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Jay Cranford was a three-time All-State baseball player at Stratford Academy. Cranford was a dominating pitcher posting 35 wins against only 3 losses. At the plate he was a career .383 hitter helping the Eagles claim 4 State Titles over a five year period. After his senior campaign in 1989, Cranford was drafted by the Los Angeles Dodgers but opted instead to play at Middle Georgia College where he started all 57 games he played over a two-year span. Cranford then spent one season with the Georgia Bulldogs where he batted .270 with 12 home runs and 48 RBI’s. He was selected by the Pittsburgh Pirates in the 21st Round of the 1992 MLB Draft. Cranford spent 5 seasons in the Pirates farm system mostly as an infielder. He batted a combined .256 with stops in Augusta, Carolina, and Salem before finishing his career in 1996. Jay is a member of the Stratford Athletic Hall of Fame.                                                      



Jim Gaudet was a standout catcher at Jesuit High School in his hometown of New Orleans, LA. He was a 3rd Round pick of the Atlanta Braves in 1973, but decided to stay home and play college baseball at Tulane. Gaudet batted .312 with the Green Wave and in 1976 he was drafted again, this time in the sixth round by Kansas City. Jim worked his way through the Royals system playing 450 games over 6 seasons and batting .244 at the Triple-A level. Gaudet was called up to the Major League team in both 1978 and 1979. He recorded his first Major League hit against Yankee standout Goose Gossage. A series of injuries forced Gaudet to retire from baseball so he decided to go to Chiropractic School. Jim moved to Macon and in 1987 he started the Jim Gaudet Baseball camp – held each summer at Luther Williams Field. That first year the cost was $10/kid but for the next 24 years the event was free. The camp offered six stations where youngsters worked on hitting, pitching, catching, infield, outfield and rules of the game. All campers received a free tee shirt for their attendance. Over 13,000 children attended the camp over the 25 year run which ended in 2011.



Chuck Hawkins was a standout on the court and in the classroom at Crawford County High School in Roberta. He was the most valuable player on the Eagles 1969 State Class C basketball championship team coached by his father J.B Hawkins. Chuck scored 37 points in Crawford’s 66-61 win over Pike County in the championship game. Chuck was also the school’s valedictorian during his senior year of 1970. After completing his undergraduate work at the University of Georgia, Hawkins attended the Medical College of Georgia in 1977 before embarking on a long career as a cardiologist in 1982. Throughout his career, Hawkins has continued to support local athletics. He spearheaded a group that founded the local Fellowship of Christian Athletes chapter. His philanthropic endeavors have included funding various projects for local high schools and colleges. His has been actively involved in Mercer Athletics offering financial support which includes Hawkins Arena named for his family. He is a member of both the Mercer Athletic Hall of Fame and the Crawford County Hall of Fame.



Kyle Johnston was a multi-talented athlete who excelled in football, basketball, and baseball during his time at Stratford Academy. He quarterbacked the Eagles football team and helped them win a state title in 2000 by completing over 60 percent of his passes and throwing for more than 1000 yards and 12 touchdowns in his senior season. In basketball he earned All-State honors, but it was on the baseball diamond where he made his biggest mark. He was a four-time All-State performer and had a 28-10 record as a pitcher. He also batted over .484 in his senior season and finished his Stratford career with a .412 batting average. He was named MVP or co-MVP for 4 years with the Eagles. Kyle earned a baseball scholarship to Mercer where he played under legendary head coach Barry Myers. He is a member of the Stratford Academy Sports Hall of Fame.



Tawayna Mucker-Wilson was an All-State basketball player at Northeast helping the Lady Raiders claim the AAAA State Championship in 1985. She averaged 24 points and 13 rebounds per game becoming one of the nation’s most sought after recruits. She decided to play collegiately at Middle Tennessee State and made the All-Ohio Valley Conference freshman team as well as the league’s all-tournament team in her first season. A four-year starter, Mucker-Wilson earned All-OVC status in both her junior and senior years and was the OVC Player of the Year in 1989. The Blue Raiders won four OVC championships and posted an overall record of 83-32 during her tenure. Tawayna had an incredible streak of 60 consecutive games scoring in double figures. She led the team in rebounds and blocks for three years, finished her career at MTSU ranked No. 1 in made free throws; No. 2 in scoring, made field goals, field goal percentage and double-doubles; and No. 3 in rebounding, blocks and starts. She’s a member of the Middle Tennessee State Athletic Hall of Fame.



DeAndre Smelter could certainly be in the conversation as one of Macon’s most well-rounded athletes. He was a three-sport star (football, basketball, and baseball) at Tattnall earning All-State honors eight times. As a pitcher, Smelter was 9-2 with a stellar 0.92 ERA his senior season. In basketball and football he was 2-time GISA Player of the Year. DeAndre was drafted professionally by both Major League Baseball and the NFL. He signed a scholarship to play baseball at Georgia Tech where he started 15 games as a true freshman playing outfield and pitching. His junior year he joined the football team as a wide receiver and over a two-year span he averaged 18.9 yards per catch. During his senior season, DeAndre was named second-team All-ACC. He had 35 receptions for team-best 715 yards and seven touchdowns. Smelter was drafted in the fourth round of the 2015 NFL Draft by San Francisco. He played briefly for the 49ers before ending his career with stops in Indianapolis and Jacksonville.



Michael Taylor was a three-sport standout earning nine varsity letters at Mount de Sales. In football, he rushed for 2605 yards and 29 touchdowns earning All-State and All-City honors. He was named the 1984 Back of the Year by the Macon Touchdown Club. Taylor was also an all-region basketball performer, but it was on the track where Taylor was at his best. Michael led the Cavaliers to three straight Region Championships and the team claimed the 1985 State Title with Taylor claiming the individual “High Point” award. His seven first place finishes in state track meets would eventually earn him a college scholarship to Georgia Tech. On the Flats, Taylor ran the 100, 200, and 400 meter events as well as participating on the mile relay team. His senior season, the relay team claimed the ACC Championship and Michael was named to the All-ACC Track Team. Michael is a member of the MDS Cavalier Sports Hall of Fame.


Corey Williams was a standout guard on the Northeast basketball team averaging 18 points and 6 assists per game during his senior season. He was ranked as one of Georgia’s Top 20 players and signed a scholarship to attend Oklahoma State in 1988. With the Cowboys, Williams was ultra-quick and he scored 1,320 points and was selected in the second round of the 1992 NBA Draft by Chicago. His speed on the court at Oklahoma State impressed the Kansas City Chiefs football staff so much that they drafted Corey in the 12th Round of the NFL Draft, even though he had not played organized football since the 9th grade. But Williams stayed with basketball and in his first season, Corey averaged 2.3 points per game as the Bulls claimed the NBA Championship. He spent the 1994 season in Minnesota and then with Oklahoma City of the CBA before retiring to focus on a coaching career. Williams has been an integral part of several coaching staffs with stops at Oklahoma State, Florida State, Arkansas, Texas Tech and Auburn, as well as a head coaching stint at Stetson.





Roz Howard started racing in the 1940s and quickly rose to fame entering the Winner’s Circle at tracks across Central Georgia, including Macon and Warner Robins. In 1955, he won the NASCAR Points Championship, which helped him qualify for the Grand National circuit. While racing on the Convertible Division, he competed on the legendary "Lady in Black" track at Darlington, South Carolina, finishing ahead of legendary drivers Junior Johnson and Fireball Roberts in 1956. Howard was inducted into the Georgia Racing Hall of Fame. 


Leroy Bartow Irby loved to play baseball. His wizardry on the diamond earned him the reputation as one of the best players to ever come out of Lanier High School. His impressive work with the Poets paved the way for a scholarship to Mercer University and he eventually signed a professional contract. In 1953 Irby batted over .300 and knocked in over a hundred runs for Daytona Beach. He finished his pro career with a very respectable .281 batting average. . 

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