By TONY STINNETT, Courier Sports Editor
Six people who impacted Cannon County's sports landscape will become the newest members of The Cannon Courier Sports Hall of Fame during an induction ceremony at The Arts Center of Cannon County.
The 2014 Cannon Courier Hall of Fame class includes Alan Bush (athlete/coach), Bonnie (Hoover) Patterson (administrator), Al Smith (athlete), Bill Smith (contributor), Gloria (Parker) Stewart (athlete), and Beth (Stewart) Stark.
These six individuals comprise the fourth induction class. Upon their induction, the Cannon Courier Sports Hall of Fame will include 22 persons.
"The quality of people and their contribution to sports is abundant in Cannon County," said Cannon Courier Publisher William R. (Ron) Fryar. "This is our fourth Hall of Fame class and based on their accolades it seems the Hall of Fame committee has hit another home run. This is another outstanding class, and we are looking forward to a great evening."
In addition to the Hall of Fame inductions, The Cannon Courier's Players of the Year for each of Cannon County High School's 13 TSSAA-sanctioned sports will be named, in addition to the female and male Athletes of the Year; female and male President's Cup Winners for top scholar athletes; and the Lions Award winner.
This year's event will be held at The Arts Center of Cannon County, May 15, at 6:30 p.m. Doors open at 6 p.m. The meal will be catered by The Blue Porch. Tickets, which go on sale April 1, are $20. No tickets will be sold at the door and the event is limited to the first 250 persons purchasing tickets.
Tickets may be purchased at The Cannon Courier office, or over the phone by calling (615) 563-2512 and paying with credit card. Tickets purchased via phone can be picked up at our office location or at will call the night of the event.
"We have enjoyed having our banquet on the campus of Cannon County High School the first three years," Fryar said. "We have a great partnership with The Arts Center of Cannon County and with Wanda Thompson at The Blue Porch. We have been looking for a permanent home for the Hall of Fame so we can begin looking at displays and recognition of the Hall of Famers.”
The guests of honor are the Hall of Famers, who will be presented into the Hall of Fame by friends or family members. They represent great eras in Cannon County sports history.
Alan Bush was an outstanding basketball player at CCHS during the middle 1980s and helped lead the Lions to the school's only state tournament appearance in boys basketball in 1985. Bush was named All District, All-Region and All-Midstate; however, he also enjoyed success as the Lions' boys basketball coach. When Bush took over his alma mater's boys basketball team in 1993 the program had fallen on hard times, but he changed all of that.
Bush's teams won with consistency during a nine-year run. He served as head coach from 1993-to-2002. The Lions won their first district championship since 1976-77 when they captured the title in 1997-98. It also marked the beginning of three straight trips to the TSSAA Sectionals.
Bonnie (Hoover) Patterson becomes the first administrator inducted into the Hall of Fame. Patterson currently serves as director of coordinated school health and supervisor of attendance for Cannon County Schools. She also has served as principal of Woodbury Grammar School and assistant principal at CCHS. Patterson was instrumental in landing numerous grants that improved the landscape and safety of Woodbury Grammar, and generated funds to implement special programs.
Patterson also taught at Woodland Elementary, where she coached the Lady Warriors to two state championships. She also served as a girls assistant coach at CCHS under four different head coaches. Patterson was named Robert A. Harris' successor at CCHS but she had to resign prior to her first season due to a health issue. She survived the health crisis and went on to assist four different head coaches. She was part of the staff in 1991-92 when the Lionettes reached the state tournament.
Patterson played at Woodbury Central and was part of three district championships. She was a two-time All-District and All-Midstate performer.
Al Smith was a decorated multi-sport athlete. He was the field general on the most successful football team in Cannon County history. He was quarterback of Cannon County's undefeated 10-0 team as a senior in 1974. He also was an outstanding basketball player, earning All-District, All-Region and All-Midstate after leading Cannon County to a district championship on the hardwood.
Bill Smith was a friend and contributor to student-athletes and the schools they attended when he served as President of the Bank of Commerce. After becoming bank president in 1967, Bill Smith supported both high school and grammar school sports programs in Cannon County for more than 30 years. One long-running example of his support was the "Lions Tale" page. Started in 1980 under Smith's direction, the full-page ran in the Cannon Courier each week for more than 20 years and chronicled the successes of students.
Gloria (Parker) Stewart was an outstanding girls basketball player who helped lead the Lionettes to a third-place finish in the state tournament in 1958. She ended her career as one of the all-time leading scorers in program history with 1,625 points, which still stands as seventh on the career scoring list. Gloria Parker earned All-District, All-Region and All-State during her career. She was a teammate of 2013 inductee Helen (Hayes) Davenport.
Gloria (Parker) Stewart received an additional round of good news when informed her daughter, Beth (Stewart) Stark was also selected as a Class of 2014 inductee.
Beth (Stewart) Stark played on the 1989 girls state championship team and was a part of two state tournament teams (1989, 1992) during her career at Cannon County. She was District 8-AA Player of the Year, as well as three-time All-District and All-Region. She earned all-state in 1992. She completed her prep career with 1,809 points, which is sixth on the career scoring list.
Stewart-Stark continued her career at Lipscomb University where she became the most decorated female athlete in program history. She was inducted into the Lipscomb University Hall of Fame in 2008. Stewart-Stark played forward for the Lady Bison from 1992-996. She is the all-time leading scorer in program history with 2,880 points and holds school records for most field goals made (1,162), most field goals attempted (1,766), field goal percentage (65.8), free throws made and free throw attempts (736). Her awards include Transouth Player of the Year in 1995 and 1996, NAIA All-America First Team in 1995 and 1996 and team MVP in 1994 and 1995. She was also a Kodak-All America in 1995 and 1996. The Lady Bisons made four trips to the NAIA National Tournament, including a second-place finish in 1993-94.