CLASS OF 2007
Kevin Brown was an All-American pitcher at Georgia Tech who went on to a 17-year career in the Major leagues with six different teams. A native of McIntyre, Georgia in Wilkinson County, Brown starred at Tech from 1984-86, earning all-America honors in 1985 and leading the Yellow Jackets to their first two Atlantic Coast Conference titles in 1985 and 1986. Kevin was a 1st round pick of the Texas Rangers in 1986 and also had stops with, Baltimore, Florida, San Diego Padres, Los Angeles, and New York with the Yankees. Brown was a six time All-Star and helped lead the Florida Marlins to the World Championship in 1997 developing his reputation as a clutch big-game pitcher. In 1998, he was named Sporting News National League Pitcher of the Year. Kevin won 211 games and was two-time National League ERA leader. Brown is a member of the Georgia Sports Hall of Fame as well as the Georgia Tech Athletic Hall of Fame.
Terry Brown was a standout quarterback for Southwest High School and then an All-Conference performer at the University of Tennessee as a defensive back for Johnny Majors. The 1985 Volunteer team had wins over #1 Auburn and #2 Miami in route to a Sugar Bowl win. A neck injury prevented Terry from pursuing his NFL career, so he started officiating high school football games. In 1998 he worked in the Southern Conference, and two years later he joined the SEC. After 6 years he moved to the NFL where he has worked more than 200 NFL games. He has never been on the field for a Super Bowl, but was the Side Judge for the 2019 AFC championship game between the New England Patriots and the Kansas City Chiefs. He is a member of the Knoxville Hall of Fame.
Jim Cowan coached basketball and track and field at Mercer and was one of the most successful hoops coaches in Bears history. Cowan compiled an overall record of 122-78 in basketball during two stints with the Bears. He coached at Mercer from 1946 until 1951 and following a stint as an Air Force Officer in the Korean War, returned to coach three more seasons: 1953-1957. The Bears won 4 Dixie Conference championships during his tenure and Cowan took the 1954 Mercer team to the NAIA National Tournament where they lost to Arkansas Tech. He coached Glenn Wilkes and Richard Reid during his Mercer tenure, two-players on Mercer’s all-time scoring list. He also fielded competitive track and field teams. An endowed scholarship in his memory is established at Mercer University.
Joe DeFore was an outstanding lineman at Lanier High School in the early 1950’s. He earned All- State and honorable mention All-Southern honors in 1951. Joe was also member of two State Championship track teams at Lanier. He captured the Region shot put crown with a toss of over 53 feet, and claimed the State AA Title in 1952 with a toss of 51 feet, 4 and three-quarters inches. He played collegiately at the University of South Carolina where he lettered two seasons in track and football.
AL GERHARDT, JR.
Al Gerhardt, Jr. was a three sport standout at Lanier playing football, basketball, and baseball for the Poets. He was an All-State football player and signed a football scholarship to Georgia Tech where he lettered three consecutive years at three different positions. As a sophomore, Al played split end, while moving to tight end his junior campaign. Then his senior season, he moved to tackle. Al played in the 1965 Gator Bowl in the Jackets 31-21 win over 10th ranked Texas Tech. He also competed in the Orange Bowl following the 1966 season in which Tech lost to Florida 27-12 in what would be legendary coach Bobby Dodd’s final game. Gerhardt, Jr. was an avid golfer and won the Super Senior Championship at the Healy Point Country Club. He was named Volunteer of the Year by Family Advancement Ministries.
Issac Jackson was one of the most celebrated running backs to ever play high school football in Macon. He was a High School All-American at Lanier where he rushed for 3,610 yards and 38 touchdowns his final two seasons. While in high school, CBS Television aired a feature story on him entitled “See Issac Run.” Jackson ran for 1,940 yards and scored 21 touchdowns during his junior year, rushing for more than 100 yards in all but one game. Jackson suffered an ankle injury his senior season which prevented him from putting up stellar numbers. Nonetheless, he was named the top high school back in the nation by Venture Magazine in 1970. He went on to star at Kansas State University setting records for career rushing with 2,182 and for a single season with 1,137. Issac was selected in 15th round of the 1973 NFL draft by the Cincinnati. Tragically, Jackson died at the age of 47 in 1999.
LAINE LASSETER BOLTON
Laine Lasseter Bolton was a two-time All-State selection at Stratford Academy while leading the Lady Eagles to three consecutive State Championships and a 60-0 record from 1976-’77 through 1977-’78. At Stratford, Laine holds the single season record for points with 790 on her way to scoring over 1500 for her career. She is also the school’s single season and career rebounding leader. Lasseter signed a basketball scholarship to Florida State where she scored over 1,000 points and grabbed 624 rebounds. As a freshman she recorded 12 double-doubles which stood as a FSU women’s record for more than 30 years. Laine had four 30+ point games during her career with the ‘Noles with a high of 34 coming against Southeastern Louisiana. She is a member of the Stratford Athletic Hall of Fame having been elected in 2011.
DR. JAMES "TANK" LAWRENCE
James “Tank” Lawrence was an offensive and defensive tackle at Lanier from 1945-1948 helping lead the Poets to back-to-back State Titles in 1947 and 1948. Lawrence was named an All-Star twice and was a member of the 1948 All-Southern Team. Lawrence played collegiately at Duke University and was named AP All Southern Conference in 1951 in which Duke finished 5-4-1 with the tie coming against 5th ranked Georgia Tech in Atlanta. Lawrence was a three-year letterman at Duke: 1950-1952 and played in the 1952 Senior Bowl. He was Duke’s biggest player at 235 pounds his senior season, helping justify his nickname “Tank.”
Al Lucas was a tough customer when he played football Northeast High School. While a Raider, he set the school record with a 440-pound bench press, which earned him the nickname "Big Luke." Al signed to play football at Troy State University. During his senior season of 1999, he won the Buck Buchanan Award as the Most Outstanding Defensive Player in NCAA Division I-AA. He was also honored with unanimous All-America and All-Southland Football League first team honors. After making the team as an undrafted free agent, Lucas played in twenty games for the Carolina Panthers in the NFL. He also played in the Arena Football League with Tampa Bay and helped the Arizona Rattlers win the Arena Bowl. He was named to the AFL All-Rookie Team. Sadly, Lucas passed away at the age of 26 from an injury suffered on April 10, 2005, in an AFL game between Lucas’ Los Angeles Avengers and the New York Dragons.
Frank Malloy has been a mainstay on Macon television sets since 1982 when he became Sports Director at WMAZ-TV. He came to Macon after spending two and a half years as sport anchor at WRBL TV in Columbus. In 1993 he switched chairs and starting anchoring the station’s news programs at 5pm, 6pm, 10pm, and 11pm. Malloy and former Sports anchor Brad Bibb co-founded a high school football wrap-up show called “Football Friday Night,” which Malloy still hosts. He has served as the emcee for the annual Macon Sports Hall of Fame Induction Ceremonies for almost two decades. He also handles play-by-play duties for Mercer sports airing on ESPN3. Frank is heavily involved in charity work in the Middle Georgia area.
Chester Pierce was a standout baseball performer at both Mt. de Sales and at Mercer but he really made it mark in the coaching ranks on the diamond. He played on the 1966 Cavaliers State Championship team, one of seven at the school. Then it was on to Mercer where he played second base for the legendary coach Claude Smith with the Bears. After his playing days ended, he moved into coaching at his alma mater. He guided the Cavaliers to State baseball championships on three different occasions and he had three State runner-up finishes. He also coached the school’s Girls softball team to a GISA State Title in 1985. Chester was inducted into the Mt. de Sales Athletic Hall of Fame in 2008.
KELLEY RICHARDSON HESTER
Kelly Richardson Hester was a FPD golf standout who experienced success on the course as a competitor and also in the coaching ranks. After high school, Hester played collegiately on the University of Georgia Women’s team. She helped lead Georgia to a pair of SEC Team Titles and a fourth place finish at the 1993 National Championship. Hester was a second team All-SEC choice in 1994 and 1995 and a preseason All-American in 1995. Professionally, she played on the Futures Golf Tour in 1996 and 1997 and qualified for the 1996 U.S. Women’s Open in North Carolina. She moved into coaching and became Head Golf coach at several programs including Mercer, UNLV, Arkansas, Georgia, Furman and Clemson.
Mike Shepherd played baseball at Southwest and was a starter four consecutive years for the Patriots. He was an All-State selection in 1983. He played one year at Middle Georgia College before transferring to Georgia Southern where he completed his career. Shepherd was mainstay on part of three TAAC Regular Season championships and three TAAC Tournament championships during his time with the Eagles. Shepherd was also a part of the 1987 NCAA Atlantic Regional. He was a 1986 Baseball Coaches Association All-Regional and three-time All-TAAC Eastern Division selection. After his career was finished in Statesboro, Shepherd was drafted in the 32nd round of the 1987 draft by the Cincinnati Reds.
JESSE JAMES TAYLOR
Jesse James Taylor was the first Bibb County native to race in the Grand National Division of NASCAR. As a kid, Taylor finished 2nd in the 1951 Southern 500, but was severely injured afterwards at Lakewood. He returned to Darlington in '56 but never re-captured his earlier success. He was on the NASCAR circuit for five years with his last race coming in the Dixie 400 at the Atlanta Motor Speedway in 1961. His best year was 1951 when he took part in 10 races with one top five finish (at Darlington). Once his NASCAR days ended, Taylor returned to Middle Georgia and dominated the local race scene at among other places Central City Park.