Inductees honored with jacket ceremony

One of the most memorable days in the life of Lisa Spain Short began very early, around sun up.

And it wasn’t because she was excited for the weekend to begin.

“It started about 6 (Friday) morning, feeding chickens and goats and dogs and cats before I came,” Spain Short said. “The weather cleared up, and we had a beautiful day on the golf course.”

Spain Short played golf with a bunch of new friends and the six other people who would join her Saturday night as the newest members of the Georgia Sports Hall of Fame.

Spain Short and her fellow inductees were then honored Friday evening in the informal jacket ceremony in the Hall’s theatre. She will be inducted Saturday night at the Macon City Auditorium with Robert Davis, Joe DeLany Jr., Dale Ellis, Ray Goff, Bill Ploeger and Macon native J.T. Thomas.

Hall member Jaime Kaplan drew a large round of applause when she was introduced at the start of the ceremony. Kaplan continues to enjoy improving health as she recovers from a form of leukemia and was in good spirits a day after Stratford unveiled the Jaime Kaplan Tennis Center.

Kaplan was a women’s tennis pioneer at Georgia along with Spain Short in the early 1980s. Spain Short was a freshman back in 1980, when there was another notable freshman athlete on campus.

Friday was her first visit to the Hall, and the tomboy from Moultrie was almost giddy after taking a tour.

“I can’t believe I can be in this company, of these athletes and coaches and contributors,” she said. “I’m from the glory days at Georgia, and I thought about Herschel Walker. To be in the company of greatness, Walt Frazier, Ty Cobb, Bobby Jones, it’s so humbling.”

Warner Robins mayor Chuck Shaheen read a proclamation and presented a plaque and key to the city to his old coach at Warner Robins, Davis.

“Other than my father, no one made (a bigger) influence in my life other than Coach Davis,” said Shaheen, who a year go did the same thing for Ron Simmons, a high school teammate of his under Davis. “I can’t thank him enough.”

Dale Ellis caught some boos as fans were reminded that he took his substantial basketball talents from Marietta to Tennessee. Last year, Ellis was inducted into the Tennessee hall of fame.

“I didn’t know what to think, with two honors like that back to back,” said Ellis, who teamed with Spain Short and Mel Pender for the low net score of the golf tournament. “It’s fantastic, I’m meeting a lot of beautiful people,”

DeLany has been to the Hall and participated in the golf tournaments and now gets the rarity: a football official being the center of attention in a good way.

“I couldn’t believe it; I know a lot of guys that are in it,” said DeLany, noting his long relationship with Goff when he coached at Georgia. “It’s a real honor for me to be included in this. George Gardner, who’s my mentor is in here, and Bobby Gaston, Frank Glover. It’s such an honor.”

Spain Short was thrilled when she got the news back in the fall of her induction, and goes in with a special sense of thanks.

“I was just so glad that my parents are still in good health and can enjoy it,” Spain Short said. “Family means everything to me. I’m just most proud for them, for everything they sacrificed and other family members for me to get to do this.”