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Twenty inductees make up Walker County Sports Hall of Fame Class of 2017

By JOHNATHAN BENTLEY, Eagle Sports Editor
Posted 6/4/17

Players from yesteryear and others from just a decade ago come together to make up the Walker County Sports Hall of Fame Class of 2017.

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Another banner class

Twenty inductees make up Walker County Sports Hall of Fame Class of 2017

Posted

Players from yesteryear and others from just a decade ago come together to make up the Walker County Sports Hall of Fame Class of 2017.

This year’s Hall of Fame class of 20 inductees reaches as far back as the 1920s — for Walker County’s Ben Sankey and Dora’s Freeman Lee Johnson with some more recent athletes as well in Sumiton Christian’s Ricky Bowen and Josh Russell.

This year’s class will be inducted during a ceremony set for Saturday, August 5 at 6 p.m. at New Prospect Baptist Church’s Family Life Center located on Hwy. 5.

Long-time Oakman High School football coach Hosea Collins is in this year’s class along with Curry multi-sport star Wayne Wilson and Morris Savage, a member of Auburn’s 1957 championship football team.

This year’s third class will bring the total number of inductees to 70 (the first two classes included 25 inductees).

Here is a look at this year’s inductees.

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Murry Argo (Walker College)

Argo made the All-County basketball team his sophomore, junior and senior years at Walker County High School. Argo led the Vikings to a 22-7 record his junior year, leading the team in scoring, rebounding and blocked shots. His senior year (1968), Argo led the Vikings to a 25-3 season. Argo chose to play for legendary junior college coach Glen Clem at Walker College. He led the Rebels to a National Junior College Championship his freshman year and was selected to the All-Tournament Team. He followed that up with a trip to the finals his sophomore year.

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Dwight "Mule" Bennett (Curry)

Bennett played basketball and football at Curry High School. He was selected first team All-State in football in 1967. In basketball, Bennett helped lead Curry to third place in the state in 1966 and state runner up in 1967. He was named to the All-State Team and First-Team All-State Tournament twice. Bennett was on the 1967 team that handed eventual 3A state champion Scottsboro its only loss.

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Ricky Bowen (Sumiton Christian)

Bowen was a two-time All-State selection at Sumiton Christian School. He paced the Eagles with a 10-3 record with a 1.54 ERA with 96 strikeouts and only 20 walks in 80 innings as a senior. As a junior, he earned All-State, All-Metro and All-County honors. That season he also compiled a 13-2 record with a 1.89 ERA and 107 strikeouts in helping lead Sumiton Christian to the 2004 Class 2A state title. Following high school, Bowen pitched at Mississippi State. Bowen continued his career at the professional level, signing with the Cincinnati Reds in 2009.

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Robert Clements (Carbon Hill)

Clements was an All-County, All-Conference, All-Area and All-State basketball player at Carbon Hill High School. He helped the Bulldogs to 69 wins and three straight Walker County titles from 1973-75. Clements went on to Jacksonville State where he was twice selected Gulf South All-Conference and finished with 1,355 career points. Clements was fourth all-time in scoring at JSU and third in rebounds. He still holds the school record for rebounds in a game with 32 against Shorter College in 1977.

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Hosea Collins (Oakman)

Coach Hosea Collins had two stints at Oakman High School in his successful football coaching career. He guided the Wildcats from 1961-67 and from 1982-89, compiling a 92-59-3 record at the school. Collins produced two undefeated regular seasons, two quarterfinal playoff teams and multiple Wal-Win championships. Coach Collins carried his team to the third round of the playoffs in 1984. His coaching record in Alabama is 159-112-4 in 27 years. Oakman’s football stadium is named in his honor.

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Gary Dorsey (Dora)

Dorsey was a multiple-sport athlete at Dora High School, competing in football, basketball, baseball and track. He was a starter on the 1985 baseball team that played for the state championship. In basketball, he was a three-year letterman. He played three years on the Dora football team at safety, receiver and kicker. He was All-County in 1984 and 1985 as well as a first team All-State selection at safety both years. Dorsey signed with Auburn, playing on the 1987 and 1988 SEC championship teams.

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Milton ‘Booster’ Franklin

(Walker Co. Training School)

Franklin graduated from Walker County Training School in 1946 and attended college at Alabama A&M in Huntsville, where he lettered in football, basketball and track. He was co-captain of the football team in 1949. He began his coaching career in 1950 at Reedtown High School in Russellville. After serving in the Army for two years, he returned to Reedtown for one year before moving to Sterling High School in Sheffield. In 1959, he was named the North Alabama High School Athletic Association Coach of the Year. In 1971, Franklin became the first black head basketball coach in the Shoals area at Sheffield High School. In 2015, the newly remodeled gym at Sheffield High School was named the Milton Franklin Gymnasium.

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Stephen Harris (Cordova)

Harris participated in baseball, basketball and football at Cordova High School. In his senior year, he only lost one game as a pitcher in the state playoffs. In baseball, he was selected as a member of the All-County Team and played in area All-Star games. In basketball, he made the All-County Team for three years, All-County Tournament Team for three years and the All-Area Tournament Team. In football, he made All-County and All-State. He signed a scholarship with Tennessee State to play football and then transferred to UNA. In 1982, he signed a free-agent contract with the Denver Broncos.

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William ‘Blo’ Hubbard Jr.

(Parrish)

Hubbard was an All-County star in both football and basketball at Parrish High School. In 1991, he was selected first team All-State in football by the Alabama Sports Writers Association and the Birmingham News. He set the record for most rushing yards in the finals until Tony Dixon, also of Parrish, set a new mark. He was chosen Parrish’s Defensive Player of the Year for two years in a row. Following high school, he went on to play junior college football in Mississippi and later transferred to West Alabama.

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Freeman Lee ‘Bulldog’ Johnson (Dora)

Johnson played baseball, basketball and football at Dora. He was a member of the first Dora High School football team in 1925 as an 8th grader. He was also the catcher for future major league pitcher Ivy Paul Andrews. Johnson was Dora’s first All-State baseball selection in 1929 and was awarded a scholarship to Birmingham Southern. While at the Birmingham Southern, he was named to the All-Dixie Conference second team. He was offered pro baseball contracts twice, but declined in order to pursue his college degree.

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Todd Lee (Walker)

Lee was a member of the 1981 and 1985 Walker High School state champion golf teams. Lee won the AHSAA state championship in 1984 and finished third on two occasions. Collegiately, Lee played for Alexander City Junior College with the school finishing in the top 10 in his two years there. Todd was selected an All-American and was team captain his sophomore year. He finished his playing career at the University of Alabama where he won the Spirit of America Golf Classic his senior year. Lee also is a competitive angler and has been a two-time winner on the Walmart FLW Tour.

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A.J. "Jelly" McDanal

(Walker County)

McDanal played on Walker County High School’s 1930 football team that was undefeated and finished as a state champion with an 11-0 record. McDanal was on the All-County and All-Southern teams. During one stretch of the season, McDanal carried the ball 18 times for 1,008 yards for an average of 56 yards per attempt. After graduation, he played for the University of Alabama where he starred at running back and roomed with Bear Bryant.

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April McDonald-Lazenby

(Carbon Hill)

McDonald was a three-sport star at Carbon Hill High School where she lettered in volleyball, softball and basketball. In her junior season, as a middle hitter, she was part of a state championship team that won 63 games and took first-place finishes in the area and conference. She was selected as an All-State player and the State Tournament MVP. Carbon Hill repeated as champs in her senior year with McDonald again earning All-State and MVP honors. Carbon Hill also finished as the softball state runner up in her senior season in 1990.

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Randy Morrow (Dora) 

Morrow, a 1975 Dora High School graduate, played football and baseball for the Bulldogs. He was an All-County baseball player his senior year and played collegiately at Montevallo. While with the Falcons, Morrow was an integral part of four 30-win seasons. He earned team MVP honors his junior season, helping the team to its first ever NAIA district championship. Morrow became the third Montevallo player to be an All-American and was the first to be named an NAIA Academic All-American in baseball.

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Alan Pate (Cordova)

Pate was a multi-sport athlete at Cordova High School. He was named All-State and All-County in both football and baseball. In football he was All-State as a quarterback and linebacker. Pate played four years of baseball at UNA and one year of football, where he lettered at quarterback. In baseball, Pate set UNA records for most games played, career home runs, RBIs and total bases. In his junior and senior years in 1994 and 1995, Pate was named first-team All-GSC, All-South Central Region and second team All-American.

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Josh Russell (Sumiton Christian)

Russell played football, basketball and baseball at Sumiton Christian. He was chosen as the Alabama Sports Writers Association’s 2000 Class 1A Back of the Year and first team All-State. He led the Eagles to a perfect 10-0 regular-season record and the school’s first region championship. He finished his high school career with 91 touchdown passes. In basketball, he averaged 18 points per game as a junior and senior. In baseball, he had a .390 batting average during his senior year. He played college football at Troy State University where he was a three-year letterman.

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Ben Sankey (Walker County)

Sankey played on the 1922 state football championship team at Walker County High School. After graduating, Sankey played baseball at Auburn University where he was named to the All-Southern Team in 1927 and 1928. In 1929, Sankey signed with the Pittsburgh Pirates, making his first appearance at the major league level that same year. Later in his career, Sankey played in the Southern League, Pacific Coast League and the International League. He was also inducted into the International League Hall of Fame.

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Morris Savage (Dora)

Savage was an All-State guard for the Dora High School football team in 1954. At Dora, he was selected as the Alabama State President of the Beta Club. After high school, Savage went to Auburn University where he played football and baseball. Morris was a member of Auburn’s 1957 championship football team. Savage is a former Auburn trustee and sponsored the Morris W. Savage Scholarship at Auburn. He is the past president of the A-Club and was recipient of the Bill Strait Award (football senior with highest scholastic average).

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Ray Tidwell (Curry)

Tidwell was one of only a few athletes who have ever signed college scholarships in two sports — basketball at Walker College and baseball at Auburn University. He was selected to the All Wal-Win Conference Team after his senior season at Curry. He was All-Area, All-Region and a member of the All-State Team. The summer after graduating from Walker College, Tidwell was offered a minor league contract with the St. Louis Cardinals, but declined to play at Auburn where he lettered in 1969-70.

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Wayne Wilson (Curry)

Wilson played football, basketball and ran track at Curry High School. He was a two-year starter in basketball, averaging 20 points a game as a junior and senior. He was all Wal-Win, All-County and All-District as a junior and senior. His senior year, Wilson was named All-State. He was part of a Curry football team that compiled a record of 22-5-3. While playing football, he was All Wal-Win and All-County. In track, he won the 110, 200, high jump and long jump in the county and conference during his senior year. Wilson played basketball for Walker College for two years.