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JC Parks & Rec announces 2019 Wall of Fame inductees

Jeff Birchfield • Oct 2, 2019 at 1:00 PM

The Johnson City Parks and Recreation department announced Jenny Brock, Darrell “Pappy Crowe” and Gary Swartz as the 2019 inductees for its Wall of Fame at a Tuesday luncheon. The official induction ceremony will take place Nov. 14.

Brock has made significant contributions to area athletic and recreational activities before and since becoming the city’s mayor. She introduced the Turkey Trot 5k walk/run, which is in its 14th year. Growing from more than 700 to 4,500 entries, it is the largest race in the Tri-Cities and provides more than $200,000 to the community for health and fitness incentives.

Her passion is the game of golf. “The minute they put a golf club in my hand, I knew I was built for it,” she explained.

She further explained that Science Hill didn’t have a girls golf team at that time. Missing out on an opportunity, it influences her passion for youth sports and other activities.

Brock gained her certification as a golf instructor in 2004 and later became affiliated with the First Tee program, in which she has been a volunteer coach for the last 12 years.

“Golf is such a wonderful lifelong activity,” she said. “The nice thing about the First Tee program, it starts kids the right way. As one of the quotes goes, ‘I learned a lot from First Tee. I’ve even learned to how to play golf.’ We do character development through golf, so that’s what makes it so special.

“You have all the values that go along with the game. It’s about honesty. You don’t have a referee calling penalties; you have to call them on yourself.”

DARRELL “PAPPY” CROWE

Crowe, who died in 2014 at the age of 75, was one of the most respected TSSAA high school officials in the area in baseball, basketball and football. He umpired some in the Appalachian League.

It was just a small part of his sports legacy. He was the executive director of the Johnson City/Washington County Boys & Girls Club for 24 years and the Elizabethton/Carter County Boys and Girls Club for four years.

His Dizzy Dean baseball teams won six state championships and two World Series crowns. He was a former coach at Elizabethton High School and was named coach of the year after the Cyclones went 24-6 and tied Dobyns-Bennett and Science Hill for the Big Seven Conference title.

He coached the Cocke County boys’ basketball team for six seasons, winning three district titles. He also coached the girls for five seasons, gaining two district championships.

His daughters, Tammy and Darlene, remembered how their father cared for young people.

“Darlene and I were talking about him coaching us in softball,” Tammy said. “I can remember so many times sleeping in the back of the truck with a camper top at the softball fields. He was a wonderful man.

“I can remember him running over and putting tobacco on bee stings. There were a lot of kids he got scholarships for. I remember Dale Scott, Henry Scott.”

Darlene talked about how Crowe’s favorite of all time was former Science Hill star Gary Carter, who went on to play basketball for Tennessee and was drafted by the San Diego Clippers.

GARY SWARTZ

Swartz has devoted much of his life to coaching and umpiring as well. His coaching career started at age 18 when he was just three years older than the boys on the Babe Ruth team had coached.

He has worked with the Parks & Rec department 39 years and on the diamond has coached several players like Major League umpire Will Little, Paul Hoilman and Dustin Price, who went on to have successful careers.

He also coached football and basketball, saying he does it because of the kids.

Also making his mark in the insurance industry, Swartz was honored as a member of the Pinnacle Club. He said much of his devotion to youth came because of the coaches like Bud Seaver, Mickey Grant, Arthur Lady, Fred Strouth and Warren “Sonny” Miller.

Perhaps his biggest influence was former Jonesborough and David Crockett basketball coach Hobart Powell.

“Hobe is a fine man,” Swartz said. “I’ve had a lifelong relationship with him. I saw him at a Crockett football game a couple of weeks ago. He was in the corner at the edge of the track. You had to wait in line because he had so many people come and speak to him.

“He made a big impact on me. I was fortunate to be around so many great guys and great coaches in the different sports. I enjoyed every minute of it.”

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