Five new members inducted into Southside Wall of Fame

The Southside Athletic Foundation recently inducted five members into the Southside Hall of Fame. Pictured, from left: Southside Athletic Foundation Nominating Committee member Jimmy Owens, inductee Tom Griffith, inductee Dexter Wood, inductee Brett Boner, Southside Athletic Foundation Board member Stace Beecham.The Southside Athletic Foundation recently inducted five members into the Southside Hall of Fame. Pictured, from left: Southside Athletic Foundation Nominating Committee member Jimmy Owens, inductee Tom Griffith, inductee Dexter Wood, inductee Brett Boner, Southside Athletic Foundation Board member Stace Beecham.

By Donna Thornton/News Editor

Members of the Southside Athletic Foundation gathered May 5 to add names to Southside High School’s Wall of Fame with the induction of five new members into the SHS Hall of Fame.

In doing so, the hall of fame added more than names and statistics. Southside High athletic director and head football coach Marty Smith said when he came to Southside, he made it a point to learn about each of the names and faces on that wall of fame.

Smith said if a student asked him “who’s that?” he wanted to be able to share who that person was and what they had accomplished at Southside High, and after, to instill in students how much they, too, can achieve.

Three of the inductees were able to attend the ceremony at Southside High.

Inductee Tom Griffith was a SHS 1982 graduate. He was a three-year starter for the Panthers’ basketball team under coach Greg Love. Griffith was named to the all-county and all-area teams in both his junior and senior years. In 1982 Griffith was selected Etowah County MVP and was named to the all-state team.

Griffith scored more than 1,600 points in his three years at SHS, averaging 28 points a game his senior year. In eight of the games that season, Griffith scored more than 30 points. In three games, he scored more than 40 points – all before the 3-point line was in effect.

Griffith played four years of college basketball, two at Gadsden State for coach Stan Cook. During his sophomore year at GSCC, Griffith was named the team’s defensive player of the year after drawing 26 charges and 46 steals.

Griffith signed with Troy State University, where he also excelled as a student. He was an Academic All-American in 1985 and 1986 and received the university’s J.B. Clements All-Sports Academic Award in 1986. Griffith was graduated with honors, earning degrees in Computer Information Systems and Commercial Art, and a minor in Business Administration.

Griffith is a senior application development analyst for Blue Cross Blue Shield in Hoover. He and his wife Susan have two children, Ashley, 13, and Walker, 6. They live in Ashville.

Inductee Brett Boner was a three-time Etowah County junior champion in golf. He was two-time All-State selection and a National Junior All-American during his senior year at SHS.

Boner received a golf scholarship to Auburn University, where he lettered for four years.

Boner was a 1994 Birmingham CC National Invitational Champion and a pre-season All-American in 1994-1995.

After turning pro in 1997, Boner won six mini-tour titles in nine years. He qualified and played in the 2005 AT&T Pebble Beach National Pro-Am on the PGA Tour, where he met several celebrities.

“Huey Lewis came up to me and said, ‘Your last name is what?’ said Boner.

Boner stopped playing professionally in 2006. He now works in private wealth management for Carroll Financial in Charlotte, N.C. He and his wife Lindsay have two children, Henry, 5, and Fran, 2.

Inductee Dexter Wood came to Southside High in 1976 as head football coach. He said the most important event of his time at Southside was marrying his wife, Martha, which he did during the “open” week his first year as coach.

Wood recalled that the Panthers had a great start to the season, going 4-0 until that open weekend. The Woods became man and wife, and took a couple of days to honeymoon, as Southside had a game the next week. The Panthers lost handily, Wood re-called, joking that people probably thought it was because of his personal di-stractions.

Coach Smith said Wood hired Randy Ross as an assistant, laying the groundwork for future success in SHS football.

Before Wood spent two years at Southside, he lettered three years at the University of Alabama as a wide receiver.

Wood was part of the Crimson Tide’s 1971 and 1972 SEC championship teams and played in the Orange Bowl in 1971 and the Cotton Bowl 1972.

Wood’s career coaching record is 257-92-3 over a 30-year span He holds the Georgia high school career record of 210-52-2 in 21 years. At Buford High School in Buford, Ga., Wood’s teams won state championships in 2001, 2002 and 2003 and were state runners-up in 2000 and 2004. He established a Georgia state record of 47 consecutive wins in 2004 and of five consecutive state championship game appearances.

Wood claimed Coach of the Year honors in 1991, 2001, 2002 and 2003. He was inducted into the Alabama Wiregrass Sports Hall of Fame in 1997 and was named Jacksonville State Alumnus of the Year in 2003. Wood was inducted into the Georgia Athletic Directors Association Hall of Fame in 2010.

Wood has coached at Buford from 1995 to the present.

Inductee June Routon is a 1982 graduate of SHS. She lettered for four straight years in basketball, volleyball and track. Routon was named track team MVP for three years in a row.

After she graduated SHS, Routon earned degrees at Jacksonville State and Western Kentucky University, where she served as assistant volleyball coach. Routon began teaching PE in Osceola, Fla., in 1989, coaching volleyball and soccer for four years. She was a Special Olympics coach for 10 years.

Routon now teaches PE at St. Cloud Elementary School. She was not able to attend the induction ceremony.

Inductee Scott Keeling was a member of Southside High’s Class of 1981. He was a fullback on what many still consider to be the best football team in Southside High School hi-story.

Keeling went on to play at Clemson and Jacksonville State, where he received his degree.

Keeling was hired to teach and coach football, wrestling and track at Scottsboro High School.

He served as assistant principal at the school from 2000 to 2004, when he became the Central Office Supervisor.

Keeling retired in 2011. He was not able to attend the induction ceremony.

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