The South Georgia State College (SGSC) Athletic Hall of Fame inducted nine new members at a gala, awards ceremony and dinner held on June 7, 2018, in the SGSC Wellness Center gymnasium. The event was held to recognize the newest class of Hall of Fame inductees that have made athletic contributions to the College and to raise funds to support the SGSC Foundation’s need-based scholarship program.
With more than 120 alumni, faculty, coaches, staff, friends and family members in attendance, the ranks of SGSC’s Hall of Fame grew to include top-ranked individuals in the field of intercollegiate athletics spanning almost seven decades. Dinner music was provided by Mr. Joseph DeLoach. The night included a silent auction of items donated by community partners with proceeds benefiting the students.
Mr. Chris Tuten, president for the SGSC Foundation, opened the evening with a welcome and shared the important mission and core functions of the Foundation which is to “provide scholarship support for the College and provide access and opportunities to many students who would otherwise not be able to afford a college education.” He continued by extending special appreciation for the alumni and donors for making this special night possible.
In addition to members of the SGSC Foundation Trustees, other notable guests were present. The key sponsors for the night were Aladdin, an elior company, presenting sponsor; First National Bank of Coffee County (FNBCC) and Access ATC, platinum sponsors. Also, the Foundation recognized the other table sponsors as well as businesses who donated silent auction prizes.
In her remarks, Dr. Ingrid Thompson-Sellers, SGSC president, expressed appreciation for those in attendance at this annual gathering that celebrates “the athletic heritage and contributions to our institution’s legacy.” She continued by recognizing the alumni who have made a positive difference through their careers and the faculty and staff who provide exceptional learning experiences for our students. “We must keep looking forward and set the course for continued growth in the next chapter of the college,” said Dr. Thompson-Sellers. “Seeing students succeed and telling the stories of their successes are of top priority. In order to make this happen, we must be able to help those who need financial assistance to attend. This is where we must step in to make it happen.”
Dr. Thompson-Sellers highlighted examples of students who received support from the Foundation over the past year and were able to make their dreams of attending college a reality. “Through the support shown here at the Gala, we can help more students and open more doors to a chance at a bright future,” said Dr. Thompson-Sellers. “For every student, SGSC can help obtain a college degree, the opportunities are limitless as to how high they can soar.”
As the culminating highlight of the evening, Dr. Greg Tanner, SGSC dean of students, introduced the members of the 2018 Athletic Hall of Fame. “Throughout our history, athletics has figured prominently into the fabric of our institution. Our athletic heritage is a diverse combination of people, places, venues and moments,” said Dr. Tanner. “We are honored to have this opportunity to recognize several individuals who have played an important part in our athletic excellence over the years.”
Mr. Peter (Pedro) Bragan, Jr., played baseball at South Georgia in 1968-70. His team earned a spot in the Junior College World Series in Colorado under Coach George Cook. He furthered his career at the University of South Alabama. His father purchased the Jacksonville Suns’ franchise in 1984, and Bragan soon joined his father in the leadership of the organization.
He was awarded the prestigious Jimmy Bragan Southern League Executive of the Year Award (1987, 2003 and 2005). He and his father were both honored with the Sporting News Minor League Executives of the Year Award (2004). Then in 2016, he and his wife created The Peter Bragan for Better Baseball Foundation to assist youth programs and inspire young ballplayers to excellence on the field and academically and to promote the game and preserve the history of professional baseball for all ages.
The late Coach Terry Childers was a baseball player and member of the 1965 and 1966 teams. He served as team captain, MVP and won a state title while earning the golden glove award. Childers was picked by the Cubs in the 28th round in 1968. He played catcher for eight seasons in the minor leagues with the Cubs, Brewers, and Expos before retiring in the 1975 season.
Then, he began a collegiate coaching career. His start was at South Georgia in 1975-78, where he earned “Coach of the Year” honors. His 1978 team won the last state championship garnered by the Tigers. After leaving South Georgia, Childers became the first full-time head baseball coach for the former Augusta College when he was hired in 1979 and earned a “Coach of the Year” Award during his tenure with the Jaguars.
Mr. Childers retired as a Major from the Georgia Army National Guard, serving for 21 years. He was also a graduate of the Command and General Staff College. Additionally, he was a veteran of Desert Storm. Coach Childers passed away in November 2013, after a long battle with cancer.
Mr. Kelton Cook was inducted for his contributions in football and baseball. Mr. Cook played in 1952-54 for the legendary Coach Johnny Griffith who went on to coach at the University of Georgia. Cook was a running back and punt returner, as well as defensive safety. Both of his years, the team made it to playoffs and played in bowl games. The 53 team went 8-3 and captured the 1953 State Championship and Southeast Championship. Cook was also a two-sport athlete, playing 3rd base on the baseball team. He was recruited by the University of Tennessee but did not attend; however, after he went to serve in the Korean War, he finished his bachelor’s and master’s degrees at the University of Georgia. He spent his career teaching and coaching in Metter.
Mr. Steve Foucault was born in Duluth, Minnesota and came to South Georgia to play on the baseball team in 1968-69. He was on the first team of Coach George Cook’s to earn a spot in the Junior College World Series appearances in Colorado.
He was a 43rd round draft pick as a 3rd baseman in 1969 with the Washington Senators. In 1970, he converted to a pitcher after a knee injury. In 1972, he pitched in 2 all-star games for High A and Triple-A leagues. In 1973, he joined the Texas Rangers big league team. In all, he pitched five years in the minors and 6 years in the majors including stints with the Texas Rangers, Detroit Tigers, and Kansas City Royals. For his career, in 277 appearances, he compiled a 35-36 record, with a 3.21 ERA, 307 strikeouts and 52 saves.
He was a policeman with the Arlington Texas police department before getting back into baseball. In 1991, he became a scout with the Houston Astros and then served as a pitching coach for 23 years, working with several teams such as Rangers, Brewers, and in the independent league.
Mr. Larry Guest played basketball from 1965-67 under Coach Scotty Perkins. During his freshman season, he averaged 14 points per game despite injuries and during his sophomore year, he averaged 15.2 points per game. He was one of the top scorers with 284 points his freshman season and posted 436 points his sophomore season. Guest was chosen for the GJCC South Squad in 1967. He went on to play at West Georgia on a scholarship.
Mr. Guest was elected Mayor of Elberton in 2005 and began his term in January of 2006. Prior to being elected Mayor, he served on Council for 11 years. He is now serving in his 4th term - the longest-serving mayor in the city’s history.
As a proud alumnus, he took the lead and started a scholarship fund in his former Coach Scotty Perkin’s name to help recruit good athletes and provide our teams at South Georgia the support they need and deserve.
Mr. Ron Kelley came to South Georgia from Griffin in 1954 and played under Coach Joe Davis his first season and then as a sophomore played for Coach Bobby Bowden’s first team. As a half-back and known for speed, Kelley was the team’s leading ground gainer in 1954 which the overall record was not that great. As a sophomore, Kelly who was 160 pounds and wore # 10, was selected as a captain for the ‘55 season.
In 1987, Mr. Kelley helped chair the first official Bowden alumni reunion committee. Now for over 30 years, Mr. Kelley has spent countless hours reaching out to his fellow alumni to stay connected, plan the reunion each June and also ask for prayers when needed for their families.
Mr. Howard Ray was a member of the Tiger basketball team under Coach Scotty Perkins from 1963-65. A guard from Jeff Davis High School, he scored 408 points in his freshman year and 450 in his sophomore year. He was voted Most Valuable Player both his freshman and sophomore years and was an All-Region and All-State selection both years.
After South Georgia, Ray went on to play at Augusta College and was selected as captain of the team. Even though Ray only played one and a half years due to a knee injury, he held the “most assists” record. He held the record for many years and is still listed as an assist leader in the gym on campus today.
Mr. Ray went on to spend his career in education, holding many leadership positions in the Coffee County school system, and he also served as Executive Director, for now, Wiregrass Georgia Technical College. Ray has also been a facilitator with the Big Brothers-Big Sisters program in Coffee and Ware County.
Coach Scott Sims joined South Georgia in 1990 as an instructor of physical education and head baseball coach coming from Fitzgerald High School.
Upon retiring in 2011, Sims had amassed over 600 career victories, his teams made the playoffs 17 times, including a run of 15 straight appearances. He was named GCAA Coach of the Year in 2010. And as we call “his swan song” in his final season, he led his team the NCJAA World Series in Grand Junction, Colorado and earned a #6 ranking in the nation. The team also received an Academic All American Status that year. At the conclusion of the World Series, Coach Scott Sims was awarded the W. Homa Thomas Sportsmanship Award and also received the 2011 East Central District Coach of the Year Honor as well. These accolades helped secure his spot into the Georgia Dugout Club Hall of Fame and the NCJAA Baseball Hall of Fame. Over his career, 17 players were drafted, and he also held the position of Region 17 Director during his tenure.
Mr. Victor (Vic) Spooner, Jr. grew up on a farm in Miller County and during high school was a four year, four-sport Letterman, excelling in football. At the end of his high school career, he was recruited by Auburn, Florida and Georgia. He chose Georgia. His stent with the University of Georgia started with spring practice and ended after only one quarter. His weight of 165 lbs. at that time was questionable. The combination of his weight and desire to be a tight end instead of defensive end led Coach Wally Butts to send him to South Georgia. He attended from 1949-51 and played under Coach Wyatt Posey. During his time at South Georgia, he once again earned letters in baseball, basketball, track, and football. As a two year starter in all four sports, he received the status of “All American” his second year.
Nearing the end of his second year, after playing in the National Junior College Basketball Championship playoffs, Spooner accepted a scholarship to play football at Texas Tech in Lubbock and also played baseball and ran track. After receiving numerous accolades and graduating from Texas Tech, Spooner coached two seasons of high school football in his hometown and then started his college coaching career at Presbyterian College (PC) in South Carolina. During his stent there he and the other coaches carried PC to their only bowl game. From there he went to Mississippi State and the University of North Carolina where they went on to play in six more bowl games. While coaching his last season at UNC, the entire coaching staff was being recruited by Wake Forest. During this time, he learned that his father planned to retire from the family farm. His loyalty and love of the farm led him to leave coaching for good in 2004.
He is also a member of the Miller County Hall of Fame and was inducted into the Texas Tech Hall of Fame on Friday, October 30, 2015.