published Saturday, June 23rd, 2012

Coaching in spotlight for Chattanooga State inductions

UTC outfielder Cheyenne Willis, left, talks with coach Frank Reed during a softball game against Tennessee Tech at Frost Stadium in this file photo.
UTC outfielder Cheyenne Willis, left, talks with coach Frank Reed during a softball game against Tennessee Tech at Frost Stadium in this file photo.
Photo by Doug Strickland /Chattanooga Times Free Press.

Retired tennis coach Betty Jones and University of Tennessee at Chattanooga softball coach Frank Reed were honored Friday night for outstanding accomplishments that included taking multiple Chattanooga State teams to national tournaments.

Former Tigers baseball pitcher Thomas Gray -- who now is a coach at Heritage High School -- joined them in the third class of inductees in the community college's sports hall of fame.

Baseball coach Greg Dennis, who almost took his Tigers to the NJCAA World Series the year Gray was his ace and then did so a couple of years later, was the keynote speaker at Friday's induction dinner at the Walden Club and provided insight on athletic achievement from the coaching perspective.

And the fourth inductee -- the entire 2012 Chattanooga State softball team -- was living evidence of the eventual rewards of that perspective and a staff's persistence in excellence. The Lady Tigers won the school's first national championship in any sport.

The inductees had been announced previously.

"It really went well," said athletic director Steve Jaecks, who with Jamie Qualls serves as an assistant to current softball coach Beth Keylon-Randolph.

"Coach Reed was great and Coach Dennis gave a very good talk," Jaecks said, "and he had Thomas Gray there as a prime example of the long-term accomplishments that make coaches the proudest. Thomas was his usual gracious self in that he gave total credit for his success to his teammates, and Betty looks and acts as though she still should be at Chattanooga State, running her tennis and intramural programs."

The hall of fame is an ongoing project of the Chattanooga State Foundation.

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