made the selection of the first class on October 21.
Nominations will be re-opened soon for consideration in the 2016 class. Nominations are due each September 30 to be considered for the following year’s class.
For questions or more information concerning the Scott County Sports Hall of Fame send correspondence by email to email@example.com or write to Scott County Sports Hall of Fame, P. O. Box 1040, Forest, MS 39074.
The Hall of Fame has a presence on Facebook and is in the process of developing a full-service internet site.
The Scott County Times and The Spirit of Morton contributed to this report.