ASHVILLE — The St. Clair County Sports Hall of Fame inducted its ninth class this past Saturday at a banquet, held at First Baptist Church Ashville.
Seven new members now bring the total number of members inducted into the Hall of Fame to 79.
The seven new members are Rod Daffron, Marshall Hartley, Jr., Anthony Looney, Brian Mintz, Erroll Newton, Rookie Smith, Jr. and Brian Terry.
The SCCSHOF was established in Nov. 2004, when a dream of Larry Bothwell’s became a reality. Each January, it hosts a banquet to induct deserving men and women.
For the second consecutive year, the Hall of Fame awarded a $500 college scholarship to a deserving St. Clair County high school student-athlete planning on attending college. This year, the winner was Ragland senior Devane Brewster.
Daffron was introduced by Joe Dorough. Daffron graduated from Ragland High School in 1957, where he played football and basketball.
“This is a great honor,” Daffron said. “I never imagined myself in this capacity. I never thought that highly of myself for what happened in sports, although high school sports had a big impact on my life.”
Daffron remembered Jack Ford, who played on the very first Ragland football team in 1952.
“I was the manager for that team as an eighth-grader,” Daffron said. “Jack was a good friend of mine, even when I went off to junior college to play football. George Eden was our coach, and an inspiration to all of us.”
Daffron served as a Methodist minister for 32 years.
“I served churches in Georgia, Mississippi, and Alabama,” Daffron said. “I had the highest honor of doing Coach George Eden’s funeral. It was very sad, but very inspirational for me.”
Marshall Hartley, Jr.
Hartley was introduced by Gary Hanner. Hartley graduated from Pell City High School in 1972, and lettered in football, basketball and baseball.
In 1979, he was hired as a teacher/coach at St. Clair High School and has been in Odenville ever since.
“This is a very humbling experience for an old boy who started life in Coal City,” Hartley said. “I came to Odenville expecting to stay a couple of years and move on. Well, 34 years later, I’m still at Odenville.
“It’s an honor and privilege to be a member of this elite group of men and women of character. I’m just so glad to be here. I am honored. I just want to thank everybody just for remembering me.”
Looney was introduced by Coach Raymond Farmer. Looney graduated from Ashville High School in 1985 where he played football and basketball and ran track.
“I think it is a great honor to be inducted into the St. Clair County Sports Hall of Fame,” Looney said. “There are a good group of men being inducted tonight, and it is such a privilege.”
When asked if he thought this would ever happen to him, Looney said not this early.
“I thought maybe it would one day, but I thought it would be on down the road,” he said. “There are so many deserving athletes out there.”
He thanked coaches Raymond Farmer and Larry Touart for being such good role models for him at school.
Mintz was introduced by Coach Jonathan Nix. Mintz graduated from Southside High School in 1981. His coaching career started and ended at Ragland as football coach, and he led the Purple Devils to the state playoffs in each of the last eight years he was there.
“It is a great honor to be recognized for what you have done and accomplished,” Mintz said. “I’ve been very fortunate to have a lot of good kids at Ragland. They made up good teams, and it’s not really so much about me as it is these kids that came out and performed week after week and year after year for me.”
Newton was introduced by Gary Hanner. Newton graduated from Ashville High School in 1979, and played basketball and football. He thanked Coach Coy Smith for being like a second father to him while in high school.
“I was just another spoke on that wheel under Coach Coy Smith’s regime,” Newton said. “Anybody that has come through Ashville’s system, and made contributions, they all know we have a good system. We had some good coaches and some good players. I am just honored to be here.”
Smith was introduced by Steve Nelson. Smith graduated from Ragland High School in 1976, and played football, basketball and baseball. He is best known for being an umpire and referee in various sports through the years.
“This is so humbling and gratifying,” Smith said. “It is a real honor. Being an umpire and referee all these years has helped me to stay close to the sports that I love. Being inducted into the Hall of Fame is an honor and just icing on the cake.
“Watching all these kids grow up and enjoy sports has been a blessing. Being part of their lives has been humbling.”
Terry was introduced by two of his former track stars at Leeds, Moses Stone and Joseph Callaway. Terry graduated from Springville High School in 1986 where he excelled in football, basketball and track.
As a high school track coach at Leeds, Terry led the Green Wave to 12 straight state championships.
“It’s just a honor to be here tonight,” Terry said. “It is humbling that I was selected. It is something I will treasure for the rest of my life. I am thrilled that my wife, daughter, and parents are here to share in this with me.
“This is just a wonderful thing the Hall of Fame does. To be able to see coaches like Raymond Farmer, Coy Smith and Ernie Bagley was just a pleasure. It is important that this Hall of Fame continues.”