CLASS OF 2000
D.T. Bell was a Gold Gloves Middleweight boxing champion in 1938 and 1939 and captured the Light Heavyweight boxing championship of the South in 1941. Many referred to the fighter as the “second” W.L. Young Stribling (also in the Macon Hall Of Fame). He won 86 of 90 career bouts (half of which were fought as a professional). But, unfortunately, Bell’s boxing career was tragically cut short and he never got the chance to add to his record. He died at the age of 23 while piloting a P-46 Thunderbolt for the U.S. Army Air Corps in World War II. He is a member of the Georgia Sports Hall of Fame.
Arnold Blum played on Lanier State Champion Golf Teams in 1937 and 1939 and was a member of University of Georgia SEC Title team in 1942. A lifelong amateur, Blum won the Southeastern Amateur three times, the Georgia Amateur five times, and the Southern Amateur twice. Blum played on 2 Walker Cup teams including the victorious 1957 U.S. squad. He played in the Masters Tournament five times, finishing in the top 24 in 1952. He qualified for the U.S. Amateur 16 times and reached the quarterfinals twice. He also won the Macon City Championship 5 times. From 1960-61, Blum served as president of the Georgia State Golf Association. He also served as Board member of the GSGA and the Southern Golf Association. Blum is a member of the Georgia Sports Hall of Fame and the Southern Golf Association Hall of Fame.
Harley Bowers was a longtime sports editor and columnist at the Macon Telegraph penning more than 11,000 columns for the newspaper from 1959-1996. Bowers initially received a tennis scholarship at West Georgia College but transferred to the University of Georgia, where he was named the school’s most outstanding journalism graduate in 1942. He served in the Army Air Corps during WWII as an engineer-gunner on B-24 bombers then began a newspaper career spanning 54 years beginning at The Atlanta Constitution. He also had stints with The Columbus Enquirer and The Albany Herald. In Albany, he served as public relations director for the St. Louis Cardinals, which had its training complex there. During his career, Bowers covered such athletes as Pete Rose, who played for the 1962 Macon Peaches. Bowers helped launch the Macon Sports Commission and played a key role in getting the Atlanta Braves to put a Class A baseball team in Macon. In 1986, Harley was inducted in the Georgia Sports Hall of Fame.
Selby Buck is arguably the most successful high school coach that Macon has ever produced. Buck had an accomplished athletic career of his own. He was a member of the 1920 U.S. Olympic Water Polo team, and partnered to win a U.S. Army doubles tennis crown in Germany in 1921. Buck spent 30 years at Lanier High School from 1925 to 1955. His football teams compiled a remarkable 167-71-13 record claiming five state titles: 1931, 1932, 1936, 1947, and 1948. Buck coached many standout players at Lanier but stated that Vernon “Catfish” Smith (who later starred at Georgia) was his most outstanding player. In addition to coaching football, Buck led the Poets basketball teams to 11 state titles and he amassed a 491-140 career record on the hardwood. Just to top it off, Buck coached the Lanier baseball team and won 2 more additional state titles. Buck was instrumental in the formation of the Georgia Athletic Coaches Association. He is a member of the Georgia Sports Hall of Fame.
WALLACE "WALLY" BUTTS
Wally Butts captained the Mercer University football team in 1927 but is best known as the legendary football coach at the University of Georgia. From 1939 to 1960, his teams compiled a record of 140–86–9 winning National Championships in 1942 and 1946. Two of Georgia’s greatest players were members of Butts’ teams: 1942 Heisman Trophy winner Frank Sinkwich and 1946 Maxwell Award winner Charley Trippi. The ’42 team won the Rose Bowl over UCLA, finished #2 in the AP Poll, but were named National Champions by a number of selectors. Butts resigned as UGA's head football coach in December 1960 but remained as athletic director until February 1963. He was inducted into the Georgia Sports Hall of Fame in 1966 and posthumously into the College Football Hall of Fame in 1997. The famed Butts-Mehre building housing UGA’s athletic administration offices and sports museum was named in honor of Butts and his predecessor as coach, Harry Mehre.
Gardner Dickinson led Lanier High School to State golf titles in 1944, ’45 and ’47. Dickinson was a student of Ben Hogan and crafted his swing in the Hogan tradition. He played college golf at Louisiana State, where he and teammate Jay Hebert led the Tigers to the national title in 1947. In a long PGA Tour career, he won seven times between 1956 and 1971. In his last win, the 1971 Atlanta Classic, he beat Jack Nicklaus in a sudden-death playoff. During his PGA Tour career, Dickinson competed in 12 Masters Tournaments. He played on the 1967 and 1971 Ryder Cup teams and compiled an impressive 9–1–0 match record, best winning percentage (minimum of seven matches) in Cup history. In team Ryder Cup play, he never lost a match with partner Arnold Palmer (5–0). Dickinson was one of the founders of the Senior PGA Tour (now Champions Tour). He is a member of the Georgia Sports Hall of Fame.
Sam Glassman was sports editor of the Macon Telegraph and a familiar figure in Georgia and Southeastern athletic circles for nearly 40 years. Before his tenure with the Telegraph, Sam officiated basketball and football games for 21 years throughout the state. During that time, he worked part-time as high school and amateur sport editor for The Atlanta Journal. Glassman served as sports editor of the Telegraph from 1945 until 1959. He was a charter member of the Southern Football Officials Association and the Southeastern Basketball Officials Association. He was a past president and director of the South Atlantic League Sports Writers Association.
Tom Greene is considered one of the greatest lineman to ever play at Lanier High School. He went on to the University of Georgia where he lettered three seasons in 1939, 1940 and 1941. He played all three of his varsity seasons for Macon Sports Hall of Famer Wally Butts (his first three seasons at the school). The 1941 team finished 9-1-1, beating TCU in the Orange Bowl. Greene was also on the varsity track team being named All SEC and honorable mention All American. He is a member of the Georgia Sports Hall of Fame and served as President of that organization between 1971 and 1973.
Billy Henderson moved to Macon during his youth, and quickly discovered his natural talent for athletics becoming one of Macon’s all-around top athletes while at Lanier High School. He excelled in several sports, impressing onlookers in football, baseball, track & field, swimming, and others. This talent continued through college, where Billy played football and baseball for the University of Georgia. After his playing days, Henderson put together a legendary coaching career. His stops included stints at Jefferson High School, Athens High, Willingham High School, and Mt. de Sales. At the college level, he spent time at Furman and The University of South Carolina. The family moved to Athens in 1973 where Billy accepted the head coaching position at Clarke Central High School. He compiled a record of 222-65-1, with 3 state championships in football. He also pioneered 3 state championships in baseball and one swimming championship. Henderson is truly one of the greatest coaches in the history of Georgia high school sports. He is a member Georgia Sports Hall of Fame.
Quinton Lumpkin was a standout athlete in multiple sports. He was named an All Georgia Interscholastic Athletic Association selection in two sports: football in 1933 and 1934 and basketball in 1934 while at Lanier. He played college football at the University of Georgia where he anchored the offensive line at center. Lumpkin was named team captain and named to the 1938 ALL SEC First Team by the Associated Press. He finished his career in Athens as a three year letterman. He is a member of the Georgia Sports Hall of Fame.
A native of Cochran before moving to Macon, Thomas “T.J.” Maddox was a dominant figure in the Skeet shooting world in the 1970’s and 80’s. He was named World Overall Champion in 1972 when he scored an average of 98,81 hits for every 100 attempts during the 4000 target competition. He was required to use 4 different shotgun gauges during the event. Between 1971 and 1982 he also claimed six Georgia State Skeet Shooting Association titles. He took the crown in ‘7l, ’72,’74, ’77, ’80 and ’82. He was elected to the National Skeet Shooting Association Hall of Fame in 1986 and to the Georgia Hall of Fame for that sport in 1993.
Ernest “Baggy” Mallard was named Lanier High School’s best all-around athlete in 1926. He helped lead the Poets to the GIAA State championship in basketball that season averaging 17 points per game. He lettered in football, basketball, baseball and track at Lanier and then moved on to local Mercer University. Mallard was named to Mercer’s All time football team. He also led Mercer basketball team in scoring three straight years. Plus, he hit .347 in baseball. “Baggy” coached the Mercer freshman football team in 1931, but decided to pursue a pro baseball career later that year. He played until 1933 for Johnstown, Tennessee in the Mid-Atlantic League and played basketball for the Georgia Crackers. He is a member of the Georgia Sports Hall of Fame as well as the Mercer Athletic Hall of Fame.
Charles Morgan played college basketball and baseball at Mercer University. He served as coach and Athletic Director at Lanier High School from 1918 to 1923 and guided the Poets to State basketball championships in 1918, 1919 and 1922. The 1922 title was the first Georgia Interscholastic championship. Morgan played professional baseball with Toledo in the American Association and he also officiated football, basketball and baseball. He served as the playing coach for the undefeated Young Stribling Athletic Club basketball team. Morgan worked as a scout for the Boston Braves Major league baseball team. He is a member of Georgia Sports Hall of Fame.
Norm Nixon played basketball and football in high school at Southwest High School and was named to all-state in both sports. He was named as the starting guard on the Georgia All-State team for 1973, after leading Southwest to the 1973 state high school basketball championship. He was on the track team, ran the 440 yard dash, and won a region title in the high jump at 6 feet, 5 inches. Norm signed a basketball scholarship with Duquesne University in Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania and averaged 17.2 points and 5.5 assists-per-game. He tallied 1,805 points and 577 assists during his career, a school record. His number 10 was retired at Duquesne. He then spent 12 productive seasons in the NBA with the Los Angeles Lakers and the San Diego (Los Angeles) Clippers. A two-time NBA All-Star, he was an integral part of two NBA championships with the Lakers. Norm is a member of the Georgia Sports Hall of Fame.
Jim Nolan earned Best Athlete Awards in both 1944 and 1944 at Lanier High School. He won 9 letters in basketball, football, track and tennis. Jim was a three-year letterman at Georgia Tech in football and basketball. He was Selected to 1948 All-SEC basketball tournament first team. Nolan was Captain of the Tech basketball team in 1948. He was drafted by the NBA’s Philadelphia Warriors but played just one season appearing in five games. He returned to Georgia and started a coaching career leading the Tech Freshman Basketball team from 1955 to 1957, then became the Lanier football coach in the early 1960’s. He is a member of Georgia Sports Hall of Fame and the Georgia Tech Athletic Hall of Fame.
JOHN "BLUE MOON" ODOM
John “Blue Moon” Odom was a standout pitcher for the Ballard Hudson Tigers in the early 1960’s. He received the catchy nickname “Blue Moon” by a classmate who thought Odom's round face resembled the moon. Odom led Ballard-Hudson High School to two consecutive state championships while amassing a 42-2 record. He signed with the Kansas City Athletics upon graduation and moved with the team to Oakland to embark on a 12-year career primarily with the A’s. He was on three world Championship teams with Oakland. The two-time All-Star also played for the Cleveland Indians, Atlanta Braves, and Chicago White Sox compiling a career record of 84-85 with a 3.70 era. He is a member of Georgia Sports Hall of Fame.
Jim Parker started his football career at Ballard Hudson before his family moved to Ohio during his sophomore season. He went on to sign a football scholarship at Ohio State where he was an All-America. In 1956, he moved to the NFL with the Baltimore Colts where he became one of the dominant offensive lineman in the league. During his 10-year NFL career, Parker was a five-time Pro Bowl selection as Offensive Tackle, and after switching to Guard, he was named to three more Pro Bowl teams. Parker was inducted into the College Football Hall of Fame in 1974, and was a charter inductee in Ohio State's Hall Of Fame in 1977. In 1999 Parker was selected as a first-team offensive guard on the Sports Illustrated college-football All-Century team. He also is a member of the Georgia Sports Hall of Fame and the Pro football Hall of Fame.
In addition to the Macon Sports Hall of Fame, Gloria Payne is a member of the Georgia Tennis Hall of Fame being inducted in 2011. During her career she was part of four National Championships in Double’s, 15 Southern Championships in Single’s and Double’s, and 33 Georgia Single’s titles. She was the Southern Professional Tennis Player of the Year in 1978. Payne graduated from Florida State University in 1958 and soon began a career of teaching college P.E. and coaching tennis with stops at Mercer University, Georgia College, and Macon College. Gloria retired from teaching in the university system in 1994. At age 29, Gloria won the first of four Georgia State Opens during an era when women's tournaments attracted large crowds. From there, she began to dominate Georgia's women's tennis.
B.L. "CROOK" SMITH
B.L.”Crook” Smith was a Tennessee native who migrated to Macon and played athletics at Mercer University. He earned 13 letters in football, basketball, baseball and track. He was a prominent end on the football team and was selected for the All Southern squad in 1922 and 1923. He was the head basketball coach and head football coach at Georgia Teachers College in Statesboro (now known as Georgia Southern University). He headed up basketball for 12 seasons and posted a record of 116-60. In 13 seasons as football coach his teams were 45-66-7. He is a member of the Georgia Sports Hall of Fame and the Mercer Athletic Hall of Fame.
JOSEPH "PHONEY" SMITH
Joseph ”Phoney” Smith is considered by many to be the greatest player to ever play football at Mercer University. Smith was a three year letter winner for the Bears from 1925-1927, highlighted by a 95 yard kickoff return against Georgia in the ’27 season. That same year, he was named to the College Football All Southern team. Smith played 7 years of professional football with the semi-pro Ironton Tanks (who would later become the Cleveland Browns). The Tanks were a pretty formidable squad having two wins over the NFL’s New York Giants during the 1930 season. Following his professional career, “Phoney” spent time as an coach of various local teams. He was a baseball umpire and later became a golf pro. He is a member of the Mercer University and Georgia Sports Hall of Fames.
VERNON "CATFISH" SMITH
Vernon “Catfish” Smith was an All-State football, basketball and baseball player at Lanier High School in the late 1920’s and then was a three-sport athlete at the University of Georgia. His nickname "Catfish" is attributed to a story in which he bit the head off of one as a 25-cent bet while a student at Lanier. In 1929, he scored all 15 points for Georgia in an upset of Yale- scoring one touchdown by falling on a blocked punt in the end zone and another by receiving a pass, kicking an extra point and tackling a Yale player for a safety. The game was the first-ever played at Sanford Stadium. Smith was named to the 1931 College Football All-America Team. After completing his Georgia career, Smith went into coaching football at Georgia, the University of South Carolina and the University of Mississippi. He was also the head baseball coach at Georgia and South Carolina. He then joined the United States Army Air Forces, retiring in 1963 with the rank of colonel. He is a member of both the College and Georgia Sports Halls of Fame.
W.L. "YOUNG" STRIBLING
At the tender age of 16, W.L. “Young” Stribling had his first professional fight, in Atlanta. Over the next nine years, he moved through seven weight divisions before settling as a heavyweight in 1929. An 18,000-mile barnstorming tour across the country in 1925 earned Stribling the moniker “King of the Canebrakes.” Writer Damon Runyon invented the nickname to reflect Stribling's popularity in the rural areas of America. Despite a career record of 221 wins that included 125 knockouts (a record later broken by Archie Moore) and an armory of punches, Stribling never fulfilled his potential as a fighter. Experts from outside Georgia believed that his father was a poor manager and arranged too many bouts for his son. Hard to argue, Stribling participated in 285 professional fights in just twelve years. Stribling was inducted into the Georgia Sports Hall of Fame in 1965 and the International Boxing Hall of Fame in 1966.