11 new honorees, and the Special Achievement Award winner T. K. Bridges, will be inducted on Monday, April 13, 2020, at the Von Braun Center.
Here’s a list of the inductees as well as background information on them all.
As a tall, slender All-City quarterback at Huntsville’s J. O. Johnson High School, Wayne Madkin led his team to 10 victories and a berth in the state high school football playoffs in 1996 and later became a decorated four-year starter for coach Jackie Sherrill at Mississippi State University. He was named to MSU’s All-Century Team in 2000 and was inducted into the school’s Sports Hall of Fame in 2016.
Before the 2019-20 basketball season had even begun, Hazel Green High School’s Tim Miller already held the distinction of being the only girls basketball coach in Alabama to win six state championships at three different schools – one at Jeff Davis of Montgomery (2006), three at Bob Jones (2008, 2009 and 2011) and two at Hazel Green (2018 and 2019).
Bryant Smith, a four-year letterman and two-time All-City basketball star at Butler High School in the early 1990s, went on to a memorable college career at Auburn University, where he was captain of the 1998-99 team that finished 29-4, advanced to the NCAA Sweet 16 and also featured Chris Porter, Doc Robinson, Scottie Pohlman and Mamadou N’Diaye. Smith later played professional basketball for nearly 14 years in the European Leagues.
Tracy McCall-Gholston, a 1987 graduate of Butler, who made All-City in both basketball and volleyball, and then signed a basketball scholarship with the University of North Alabama, where she lettered four years, set several scoring records, and helped the Lady Lions from Florence win an NCAA Division II national championship in 1991. She was inducted into the UNA Athletic Hall of Fame in 2003.
Madkin, Miller, Smith and McCall-Gholston are among the 12 honorees in the Huntsville-Madison County Athletic Hall of Fame’s Class of 2020, which will be inducted on April 13, 2020 during the 28th annual Induction Banquet at the North Hall of Von Braun Center.
The 2020 class, in alphabetical order, includes: Robbin Pruitt Berry (volleyball), Mickey Dillon (football), Dewayne Friend (baseball), Tracy McCall-Gholston (women’s basketball), Michael Gunner (swimming coach), Ron King (basketball), Mike Latty (soccer), Bobby Laxton (wrestling coach), Wayne Madkin (football), Tim Miller (girls basketball coach), Bryant Smith (basketball) and Wayne Watson (track and field). Along with the 12 honorees, the new class will also include Special Achievement Award winner T. K. Bridges.
Robbin Berry excelled in volleyball, basketball and track at Hazel Green High School in the early 1980s and later played both volleyball and basketball at Alabama A&M University; she was A&M’s volleyball MVP in 1986 and 1987. Mickey Dillon was a four-year letterman in both football and basketball at Huntsville High School from 1975-80 and then signed a football scholarship with Davidson College in North Carolina, where he was an important contributor as a punter, kick returner and halfback/flanker. Dewayne Friend, one of the best three-sport lettermen the history of Huntsville’s Lee High School, was
the MVP of Auburn University’s baseball team his junior year in 1983, when he led the Tigers in at-bats, runs, hits, batting average (.290), home runs (11) and RBI (47). One of his teammates was Bo Jackson.
Michael Gunner has compiled a remarkable three-decade coaching record in swimming and diving at Decatur, Austin, Athens and, since 2000, at Bob Jones High School, where his boys swim team won state championships in 2004, 2005, 2006, 2008, 2019, 2010, 2014 and 2015 and his girls team won a state title in 2007. Ron King, an outstanding basketball player at Arab High School in the late 1960s, played two years at Snead State and two years at Athens State, averaging 20-plus points at both schools. He coached basketball at Blountsville and at Summerville, Ga., before coming in 1979 to Hazel Green High School, where he coached for the next 28 years.
Mike Latty has made an indelible impact on the soccer community in Huntsville and Madison County over the past four decades, first as a key player on the Alabama A&M team that won the 1977 NCAA Division II national championship team and later as the head coach of the Grissom High School boys team. Latty’s Tigers dominated Class 6A soccer in Alabama from the late 1980s through the ’90s, winning five state championships and finishing second twice. Bobby Laxton, who lettered in football and wrestling in the late 1960s at Lee High School, wrestled for legendary Hall of Fame coach Swede Umbach at Auburn, then parlayed that experience into a legendary coaching career of his own at the high school level, winning three state championships at Deshler. He later returned to Huntsville High, his first stop in a long teaching career, as an assistant in football and wrestling. He was inducted into the Alabama Chapter of the National Wrestling Hall of Fame in May of 2019. Wayne Watson, a Jamaican native like Latty, was one of the most prominent sprinters on Alabama A&M’s highly acclaimed track team from 1991-93. He was All-SWAC in 1991 and 1993, was an NCAA Division II All-American both years, and competed internationally in the 55, 100, 200 and 400 meters.
T. K. Bridges, the 82-year-old Special Achievement Award honoree of the 2020 class, has been heavily involved in the development of swimming, golf, and other youth sports programs, primarily for the disadvantaged in Huntsville and neighboring cities and towns, for nearly 60 years. “I’ve never seen anyone take a more aggressive role to help young men and ladies in our community, and always for the right reasons,’’ said former Huntsville Country Club golf pro Gene Diamond, who nominated Bridges for the award.
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