01/11/07 — Princeton will induct five into new Hall of Fame

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Princeton will induct five into new Hall of Fame

By Rudy Coggins
Published in Sports on January 11, 2007 2:49 PM

PRINCETON -- Take a walk along the corridor outside the Princeton High gymnasium the next time you visit the concession stand or head to the restroom.

Smiling faces from pictures of previous Bulldog teams, faded from sunlight and time, greet you on the brick wall above the entrance doors. But do you ever wonder about those folks who starred on different fields and courts, and worked behind the scenes at Princeton athletic events?

You'll get a chance to meet some of those people Friday evening.

The inaugural Princeton Hall of Fame class will be introduced between the varsity girls' and boys' basketball contest against county archrival North Johnston. The five-member group includes Mike Atkinson (football), Annette Phillips (women's basketball), Pam Rawlings (women's basketball), William I. Wellons and Helen Mozingo.

"I think it's something we should have done a long time ago," said Princeton athletics director Al Musgrave. "We've got some outstanding people in this community and we wanted to recognize kids who have brought honors to this school."

Musgrave and committee members Ricky Boyette and Iris Massey, the school secretary, compiled a long list of inductees for the first class. The trio decided to install three athletes and two people who made significant contributions to the school. They plan to follow the same format in years to come.

"The first five are very worthy people," said Musgrave.

A senior vice president with First Citizens Bank and Trust, Atkinson still holds numerous career school records -- carries (849), yards (6,221), touchdowns (99) and two-point conversions (49).

The four-year varsity letterman was named the North Carolina Athlete of the Year in 1980 and earned all-state recognition as a junior and senior. He was a member of the all-east team for three consecutive seasons and garnered Class 1-A Carolina Conference Player of the Year accolades in 1979 and 1980.

Atkinson graduated from Duke with a Bachelor of Arts in English in 1985.

A former Homecoming queen and Miss Princeton during her prep career with the Bulldogs, Phillips helped turn the women's basketball program into a powerhouse in the early 1980s. She collected all-conference honors during her four-year varsity career and played two seasons with Louisburg Junior College.

Phillips transferred to East Carolina and helped the Pirates emerge the ECAC South Tournament champions in 1984 and 1985. Phillips established the school record minutes played (1,091) during her junior season, and the mark stood until 2006.

Phillips currently lives in Raleigh.

Rawlings attended Princeton as a first-grader and graduated with numerous honors in 1985. Rawlings was named the team's most valuable player on a couple of occasions and received the distinguished Betsy Sugg Award her senior year.

The UNC Pembroke graduate earned a B.A. in criminal justice and worked with the Department of Corrections until 1999. Rawlings, today, is a bondswoman with Surety.

"Princeton holds very fond and dear memories for myself, personally," said Rawlings in a written statement. "To be even considered, much less inducted into the Hall of Fame, is truly a great honor."

A 1949 graduate of Princeton, Wellons served on the Advisory Board to Princeton School for four decades and spearheaded the campaign to start football.

Wellons said in a written statement that he "has always believed in the community school concept, holding a deep and abiding belief that athletics are the centerpiece in linking the community and the school."

Wellons supported bond issues in 1995 and 1999 that helped the expansion of the athletic facilities at Princeton, and other high schools in Johnston County.

Mozingo, a long-time "behind the scenes player" at Princeton, taught for 38 years and retired in 1981. She served as a chaperone for the women's sports teams and kept the clock for two-plus decades at basketball games. She was affectionately called "Miss Moe" by everyone who had the privilege of knowing her.

Mozingo passed away Dec. 3, 1998 and is being inducted posthumously. Current women's basketball coach Ricky Boyette will receive the plaque in honor of Mozingo and her family, which resides in California.

Musgrave said the Princeton Hall of Fame is part of a plan to help establish the Johnston County Athletics Hall of Fame. A committee will select one person from each high school district and the county office to comprise the inaugural class, which will be inducted in the spring.

"We had been thinking about (a county Hall) for at least two or three years," said Musgrave. "We finally got it off the ground and will induct the first class (in April). You will see every school in the county sometime this year, if they have not already started, will have a Hall of Fame at their school."