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Lincoln County Sports Hall of Fame class announced

Contributed Former Lincolnton High School football star Mike Hollifield will be inducted into the Lincoln County Sports Hall of Fame on Saturday.

Former Lincolnton High School football star Mike Hollifield will be inducted into the Lincoln County Sports Hall of Fame on Saturday.

Staff report

The Lincoln County Sports Hall of Fame will inducted its class of 2013 at a banquet and ceremony at the James Warren Citizens Center at 6 p.m. Saturday. Tickets to the event are $25 and include a meal, a program and a one-year general membership that entitles individuals to be a member of the Hall of Fame committee. This year’s inductees include:

James “Jim” Carter
Boxing was the sport of choice for Lincolnton’s Jim Carter. Jim got his start in boxing at the age of 9, always looking for an opportunity to train or get in the ring. In 1947, he won the NC Silver Gloves Championship in the Welterweight Division. In 1951 upon entering the US Army, he began boxing for the 102nd Infantry Regiment, 43rd division, compiling a 28-2 record. During his Army boxing career, fighting overseas in Germany, he earned title of All Infantry. Returning to Lincolnton, he continued boxing with the Lincolnton VFW team.
In 1955, he won triple honors in the Gastonia Golden Gloves matches – Open Welterweight Title, Most Popular Fighter Award and Best Boxer Award; and won Most Outstanding Boxer and the Carolinas Golden Gloves Championship in Charlotte. Jim completed his amateur boxing career as one of North Carolina’s finest with an overall record of 95-6, advancing to the finals of the Eastern Golden Gloves Championship in Madison Square Garden. Jim turned professional, compiling an impressive 36-5 record before retiring, and earning reputation as a top-ranking welterweight in the South.
But his love of boxing wasn’t over with retirement from the ring, Jim continued in boxing as a coach for the Lincolnton VFD boxing team (teams won 5 championships and many individual fighter awards) and later as a volunteer at the Kids Dome. He loved helping young men live up to their boxing potential, providing support, more disciplined training and guidance before a match.

Jeffery “Bo” Harrill
Baseball fans in Lincoln County during the 1970’s certainly knew the name “Bo” Harrill. The well-known pitcher helped lead East Lincoln High School to conference championships in 1976, 1977 and 1978. Of particular note, according to coaches and media reports, was his outstanding pitching during East Lincoln’s defeat of Alleghany High School and his biggest pitching rival, Rip Rollins (considered to be one of the best pitchers in the state at that time). According to a local newspaper clipping, the “fastballing righthander” matched Rollins “pitch for pitch for 9 thrilling innings of play, both pitching out of trouble in a number of clutch situations.” Harrill finished the game with 14 strikeouts and one walk – handing Rollins his first defeat of the season in the 2-1 win by East Lincoln. Scouts from the Yankees, Royals, Padres, and Pirates, as well as numerous colleges were on hand for this matchup. Many might have come to see Rollins, but were rewarded with a look at two prime recruits.
Bo won many individual honors during his high school career, beginning with All Conference and Conference “Player of the Year” as a junior. During his senior year at East, Bo was named All-State, All Conference, and second Most Valuable Player award. His also won the “Citizenship Award” during his senior year. Bo continued his record winning baseball career on a scholarship to Wingate University, where many records still stand. One of his biggest accomplishments was “The Coaches Award,” recognizing him for being an all-around student, showing dedication to the team, and leading this team to many wins.
Bo’s community involvement included helping his father Jack Harrill coach and umpire games for many of the “Steelers” teams from the Boger City Boosters Youth Organization. Bo also helped coach in the recreation leagues run by the Lincolnton Recreation programs under the direction of Betty G. Ross.

Michael “Mike” Hollifield
A starter on the Lincolnton High School football team for all 4 years of his high school career, Mike received numerous awards at the local and conference levels, capped off as a player for the West Team in the 1964 East-West High School All Star Game. Mike started and played both offense and defense for the Wolfpack, including kicking field goals and PATs. Mike was a member of LHS’s well-remembered, 1965 winning team. Heavily recruited for college football, including the US Naval Academy, Mike accepted a full ride with the Tarheels of UNC under Coach Jim Hickey. Mike’s collegiate career included two years as a starter at the left defensive guard position for Coach Bill Dooley.
Even after his football career, Mike continued as a life-long athlete, sportsman and physical fitness activist through hunting, fishing and handball. He served as President of the North Carolina Association of Professional Psychologists for three years. Mike also was a member of the Executive Council for the Coast Guard Academy Parents Association. Following his untimely death at too early an age, Mike’s fellow teammates continue to speak highly of his character and his athletic ability.

John Mauney
Baseball was the sport where John Mauney’s hard work and dedication could be seen. The Lincolnton High School Wolfpack outfielder was the recipient of the Coy Stamey Award during his senior year. John continued his award-winning play at Mars Hill College. Highlights included Best Hustler Award (2 years), Most Valuable Player and Co-Captain his senior year, and John led the team in walks and stolen bases and outfields in assist for 3 of his 4 collegiate years. He was selected by the N.A.I.A. District 6 coaches to the 1971 All District Baseball Team for his junior year play at Mars Hill. His selection was reward for a season where his stats included leading the team in hitting with a .340 average, runs scored with 15, and hits with 22. The centerfielder and lead-off batter hit three home runs and 5 doubles. Defensively a standout as well, he threw out many runners from centerfield, with only one error in his first three seasons. John also played for three seasons with the Cherryville-Lincolnton American Legion Baseball team, with many strong games for the well-known program. John continued his baseball career as a member of Gastonia’s semi-pro team, The Turks. Their best defensive player for the 1976 season for his steady defensive play, with speed and a strong throwing arm, he contributed offensively with a .338 batting average which included four home runs.
John shared his baseball knowledge and skills through his coaching in the recreation leagues under Betty G. Ross for Little League and Teener age teams. He also was coach and assistant coach for the sports programs at Central Junior High, at Lincolnton Junior High School, and at Lincolnton High School. His fierce competitiveness also came through as a player in the local church softball league, where he was recognized for skills in the field, power at the plate and speed in the outfield and basepath.
In addition to baseball, John was well-known in Lincoln County’s tennis circles. He was County Tennis Champion three times for the recreation league. He also coached for the Recreation program, bringing tennis to many who might not otherwise had an opportunity to play.
John continued his contribution to Lincoln County sports behind the scenes as a Sports Booster for West Lincoln High School, assisting with upkeep and improvements for the cross country course. He also contributed his time and resources to photograph athletes for players, news media, and yearbooks, for not only WLHS but other Lincoln County Schools and opposing teams. His goal is to give the student athletes recognition and memories, regardless of their skill levels and ability.

James “Jim” Scott
Called a “true volunteer”, the name Jim Scott is recognized by many young athletes and their parents in eastern Lincoln County. Jim served the community through his roles at East Lincoln Optimist Club for the last 29 of his 78 years. He was President for 4 years and Financial Director for 25 years. He was recognized as Volunteer of the Year in 2005 by the Chamber of Commerce. The East Lincoln Optimist Club “House” was named in his honor.
Not restricted by his “titles” or offices in the Optimist Club, Jim was involved in fund-raising, field prep, and youth sign-ups, as well as ordering uniforms and equipment, stocking and working the concession stand. As the number of youth served grew, Jim kept the park growing. He was a leader in providing lighting for the playing fields. A member of the Lincoln County Recreation Commission for 6 years, Jim worked with the County to develop East Lincoln Park and Community Center, making two more fields and the gymnasium available for youth athletics. He also turned his attention to Legion ball and the need for a team for eastern Lincoln County to provide additional opportunities for area youth after they aged out of the Optimist leagues. He was instrumental in helping create and fund the American Legion Post 455 Baseball Team. Jim was also a strong supporter and worker for East Lincoln High School’s Sports Boosters, where his sons attended schools and participated in sports.
Jim loved sports, having played one year of football at the University of Tennessee and baseball while in the Navy during World War II. In the obituary following his death in 2006, he was noted as someone who told it like it was and made things happen, “a person who had a passion for making sure that young people had a safe place to grow.” His son Jamie remembered him with these words, “he always loved and cherished the youth of Lincoln County and always thought that the youth deserved to do those things.”

Clyde T. Smith
Playing his high school sports at Stanley High, Clyde Smith was one of the few who was outstanding in three sports – football, basketball, and baseball. His prep football career was under Coach Dick Thompson, a Gaston County Sports Hall of Famer. He then continued playing football at Western Carolina University as a stellar defensive back for Coach Dan Robinson. Clyde continued his education, earning his Masters and Education degrees from Appalachian State University and his Doctorate of Education from Nova University.
His education degrees brought Clyde to Lincoln County. He came to teach at Lincolnton High School following two years as an assistant coach at the old Mt. Holly High. For several years, he coached or assisted the coach for multiple sports, including serving as defensive coach for the LHS football team under Head Coach Von Ray Harris. Clyde helped bring track to the forefront at LHS, accumulating a 74.5 winning percentage (510 victories, with just 175 losses). Clyde used a dual team approach, having a Gold team made up of his veteran athletes, and a Black team comprised mainly of sophomores. This dual team concept helped develop the young athletes through experience and training. He was a strong promoter of track and field outside the school year, through his summer track program and annual Lincolnton Relays.
While Assistant Principal and working with detention programs, he recruited several students who were often tardy and skipped classes. These students soon were never tardy and didn’t skip class. Coach Smith saw sports, especially track and field as a path for students to learn responsibility and personal discipline. Moving up to become an elementary Principal, he left coaching, but always encouraged his students to participate in activities and sports, and promoted strong personal development. Clyde has remained an active booster for LHS sports, including his efforts with facility renovations.

Inductee biographies were provided by the Lincoln County Sports Hall of Fame.

Image courtesy of KaAnSuli | Lincoln Times-News

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