The Macon Sports Hall of Fame got its humble beginnings as the Macon Athletic Hall of Fame in 1976, formed as part of the Bi-Centennial Project of the Bibb County Jaycees. Unfortunately, the project went dormant in 1978 and remained that way until 2000 when a group, headed by former Willingham and Clarke Central High School football coach Billy Henderson revived it.
The initial class for the Macon Athletic Hall of Fame included professional golfer Gardner Dickinson, Georgia football coach and former Mercer gridiron standout Wally Butts, Boxer W.L. Young Stribling, Vernon ”Catfish” Smith, who scored all 15 points in the Bulldogs win over Yale in the dedication game for Sanford Stadium, College and NFL Hall of Famer Jim Parker, who prepped at Ballard Hudson High School and longtime Lanier Coach Selby Buck.
When the Macon Athletic Hall morphed into the Macon Sports Hall Of Fame, all 18 members of the original 3 classes from 1976-1978 were combined along with D.T. Bell, Norm Nixon, B.L. Smith and Harley Bowers to form the Macon Sports Hall Of Fame’s Class of 2000.
Henderson served as the Hall’s first President and CEO of The Champion Foundation, the chief sponsor of the Hall. Wayne Bevill was named the group’s Chairman. Phil McGoldrick served as Vice Chair, Gary Hall was named treasurer and Mattie Dean was chosen secretary. The remaining Board of Directors included Wilbur Whitfield, Rachel English, Tommy Mixon, Robert Slocum, Edgar Hatcher, Joe McDaniel, Bobby Cramer, Eddie Battle, Billy Coley and Billy Pilcher.
HISTORY OF THE MACON SPORTS HALL OF FAME
Today, the Hall is proud to continue its tradition of recognizing and celebrating the accomplishments of the men and women who have contributed to Macon’s rich athletic history. In addition, the Hall is committed to our continued efforts of recognizing top High School Scholar Athletes and their families.
In addition, each year the Hall is honoring a local team that had an outstanding performance. These are not inductees into the Hall, just a special recognition by the Hall of Fame.