Happy Valley inducts the largest class into Warrior Sports Hall of Fame

Published 8:56 am Tuesday, April 16, 2019

Family, friends, former coaches and guests gathered in Charlie Bayless Gymnasium on the campus of Happy Valley High School Saturday evening to welcome the newest class into the Happy Valley Warrior Sports Hall of Fame.

The evening was kicked off as Principal Bernie Young opened with brief remarks and recognized several legendary coaches who were in attendance including Jerry White, Greg Goulds, Don Verran, and Bobby Snyder to name a few.

FD Spaller, who remains instrumental in making sure the Hall of Fame continues to recognize former Warrior athletes and coaches, took over the reins as the Master of Ceremony and presented the inductees which included three basketball teams and a host of athletes and coaches covering various spectrums of sports.

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The Inductees

Honored Enemy War Chief—Bobby Snyder

Snyder started coaching at Boones Creek in 1966 where he won 66 straight conference games from 1966 to 1971.

He is in the Top Ten in TSSAA history with 47 years of coaching. He has 31 winning seasons under his belt and had 18 seasons where he won over 20 games.

Snyder is in the Daniel Boone HOF, ETSU HOF, and the TSSAA HOF as well.

He is the third recipient of the award as White and Elvin Little of Science Hill also has been recognized.

Larry Brown

Brown attended Happy Valley from 1961 to 1965 participating in football and track. Many remember Brown for his work with the Elizabethton National Little League where he worked for nearly 25 years.

He was mostly responsible for completely renovating the fields along with the 844th engineers from Knoxville. During this time, 780 loads of dirt were hauled to groom the fields to make them playable.

Brown also worked tirelessly to get lighting up on the girls’ softball field in 2011 and by 2013 the baseball field also had lights.

Scotty Verran

Verran played four years of football for the Warriors where he was All-Conference his junior and senior years. He also was on the Warrior track team.

He went on to play four years at Emory and Henry where he participated in track for two years before the program was dropped and played in every game all four years as a Wasp, including the national semifinals.

Verran is currently the head football coach at South Greene.

Richard “Dickie” Renfro

Renfro was a 1967 graduate of Happy Valley and a 1971 graduate of ETSU. He began teaching at Happy Valley Middle School in 1972 where he coached football and basketball for six years.

In 1978, Renfro moved to the high school to become an assistant basketball coach to Coach Charlie Bayless where he remained for the next 30 years from 1978 to 2008. He also coached girls track for three years.

He joins his father, Dave Renfro, who also is a member of the Hall of Fame.

Garth McKinney

McKinney attended Happy Valley from 1996 to 2000 where he played two years of golf, four years of basketball, and four years of baseball.

He was the 1999 Watauga Conference Co-player of the year in basketball and also made the All-Conference, All Watauga Conference, All-District Tournament, and All Upper East Tennessee team in baseball in the same season.

McKinney attended Walters State where he was the NJCAA MVP for Tennessee and was drafted by the Detroit Tigers in the 29th round of the 2001 MLB draft.

Tony Garland

Garland graduated in 1986. He was a three-sport athlete participating in football, basketball, and baseball lettering in all sports as well as running in all the conference track meets.

He was voted all-conference in football and was a recipient of the Jarring Jack Garland award. In his senior year, Happy Valley won the conference and district championship in football and finished the season with a 10-2 record losing to eventual state champion Austin East in the playoffs.

Katie Williams Crowder

Williams Crowder participated in cross country and track and field as a Lady Warrior from 2000-2004 where she excelled.

She was honored as a four-time All-State performer in the TSSAA Cross Country Championships for 2000, 2001, 2002, and 2003. She also received All-State honors in the TSSAA Outdoor Track Championships in 2002, 2003, and 2004.

Williams Crowder also set 4 school records in cross country 3 miles (18:34), track 2 miles (11:46), track 1 mile (5:16), and track 800 meters (2:29).

She received a full athletic scholarship for four years to the University of Tennessee at Chattanooga.

Andy Curde

Curde attended Happy Valley from 1995 to 1998 where he became a distance runner under the tutelage of Don and Scotty Verran.

He won the TSSAA State Championship for Cross Country in his senior year in the 1600 meter and the 3200 meters.

Curde is the Area Director for Jersey Mikes Franchise Systems and oversees 170 locations in East Tennessee, North Carolina, and Virginia.

David Hughes Jr.

Hughes was a master when it came to the sport of track and field where as a junior he was the conference champion in the 1600 and 3200 meters. He went on to repeat that feat in the regional meet and came in second place in both races in the TSSAA state meet where he garnered All-State honors.

After high school, Hughes was selected as the Sun Belt Conference Cross Country Freshman of the Year in 2003 at Middle Tennessee State University. He also was All-Conference in cross country in 2004.

Hughes currently is a Captain in the US Army and served two tours to Iraq as well as two tours to Afghanistan. He has been awarded the Bronze Star, Bronze Star with Valor, Combat Action Badge, and Meritorious Service Medal.

Erica Babb Beach

Babb Beach was an All-Conference selection in basketball in 1995 as a junior recording her 1000th point in the same season.

She also earned All-Northeast Tennessee Defensive Player of the Year, District 1-AA Tournament MVP, Region 1-AA Tournament MVP, and was an All-State selection in 1995 as well.

Babb Beach was an early commitment to ETSU before a senior season that got off to a rocky start as she would tear her ACL three days before the season jamboree and didn’t play a game during her senior season.

As a Lady Buccaneer senior, Babb Beach was ranked No. 5 in the Southern Conference in scoring (14.7) and No. 2 in rebounding (8.3). She also was named to the All-Southern Conference team.

Kourtney Goulds Caldwell

Goulds Caldwell graduated in 2004 and while an athlete excelled in basketball, softball, and cross country. She was selected as the Upper East Tennessee Female Athlete of the Year in 2004.

She was a 4-year member of the basketball team and as a member of the softball team led her team to two sub-state appearances in 2002 and 2003.

She also was a member of the All-Northeast Tennessee team in 2003-2004.

On the track team, Goulds Caldwell was an All-Conference, All-Region, and All-State selection in 2000, 2002, and 2003.

She will be remembered for collapsing in her senior year with 400 meters to go at the state championships and crawling to the finish line to try to help her team capture the title. The Lady Warriors finished as runner-up.

Chuck Babb

Babb was a member of the Class of 1993. He was an All-Conference selection in 1992 and 1993 as well as earning All-Region and All-State Honorable Mention in 1993.

He went on to play for Walters State where he lettered two years in basketball and his team was part of back-to-back 20-win seasons.

Babb then came to Milligan where he was the leading shot blocker and rebounder in the TVAC in 1997 and 1998.

He was an All-TVAC 1st team in 1998 where he was 10th in the nation in rebounding. He led the Buffs in scoring, rebounds, and blocked shots the same year.

Ray Burchfield

Burchfield was an athlete at Happy Valley from 1962 to 1964 where he played basketball for two years, three seasons of baseball, and one year of track.

He was a member of the 1964 District Basketball championship team where he was a member of the all-tournament team. Burchfield also played on the conference championship baseball teams in 1962 and 1963.

Burchfield is a Vietnam veteran who spent 1969 in the jungles of Vietnam as a combat platoon staff sergeant. He was awarded the National Defense Service Medal, Vietnam Service Medal, Vietnam Campaign Medal, Vietnam Gallantry Cross W/Palm Medal, Vietnam Air Medal, Army Commendation Medal for Heroism, and the Bronze Star (Third Oak Leaf Cluster).

Russell Kyte

Spaller said there has always been a Kyte who played athletics at Happy Valley High School in his introduction of Russell Kyte.

Kyte was said to have not missed a Warrior game in 45 years except on Wednesday nights when he attended church.

Charlie Bayless and Jeff Vance were inducted individually but unfortunately, neither was able to attend the Hall of Fame ceremony.

Greg Goulds accepted on behalf of Bayless.

Three basketball teams placed into the Hall of Fame included the 1941 State Runner Up team, the 1950 State Championship Team, and the 1974 State Championship Team.