Photo: Gadsden City High School boys head basketball coach Reginald Huff is one of five individuals to be inducted in to the Etowah County Sports Hall of Fame on April 14. (Gary Wells)
Five individuals comprise the Etowah County Sports Hall of Fame’s Class of 2018.
Johnny Coker, Raymond Farmer, Steve Clay, Joe Dismuke and Reginald Huff will be inducted at the ECSHOF Banquet this Saturday (Apr. 14) at Convention Hall in Gadsden. A meet and greet sessions will begin at 5 p.m. with the banquet and ceremony at 6 p.m.
A 1972 Gadsden High graduate, Coker was the individual state championship in both his junior and senior seasons while helping the Tigers win the AHSAA state title in 1972.
A standout football player, he was selected as the Offensive Player of the Year for both the All-Northeast Alabama team and the Benny Hill Charity Bowl his senior year.
Coker attended Auburn University on a golf scholarship. A four-year letterman at AU, he was an All-SEC selection in 1973, 1975 and 1976 and helped the Tigers win the league championship in 1976.
In addition, Coker won the Alabama Left-Handed Golfers Association championship in 1970, 1971, 1972 and 1983. He also won the Gadsden Country Club Invitational in 1975 and 1976 and won the Etowah Open in 1989.
A 1961 Ashville High graduate, Farmer coached for 48 years at 12 different high schools in both Alabama and Georgia.
A three-sport standout in football, basketball and baseball for the Bulldogs, Farmer attended Memphis State on a football scholarship and was a three-year starter at defensive back and wide receiver. He led the Tigers in receiving fort three straight seasons and also lettered in baseball for one year.
After returning to Ashville as a teacher/coach, Farmer led the AHS boys track and field team to three state championship from 1972-74 and coached the boys basketball B-Team to a 97-14 record and three St. Clair County titles.
At Springville High, Farmer led the Tigers to their first-ever playoff appearances in 1975 and 1976.
After spending a year in Georgia, where he led the Tucker High boys gymnastics team to a state-runnerup finish, Farmer returned to Ashville and guided the boys basketball B-Team to three-year record of 60-4. He then moved to Etowah High, serving as the school’s defensive coordinator in football from 1987-91 and helping the team post a 48-12 record.
As head football coach of the Blue Devils, Farmer guided the program to state semifinal appearances in 1992 and 1993 and state runner-up finishes in 1997 and 1998. He was a North assistant coach for the 1998 North/South All-Star football game and an assistant coach for the 1999 Alabama/Mississippi All-State football game. Farmer’s 1999 EHS team won the state championship and he was named Class 5A Coach of the Year. Farmer’s overall record at Etowah from 1992 to 2001 was 92-33.
While at the Donoho School in Anniston, Farmer coached the Lady Falcon track and field team to a second-place finish at the state meet.
Farmer was elected to the St. Clair County Sports Hall of Fame in 2005 and the Memphis State Sports Hall of Fame in 2008.
A 1965 Gadsden High graduate, Clay made the All-Etowah County football team is junior and senior seasons and the Birmingham News All-State first team is senior year. He earned a football scholarship to the University of Alabama, where played five under Coach Paul “Bear” Bryant for five years and lettered in 1969. Clay was a member of UA’s 1966 “Missing Ring” team and a member of the A-Club.
After serving as an assistant football coach at Gadsden High from 1970-71, Clay became the first head football coach at Westminster (now Westbrook) Christian in 1972. With no senior class, he guided the inaugural Warrior team to five wins.
Clay then moved to Collinsville High for three seasons, where he led the Panthers to a 28-3 record and a berth in the state semifinals in 1974.
Clay returned to Gadsden in 1976, where he started a football program at Litchfield High School. Clay guided the 1977 Eagles to a 7-6 record, a region title and a state play berth with sophomore-only roster.
Clay was head coach of the Etowah High football team for the 1984-86 seasons, where he broke a 40-game losing streak during his first year. Clay returned to his alma mater in 1990 and helped the Tiger football team go 14-0 and win the Class 5A state championship.
A 1981 Southside High graduate, Dismuke was a three-sport letterman for the Panthers in football, basketball and track and graduated in the top 10 percent of his class. In all, he received 10 varsity letters. As a for-year starter on the offensive line, Dismuke was an All-Area, All-State and All-American selection in football. As a senior, he helped the 1980 Southside team go 12-1 and make it to the state semifinals. He participated in the North/South All-Star game. Dismuke received appointments to both the U.S. Military Academy and the U.S. Air Force Academy and was recruited by several Ivy League colleges. He ultimately signed a football scholarship with the University of Alabama, where he played under head coaches Paul “Bear” Bryant and Ray Perkins. As a long snapper on extra points and field goals, Dismuke helped the Crimson Tide to the Cotton, Liberty and Sun bowl games and was awarded the Paul Crane Most Improved Lineman Award following the 1982 spring practice. Dismuke was one of four players to escort Bryant’s wife Mary Harmon at Bryant’s funeral in 1982.
A 1984 Gadsden High graduate, Huff was a member of the Tigers’ 1983 Class 3A state championship basketball team and was named to the All-State first team. He then attended Gadsden State, where he was the All-Region MVP for the 1984-85 season. Huff finished out his collegiate career at Birmingham Southern, where he set school records for most steals, best free throw percentage (89.3), most points scored in a single game (42 points), most three-point shot attempts in a single game (10); and highest three-point shooting percentage in a season (55). Huff still holds the latter three records.
Upon graduation, Huff played in the Continental Basketball Association with Wichita Falls Texans.
In his 13-year stint as boys head basketball coach at Litchfield High School, Huff guided the Eagles to 11 regional tournament appearances and won seven regional championships. His 1996-97, 1999-00 and 2003-04 teams made the state Final Four Tournament, while the 1998-99 Eagles made the Elite Eight.
As the only boys basketball coach in the history of Gadsden City High School from 2006 to the present, Huff led the Titans to 11 area championships (with nine of those teams finishing without an area loss), six Elite Eight Northeast Regional Tournament appearances and six regional runner-up finishes. Gadsden City currently has the most Northeast Regional Tournament wins (19) and was ranked nationally during the 2009-10 season.
Huff was inducted into the Birmingham Southern Hall of Fame in 2003.
Advance tickets are $20 and may be purchased at River Bank and Trust and Alabama Teachers Credit Union or by calling Kyle Chambers at 256-312-1395. Tickets may be purchased at the door on the date of the event for $25.
The annual Hall of Fame scholarships will also be presented at the event. All area high school submitted nominees for the scholarship based on athletic achievements, academic standings and community service. Two male and two females will be selected for this scholarship.