INDIANAPOLIS – Five outstanding former high school athletes, including legendary Cleveland Browns’ tight end Ozzie Newsome from Alabama and pro basketball star Anfernee “Penny” Hardaway from Tennessee, headline the 2014 class of the National High School Hall of Fame.
Joining Newsome and Hardaway as athletes in the 2014 class are Casey Blake, a four-sport star at Indianola (Iowa) High School, who had a 13-year professional baseball career; Michael Devereaux, a four-sport standout at Kelly Walsh High School in Casper, Wyo., who enjoyed an 12-year professional baseball career; and Suzy Powell, a basketball and track and field star at Thomas Downey High School in Modesto, Calif., who competed in three Olympic Games.
These five individuals, along with four high school coaches, one contest official, one administrator and one in the performing arts, will be inducted into the National Federation of State High School Associations (NFHS) National High School Hall of Fame July 2 at the Boston Marriott Copley Place in Boston, Mass. The 32nd Hall of Fame Induction Ceremony will be the closing event of the 95th annual NFHS Summer Meeting.
Newsome, who grew up in Leighton and played three sports (football, baseball and basketball) at Colbert County High School, graduating in 1974, is the third athlete from Alabama to be selected for induction into the NFHS National High School Hall of Fame and 11th person overall. Former Green Bay Packer great Bart Starr of Montgomery was inducted in 1989 and former Heisman Trophy winner and Pat Sullivan of Birmingham was inducted in 2012.
Others Alabamians inducted include former AHSAA Executive Directors Cliff Harper (1987), Herman L. “Bubba” Scott (1990) and Dan Washburn (2011), coaches Wallace “Mickey” O’Brien (1992), Glenn Daniel (1999) and Jim Tate (2013), and contest officials Dan Gaylord (1988) and Sam Short (2007).
“We are extremely proud of all that Ozzie Newsome has accomplished,” AHSAA Executive Director Steve Savarese said. “He was an outstanding athlete at Colbert County, Alabama and in the NFL. He has also been an outstanding person of humility who has represented this state well. His honor is well deserved.”
Newsome helped Colbert County to state championships in football and basketball in 1972 and to the state finals in baseball in 1973. He earned All-America and All-State honors as a receiver and defensive standout for the Indians in football, helping Colbert County go undefeated (13-0) in 1972. He was a member of the 1972 Indians basketball team that also won the Class 3A state title and was a catcher on the baseball team that reached the finals in 1973 and the semifinals in 1974. Newsome was an All-State basketball selection in 1973. He played in the 1974 North-South All-Star Game.
After four outstanding years at the University of Alabama, the collegiate All-American became one of the greatest tight ends in NFL history during his 13-year career with the Cleveland Browns. He has been general manager/executive vice president of the Baltimore Ravens since 1996 and was inducted into the Pro Football Hall of Fame in 1999.
Newsome was also inducted into the National Football Foundation Collegiate Hall of Fame in 1994, the Alabama Sports Hall of Fame in 1992 and was also inducted into the Little League Hall of Fame.
High school coaches slated for induction this year include Bob McDonald, basketball coach at Chisholm (Minn.) High School who is retiring this year after a legendary 59-year coaching career; Morgan Gilbert, who retired last year from Tuckerman (Ark.) High School after winning more than 1,000 games as both a basketball coach and baseball coach during a 48-year career; Katie Horstman, who started the girls’ sports program at Minster (Ohio) High School in 1972 and led the girls track team to eight state championships; and Frank Pecora, who becomes Vermont’s first inductee in the National High School Hall of Fame after leading Northfield (Vt.) High School to 15 state baseball championships.
Other members of the 2014 induction class are George Demetriou, a football and baseball official from Colorado Springs, Colo., who is a state and national officiating leader in both sports; Sheryl Solberg, a state and national leader in the development of girls’ athletics programs during her 34 years as assistant to the executive secretary of the North Dakota High School Activities Association; and Randy Pierce, a state and national debate leader who coached debate at Pattonville High School in Maryland Heights, Mo., for almost 40 years before retiring in 2012.