Johnson City Press: Tenth class enters Carter Sports Hall of Fame
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Tenth class enters Carter Sports Hall of Fame

Johnson City Press • Updated Jun 26, 2019 at 9:28 PM

ELIZABETHTON — Class No. 10 was inducted into the Carter County Sports Hall of Fame this past weekend at the Tennessee Center of Applied Technology.

In addition, Hampton’s 1959-60 state championship basketball team was honored and presented with commemorative rings.

Below is a list of the 2019 spring/summer class with a few highlights about each inductee:

BETHANY FORSLUND BYRD

Happy Valley High basketball

Pouring in 1,188 career points and twice an All-Watauga Conference pick, Forslund made the District 1-AA, Region 1-AA and Class AA state all-tournament teams two times apiece.

A low-post enforcer, she was voted second-team all-state in her junior year, a season where the Lady Warriors reached their first state tournament. Forslund achieved All-Northeast Tennessee recognition the following season, in which Happy Valley advanced to the 1989 state final.

Forslund proceeded to have a brilliant career for the University of Montevallo in Alabama. She still holds school records for most blocked shots in a game (12) and season (104).

JOHN CAMPBELL II

Cloudland High baseball

Campbell, who began playing for the Highlanders in the eighth grade, is the only person to ever have his baseball jersey retired at Cloudland.

Posting a 13-4 pitching record and ripping 14 home runs over his final two seasons helped Campbell twice earn All-Smoky Mountain Conference recognition. He achieved all-state status for his senior year (1994), in which he batted .490 with seven homers, pitched his way to seven wins, struck out an average of approximately 10 batters per contest and broke the school record for most strikeouts in a game with 19.

Campbell got the nod as MVP on the ’94 All-Carter/Johnson County team and was also voted all-conference in basketball that year.

RUSTY CHAMBERS

Unaka High basketball/baseball

Chambers is Unaka’s No. 2 career scorer in boys basketball with 1,628 points, spearheading the team in scoring average in his final two seasons — in which he was named All-Northeast Tennessee. Fueling the Rangers’ run to the 2003-04 Class A state championship, the sharpshooting guard was voted to the TSWA and AP all-state teams and named MVP of the District 1-A and Region 1-A tournaments as a senior.

An all-state baseball performer as both a junior (.586 batting average) and senior (.512), Chambers gained All-Watauga Valley Conference recognition all four years of his high school career. He cracked 23 career home runs.

TONY HARDIN

Elizabethton High basketball

The former Unaka High athlete coached Hunter Elementary’s boys to a state championship in 1984, took the Elizabethton girls program to its first-ever substate appearance (1994) and led the Cyclone boys to their last state tournament appearance, reaching the 2003 Class AA quarterfinals.

Over the course of the 2001-02 and 2002-03 seasons, Hardin’s Cyclones claimed two Watauga Conference championships in unblemished style (28-0 league record) — as well as a pair of Region 1-AA tournament crowns.

Hardin, who retired from coaching in 2012, finished with 552 career victories.

JIMMY JONES

Happy Valley High golf

As a 15-year-old sophomore in 1970, Jones became the area’s first player to claim a high school state golf title. Carding rounds of 73 and 72 in Nashville, he was coming off a Region 1 championship in which he shot a 3-under-69 at Johnson City Country Club.

Jones won the region again as a senior, catapulting him back to the state tournament — where he finished in a tie for third place.

High school success ushered Jones into a playing career at East Tennessee State. He performed well for the Buccaneers and was part of a national top-10 team, which also reached the NCAA tournament, in 1975.

MIKE LUNSFORD

Cloudland/Hampton High football

In a 25-year career, Lunsford established himself as one of the top football coaches in Northeast Tennessee history. He put together a 225-68 record (.768 winning percentage) with 20 conference championships, six undefeated regular seasons and 24 playoff appearances.

Totaling a school-record 159 wins in 18 years at Cloudland, he led his alma mater to the 2001 Class 1A state final. The last of his seven Hampton teams tied the school record for wins (13) and advanced to 2015 2A state semifinals.

As a Highlanders athlete, Lunsford retrieved All-Appalachian Conference honors in football and baseball.

CHARLOTTE MARKLAND

Softball

Beginning in 1951, Markland crafted a 30-plus year playing career that ended at about age 50. The bulk of those years were devoted to fast-pitch travel ball as she excelled on teams based out of Johnson City, Greeneville and Kingsport.

Competing in national and state tournaments — and earning countless accolades — Markland was a refined hitter and one of the region’s first fast-pitch pitchers in women’s play. She mainly handled first-base duties in slow-pitch ball and played on a 20-0 industrial league team in Carter County.

Accompanied throughout by her late husband, Ray, Markland also devoted a few years to coaching youth or industrial league teams.

SAMANTHA MCCLAY

Elizabethton High soccer

A three-time all-state honoree, McClay earned the distinction of being the first soccer player to enter the Carter Sports Hall of Fame. A dominant performer for the Lady Cyclones, she collected 125 goals and 34 assists in 72 career games. She was voted all-district and all-region all four years (2001-04) of her high school career, receiving MVP or offensive player-of-the year recognition each time.

Spending two years at USC Upstate and two more at Milligan, McClay proved her mettle at the collegiate level. She made two All-Appalachian Athletic Conference teams with the Lady Buffs, leading or co-leading the team in goals both years.

ROBERT MCFARLAND

Elizabethton High track & field

McFarland accomplished much during his Cyclone track & field career, most notably seizing the 1986 Class AAA state title in the 110-meter hurdles as a senior. He was a two-time Big Nine Conference, District 2-AAA and Region 1-AAA champion in the event, finishing third in the state to cap his junior year.

Adept on both the track and the field, McFarland was prolific in various events. His senior efforts included four first-place finishes — 110 hurdles, 200 meters, 300 hurdles, triple jump — in the District 2-AAA meet. Also a football player for Elizabethton, he moved on to Carson-Newman in both sports after his high school days were complete.

LISA PETERS MINTZ

Unaka High basketball/softball

Gaining a spot on multiple All-Smoky Mountain Conference teams in both sports, Peters accumulated close to 1,200 career points in basketball and was named softball’s SMC player of the year as a senior.

On the hardwood, Peters earned a starting job midway through her freshman season. She averaged 12.2 points or better in each of her final three seasons and played in three consecutive substate contests. Her softball accomplishments included two postseason no-hitters and a District 1-A tournament MVP award as a senior.

Peters went on to have a successful two-sport collegiate career (Tusculum, Milligan).

JULIE SHELL PUCKETT

Cloudland High basketball

An elusive guard with a soft shooting touch, Shell racked up 1,360 career points in her four-year varsity career for the Lady Highlanders. The three-time All-Smoky Mountain Conference product was picked as the league’s MVP in her senior year (1994-95), when she also garnered All-Northeast Tennessee recognition.

Cloudland’s leading scorer in her sophomore, junior and senior seasons, Shell topped the ’Landers in points in 40 of her 45 games as an upperclassman. She made three McDonald’s Classic all-tournament teams, was a two-time All-Carter/Johnson County performer and landed on a pair of Region 1-A all-tournament squads.

EARL SAMS

Happy Valley High athlete

Sams was a multi-sport standout for the Warriors in the mid-to-late 1920s, setting the stage for a hall of fame career at East Tennessee State.

Competing in baseball, basketball, football and track, Sams became an 11-time ETSU letter-winner — it would have been 15 had letters been awarded in track back then — and he exclusively handled the catching duties for fireball pitcher John Treadway in high school and college.

Sams would teach at Happy Valley and Elizabethton Junior High, coaching six-man football, basketball and baseball. He then moved on to Elizabethton High, serving as baseball coach, assistant basketball coach and eventually the school’s principal.

KIM COLLINS SANDORA

Hampton High basketball

Arguably the finest female athlete to ever come out of Siam Elementary School, Collins was a four-year starter who piled up close to 1,500 career points on the high school level.

According to available records, Collins became the first freshman to ever lead the Lady Bulldogs in scoring for a season. In her final two years, she made back-to-back Kingsport Times-News’ All-Upper East Tennessee squads, was placed on the first two All-Watauga Conference teams for girls basketball and was an all-state honorable mention.

Collins played Little League Baseball, was part of the first modern-era softball team at Hampton High and was active in adult-league softball.

DINO SENESI

Hampton High/Milligan College

A four-year letterman for Hampton baseball coach Doug Phillips, Senesi was a .424 career hitter and two-time All-Watauga Conference pick. He captured the conference batting crown in his senior year (1977), hitting .489, and was named an UET High School All-Star. On the football field for the Bulldogs, Senesi rushed for better than 1,500 career yards — one of the top marks for a fullback at the school — and was All-Watauga as a senior.

Senesi forged ahead to play four years of Milligan College baseball, hitting .336 with 35 runs and 41 RBIs for the 1980 District 24 title team. He sported a .313 career batting average and tied the school record for most single-game runs (5). 

RONNIE SNAVELY

Unaka High basketball

Heading the school’s boys basketball program for a dozen years, Snavely lifted Unaka to its first two state tournament berths — reaching the Class A quarterfinals in 1985 and ’88. His teams snared three Smoky Mountain Conference titles (14-0 in 1988-89), made their way to four District 1-A finals (winning three) and advanced to regional play on nine occasions (two championships).

Snavely racked up 180 career wins, ranking second in program history, and prevailed in close to two-thirds of his conference games. He garnered multiple coach-of-the-year awards and the school’s gym is named in his honor.

HAROLD STREET

Hampton High basketball

Before he lettered at East Tennessee State in 1959-60, Street tossed in 1,315 career points for the Bulldogs. He finished as the state’s fifth-leading scorer (786 points, 17.9 avg.) as a senior in 1957-58, when he cranked out four 30-point performances — including a career-high 39-point game at Gatlinburg-Pittman.

As a full-time varsity player (three seasons), Street was part of exactly 100 wins and Hampton’s first two Watauga Conference championships (1955-56, 1957-58). Moreover, he contributed to the Bulldogs’ first district tournament title (1958), regional tournament crown (1957) and state tournament appearance (1957).

LEON TOLLEY

Hampton High basketball

Tolley’s top claim to local fame is being named the most valuable player of the 1983 Class A state tournament, which yielded a runner-up finish for Hampton. The senior crafted a 15.2-point scoring average that season, attracting All-Upper East Tennessee and All-Watauga Conference honors in the process.

After a long and prosperous career coaching elementary school basketball, Tolley guided the Hampton High girls to three conference championships, three substate showings and two state tournaments in a seven-plus year stint. In 2009, his Lady Bulldogs earned the program’s first-ever state victory to reach the semifinals.

MIKE WILLIAMS

Happy Valley basketball

An All-Watauga Conference and honorable mention all-stater as a senior (1971-72), Williams twice paced the Warriors in scoring — leading to a playing career for Lees-McRae College.

A head coach for 21 seasons, Williams steered Morristown East, David Crockett, Unicoi County and Sullivan South to a combined 330-plus wins. He totaled eight 20-win seasons, notching one or more with all four schools.

Williams guided East to its lone state tournament in 1979, coached Unicoi to both of its state appearances in back-to-back years (’85, ’86) and twice led the Rebels to the sectional semifinals. His ’86 Blue Devils made the semifinal round.

PHIL WORRELL

Milligan College basketball

Worrell definitely had the right touch as coach of the Buffaloes, constructing a 230-150 record over 13 years on the job. Beginning in 1971-72, he reeled off eight consecutive winning seasons with a per-year average of 21 victories. His teams harvested back-to-back Volunteer State Athletic Conference titles in 1975-76 and ’76-77, plus he was a four-time league coach of the year and NAIA District 24 coach of the year in 1978-79.

A 1959 Milligan graduate and member of the school’s athletics hall of fame, Worrell competed in basketball, baseball and track during his college years. He was among the best 440-yard runners in both the VSAC and Smoky Mountain Conference.

 

1959-60 Hampton team members

Willie Malone, Carl Roberson, Wes Forbes, Arnold Hughes, Jerry White, Cotton Nave, Jimmy Jones, Richard Hyder, Wayne Ellis, Ray Greene, Bobby Stout, Glenn Hayes, Ed Holtsclaw, Larry Montgomery, Larry Odom and Herbert Bass.

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