November 12, 2009

Former Golden Eagle player, coach Dupes into Tennessee Sports Hall of Fame

NASHVILLE, Tenn. -- Former Tennessee Tech football player and assistant coach Bill Dupes is among the 11 people who have been selected for induction into the Tennessee Sports Hall of Fame at its annual banquet on February 19th at the Renaissance Hotel in Nashville.

The Class of 2010 was announced today by the Tennessee Sports Hall of Fame.

“This year’s banquet will feature an outstanding class of athletes,” said Wayne McCreight, president of the state-wide organization. “We’ll have a former NFL great, an NBA standout, a member of the National Baseball Hall of Fame and the first African-American professional golfer. I guarantee everyone who loves sports an exciting evening…an evening you’ll never forget,” McCreight concluded.

As a standout high school player at Sweetwater High School and Tennessee Military Academy, Bill Dupes was offered a scholarship to attend Tennessee Tech University where the three-year starter was elected team captain his senior year, was named All-Ohio Valley Conference and Honorable Mention Little All-American.

Dupes began his coaching career at Tech serving as an assistant helping the Eagles to a Tangerine Bowl victory and winning two Ohio Valley Championships.

In 1963 he took over an Austin Peay program that had not had a winning season for more than a decade. In his second season at the helm he led the Governors to an 8-1-1 record earning unanimous selection as OVC Coach of the Year. During his tenure at APSU he had 23 players earn first-team All-OVC honors in addition to four being selected first-team Little All-American.

He returned to high school coaching in 1976, first at TMI and later his prep alma mater, Sweetwater where he led his team to a state title in 1993. He retired from coaching in 1998 ending a 44 year career.

He was inducted into the Tennessee Tech Sports Hall of Fame in 1979.

Dupes becomes the ninth person from Tennessee Tech to be inducted into the Tennessee Sports Hall of Fame. Previous inductees include Raymond "Bull" Brown, Hooper Eblen, Tom Fann, P.V. "Putty" Overall, Emmett Strickland, Wilburn Tucker, Star Wood and Jim Youngblood.

In addition to Dupes, the 2010 Inductees include:

E. J. Junior --- A graduate of Maplewood High School in Nashville, Junior played at the University of Alabama for Bear Bryant where he was a two-time All-American. During his career at Alabama the Tide won two national Championships (1978-79) he was named SEC Player of the Year and three times named an All SEC selection.

Following graduation, the St Louis Cardinals selected Junior as the fifth overall pick in the first round of the 1981 NFL draft. The two time Pro Bowler went on to a 13-year NFL career where he was regarded as one of the game’s outstanding linebackers. He was named to the first ever All Madden team.

Since retiring from the NFL, Junior has impacted many lives. He is an ordained minister, has worked with youth in the Miami area with the NBA’s Alonzo Mourning and spent time back in the NFL both as a coach and in the front office. He was inducted into the Nashville Public Schools Hall of Fame in 2006 and the following year was inducted into the Senior Bowl Hall of Fame. He is currently the head football coach for the Central State Marauders in Wilberforce Ohio.

Ted Rhodes (Posthumous)
--- Born in Nashville and a graduate of the city’s public schools, Rhodes was a trailblazing African-American professional golfer who learned the game during his teenage years caddying at Belle Meade and Richland Country Club’s. He practiced the game with other cadies and developed his swing hitting shag balls at Nolensville’s Sunset Park, East Nashville’s Douglas Park and Watkins Park in north Nashville.

In 1948 he played in the U. S. Open at the Rivera Country Club in Los Angeles and became recognized as the first African-American professional golfer. Rhodes played primarily on the United Golfers Association tour winning the Championships four years. He also won the Negro National Open title in 1957. By the time the PGA rescinded its Caucasian-only clause in 1961, Rhodes had retired from competitive golf.

Rhodes returned to Nashville in the early 1960’s and mentored several black PGA golfers including Lee Elder and Charlie Sifford. A month after his death, at age 55, the Cumberland Golf Course in Nashville was renamed in his honor. He was inducted into the Tennessee Golf Hall of Fame in 1998 and in 2009 the PGA of America granted him posthumous membership.

John Stanford --- A native of Louisiana, Stanford, enrolled in Middle Tennessee State University in the early 1950’s and quickly made his mark as one of the outstanding pitchers in the Ohio Valley Conference. Following graduation his spent two seasons with the Washington Senators. Following his professional career, Stanford returned to middle Tennessee where he first coached at Shelbyville Central High School and later at Motlow State Community College earning Coach of the Year honors three consecutive years.

In 1974 he took over the reigns at his alma mater and quickly developed one of the most respected diamond programs in college baseball. His MTSU record of 402-272-4 is second only to his hand picked successor, Steve Peterson. His teams won four OVC titles and five Southern Division crowns. His teams made repeated trips to the NCAA Tournament and he took multiple coach-of-the-year honors.

After being named Athletic Director at MTSU, Stanford spearheaded the fund raising efforts to build one of the finest baseball facilities on a college campus. He also was responsible for upgrading the University’s golf program and advocated the formation of the women’s softball program.

John R. Hall (Lifetime Achievement Inductee) --- Growing up in Knoxville, Hall attended Vanderbilt University where he was co-captain of the 1954 football team and was named Academic All-American. He graduated magna cum laude from Vanderbilt in 1955 with a degree in engineering.

Following military service Hall spent a short time with Exxon Corporation before joining Ashland Oil as a chemical engineer in 1957. He rose steadily up the corporate ranks and was elected chairman and chief executive officer in 1981. He retired from Ashland in 1997. Hall has served as a trustee for Vanderbilt University since 1987 and served as chairman of the Vanderbilt Board of Trust from 1987-89. He was elected to the Verizon Academic All-American Hall of Fame in 2001.

John Hall has devoted much of his time repaying the debt he feels for Vanderbilt and has dedicated himself to improving education both regionally and nationally.

Dale Ellis
---A two- time All- American at the University of Tennessee, Dale Ellis led the Volunteers to the NCAA tournament each of his four years while playing in Knoxville. He was twice name SEC Play of the Year and was named to the SEC Team of the 1980’s. Upon graduation, Ellis left UT as the all time leader in season field goal percentage at .654 and a career field goal percentage of .595. He was selected as a member of the University of Tennessee Basketball All-Century Team and ranks sixth on Tennessee’s all-time scoring chart.

He was selected ninth overall in the ’83 NBA draft by the Dallas Mavricks where he played until being traded to the Seattle Supersonics in ’86. Ellis was voted the league’s Most Improved Player his first season with the Sonics. He was name to the NBA All Star team in1988-89.

Ellis is third all-time in three-point shots made with 1,719 and 12th all-time in three point field goal percentage. He still holds the NBA record for most minutes played in a single game, when he scored 53 points in 69 minutes.

Charlie Coffey
--- A native of Shelbyville, TN, Charley Coffey was recruited to play for General Robert R. Neyland at the University of Tennessee. During his career at Tennessee he was a three year letterman, was elected team captain his senior year and throughout his four year college career maintained the highest grade point average of any member of the Volunteer football team.
Following graduation, Coffee began his coaching career at Hialeah High School in Miami, FL.

Additional coaching stops included Southeastern Louisiana State University, George Washington University and then back to his alma mater coaching for Doug Dickey. His next move was to the University of Arkansas where he coached for Frank Boyles. After five seasons at Arkansas, Coffey was hired as head football coach at Virginia Tech University in Blacksburg.

During his time at Virginia Tech Coach Coffey installed a wide open offense and resulting in attendance at Tech games increasing to record numbers. After retiring from the coaching ranks Coffey entered the trucking business and founded the Nationwide Express Trucking Company in Shelbyville.

Lin Dunn --- A graduate of the University of Tennessee- Martin, Lin Dunn is regarded as one of the most successful women’s basketball coaches in the business. Beginning her coaching career at Austin Peay State University in 1970, Coach Dunn went on to compile a remarkable 25-year record that includes a .635 winning percentage at four schools (447-257). She left three of those schools ---Purdue, Miami and Austin Peay –as the winningest coach in program history.

Coach Dunn is best known as the architect of the Purdue women’s basketball program, guiding the Boilmakers for nine seasons and collecting three Big Ten Conferences titles. She led Purdue to seven NCAA tourney, four Sweet Sixteen’s and a trip to the Final Four in 1994.

Dunn’s first assignment in professional basketball came when she took over the reigns of the ABL’s Portland Power. The following year she won the Western Conference
Championship and was named the ABL Coach of the Year. She is currently the coach of the WNBA Indiana Fever

Rocky Felker ---This Jackson, TN native was a five-sport letterman earning All-Sate honors in football at Brownsville High School under the tutelage of his father, Edwin “Babe” Felker a long time coach at the school.

In 1970 Felker signed a football scholarship with Mississippi State University and developed into the Bulldogs starting quarterback for three consecutive seasons. In ’74 Felker led MSU to a 9-3 overall record, leading the SEC in total offense and directing the Bulldogs to a win over North Carolina in the Sun Bowl. He was named the Nashville Banner SEC Player of the Year and the Birmingham Post-Herald Outstanding Senior Player for his stellar final season.

In 1986 Felker was named head football coach at Mississippi State, making him the youngest collegiate head coach in the country. That year he became the first MSU head football coach to post a winning record in his initial season since the legendary Darrell Royal in 1954. Coach Felker later held coaching positions at the University of Tulsa and with the Arkansas Razorbacks. In 2002 he returned to Mississippi State where he currently serves as Assistant Coach and Recruiting Coordinator.

Norman “Turkey” Stearnes (Posthumous) ---Born in Nashville, Turkey Stearnes began his baseball career pitching for Pearl High School. He dropped out of school following his fathers death to help support his family. Later he continued his career playing for the Nashville Elite Giants and the Montgomery Grey Sox.

Stearnes batted over .400 three years and led the Negro League in home runs seven times. He is credited with 183 home runs in his Negro league career, the all-time Negro League record and fifty more than second-place Mule Suttles.

Considered by some one of the greatest players in the history of the game, Stearns ended his active career in 1941 with the Kansas City Monarchs. A plaque in Stearnes’ honor is on display outside the center field gate at the Tigers’ home field Comerica Park.

In 2000 Norman “Turkey” Stearns was awarded the highest honor in baseball when he was inducted posthumously into the National Baseball Hall of Fame.

Harley “Skeeter” Swift --- Growing up in Alexandria, Virginia, Skeeter Swift began his basketball career at George Washington High School where he was All-State h is junior and seniors years and was named a High School All-American his senior year.

Highly recruited out of high school, Swift accepted a scholarship at East Tennessee State University where he played from 1966-69. During his career he was a three-time All Ohio Valley Conference selection and was named the Player of the Year in ’68. His junior year he led ETSU into the NCAA field of 32 where they upset fifth ranked Florida State. He ranks sixth on the Bucs career points list with 1,367 and ranks third in points per game for a career with 17.9 average.

Swift went on to become a standout in professional basketball playing five seasons in the ABA for the New Orleans Bucks, where he was selected to the 1969-79 All Rookie Team. During his professional career he scored over 3,000 points and today ranks as one of the top ten free-throw shooters in the American Basketball Association, now the National Basketball Association.

After his playing days he coached the Elizabethton High School Cyclones and the prestigious high school power, Oak Hill Academy where he won a national private school championship.

Along with these inductees, several individual and team honorees will be recognized
at the annual Banquet on February 19, 2010. Those recipients, to include the male and Female Amateur Athlete of the Year, the Professional Athletes of the Year will be announced in the near future.

Tickets for the awards banquet and induction ceremony are available form the Tennessee Sports Hall of Fame for $125.00. For more information on attending the event call the TSHF office at (615) 242-4750 or e-mail tnsports@bellsouth.net.

The Tennessee Sports Hall of Fame is a statewide, non-profit organization founded to honor and preserve outstanding sports achievements in Tennessee.