2021 Carter County Sports Hall of Fame… 28 new members inducted during ceremony at TCAT
FROM STAFF REPORTS
Laying out its welcome mat for the 10th consecutive year, the Carter County Sports Hall of Fame inducted a new class last Saturday at the Tennessee College of Applied Technology in Elizabethton.
This year’s group consists of Todd Barnett, Bobbie Blevins-Frazier, Justin Buckles, Susan Cox Carter, Tim Chambers, Dane Christman, Danette Coffey, Jimmy Ensor, Del Harris, Kenneth Hayes, Ronnie Hodge, Roy Huskins, Richard Hyder, Van Maxwell, Teddy McKeehan, Terry “Monk” Montgomery, James Napier, Scott Rider, Mark Schaff, Kari Stout, Javy Taylor and Tara Hanson Worley.
Also honored were 2020 classmates Herb Arnett, Willie Church, Arthur “Sonny” Hale, Robert Heaton, Sharon Hubbard and Harold Mains. Due to the pandemic, these members weren’t formally recognized until this year.
Former Elizabethton High golf player Billy Sampson, who is currently the director of instruction at Old Tabby Links in Spring Island, South Carolina, and Carter County mayor Patty Woodby served as the guest speakers.
Below is a short bio about each new inductee as well as the 2020 members honored this year:
Happy Valley basketball
Beginning with the 1945-46 season, Arnett put in four years on the varsity level for Happy Valley and ranks among the top scorers in school history with 1,400-plus points. He was No. 2 in scoring on the Warriors’ 1947 and ’48 state tournament teams, then led the squad in that category as a senior.
Arnett earned three district all-tournament nods, an accomplishment he duplicated in the regional tournament. He was named most valuable player in both tournaments as a senior.
A member of the state’s 1948 all-tournament team, Arnett would later shine on a powerful Naval team. After military service, he became a TSSAA official.
Contributing to Cloudland’s first three league championship football teams, Barnett was a two-time All-Appalachian Conference player who led the league in touchdown passes as a senior (1980) with 12.
His Highlander basketball career saw him finish as one of the Appalachian’s top five scorers in each of his upper-class seasons. Moreover, he capped his time on the hardwood by claiming a spot on the Johnson City Press-Chronicle’s all-conference team.
Barnett became an outstanding assistant coach on some very good Cloudland football teams, served as head coach for CHS basketball and later stood atop Unaka football’s program. He eventually directed a high-profile holiday tournament for middle school basketball at Freedom Hall.
Accumulating nearly 1,500 career points in a four-year varsity career (1997-2001), Blevins remains the second-leading scorer in Lady Rangers history. She topped the team in scoring as a sophomore, junior and senior, landing on the All-Watauga Valley Conference team each year.
Blevins twice appeared on the all-state honorable mention list in her time at Unaka. Moreover, she was a two-time All-Carter/Johnson County (first team), District 1-A all-tournament and Region 1-A all-tournament selection. Additional honors included McDonald’s Classic and WEMB Classic all-tournament.
After high school came a four-year collegiate career for Blevins, who proved to be a solid performer at King College (now King University).
As a senior in 1991, Buckles was a heat-seeking, hard-hitting linebacker on what many consider to be the best Unaka football team in the last 60-plus years. He racked up 145 total tackles, including 92 solo or primary stops, as the Rangers hit the seven-win mark for the first time since 1959. Nineteen of those stops came in a Class A playoff game at Coalfield.
Buckles was also a solid contributor at running back that year. His 54-yard touchdown run jump-started his team’s offense in a memorable 34-27 victory at Johnson County. His senior-year plaudits included honorable mention all-state, All-Smoky Mountain Conference and All-Carter/Johnson County. A key peg in Unaka’s first back-to-back runs to the playoffs, Buckles went on to have a successful college career at Maryville.
SUSAN COX CARTER
Happy Valley basketball
Cox was a four-year varsity player and a big reason why the Lady Warriors reached the 1988 state quarterfinals and the 1989 state final, both in Class AA. She tossed in more than 1,300 career points, twice led her team in scoring and attained all-state honorable mention status in her final two seasons.
A two-time All-Northeast Tennessee, All-Watauga Conference and District 1-AA all-tournament performer, Cox gained a second-team spot on the Knoxville News-Sentinel’s 1987-88 All-East Tennessee squad. She made the state’s Class AA all-tournament team as a senior, when Happy Valley put up a 31-4 record with conference, district and substate championships. Cox appeared in 120 varsity games in her career.
Hampton baseball/football and media
A fixture at catcher, Chambers started for all four seasons as Hampton evolved into one of the area’s better baseball teams. He attracted All-Watauga Conference in both of his upper-class years, when his combined batting average hovered above .400. Chambers went on to star at Bristol College in 1978, batting .409 with 22 runs, 10 doubles, two home runs, a triple and 28 RBIs.
On the gridiron for the Bulldogs, Chambers was a three-year starter who totaled 1,007 rushing yards, 11 TDs and eight interceptions in his senior season — good enough for All-Watauga and all-state honorable mention status.
His renowned sportswriting career included 12 years at the Elizabethton Star and eight years as The Tomahawk’s sports editor.
Named TSSAA’s Class 1A Mr. Football (line) as a senior, Christman was a two-time finalist for the award (2002, 2003). He also received all-state recognition in each of those years, adding a pair of appearances on the Johnson City Press’ traditional Elite 11 squad.
A three-time All-Northeast Tennessee, All-Mountain East Conference and All-Carter/Johnson County selection, Christman totaled a whopping 458 tackles, 31 quarterback sacks and five interceptions as a four-year varsity player.
A defensive end before converting to linebacker, he won multiple defensive player of the year awards and helped the team register a 47-5 record (no conference defeats). He played in the 2001 Class 1A state championship game and returned to the semifinals a year later.
Church’s contributions were wide-spread, essentially going back to his time as an Elizabethton High baseball player. He was the starting right fielder (honorable mention All-Big 7 Conference) as a senior for the 1967 District 3 champions. Eight years later, he coached the Orange & Black to the very same title.
Involved with a plethora of sports, Church made a solid impact as a head or assistant coach at Elizabethton, T.A. Dugger Jr. High and Milligan College (University).
An great ambassador for local athletics and positive influence on many people, he devoted 38 years to the Elizabethton Parks & Recreation Department and was a fixture on the Elizabethton Twins’ field crew.
Pitching in approximately 1,800 points from 1979 through 1983, Coffey was the Lady Cyclones’ top career scorer for more than 30 years and remains No. 2 on the school’s all-time list.
Her most distinguished year came as a junior, when she led the state in scoring (about 24 points per game) and made all-state, All-East Tennessee, All-Upper East Tennessee and All-Big 10 Conference teams. She posted a 40-point, 17-rebound performance versus Sullivan East that season.
A two-time Big 10 scoring champ and twice an all-conference player, Coffey was having a stellar senior season before going down with a leg injury a little more than halfway through the team’s schedule.
EHS Baseball/Youth Sports Contributor
As a Cyclone senior in 1963, Ensor was named an All-Big 7 Conference infielder by the Upper East Tennessee Sports Writers Association. A shortstop when not on the mound, he crafted a .340 batting average and tied for the team lead in pitching wins with three.
Ensor also played basketball in high school, collecting a UETSWA all-conference honorable mention after helping Elizabethton gain a share of the 1962-63 Big 7 crown — the last in coach John Treadway’s legendary career.
Making a difference on the youth sports league circuit awaited Ensor, who excelled as a manager, coach, administrator and official. He was also a mainstay on the fast-pitch softball circuit, traveling far and wide to compete.
ARTHUR “SONNY” HALE
Thriving as a halfback and kick/punt return man, Hale attracted All-Southern, all-state, All-East Tennessee and All-Big Five honors as both a junior and senior (1944-45). He is believed to be the only Northeast Tennessee player to twice make All-Southern.
Rushing for 900-plus yards and scoring 10 touchdowns as a junior, he followed up with a 1,200-yard rushing campaign highlighted by a pair of 200-yard outputs. His senior-year production included having a hand in 32 touchdowns. He scored 27 (25 rushing, 1 punt return, 1 kick return) of those himself, passed for five and totaled 169 of his 249 career points.
After high school, Hale became a starting halfback for Milligan.
Milligan College basketball
A three-time All-Volunteer State Athletic Conference and All-Smoky Mountain Conference player, Harris poured in 1,639 points over the course of a Milligan playing career (1955-59). He was a Little All-American honorable mention as a senior, topped the Buffaloes in scoring three seasons, and also made a solid impact on the baseball team.
Harris had a long and prestigious coaching career that began at Johnson City’s King Springs Elementary. He was an NBA head coach for 12 full seasons and part of two others, reaping 556 wins and 11 playoff berths in the process. He took the Rockets to the 1981 NBA Finals and has received the John Wooden “Keys to Life”, John W. Bunn Lifetime Achievement and Chucky Daily Lifetime awards.
Motorcycle racing/Happy Valley baseball
Hayes earned national acclaim in the sport of motorcycle racing. Achieving prosperity in flat-track, road-racing and motocross competition, he established himself by winning the 1958 Tennessee State Scrambles Championship — and success stayed with him throughout a career that exceeded 30 years. Included was a first-to-the-finish-line performance in the 1964 American Motorcycle Association’s 100-mile event at Daytona.
Before mastering his athletic craft from his adult years, Hayes was part of Happy Valley’s first two baseball teams (1955-56). A slick infielder and solid hitter for coach Charlie Bayless’ Warriors, he helped spring 1956 district tournament victories over Science Hill and Unicoi County.
A standout basketball center for the Highlanders, Heaton registered 318 points (seven 20-point games) for a team-best 15.1 per-game average in 1952-53 — his junior season. He was rewarded with a place on the All-Watauga Conference team.
As a senior, Heaton scored at a 13-point clip (387 points), accounted for five more 20-point showings and was named honorable mention All-Watauga.
Heaton’s senior football season ended in all-conference distinction. Starting at end, he reeled in six touchdowns and four extra points for a Cloudland-high 40 points in an eight-game season.
Hodge is now in his 44th year as an official, having launched his career in 1978. Between his involvement in football, baseball, basketball and softball, he has called thousands of high school, elementary, middle school and junior high contests over that period of time.
A 1965 Elizabethton High graduate and former Cyclone baseball player, Hodge endured surgeries and subsequent rehabilitation of both his knees to remain active. Other physical ailments sometimes got in the way, but haven’t been enough to derail the TSSAA officiating’s pride of Turkeytown.
In addition to being an iron man at his craft, Hodge is among the most popular officials in the area.
Happy Valley basketball
Positioned at guard, Hubbard held down a starting role in all three of her seasons with the Lady Warriors (1977-78 through 1979-80).
Named All-Watauga Conference as a junior and senior, she also grabbed a spot on the Elizabethton Star’s All-Carter County team in her final hardwood campaign.
Hubbard ranked among the team’s top two scorers while an upper-classman. It was during this time she helped Happy Valley first transition to Watauga Conference play — then from the six-on-six, half-court game to five-on-five, full-court basketball.
Earning the reputation as a good, heady player, Huskins started every game at quarterback as a junior and senior (1961-62) for the Cyclones — expertly running the wing-T offense. In the fall of 1962, the All-Big 7 honorable mention held down a starting job at safety, punted and returned kicks and punts in addition to lining up under center.
Huskins, who was also a valued performer on Elizabethton’s baseball team, went on to invest 21 years as a head coach (North Forsyth in Winston Salem, N.C.) or assistant coach (Elizabethton, Dobyns-Bennett) in football, earning tremendous respect for having the right touch both on and off the field. Amid many other accomplishments, he performed distinguished service with the National Football Foundation of America — fostering its growth.
Part of two state tournament teams at Hampton, including the 1959-60 state champions, Hyder scored 1,267 career points and twice gained a place on the All-Watauga Conference squad.
Also a two-time District 1 all-tournament luminary, Hyder notched 16 games of 20 or more points in his final two seasons — twice eclipsing the 30-point mark. He paced the Bulldogs with a 14.7 scoring average as a junior (1960-61) and produced a 13.7 per-game clip the next season, when he and the ‘Dogs advanced to the state quarterfinals.
Hyder would end up coaching basketball for many years, putting in time on the elementary and high school levels. He picked up a second state championship ring as assistant coach for the 2013-14 Elizabethton Lady Cyclones.
Elizabethton Twins baseball
Mains served as the Twins’ baseball commission president and chaplain for 21 years. Particularly skilled in the public-relations aspect of the job, he was on board for eight Appalachian League championships — 2000, 2003, 2005, 2007, 2008, 2012, 2017 and 2018 — and 13 division titles. Furthermore, the Appalachian League Hall of Famer was influential in getting many upgrades to Joe O’Brien Field/Carmon Dugger Park.
A multi-sport athlete at Elizabethton High, Mains played four years of basketball and baseball before doing the same — with great success — for Northeastern Bible College (Essex Fells, N.J.). The Harold Mains Athlete of the Year award is annually given to the most outstanding athlete and student at Northeastern.
Happy Valley contributor
Lauded for his tireless work and dedication to Happy Valley athletics, Maxwell is this year’s honorary inductee. It’s an accolade given annually to a support-staff person and/or special fan.
The Warriors’ longtime basketball scoreboard operator, he also has maintained the school’s athletic facilities and painted the football field for game nights over the course of many years. In 2019, Maxwell received the Larry Brown Award for his “generous commitment of time and support” to HV football.
An All-Watauga Conference quarterback for the Warriors in 1971, Maxwell was a teacher’s aide at the school for an extended period and is widely regarded as an outstanding representative of the school.
Happy Valley athlete
In a high school hoops career that produced close to 1,000 points, McKeehan posted the top scoring average (14.5 ppg) for the 1973-74 Class S state basketball champions. A senior that season, he was named honorable mention all-state and All-Watauga Conference — plus he made the district, regional and state all-tournament teams before moving on to play for Steed College.
On the track & field ledger, McKeehan emerged a Watauga champion in the 880-yard run, long jump and two-mile relay as a senior. In previous years, he contributed to two-mile relay and one-mile relay crowns.
McKeehan’s repertoire also included football. He had six touchdown catches as an all-conference end in 1973, a Watauga-winning year for the Warriors.
TERRY “MONK” MONTGOMERY
Hampton athlete; bodybuilder
Montgomery was a two-time All-Watauga Conference football player who, as a starting halfback, led the league in touchdowns (12) and scoring (73 points) as a senior in 1967. He also piled up over 700 yards on the ground that year as the Bulldogs claimed a share of the conference crown, their fourth in a row.
In track & field for the Bulldogs, Montgomery became a three-time Watauga champion in the discus and 440-yard relay. Single conference titles were achieved in the shot put, 880 relay, and 1-mile relay.
As an adult, Montgomery became one of the area’s most prominent figures in bodybuilding — faring well in a wide range of competitive settings.
Starring on the first three teams in Douglas football history (1948-50), Napier is arguably the best offensive player in Red Dragons football history. Primarily working at quarterback, he finished with approximately 50 total career touchdowns — passing for more than half of those.
As a junior, he and the Dragons posted an 8-2 record and appeared in the first-ever Rayon Bowl. In a 40-0 regular-season win over Dayton, he had a hand in all six of his team’s touchdowns — throwing for four, running for one and posting another on the receiving end.
Napier unleashed four scoring passes of 70 or more yards as a senior, when Douglas cranked out an 8-0-1 record.
A Centenary Prep All-American as a senior and four-time all-conference player (1977-80), Rider remains one of the most multi-faceted players in Cyclone football history. Playing for his father, Dave, Scott showed tremendous versatility, amassing close to 3,600 yards of total offense while splitting time between four positions (RB, flanker, split end, QB). He started at safety on defense and also punted and returned kicks.
Helping Elizabethton corral a pair of conference titles (1977, 1980), Rider was a three-time All-Upper East Tennessee performer whose senior year included all-state and All-East Tennessee accolades. A collegiate wide receiver, he lettered for three years at Virginia Tech and caught a team-high four passes versus Air Force in the 1984 Independence Bowl.
After earning honorable mention All-Big 10 Conference acclaim as a junior, Schaff took his game to a different level.
In his senior campaign (1982), the tenacious tackle scored second-team all-state honors on the Tennessee Sports Writers Association and United Press International teams. Schaff also made the Knoxville News-Sentinel’s Class AAA All-East Tennessee squad (first team) in ’82, when he was also deemed an All-Upper East Tennessee and All-Big 10 performer. In addition, he became one of the Johnson City Press’ first-ever Elite 11 honorees.
A member of two conference title teams (1980, ’82), Schaff forged ahead to play for the University of Kentucky. He was part of the 1984 Wildcats who beat Tennessee 17-12 in Neyland Stadium.
Stout hit for more than 1,200 career points (over 150 3-pointers) as a Lady Bulldog, playing on two state tournament teams (2000, 2001) and making All-Northeast Tennessee, All-Watauga Valley, or Watauga Conference, All-Carter/Johnson County, and District 1-A all-tournament teams two times apiece. She raked in NET (Johnson City Press), Carter/Johnson (Elizabethton Star) and district MVP awards as a senior and was a two-time all-state honorable mention.
A four-time All-Appalachian Athletic Conference pick and the league’s freshman of the year (2002-03), Stout was an even bigger success in college. The nimble and athletic guard pumped in 1,604 career points and holds a tie for third place in Lady Buffs’ history with 148 3-pointers.
Taylor was among the area’s premier outfielders in the late 1960s and then as a senior in 1970. Great with his glove and impressive in range, he was also a perennial above-.300 hitter (twice above .350) and an uncatchable base stealer who helped Unaka win back-to-back Watauga Conference titles (1969-70). Taylor was all-conference in baseball and basketball (second team, Elizabethton Star team) in his senior campaign.
As a coach, he provided a guiding hand for Unaka’s girl’s basketball program for three seasons (1982-83 through 1984-85), compiling a 67-25 record. The Lady Rangers made two substate appearances (1984, ’85) and won their first regional tournament championship (1985) under Taylor, who also found much success as a coach at Unaka Elementary.
TARA HANSON WORLEY
An upperclassman on the Lady Highlanders’ first two state tournament teams (2002, 2003), Hanson enjoyed a highly decorated high school career. Voted all-state as a senior, she made three All-Carter/Johnson County teams (MVP as a senior) and was twice an All-Northeast Tennessee (MVP as a senior) and Watauga Valley Conference (MVP as a senior) performer who piled up nearly 1,400 career points.
Accounting for 134 career 3-pointers, Cloudland’s two-time scoring and steals leader made three District 1-A all-tournament teams and was twice named Region 1-A all-tournament (MVP as a junior). Her playing days continued with a good career (814 points, 82 3-pointers, 238 assists, 169 steals) at Virginia Intermont.