It’s always good to see good things happen to good people.
We will get to see another example of that Thursday when the 2016 Macon Sports Hall of Fame class is inducted. This year’s class includes Julius Adams, Jeff Battcher, Sybil Blalock, Richard L. (Dick) Frame, Wayne Johnson, Mike McCollum, Don Robinson, LeKevin Smith and Sharone Wright. It’s an impressive class, and it’s going to be nice to see the members receive their deserved honors at Thursday’s ceremony.
I don’t personally know many of the inductees, but I have gotten to know Sybil Blalock a little bit the past few years in my dealings with Mercer, and she is a class act. She’s one of the best around and is a true treasure for Mercer.
Wright had a splendid career at Southwest before moving on to Clemson, and that’s where we first met. He had a strong Clemson career and became one of the program’s all-time greats in just three years of play. Wright then moved on to the Philadelphia 76ers with the sixth pick in the NBA draft, the highest a Clemson player has been drafted.
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Unfortunately, his pro career was cut short after just four seasons, but Wright has stayed involved in the game and in his community. His basketball and mentoring week returns next month at Ballard Hudson’s gymnasium, and it’s a wonderful event for our community, helping youth on and off the court.
That’s who Wright is. He cares about the game. He cares about Macon. And he wants to see both continue to grow and move in a positive direction. It’s always good to see him when he’s back in town for that week and seeing all the wonderful things he’s doing.
That kind of success, both on and off the field, court or golf course, is a common theme with this year’s class.
Adams: Adams played football at Ballard Hudson before going to college at Texas Southern, where he was a four-year starter. He moved on to the New England Patriots and was chosen to the Patriots’ 35th and 50th anniversary teams and was a member of both the 1970 and 1980 all-decade teams.
Battcher: Battcher was a two-sport standout at Stratford before going on to play both Utah. Battcher and his wife, Janet, will become the first husband-wife combo in the Macon Sports Hall of Fame.
Blalock: Blalock was a star player for Mercer and still ranks among the program’s leaders in several categories, and she has been even more impressive in her role as an athletics administrator.
Frame: Frame began volunteer coaching at FPD in 1979 and continues to assist with the school’s track and field program, coaching more than 20 state hurdles champions and more than 20 state runners-up.
Johnson: Johnson was a star at Willingham and captain of the 1964 team that finished 8-1-1 before playing for three seasons at Florida State.
McCollum: McCollum was the starting quarterback at Southwest in the late 1960s, and he has had an accomplished career as a golf professional.
Robinson: Robinson was a member of the final Lanier football team before it became Central in 1970, and he played for three seasons at Georgia Tech, including being selected to the All-Southern College team in 1973.
Smith: Smith led Stratford to two state titles, played at Nebraska and then played three seasons with the New England Patriots and one season with the Denver Broncos.