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Five inducted into local Sports Hall of Fame

Staff report

The Lincoln County Sports Hall of Fame inducted five new members as its Class of 2012 in a ceremony at the James W. Warren Citizens Center on Saturday.
Inducted were boxer Billy Bridges, coach Lavell Hall, athlete and booster Paul Haynes, athlete Larry Sherrill and athlete Gene Shuford.
Bridges trained as a youth boxer at the Oaklawn gym in Lincolnton before becoming a professional fighter and, eventually, a world champion. He amassed a 396-18 amateur record and was selected to the 1984 All-American Boxing Team.
He boasted a 9-0 record in international professional fights and won the World Boxing Council’s Middleweight Championship in 1990 at the Charlotte Motor Speedway. He retired while he was ranked 12th in the world, and finished with a 22-2 record, with 13 of those wins coming by way of knockout.
Hall was a student athlete at East Lincoln High School and a coach at Lincolnton High School. He was part of East Lincoln’s 20-0 basketball team that won conference and district titles and was awarded the Mustang Award in 1974.
He was an assistant football coach at Lincolnton after graduating from Western Carolina University in 1979, and went on to coach Lincolnton’s cross-country conference-champion team in 1982. He also amassed a 61-29 record as boys junior varsity basketball coach from 1980-1984.
Hall went on to coach varsity basketball in 1984, a position he held for nine seasons, and had a 155-71 record with five conference championships and four conference tournament championships. His 1993 was a NCHSAA 3A state runner-up.
He retired as athletic director of Watauga County Schools in 2008 and moved back to Lincoln County.
Haynes was a football player at Lincolnton High School, and coached as a student teacher at West Lincoln High School. He went into his family’s business with Paul’s Distributing Company, and provided juice for Lincolnton football home games. He assisted in the construction of Lincolnton’s new press box, and continues his support of Lincoln County athletics. His company has sponsored many Optimist and recreation teams, and he helps support the Special Olympics.
Sherrill was a multi-sport athlete at Rock Springs High School from 1962-1965. He won numerous awards in football, basketball and baseball. He continued to participate in sports as an adult, and coached youth teams and umpired baseball games as a member of the East Lincoln Optimist Club.
Shuford played football, basketball and ran track at Lincolnton High School from 1954-1958. He was a starting offensive tackle on the football team as a freshman and was a starting tailback and linebacker as a sophomore.
He was a member of the All-Conference team during the 1956 and 1957 seasons. He attended UNC-Chapel Hill and was selected to the All-State College Freshman Team by the Greensboro Daily News in 1958.
After graduating, he coached youth basketball and football teams.

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