01/11/14 — 42nd George Whitfield Hall of Fame Inductees

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42nd George Whitfield Hall of Fame Inductees

By From staff reports
Published in Sports on January 11, 2014 11:33 PM

• RONNIE BATTLE: Served one tour of duty in Vietnam and returned home to play basketball at Fayetteville State in 1972 and 1973. Battle guided Kinston to the 2003 Eastern Carolina 3-A Conference baseball crown and has been the head coach for Kinston Post 43 since 1998.

• SHEILA BOLES: In 1989, Boles became the first-ever female to coach a men's varsity basketball team in North Carolina. The UNC Wilmington alum is getting inducted into her fifth Hall of Fame during her illustrious career.

• M.L. CARR: Carr's basketball career started on the hardwood at Wallace-Rose Hill and carried him all the way to Boston, where he led the Celtics to a pair of NBA championships. The author of three books, Carr developed the M.L. Carr Scholarship Fund at Guilford College.

• KENNY BROWNING: Compiled 180 victories and won 15 PAC-6 Conference titles during his tenure as head varsity football coach at Northern HS in Durham. His 1993 team won the state 4-A championship and finished ranked 5th nationally by USA Today. Browning coached in 11 bowl games during his 17-year stint on the University of North Carolina football staff.

• JEFF CHARLES: The voice of the East Carolina Pirates and a cancer survivor, Charles started his radio career in Goshen, Indiana. He is a lifetime member of the ECU School of Nursing Alumni and Professional Society.

• BILL ELLIS: Worked for Hall of Fame basketball coach Paul Jones at Kinston HS, attended Lenoir CC and ECU. Ellis built numerous parks and oversaw two major renovations at historic Grainger Stadium. He served as the first chairman of the Kinston/Lenoir County Sports Hall of Fame.

• GARY WILSON FARMER: A Wilson native and graduate of Atlantic Christian College (now Barton), Wilson coached the only undefeated prep 11-man football team in 1993 at Eastern N.C. School for the Deaf. He received the prestigious Order of the Long Leaf Pine in 2012.

• WILBUR BRYAN "BUCK" FICHTER: Compiled a 5-2 record during the 1955 season when Wake Forest claimed the NCAA World Series title in Omaha. Fisher served as an adjunct professor at Christopher Newport (Va.) University for more than 20 years, and also officiated high school football for 12 years.

• JOHN FRYE: An inductee of the inaugural Union Pines HS Sports Hall of Fame in 2005, Frye is undoubtedly "Mr. Tennis" in North Carolina. He guided the Union Pines men's and women's tennis teams to a combined 54 conference championships, and 13 regional crowns. His coaching record -- 1,155 wins and 173 losses.

• BILLY GODWIN: An Atlantic Christian College (now Barton) grad, Godwin started his coaching career with Mike Fox at N.C. Wesleyan. The Battling Bishops won the school's first NCAA Division III College World Series crown in 1989. Since then, Godwin has compiled 694 career wins on the high school and collegiate scenes. He is the current head coach at ECU.

• FRED GOLDSMITH: A former Sports Illustrated Coach of the Year, Goldsmith had coaching stops at Rice, Duke, Franklin High School and Lenoir-Rhyne. While at L-RC, Goldsmith helped the Bears end their 16-year losing streak and rebuild a program that finished as the Division II national runner-up just one month ago.

• JULIE GRIFFIN: A former Homecoming and Magnolia Court Queen at Wake Forest, Griffin received the Gene Hooks Achievement Award in 2013 for exhibiting traits of integrity, charity, leadership and pro humanitate spirit.

• CPL. RODOLFO P. HERNANDEZ: One of two posthumous inductees, the late Mr. Hernandez received the Congressional Medal of Honor due to his heroic efforts during the Korean War with the U.S. Army 187th Airborne Regimental Combat Team. Mr. Hernandez passed away Christmas Day.

• ROBERT F. KANABY: Recently retired as the executive director of the National Federation of State High School Associations (NFHS). He has served on the USA Basketball and Naismith Basketball Hall of Fame boards. He was inducted into the Naitonal High School Hall of Fame in 2012.

• JERRY KANTER: A retired sales and marketing professional from Kinston, Kanter has become a renowned swimmer. He won two gold medals in 50-yard freestyle and 500 free during the 2013 N.C. Senior Games. The "ever-young" Kanter competed in the 85- to 89-year-old age group.

• NORMA KING: The widow of Clyde King, Norma lettered twice in field hockey at the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill. She was by Coach King's side for an incredible seven World Series championships, and befriended Rachel Robinson, the wife of Jackie Robinson, during the turbulent first year of his professional career in 1947.

• MAJ. GENERAL STEVE KWAST: Was promoted to Major General on May 4, 2012. He is a veteran of operations Desert Shield, Desert Storm, Southern Watch and Enduring Freedom. Maj. General Kwast served as the war plans officer, weapons officer and Chief of Weapons at Seymour Johnson AFB. He also commanded the 455th Air Expeditionary Wing at Bagram Airfield, Afghanistan.

• THOMAS LAYTON LEWIS: A former N.C. Prep Coach of the Year, Lewis guided Ayden High School to 27 consecutive victories from 1964-66. He compiled 287 wins during his 10-year career.

• NEILL R. McGEACHY, JR.: McGeachy served as an assistant basketball coach to Terry Holland at Davidson College, which won back-to-back Southern Conference titles from 1969-71. McGeachy spent one season as head coach at Duke. He was inducted into the Lenoir-Rhyne Sports Hall of Fame in 1987.

• SAM NARRON: Represents the third generation of Narrons to be selected to Whitfield's Hall of Fame along with his grandfather (Sam) and father (Rooster). Narron earned All-American honors at ECU, pitched in the minor leagues and made his Major League debut with the Texas Rangers on July 30, 2004. Narron is currently coaching with the Auburn Doubledays of the short-season New York-Penn League.

• JOHN GASTON PEACOCK: A posthumous inductee into Whitfield's Hall of Fame, the late Mr. Peacock enjoyed an illustrious Major League Baseball career upon graduation from the University of North Carolina. He served on numerous boards during his career and was a proud member of the St. Stephens Episcopal Church before his death in 1981.

• MIKE RAYBON: Started the wrestling program at Jamestown Ragsdale HS. He coached 72 individual conference champions, 30 sectional/regional champions, eight state champions and two All-Americans from 1965-84. He was inducted into the National Wrestling Hall of Fame in 1997.

• JOAN RIGGS: Guided the Swansboro HS women's volleyball team to five state championships, 13 Coastal Plains 1-A Conference titles and eight appearances overall in the N.C. High School Athletic Association state finals. Riggs is a member of the NCHSAA Sports Hall of Fame and was listed among the Association's "100 Coaches to Remember."

• RONNIE ROSS: Was selected by the NCHSAA as a one of the top 100 athletic administrators over the past century. Ross is a U.S. Navy veteran and ECU alum. He had coaching stints at Swansboro HS, Jacksonville HS and Williamston HS. He retired in 1994 and began a 12-year stint on the Onslow County School Board of Education in 1988.

• WILBUR SHIRLEY: Owner of an award-winning restaurant that started out as Highway 70 BBQ and later became Wilber's BBQ. Shirley's restaurant has been featured in several national magazines. He's an avid N.C. State fan, member of the Wolfpack Club and strong community supporter of athletics, especially at the University of Mount Olive.

• WILLIAM H. TAYLOR: As a player, led Grainger HS in Kinston to back-to-back Class 3-A state basketball championships in the mid-1960s. He continued his career at Southwood Junior College and The Citadel. Taylor spent 30 years in the Army, rising to the rank of Colonel and commanded at the Battalion and Brigade levels.

• GREG WARREN: The current long snapper for the Pittsburgh Steelers, Warren has played in three Super Bowls and won two rings in 2005 and 2008. In 2012, he was voted to the USA Football All-Fundamental Team as the best long snapper in the NFL.

• JERRY WINTERTON: Recognized as the one of the top 100 coaches by the NCHSAA, Winterton is known for his outstanding achievements in the wrestling arena. He guided Cary to a phenomenal 19 state championships and 13 runner-up finishes, and compiled a mind-boggling 621-16 record during that time. He has coached 42 state champions and 30 All-Americans.

• HILDA WORTHINGTON: In nearly three decades, Worthington guided the Farmville Central women's basketball program to more than 300 victories and an appearance in the NCHSAA 2-A women's championship game in 1985. She was named the NCHSAA Coach of the Year in 1986 and 1987, inducted into the Association's Hall of Fame in 2000.