AFTER a three-decade hiatus, Jackson County Comprehensive High School will take nominations again for its athletic hall of fame.
The school plans to hold an induction ceremony in May of 2015 to enshrine its newest class.
“I’m super excited about it,” JCCHS athletic director Adam Lindsey said. “It’s something I think everybody has been talking about and wanting to see come back around for a while.”
Former school administrator Bruce Yates started the original hall of fame in 1985, but it lasted only one year. It included two inductees — Jackson County’s 1964 state championship basketball team and Braselton High School’s 1930 state championship basketball team.
But the idea of honoring Jackson County’s top sports figures didn’t go away.
About a year ago, Lindsey and Jackson County Parks and Recreation director Ricky Sanders, a JCCHS alum, began talk of reviving the hall of fame and the process moved from there. An eight-member hall of fame committee formed and held its first meeting last Monday and ratified its bylaws.
“I thought it went great,” Lindsey said of the meeting. “I think everybody is super excited about what this can do for the community and what it can mean for our school.”
The committee is made up of Lindsey, JCCHS principal Pete Jones, Ricky Sanders (alumni director), Joe Lancaster (faculty representative), Alan Kennedy (faculty representative), Larry Beck (alumni member), Andy Crawford (alumni member) and Benji Harrison (coaching staff member).
Several of the committee members have deep roots in the county or have been at JCCHS for several years and are well-versed in the county’s sports history. Sanders, who graduated from Jackson County, is well-connected to both the community and the school. Beck played on the 1964 state championship team. Kennedy has taught at JCCHS for over 30 years. Lancaster, a former coach and athletic director, has spent the past 20 years at the school.
“There’s a wealth of history knowledge on the committee,” Lindsey said.
The committee bylaws and nomination forms will be posted on the school’s athletic website, jcpantherathletics.com, under a “hall of fame” tab.
The committee will meet twice a year — once in November and again in January to evaluate and vote on nominations. The committee will accept nominations until Jan. 1 of each school year. Anyone may nominate a former athlete from Jackson County Comprehensive High School or its predecessors, Braselton High School and Bryan High School.
“We want to be able to represent every part of the community that has come through this school system and been, through one form or another, Jackson County High School,” Lindsey said.
Athletes must have played at least one varsity season at the school, graduated from the Jackson County School System and have been out of school for at least five years to be eligible for nomination.
“I think that just gives people a time to reflect,” Lindsey said. “Sometimes when somebody’s just been here, they’re right fresh in your mind and you haven’t had a chance to reflect over their career or really had the opportunity to compare them to others that have come through.”
The hall of fame is not limited to individual athletes. Entire teams may be nominated or a subset of a team — i.e., a relay team in track. There’s a category for non-athletes, including coaches, administrators, members of the local media, supporters, sponsors and volunteers.
The committee could induct as many as 10 members for the 2015 class as the hall of fame gets re-established. Then it will induct up to six new members annually after that.
The hall of fame will be located in the main lobby of the new gym. Each inductee’s bio, accomplishments and picture will appear on an 11x14 plaque along with the school crest.
New members will be inducted annually at a hall of fame banquet held each May in the gym. Aside from the inductions, the evening will include a silent auction and athletic directors awards for each sport for JCCHS’s current athletes.
“We’re going to try to make it a big community thing, a big promotion for our hall of fame inductions,” Lindsey said.
Lindsey knows this is an ambitious project, but he’s excited to tackle it.
“I know that it’s going to be a lot of work,” Lindsey said. “I’d be lying if I said I wasn’t nervous about how much it’s going to take to put together the kind of banquet I want it to be. I want this to be the marquee thing of the year.”
Lindsey expects nominations for the 2015 class to come rolling in once word gets out that the hall of fame is re-opening.
“I know that there are people that are chomping at the bit and waiting to get their names on (the nomination list),” Lindsey said. “I know that the people are very excited about some of the fantastic athletes that have come through Jackson County High School and being able to recognize them properly.”