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Buck Belue named to state sports hall of fame

Special to SEGAZINE

The Georgia Sports Hall of Fame will enshrine Buck Belue, Skip Caray, J.B. Hawkins, Heather Stepp McCormick, and Reggie Wilkes as the newest members of the Hall of Fame On Feb. 23. These outstanding athletes, coaches, and contributors to sport were selected for induction by the GSHF Honors Court at their meeting in September.

The ceremony will once again be held at the historic Macon City Auditorium in Downtown Macon and will be the finale of weekend full of events that begins with the GSHF Golf Classic at Idle Hour Country Club on the morning of Feb. 22. FanFest will be held at the museum from 1 p.m. to 3 p.m. on Saturday. During FanFest, the Class of 2013 and previously inducted Hall of Famers will be on hand to greet fans and sign autographs.

The five members of the 2013 class were chosen from a starting pool of 208 nominees. These individuals represent the very best that Georgia has to offer in athletics, coaching, and broadcasting.

“Our state is very fortunate to be blessed with incredibly talented sportsmen and women”, said GSHF Managing Director Ben Sapp. “Our selection committees have a very difficult job narrowing the field to choose our inductees each year.”

Buck Belue was among Georgia’s best high school athletes while at Valdosta High School. He was named to the Parade All-American Football Team in 1977 and led the Wildcats to a State Baseball Championship. He went on to play both football and baseball at the University of Georgia where he quarterbacked the football team to the 1980 National Championship. In 1982, he was named the SEC Athlete of the Year.

Skip Caray began calling Atlanta Braves games in 1976 joining Ernie Johnson and Pete Van Wieren to form one of the most popular and most respected broadcast teams of all time. In addition to his work with the Braves, Caray also called NBA basketball games and NFL football contests. Caray was active in the community making significant contributions to children’s health care organizations.

J.B. Hawkins began his career in 1948 coaching the Bowdoin High School basketball team. He moved to Crawford County High School in 1955 and remained there until his retirement in 1980. During his sterling career, he won 1,073 games and had only three losing seasons. His team won the 1969 State Basketball Championship, and he was named the State Coach of the Year 7 times.

Heather Stepp McCormick is one of the best gymnasts to have competed with the University of Georgia’s Gym Dogs. After overcoming what might have been a career ending injury, she went on to win back to back NCAA Vault Championships while leading the Gym Dogs to the 1993 NCAA Team Championship. During her career, she scored a perfect 10 in each of gymnastics’ four events. She was honored with the Honda Inspiration Award in 1992.

Reggie Wilkes attended Atlanta’s Southwest High School where he led the football team to the 1973 State Championship and captained a defense that allowed only 126 yards rushing for the entire season. He went on to be a four year letterman at defensive end for Georgia Tech and was drafted by the Philadelphia Eagles in 1978. He was a linebacker on the Eagles 1980 NFC Championship team and played in Super Bowl XV. Wilkes finished his career with his hometown Atlanta Falcons.

Tickets for the ceremony are on sale now, and a limited number of spots are also available in the GSHF Golf Classic. Ticket order forms, golf entry forms, and hotel information is available at www.gshf.org or by calling the Hall of Fame at 478.752.1585

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