Saturday will be a day to remember for six local sports legends.
The Lincoln County Sports Hall of Fame will induct its newest class during a ceremony that begins at 6 p.m. Saturday at the James W. Warren Citizens Center.
This year’s class includes Sheila Barker, John Colvard, Mike Harrill, Mark Lackey, Bobby Martin and Wayne Navey. The male and female athletes of the year representing the five county high schools will also be recognized.
A limited number of tickets will be available at the door for $25.
Barker began her basketball career at East Lincoln High, where she starred from 1972-76. While there, the team won the North Carolina Open girls basketball championship in 1973, and finished in third place in 1974. Barker earned all-state honors that season, and was an honorable mention all-state pick in 1975.
Barker continued her basketball career at Western Carolina University, where she played all four years from 1976-80. Her 386 career assists –– a 3.9 assists-per-game average –– are currently third most in school history. She had 148 assists as a senior, averaging 5.9 assists per game.
Barker went into teaching in coaching following college, and landed a job at West Caldwell High. She returned to Lincoln County in 1988, and took over the girls basketball program at Lincolnton High.
Barker’s teams went 216-134 and won five conference championships (1995-96, 1998-2000). She was named the Gaston Gazette’s Coach of the Year three times (1995-96, 1998), and guided the Wolves to the Western Regional semifinal one time.
Barker retired from coaching in 2002, and retired from teaching Physical Education in 2013 after 30 years of service.
Colvard was a three-sport standout at Lincolnton High, starring in football, basketball and baseball. He was also an avid boxer, beginning his career in 1964 with a knockout 15 seconds into his first match. Over the next six years Colvard earned nine area Golden Gloves titles.
Colvard was known most for his abilities on the baseball diamond. He was named both the Most Valuable Player and Most Valuable Pitcher at Lincolnton in 1969, and played at Gaston College from 1970-71, where he earned another Most Valuable Pitcher award as well as being an all-state selection. He went on to play for Stetson University, where he was named its top pitcher in 1972-73, and was inducted into its sports hall of fame in 2001.
Colvard returned to Lincoln County as an educator, and was an assistant football coach at Lincolnton Junior High and Lincolnton High. He also coached Little League and USSSA baseball from 1982-85, and led the American Legion baseball team Cherryville Post 100 from 1992-95.
Colvard remains active in the community, playing church league softball for Lincoln Avenue Baptist Church, and is a noted disc jockey, giving his time to charity events and the Special Olympics.
Harrill was a three-sport, all-conference standout in football, basketball and track at East Lincoln High, where he was named its male athlete of the year in 1975. He won the leadership award as the football team’s quarterback and a defensive back in 1975, was a member of the school’s first boys basketball conference championship team during the 1973-74 season, and won the Mustang Award for track in 1975.
Harrill played two seasons of football at Lees-McRae College, where he was a participant in the 1977 Coastal Conference all-star game, and also lettered in track. He returned to Lincoln County after graduation to coach football, basketball, baseball and golf at East Lincoln.
After a 10-year stint as an assistant Harrill became the Mustangs’ head varsity football coach in 1991. His teams won the school’s first conference title (1993), made the state playoffs four times (1991-94) and he was named the league’s coach of the year once (1993) during his first five years.
Harrill coached both the boys and girls junior varsity basketball teams from 1982-84, and led both the boys and girls varsity teams in 1985. He continued to coach the boys 1985-89, leading them to the Western Piedmont tournament title game in his first season. The 1986-87 teams won 15 games, breaking a string of losing seasons.
Harrill then moved to West Lincoln High, where he was an assistant football coach from 2002-06. He then moved to Cherryville High, where he is an assistant football coach.
Harrill also helped establish the Boger City Steelers football program.
Lackey, a 1982 graduate of West Lincoln High, was a three-sport standout in football, basketball and golf. He attended Appalachian State University and received his Bachelor’s degree in Business Technology, and worked as an assistant Physical Education teacher and assistant football and baseball coach at West Lincoln Junior High under the late Buck Dellinger.
After receiving his teaching certification from Lenoir-Rhyne College in 1988, Lackey was hired as a business teach at Lincolnton High, where he became an assistant football coach, junior varsity boys basketball coach and a junior varsity baseball coach.
Lackey transferred to East Lincoln High, where he was an assistant football coach, head girls varsity basketball coach, and head golf coach. In five years at the helm, Lackey’s girls basketball teams reached the state playoffs four times, went to the third round in 1994, the fourth round in 1995, and won the conference tournament title in 1995.
Lackey transferred to North Lincoln High when it opened in 2003, where he has taught and coached for 12 years, and served as its athletic director from 2004-09. He also started the Knights’ girls basketball, and boys and girls golf teams.
North Lincoln’s boys golf team has been to the state championship seven times, winning state 2A titles in 2009 and 2010. The Knights were the state runners-up for three straight years, from 2011-13.
Lackey has also served on the Lincolnton Recreation Advisory Board and the N.C. Coaches Association Board of Directors, where he has headed up the golf coaches’ clinic for the NCHSAA.
Martin coached baseball, football, basketball and golf at Lincolnton High during his 27-year tenure.
Martin graduated from Maiden High in 1970, where he played baseball and basketball, earning all-conference honors in baseball in 1970. Martin, who played American Legion baseball for Hickory Post 48, continued his athletic career at Pfeiffer College, where he played baseball on scholarship. Martin went on to play 10 years of semiprofessional baseball in Lenoir.
After a stint of teaching and coaching in Georgetown County, S.C., where he was an assistant on a state title-winning boys basketball team, Martin returned home to teach and coach basketball at Lincolnton High. He later became an assistant football coach and head baseball and basketball coach. His 1995 baseball team went 26-3 and was the state 2A championship. Martin also coached the golf team his last five years at the school.
Martin won conference coach of the year honors three times in baseball –– 1994-95 and 2004 –– and was named the Region 6 Coach of the Year in 1994. His baseball teams made the state playoffs seven times and won two conference titles.
A longtime member of the National Baseball Coaches Association, Martin retired in 2011.
Navey graduated from West Lincoln High in 1974, where he was a standout football player and wrestler. He wrestled at Appalachian State University, where he graduated in 1978, and began teaching and coaching football and wrestling at West Lincoln.
Navey served as an assistant football coach under Dennis Byrd from 1978-81, under Wes Beam from 1982-87, and continues as an assistant for the Rebels today.
Navey led the Rebels’ wrestling program from 1982-88, where his teams went 59-29. The Rebels and two undefeated seasons during that span and numerous individual state finishers, including Billy Baker’s state title in 1987. Navey was named the school’s athletic director in 2001, a role he holds to this day.
In 1996 Navey became the head wrestling coach at West Lincoln Middle, where his teams have compiled a 212-25 record. In 18 seasons the Chiefs have never finished worse than second in the conference, winning the league title 12 times. They have also had seven undefeated seasons, and from 1996-2003, they won 90 consecutive matches. He has also coached 18 individual middle school state champions at the N.C. Jr. High State Championships held each year in Winston-Salem.
Navey, along with current West Lincoln High School wrestling coach Butch Ross and other Rebels coach, began the Top Dawg Wrestling Club in 1998. The coaches volunteer their time to continue building the Rebels’ wrestling tradition.
Athletes of the Year
The following students were named male and female athletes of the year by their respective high schools, and will be honored on Saturday:
East Lincoln: Molli Dallin, Chazz Surratt
Lincoln Charter: Anna Cunningham, Caylon Nagy
Lincolnton: Shelby Rollins, Quinlyn Harris
North Lincoln: Allie Castro, Andrew Fea
West Lincoln: Keeley Norman, Miguel Corella
Editor’s Note: Biographical information for each inductee was provided by the Lincoln County Parks and Recreation Department.