The new inductees bring the total number of members in the hall of fame to 65.
This year, as a fund-raiser, the hall of fame sold chances on a golf cart to be given away. The winner was David Shaw of Odenville.
“The banquet continues to be successful, and we are pleased to induct some great players and coaches,” said hall of fame President Larry Bothwell. “I want to thank everyone who worked so hard to make the SCCSHOF what it is today. We are also pleased to start a scholarship fund in order to help high school student-athletes throughout St. Clair County who want to further their education at a higher level.”
A portion of member dues goes into the scholarship fund.
Here is a closer look at each new inductee.
Phil Champion moved to Ragland in 1946 at the age of 27. Once he made the move to Ragland, he never left. He worked at National Cement in Ragland until he retired in 1981 at the age of 62.
He always loved sports and played baseball for several years. In 1948, George Eden became a teacher and coach at Rag-land High. The two were cousins, so Champion worked with Eden organizing the first football team in Ragland.
From the time he arrived in Ragland in 1948 until his death in March, 2000, Champion never missed a ballgame Ragland played — baseball, football or basketball, home or away.
In 1999, Champion was voted Ragland’s No. 1 Fan and given a lifetime pass to all home games.
Just before he passed away and while in the hospital, the students at Ragland High School placed a chair and big sign where he usually sat that read “Phil’s Place.”
He attended his last Ragland baseball game March 16, 2000, three days before his death. Alan Bean hit a grand slam, and the team signed the baseball and placed it in Phil’s casket.
Champion coached girl’s softball in the 1980s. He decided to quit coaching because he was not going to see all of the Ragland games, but Jimmy Campbell talked him into helping him coach girl’s softball for 13 more years.
The current softball field is named Campbell/Champion Field in honor of Jimmy Campbell and Phil Champion.
Accepting the honor on behalf of his late father, Jeff Champion said he and his family are proud of this recognition for Phil Champion.
“Dad was a good man, and I thought that ball might slow down after I graduated in 1984,” Champion said. “He never missed a game I played in. He never let up right up close to his death. If Ragland was playing ball, he was there. He loved it. No matter if they were playing home or away. If he could get a ride, he was at the away games. I want to thank Jimmy Campbell for all he has done. He has been a friend to our family for a long time. When we heard the news that he was being inducted into this hall of fame, it was just a tremendous blessing to all of us.”
Reaves is a 1986 graduate of Pell City High School, where she played basketball and volleyball. She made All-County and All-Area in both sports in 1986 and was named the MVP of her volleyball team her senior season.
She did not play college ball because she blew out her knee during her senior year one week before the area basketball tournament and had to have a total knee reconstruction at the age of 18.
She received her bachelor’s degree in education from Jacksonville State University in 1991 and did her internship at Ragland High School.
She was a substitute teacher at Ragland in 1991 and later that year was hired at Walter Wellborn High School.
She had teaching and coaching stints at Ragland and Pell City High and has been at Sylacauga High School since 2002.
Reaves played women’s league and travel softball since the age of 12.
She has played ball for several coaches who are now members of the St. Clair County Sports Hall of Fame including Tim Carroll, Jimmy Campbell, Phil Champion and her dad, the late Bobby Golden.
She and her husband Todd have been married 22 years. They have one son, Micah, who played baseball at Bevill State and Ole Miss and currently plays for West Alabama. They are members of Mignon Baptist Church, where her husband serves as pastor, a position he has held the past 11 years.
When Lisa Reaves was inducted Saturday, she joined her late dad, Bobby Golden, who was inducted in the Class of 2006.
Reaves said it was an honor to be inducted into the St. Clair County Sports Hall of Fame alongside her dad and people like Pete Rich, Jim Bain and Will Glover.
“It is a little overwhelming,” she said. “My dad was my hero, so to be part of something that he’s in means the world to me.”
Johnny Bothwell graduated from Ashville High School in 1987. He played football, basketball and baseball while in high school.
He played football two years and was named All-County First Team on defense and All-County Offensive MVP.
He also played baseball two years, but his favorite sport was basketball. Both-well was named the MVP for the Junior. High County Tour-nament, Varsity County Tour-nament and Area Tournament.
He holds the record for most points scored in a game (49) and averaged 26 points and 13 rebounds per game during his career at Ashville.
He received an offer to play football at JSU but did not go.
He is a member of the Will and Della Bothwell College Fund and a member of Greater Grace Church in Gadsden. He played ASA softball for 12 years and coached youth basketball for six years.
He and his wife Darlene have been married 18 years. They have three children and four grandchildren.
Bothwell said induction into the hall of fame is a great honor.
“It’s a lifelong dream,” Bothwell said. “Since this hall of fame was started, I was hoping that one day I could be part of it. Today I am, and I am the one who is tremendously honored. Back when I played ball in high school, I never thought something like this would ever happen to me. My years back in school started out slow, and then I just fell in love with sports. After that, everything was just wide open for me.”
Lavaughn Butts graduated in 1980 from Springville High School, where he excelled in basketball and track.
He was named MVP of the St. Clair County Basketball Tournament in 1978 and 1980.
In his senior year, he helped lead the Tiger basketball team to an undefeated regular season and finished 26-1, losing in the state championship game.
He was named to the All-State Tournament Team and was an honorable mention All-State player.
As a senior, Butts won the county track and field events in the 330-meter intermediate hurdles, 110-meter high hurdles, discus, high jump and 440-meter relay. He finished sixth in the state in discus and fourth in the state in the 330-meter intermediate hurdles.
He earned a scholarship to play basketball at Wallace State Com-munity College in Hance-ville for two years.Butts now teaches respiratory care at Wallace State.
He is a member of Redan Baptist Church. He is president of Parkside Middle School Booster Club and vice president of the PTA. He coaches youth basketball and holds basketball camps for the community. He also worked with the Chamber of Commerce as an ambassador.
Butts said this honor feels good. “It’s been 30 years, and to know someone is acknowledging the team I played with at Springville really makes me feel proud,” Butts said. “I never dreamed something like this would happen to me. I just enjoyed that season and never thought that one day I would be inducted into the local sports hall of fame.”
Randy Day graduated from Ragland High School in 1965. He played football and basketball. After graduating, Day attended Gadsden State for two years and then transferred to JSU, where he majored in physical education and minored in biology.
His coaching and teaching career started at Moody Junior High School in 1971. He won one junior high basketball county title.
When Moody became a high school in 1977-78, Day was its first head football and head basketball coach. All told, he spent 25 years teaching and coaching at Moody. His varsity boy’s basketball team won three county championships in the 1980s.
The last seven years at Moody High school, he served as the school’s assistant principal.
From there, he joined the staff at the St. Clair County School System, working at the central office. For 13 years, Day was the facilities coordinator until he retired in 2007.
He and his wife Susan have been married 27 years. They have one son, Daniel. They are members of Truss-ville First United Methodist Church.
Day said he was deeply honored to be part of the St. Clair County Sports Hall of Fame.
“Thirty years ago, something like this never really crossed your mind,” Day said. “You were kind of worried about the present at the time. I guess this is something athletes and coaches think about and look forward to one day after their careers are over.”
Louis Wise is a 1957 graduate of Ashville High School. He became a charter member of the A Club at Ashville High in 1954. He played football and baseball while at Ashville High and said he was better at football.
He was named the Most Valuable Player in football at Ashville in 1956. He received scholarship offers to play football at Tennessee-Chattanooga and the University of Florida but was unable to attend. From 1976 to 1981, Wise coa-ched football and baseball in the Leeds Metro League.
He has been a member of Bethany Baptist Church since 1952.
He and his wife Nadine have been married 42 years. They have four children and 12 grandchildren.
Wise said it is an honor to be part of the hall of fame.
“It gives me chill bumps to see my old coach, Jerry Gibbs, that I had years ago,” Wise said. “Coach Gibbs started our football team at Ashville. It’s just another blessing the Lord has given me. He promised us threescore and 10, and right now I am threescore and 10 — plus two.”
Wise said he was proud to have his family with him to help celebrate the occasion.
“I had a daughter who was head cheerleader at Leeds and then another daughter who was head cheerleader at Ashville,” Wise said. “I have 10 grandsons and two granddaughters, but my main man is my grandson Gabe Wise, who was one of the original players at the Miracle League in Moody.”
Jerry Ellard graduated from Ragland High School in 1966. He played basketball while in high school and won various All-County and All-State awards. He lettered in basketball and in football.
He signed a scholarship to play on the very first basketball team at Jeff State Community College in 1967.
He later transferred to JSU where he earned a bachelor’s degree in education in 1970. He later earned a master’s degree in education and his associate’s degree in administration in 1975.
From 1970 to1978, he was the assistant football coach and head junior high basketball coach at Ohatchee High School.
From 1979 to 1983, Ellard was the assistant principal at Ohatchee before becoming principal in 1984. He retired from Ohatchee High School in 1992.
In 1993, he became a developer in commercial real estate and presently operates Ellard Development.
He and his wife Brenda have been married 40 years. They have two children and three grandchildren.
Ellard said it was a humbling experience to be inducted into the hall of fame.
“This is a proud moment for me,” Ellard said. “I didn’t have a clue about this, and my wife surprised me with it. She filled out all the paperwork. It was a complete surprise.”
Contact Gary Hanner at email@example.com.