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Local Sports Stories Archives for 2021-12

2022 Huntsville-Madison County Athletic Hall Of Fame Class Announced

HUNTSVLLE -- Seven women and five men have been elected to the 2022 Class of the Huntsville-Madison Athletic Hall of Fame, ranging from a ground-breaking publicist to an NFL standout to a Southeastern Conference director of athletics, and representing nine different sports.


In addition, the Hall of Fame’s Board of Directors decided by unanimous vote that the record-breaking Butler High School girls basketball team of the 1990s, coached by Linda Holt,  will be presented with the Special Achievement Award, bringing the total number of honorees to 13.


The 29th class of the Hall of Fame will be enshrined the evening of Monday, April 11, 2022 at the North Hall of the Von Braun Center.


The dozen inductees in the Class of 2022 include, in alphabetical order: Tanya Broadway (volleyball coaching, with two state titles at Grissom High), Melanie Donahoo (volleyball coaching, with 10 state titles at Huntsville High), Nancy Griffith (tennis player at Birmingham Southern and Belmont coach), Marlon Gurley (men’s basketball star at Madison County High and Jacksonville State), Jamie Hill (baseball player at Hazel Green, MTSU, UAH and the Texas Rangers’ system), the late Elmore “Scoop” Hudgins (former publicist for Vanderbilt and the Southeastern Conference), Gwen Humphrey (women’s basketball at Johnson High and Mississippi State), Cynthia Jordan-Clopton (athletics administrator and Alabama A&M standout), Rashad Moore (football at Johnson, the University of Tennessee and various NFL teams), Cynthia Rhodes Peters (swimming at Huntsville High and Alabama), Candice Storey Lee (former Bob Jones and Vanderbilt basketball standout and current director of athletics at Vanderbilt) and Jeff Wilson (wrestling at Lee High).


The Huntsville Hall of Fame has honored more than 200 athletes from a broad spectrum of sports. Information on nominating an individual for induction may be found at hmcahof.com. Inductees must be at least 40 years old at the time of the induction, must be a current or former resident of Madison County for five continuous years or must be a resident of Madison County for 10 continuous years if their athletic achievements were accomplished elsewhere.

Tanya Broadway was an outstanding volleyball player at Pleasant Valley High School in Jacksonville, Ala., in the late 1980s and later as a student-athlete at the University of Alabama in Huntsville, where she was an All-Gulf South Conference player and the state of Alabama’s NCAA Woman of the Year in 1994. As a faculty member and teacher at Grissom High School in Huntsville, she coached JV volleyball and JV basketball coach at Grissom, and has been the school’s varsity volleyball coach from 1996-present, where her record as of 2020 was 1,257-395, with two state championships and seven runners-up.


Melanie Donahoo teaches English and coaches varsity volleyball at Huntsville High. From 2000-2010, a golden-era decade in which the Lady Panthers went 831-194 and became a dominant superpower in Class 5A. The HHS girls were 79-9 in the record-breaking 2002 season and won four straight state championships (2002-2005). After moving up to Class 6A, they won state titles in 2006, 2007, 2009, 2010, 2011 and 2012, and advanced deep into the state tournament five of the next seven years. Donahoo was a 3-sport prep athlete at Oak Hill Academy in West Point, Miss., and was later awarded a full basketball scholarship at UAH before beginning her coaching career, first at Grissom and then HHS.


Nancy Griffith is a 1983 graduate of Huntsville High and a 1987 graduate of Birmingham-Southern College. A four-year star for the HHS girls tennis team in the early ‘80s, she was ranked No. 2 in singles and No. 8 in doubles in the state of Alabama’s final rankings. As a freshman at Birmingham-Southern, in she helped the Lady Panthers compile a 15-5 record, a District 27 title and an NAIA national tournament appearance as the No. 3 singles player. She was then part of the greatest season in BCS history the next year when the team advanced to the fourth round of the national tournament before falling to the eventual champion. She later served as head tennis coach at Belmont and was compliance coordinator at LSU. In 2003, Griffith was inducted into the Birmingham-Southern Hall of Fame.


Marlon Gurley was a Special Education teacher and assistant girls basketball coach at Buckhorn High from 2010-19 and has been a Special Ed teacher and assistant girls coach at Madison County High School since 2019. As a student-athlete at Madison County High (1991-94), he was a basketball legend, making All-County and All-Area teams four straight years, the 4A All-State team in 1992-94, and an All-America nominee as a senior. He scored over 2,500 points in four years while averaging 24.7 points, 8.3 rebounds, 4.5 assists and 4 steals. At Snead Community College (1996-97,  he was 1st team All-AJCC both years. After transferring to Jacksonville State, he was named 2nd team All-Conference as a junior and 1st team as a senior. For his career at Jacksonville, he averaged 15 points and 4 rebounds.

Jamie Hill, the Principal at Columbia Elementary in Madison, is a 1995 graduate of Hazel Green High, where he played three sports – football, soccer and baseball. His forte was baseball. A hard-throwing lefthanded pitcher, he lettered in three times, but really began to excel as a junior, when he was 7-3 with a 1.78 ERA and two 1-hitters while also batting .306 and being named MVP and Player of the Year in Madison County. He was 10-0 as a senior with an .0.95 ERA while striking out 140 batters in 73 innings and winning the county MVP for the second year in a row. Gurley then signed with Middle Tennessee State University, played two years, and won the Ohio Valley Conference’s Freshman of the Year Award. In 1997 he transferred to UAH,where he was 11-3 as a junior. He went 11-4 as a senior and helped the Chargers advance to the South Regional. After college, he played in the Texas Rangers organization for two years.


Elmore “Scoop” Hudgins, who originated the Southeastern Conference’s famed Skywriters Tour,  was born in Chattanooga, but soon moved to Huntsville with his family, growing up on the north end of town in the cotton mill district. A diminutive graduate of Rison High School, he turned into a skillful varsity wrestler and parlayed that and his leadership skills into a scholarship to Vanderbilt University. From 1949-64, Hudgins became a trailblazer in the art of sports publicity at Vanderbilt. In 1965, he moved to Birmingham as the SEC’s first sports information director, a job he held for the next 19 years. He retired in 1983 and died in 1997 at the age of 78. He is buried in the family plot at Huntsville’s Maple Hill Cemetery. 


Gwendolyn Humphrey, a native of Madison County and a member of a well-known sports family, earned four letters in basketball at Huntsville’s Johnson High School from 1979-83. A dominant rebounder and scorer, she was she was named to the Region 11 All-Tournament team in 1983, the same year she was selected as the Most Valuable Player of the state 4A Tournament and was also named All-American by the National High School Coaches Association. She was also presented the James Bell Jr. Memorial Trophy by the Athletic Booster Club of Huntsville in May of 1983. She went on to sign a basketball scholarship with Mississippi State University, where she was picked on the All-Southeastern Conference team in 1984. 


Cynthia Jordan-Clopton, born in Huntsville in 1959, is currently a Campus Security Officer for the Huntsville City Schools. Before that, she was a Physical Education teacher at various schools in the city for more than 33 years. She is a 1977 graduate of J. O. Johnson High School and afterward earned two degrees at Alabama A&M. She was inducted into the Alabama A&M Athletic Hall of Fame in 2000 for her many contributions to student athletes at all levels, in all sports, in the Huntsville school system for more than three decades. Among her roomful of awards and accomplishments are these: Inducted into the Alabama A&M Athletic Hall of Fame for volleyball, basketball and track (2000); NCAA Outstanding Contributions to the Success of National Youth Sports Program (30 years); and too many others to catalog in this space. 


Rashad Moore, born in Huntsville in 1979, is considered one of the city’s best-ever football players. His career began to blossom at J. O. Johnson High with multiple honors in both football and basketball. He was a double-digit scorer in basketball, but at 6-foot-4 and about 295 pounds, he was destined to specialize in football at the college and pro levels. As a senior at Johnson, he was named All-State and All-American after posting 65 tackles, 10.5 sacks and a trio of fumble recoveries. As a college freshman, he was part of the University of Tennessee’s 1998 national championship team. Although hampered by injures his first two seasons, he finished his college career with a flourish, recording 28 tackles as a junior and 38 as a senior. He then went on to the NFL, where he played five years – two with the Seattle Seahawks, and one year each with the New York Jets, the New England Patriots and the Atlanta Falcons.

Cynthia Rhodes Peters began swimming competitively at the age of 5 and went to break many age-group records for the next dozen years. At Huntsville High School from 1987-90, she was the swim team’s MVP all four years and was All-City and All-State all four years, andAll-American in 1989 and 1990. Before going on the University of Alabama, she had qualified for every national-level event between 1985-91, including U.S. Junior Nationals, U.S. Open, U.S. Olympic, and Olympic Trials. She lettered four years at Alabama from 1991-94, quickly becoming a ringleader on a team that was perennially in contention for high SEC and NCAA championship honors. In 1993 she was an All-American and NCAA finalist in the 200 breaststroke and the 200 and 400 medley relays, and in 1994 she was an SEC record-holder and NCAA finalist in the 200 breaststroke and the 200 and 400 medley relays.


Candice Storey Lee starred in basketball at Bob Jones High School in the mid-1990s (she averaged 23 points and 21 rebounds as a senior in 1996 and was named All-State and Class 5A Player of the Year), and later became the team captain and a key contributor to the Vanderbilt University women’s basketball team, which won the SEC Tournament in 2002 and advanced to the NCAA Tournament every year she was a Commodore. These feats were only the beginning of Candice Storey’s many major contributions to the Black and Gold colors of her alma mater. In May of 2020, she was named Vanderbilt’s Vice Chancellor and Athletic Director, making history as the first woman and first African-American woman to serve as an athletic director in the Southeastern Conference.


Jeff Wilson, son of former Lee High School football coach Keith Wilson, was one of Alabama’s premier high school wrestlers in the late 1970s, compiling a dazzling 103-9 record over four years as a General.  He was undefeated and virtually unchallenged as a state champion his senior year, when he was named the MVP wrestler in the state of Alabama in 1978. Wilson then accepted the first wrestling scholarship ever offered by Jacksonville State’s fledgling program. Unfortunately, his wrestling career ended before it ever really began when Jacksonville, like many other colleges at the time, dropped varsity wrestling in the wake of Title IX legislation. In high school, Wilson is also fondly remembered for lettering and starting three years in football under coach John Childress. His senior year, he was named All-City as a defensive back.


Special Achievement Award: Linda Holt and her girls teams at Butler High School became a regional and national story in a magical run of success in 1995-98. During that historic four-year stretch, the Lady Rebels won 123 games and lost only 13 – most of those losses coming in that first year when the team made it to the Elite 8 of the state tournament. After that, the Butler girls turned into a juggernaut, reeling off three straight state championships with their aggressive pressing defense and high-scoring offense. The team included several All-State and All-City players, including April Nance, Tasheika Morris, Nikki Tibbs, Dee Cummings and Von Kirk. Most of the girls, and other teammates, started played for Linda Holt at Stone Middle School before graduating to Butler. During this period, Coach Holt was ably assisted by her husband, Rock Holt, and their son, Robert.




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