Central's Hall of Fame celebration:
Friday, Oct. 11
• Unveiling of wall of fame, 5:30
• Barbecue dinner, Central cafeteria, 6 p.m., $10.
• Hall of Fame induction/recognition, halftime of football game.
Saturday, Oct. 12
• Golf tournament at Bear Trace, 1:30 p.m. (Contact Judy Phillips at 423-867-1690.)
In all of its years with athletic prowess, Central High School has never had an athletic hall of fame.
That will change officially on Friday, Oct. 11 when the Pounders celebrate homecoming at their football game against Brainerd.
The inaugural group of inductees includes an Olympic boxer, college All-Americans and professionals from baseball, football and golf. It's inconceivable that Central could have a Hall of Fame that did not include legendary coach E.B. Etter, whom players nicknamed "Brains." He was the first person selected.
The selection committee was put together by the school's alumni association and included Jerry Summers, now a prominent local attorney but also a three-sport letterman for the Pounders. The committee members talked with former athletes and coaches in selecting the initial group and would love to have nominations for future consideration. Those can be sent to Summers via email at jsmmers@summersandWyatt.com.
"We looked at their athletic careers from high school up and those that didn't make it to the pros had to be outstanding in two sports," he said.
Others to be inducted during the hall of fame weekend are Damon Duval, Gene Etter, Stan Farmer, Gibby Gilbert, Bobby Hoppe, Robert Long, Bob McCoy, Heather Randolph, George Shuford, Archie Slaten, Reuben Smith, Bob Standifer, Eddie Test and Lamar Wheat.
Etter racked up 215 wins and nine state championships before leaving the Pounders to finish his career at Baylor. Upon retirement, his teams at the two schools had a combined winning percentage of .752 (324-102-12).
The coach, who taught Latin and geometry, was also considered by most to be humble man. At his Tennessee sports hall of fame induction, he said, "Whatever honors and awards that have come my way, I was always on the sidelines. The real heroes are the hundreds of young men who toiled on the practice [and] playing fields week after week."
Farmer was a long-time Etter assistant and was considered the heart of the Central football program and Smith was a long time trainer and groundskeeper for all Pounder sports programs.
Etter also coached baseball (two state championship teams) and boxing, and it was boxing which allowed Slaten to reach the Olympic Games.
"He was on the team and the story I've been told is that he had to have his appendix removed so he was unable to box," Summers said.
Duval holds a number of Canadian Football League kicking records and Hoppe, who as a junior averaged more than 300 rushing yards per game in 1953, and McCoy played in the NFL. Standifer, a football All-American at the University of Chattanooga, played for the San Francisco 49ers and Oakland Invaders and Wheat was a football All-American at Georgia Tech. Gene Etter, now a teacher and the baseball coach at Baylor, and Shuford played football and baseball at the University of Tennessee before playing several years of professional baseball in the Chicago Cubs' and Baltimore Orioles' farm systems, respectively. Long pitched for the Seattle Mariners and Pittsburgh Pirates
Gilbert, who finished second in the 1980 Masters tournament, played in more than 400 PGA tournaments and finished in the top 10 in 58 of those. He had an average score of 71.8 over 22 pro seasons and Test was an all-state basketball player and high school All-American that later played at the University of Tennessee.
The lone female in the inaugural group is Heather Randolph, a softball All-American at Carson-Newman and a member of the hall of fame at Carson-Newman and the South Atlantic Conference.
Contact Ward Gossett at firstname.lastname@example.org or 423-886-4765. Follow him at Twitter.com/wardgossett.
Ward Gossett is an assistant sports editor and writer for the Times Free Press. Ward has a long history in Chattanooga journalism. He actually wrote a bylined story for the Chattanooga News-Free Press as a third-grader. He Began working part-time there in 1968 and was hired full time in 1970. Ward now covers high school athletics, primarily football, wrestling and baseball and University of Tennessee at Chattanooga wrestling. Over a 40-year career, he has covered ...