01/18/04 — Mount Olive native to enter N.C. Sports Hall of Fame

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Mount Olive native to enter N.C. Sports Hall of Fame

By David Rouse
Published in Sports on January 18, 2004 11:13 PM

Mount Olive native Leora "Sam" Jones has been selected for induction into the North Carolina Sports Hall of Fame.

Jones, a standout basketball player for Southern Wayne High School and a star for East Carolina University in basketball, went to three Olympic games in team handball and was a three-time National Handball Player of the Year. While at East Carolina. Jones led the Lady Pirates to two post-season tournaments. She currently resides in Raleigh.

The inductees will be introduced at an afternoon news conference May 20 at the N.C. Museum of History. Formal induction will come during an evening banquet at the North Raleigh Hilton. Banquet ticket information is available from the NC Sports Hall of Fame in Raleigh at 919-852-4396.

Along with Jones, the Hall of Fame will enshrine eight other new members:

* Carey Brewbaker -- An outstanding football coach at Durham High School where his teams won or shared five state championships from 1938-1945. The Bulldogs lost only once in Brewbaker's final 38 games at Durham. He spent 18 years as defensive line coach on Earle Edwards' staff at NC State University. The Wolfpack won five Atlantic Coast Conference championships during Brewbaker's tenure. Brewbaker is deceased.

* Joe Cheves -- One of North Carolina's top teaching professional golfers at the age of 85. A resident of Morganton, he still plays golf and holds the record for shooting his age or better. Posted a 68 when he was 80 years old, a record for such a feat on a regulation 18-hole golf course.

* Jimmy Clack - Football and basketball star at Rocky Mount High School, where his team won two state football championships and one state title in basketball. Linebacker and offensive tackle at Wake Forest University and played in the 1964 Shrine Bowl and the 1965 East-West game. Clack had a 10-year NFL career with Pittsburgh and the New York Giants. He earned two Super Bowl rings with the Steelers (IX and X). Clack lives in Greensboro.

* George Clark -- Played football for legendary coach Leon Brogden at Wilson, then lettered in baseball and football at Duke. Clark was a 2nd team All-America in 1945 and was one of the Blue Devils' stars in a 29-26 victory over Alabama in the 1945 Sugar Bowl. Holds the Duke record for longest punt return and best punt return average for a season. Clark lives in High Point.

* Tony Cloninger -- A Lincoln County native who spent 12 years as a major league baseball pitcher with the Milwaukee Braves, Atlanta Braves, Cincinnati, and St. Louis Cardinals. Cloninger won 113 games, including 24 with Milwaukee in 1965. He hit a pair of grand slam home runs in 1966 with Atlanta. Played in two World Series with Cincinnati. Cloninger lives in Lincoln County.

* Charles (Babe) Howell -- A native of Monroe who was an outstanding football and baseball player at Western Carolina. Howell found his niche teaching others how to play those games during a 44-year coaching career. He spent 24 years at Sylva-Webster High School where he won 5 state football championships and two state baseball titles. Howell's 301 career wins as a football coach and 618 baseball victories are both North Carolina records. Howell lives in Newland.

* John Henry Moss -- A leader in minor league baseball administration for many years. President of the South Atlantic League, with several teams in North Carolina, for over 40 years, Moss has seen 41 teams operate in four states. Moss is a native of Kings Mountain and has served as that town's mayor.

* H.A. (Humpy Wheeler) -- A leader in NASCAR's success and President and General Manager of Lowe's Motorspeedway since 1975. The Belmont native is recognized as the foremost showman in major league stock car racing. He played football and boxed as a student as the University of South Carolina, compiling a 40-2 record in Golden Gloves competition. Wheeler lives in Cornelius.

The N.C. Sports Hall of Fame, with 212 members, was established in 1963 and is housed in the N.C. Museum of History in Raleigh. The 4,000 square foot exhibit includes sports memorabilia ranging from a Richard Petty race car to the Homestead Grays' uniform worn by the late Walter "Buck" Leonard, who played baseball in the Negro National League, to the NBA Championship ring of Boston Celtics star Cedric "Cornbread" Maxwell.

The Museum is open Tuesday through Saturday from 9 a.m. until 5 p.m. and on Sunday from noon until 5 p.m. Admission to the Museum is free.