From Cotton Clark to Linnie Patrick and Ricky Bowen to Ryan Smith, the complete list would take weeks to compile.
After their playing days are over, Walker County high school athletes, both male and female, are just left with old photos and memories of their playing days.
Clayton Mehearg wants to see that changed.
Mehearg is in the process of forming a Walker County Sports Hall of Fame.
Several surrounding counties — including Cullman, Fayette and Marion — have had sports hall of fames for years while Walker County has never honored its past stars. Currently, Walker High School is the only school in the county with a sports hall of fame.
“I can’t believe this hasn’t been done before,” Mehearg said. “This county is huge when it comes to sports.”
Mehearg got the idea while attending a Lion’s Club meeting in Fayette.
“I saw Dick Anderson there, who used to be the coach at Bevill-Fayette, and he talked about how he got that one started (in Fayette). He said he thought it would be a good idea because Walker County didn’t have anything like that,” Mehearg added.
From there, Mehearg sprang to action.
“The first person I called was (former Walker High School football coach) Pat Morrison. He knows so much about sports in Walker County. He was telling me that Dan Bankhead was the first African-American pitcher to play Major League Baseball. He was born in Empire. You’ve also got Lenny Patrick, coach (Glen) Clem, Doyle Alexander, Ronnie Coleman ... there is just so much talent that’s come through Walker County.”
Mehearg has already put down some guidelines.
“The entire county will be represented,” said Mehearg, who is in the process of getting representatives from different areas in the county: Carbon Hill, Cordova, Curry, Dora, Jasper, Oakman, Martin, Parrish, Sumiton and Bevill State. There will also be two at-large representatives to make up a 12-person committee.”
Mehearg said he still needs representatives from Carbon Hill, Dora and Sumiton.
“The first year we are going to have 25 inductees. Each representative is going to nominate two people from their area, and there will be one at-large,” said Mehearg.
He added that players nominated must be out of high school for 10 years. Coaches and administrators must wait five years. There will also be a category for contributors.
Mehearg is hoping for a fall induction ceremony for the first class — though there are many obstacles to tackle in the coming months.
“I love sports, and I want to do something positive for the county. That’s why I’m taking this seriously. I’m excited,” Mehearg said.
Those interested in nominating or serving on the committee (from Carbon Hill, Dora or Sumiton) may get contact Mehearg at email@example.com or through the Walker County Sports Hall of Fame Facebook page.
The group will meet again at 6:30 p.m. Thursday at Moore’s Landing in Jasper.