Ron Bradley, B.C. Crowell, Betty Faith Jaynes, Jake Reed and Dale Carter are just some of the athletes who became big names in the sports world after becoming great in Newton County.
While they have been honored nationally for their accomplishments, those previously mentioned and many others are yet to be immortalized in their own hometown, something the Newton County Recreation Commission is starting to remedy.
The NCRC is forming a Newton County Athletics Hall of Fame and will start accepting nominations sometime within the next month. From there, nominations will be made in October before an induction banquet in February, and every
February thereafter to form the hall.
Each inductee will have his picture and accomplishments produced on a plaque set up in the NCRC’s Turner Lake Park building starting in 2014 and, according to director Tommy Hailey, possibly in a future civic center in years to come.
“With the rich history we have here with our athletes, we felt like it was a good positive influence for the community,” Hailey said. “It’s something that can grow. It’s nice to recognize individuals as years have gone by, and as they’ve gotten older, people tend to forget about people like that.”
Applications will be made available shortly both on the NCRC’s website and at its Turner Lake Park offices for the public to nominate their favorite and most memorable Newton County athletes, coaches and supporters.
The criteria set by the NCRC is the following:
• inducted person has to be at least 40 years of age or deceased
• inducted must be a current or past participant, coach, official, trainer or other person or business that has made an exceptional contribution to sports and has lived a lifestyle as a positive role model
• criteria will be evaluated on accomplishments, and in addition, the person must be a native of Newton County or be a resident of the county of sufficient length as a permanent resident for a number of 15 years.
Hailey said the number of years can be adjusted by the committee later on if it sees fit, but shouldn’t be a problem for the first couple of inductions.
The current plan, adapted from other recreation department hall of fames around the state, is to induct nine people the first three years and then as many as five in the years following. The members will be voted in by a committee of 12 people, headed by the recreation commission director.
For the first election, the committee will be made of up nine people, including the chairman of the recreation commission, four others from the recreation board and four at-large members of the community. In each of the first three years of the hall of fame, one person from each class will be added to the committee.
Hailey said the hall of fame will be a cost-efficient way to honor and gather the community. The costs, so far, are for plaques and a banquet, which will possibly be funded by admission costs.
“I’ve had numerous people mention to me we need to start something here in the community like that,” Hailey said. “Some of them have lived in other places where they had hall of fame committees and a hall of fame program set up in their community.”