Sports column: It’s time for Hall of Fame nominations

Published 8:00 am Sunday, April 24, 2022

One of the recent debates that crossed my Facebook timeline concerned the Vicksburg Warren School District Athletic Hall of Fame.

The usual arguments were mentioned — who’s gotten in, who hasn’t gotten in, how the inductees are selected, etc. — and it seemed like a good time to discuss it here.

The Hall of Fame currently has 37 members beginning with its inaugural class in 2016.

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The inductees are selected each year from nominations submitted by the public. The VWSD is accepting applications for the Class of 2022 through June 1, and forms are available on the VWSD website. They can be submitted to the VWSD athletic office on Mission 66.

The nominees fall into one of three categories — athletes, coaches and administrators. Athletes must have played at least two years at Vicksburg High or Warren Central beginning in 1970, and must be 15 years beyond graduation.

Coaches must have coached for at least 10 years, including five at a VWSD school, and be out of coaching for five years. Administrators must have made “significant contributions to the VWSD” and be five years removed from their last job.

The nomination forms require some basic information, including accomplishments. If you are nominating someone, be prepared to state their case for induction.

Football players and coaches comprise about two-thirds of the Hall of Fame members so far, but there are also representatives from soccer, softball, basketball, baseball and track and field. The selection committee has done a good job of including various sports in each class.

The Hall of Fame classes, though, are largely limited by two things — the list of nominees in a given year, and the size of each class. There are probably several hundred former athletes and coaches who should be inducted and likely will be inducted eventually. Like with any Hall of Fame, however, a backlog often forms as the size of each class is kept to a manageable number of about a half-dozen people.

So while you prepare your nominations and consider who is worthy, here are a few of the more notable names missing from the current Hall of Fame roster:

• Alonzo Stevens — Stevens was a standout football player at Temple High School, and then was the head coach for 12 years at Vicksburg High after a couple of stints as an assistant. A current school board member, few people in Vicksburg have given their life’s work to our local schools quite like Stevens has.

• Robby Goodson, Shea Douglas and Brian Pettway — Three members of Warren County’s high school baseball golden age in the late 1990s and early 2000s who went on to outstanding college and pro careers. Goodson starred at Vicksburg and Mississippi State; Douglas at Warren Central and Southern Miss; and Pettway at Warren Central and Ole Miss.

Pettway won the 2005 Ferriss Trophy as Mississippi’s top college player.

• Roosevelt Brown — The Vicksburg High alum played four years of major league baseball with the Chicago Cubs, and several more in Japan. He has continued to teach Vicksburg’s youth the game as a private instructor and coach.

• Kevin Dent — The former Vicksburg High and Jackson State defensive back is one of only three people from Vicksburg to be inducted to the College Football Hall of Fame.

• Catrina Frierson — Perhaps the best girls basketball player in Vicksburg High’s history, Frierson went on to star at Louisiana Tech and play in the WNBA.

Ernest Bowker is the sports editor of The Vicksburg Post. He can be reached at ernest.bowker@vicksburgpost.com

About Ernest Bowker

Ernest Bowker is The Vicksburg Post's sports editor. He has been a member of The Vicksburg Post's sports staff since 1998, making him one of the longest-tenured reporters in the paper's 139-year history. The New Jersey native is a graduate of LSU. In his career, he has won more than 50 awards from the Mississippi Press Association and Associated Press for his coverage of local sports in Vicksburg.

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