Etowah County Sports Hall of Fame set to induct Class of 2024

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Photo courtesy of Chattanooga Times Free Press

By Chris McCarthy, Publisher/Editor

The Etowah County Sports Hall of Fame’s Class of 2024 banquet will be held on June 8 at The Venue located at 201 George Wallace Drive in Gadsden. A meet and greet session with the inductees will be held at 5 p.m., with the banquet scheduled for 6 p.m. Tickets are $25 in advance at $30 at the door. A table with eight seats is $200. The Class of 2024 includes Anne Daugette Renfrow, Alburta “Burt” Daugette Loew, Anthony Craig Dudley, Keith Bernard “Earl” Dudley, James Albert “Spud” Dudley, Steve Copeland and Patrick Nix. Advanced tickets may be purchased at River Bank & Trust and Alabama Teachers Credit Union.
Craig Dudley
Anthony Craig Dudley was a standout basketball guard and forward for Gadsden High under coaches Gid Riddle and Gary Muskett, for which he was a four-year starter. In his junior year of 1982, Craig helped the Tigers finish the season with a 30-6 record. Following the season, he was runner-up for the Class 3A All-State first team. During his senior season of 1983, Craig led Gadsden to a 30-4 record, five tournament titles, an area championship and the Class 3A state title. His postseason honors included being named Senior MVP and a member of the Class 3A All-State first team and was the Converse All-American team.
In 1984, Craig received a full scholarship to the University of Alabama, where he played under legendary coach Wimp Sanderson. For the next three years Craig helped the Crimson Tide reach the Sweet 16 of the NCAA Tournament. His senior year of 1987 saw Craig named team captain as he helped UA win an SEC title.
Craig continued his basketball career in the European League for the 1989-1990 season for the Melbourne Jets of Melbourne, Australia.
Craig currently lives in Gadsden, where he has been serving at the Fellowship Baptist Church for the past 17 years. He is a trustee and helper to the church pastor Scottie Rice.
Earl Dudley
Keith Bernard “Earl” Dudley was an outstanding athlete while attending Gadsden High. From 1986 to 1988, he was a three-sport athlete lettering in track, baseball and basketball. Basketball is where Earl most excelled, earning honors that included all-state, all-county and all-area. In 1987 Earl and his Tiger teammates made it all the way to the state Final Four.
After graduation, Earl continued his basketball career at Tyler Junior College in Tyler, Texas, from 1988-1991, during which he earned second team all-conference honors.
From 1991-93, Earl played for Southeastern Louisiana University in Hammond, Louisiana, during which time he led the Lions in rebounds with 10 per game. He currently holds the school record for most rebounds in a quarter at 12.
Like many before him, Earl eventually returned to his hometown of Gadsden, where he is Pastor at Historical Friendship Missionary Baptist Church, the President of NAACP, a member of the Etowah County Voters League, a member of the Southern Christian Leadership Conference and the Vice President of Wills Creek District of Baptist Churches.
Earl is also a member of Men on Bikes, a charitable organization. He is married to Evyone Dudley.
Anne Daugette Renfrow
Anne Daugette Renfrow started riding ponies sometime around 1955 at the age of six in her backyard in Gadsden. She and her sister spent countless hours competing pretending to win world championships on their ponies, named Walnut and Scout.
In 1962 Anne convinced her parents that she needed a Tennessee Walking Horse, and they bought Sir Henry’s Masterpiece for her. Anne showed at horse shows all over North Alabama and Middle Tennessee, gaining invaluable show experience and winning many ribbons, including several at the Tennessee Walking Horse Celebration.
Anne also showed Go Boy’s Joy, whom she had inherited from her sister Burt. It was not long before Anne convinced her father that she needed a world championship worthy horse. Colonel Daugette went on a hunt for a mare so that the two sisters would not be competing against each other in the same classes. The Colonel eventually purchased for Anne a beautiful black mare named Rock A Bye Lady, who had just won the Four Year Old Mare Championship at the 1967 Walking Horse Celebration in Shelbyville, Tenn.
No one dreamed at the time that Anne and Rock A Bye Lady would become one of the most successful teams in Walking Horse history, winning eight consecutive World Grand Championships.
Anne and Rock A Bye Lady won the Amateur Ladies World Championship Mare Class at the Tennessee Walking Horse Celebration in 1968, 1969, 1970 and 1971. This once-in-a-lifetime duo also won the Amateur Ladies Open World Grand Championship in 1968, 1969, 1970 and 1971.
Anne and Rock A Bye Lady are the only horse and rider team to go undefeated at Tennessee Walking Horse National Celebration and win the Ladies Mare Championship and the Ladies World Grand Championship for four consecutive years.
Anne and her sister Burt far exceeded their childhood dreams of riding ponies in their backyard located just off Noccalula Road on the mountain in Gadsden.
James “Spud” Dudley
James Albert Dudley, better known to most folks as Spud, was a standout basketball player during his time at Gadsden High School. He earned many titles from 1977 to 1979, such as a two-time all-area and all state honorable mention selection along with a Most Valuable Player award. He led the Tigers in scoring during his senior year, averaging 21 points and 10.7 rebounds per game. Though basketball was his most notable sport, Spud was also a member of the school’s track team, where he lettered for two years.
After graduation, Spud went on to play basketball for James Booth at Wallace State-Selma, where following in his freshman year he received the Most Improved Player award. His sophomore year of 1981-82, Spud made the All-Tournament after leading the Patriots in scoring with averaging 14 points per game. He also set a state record with 27 consecutive free throws.
In 1984, Spud was a member of Jacksonville State University’s Division II NCAA Championship basketball team coached by Bill Jones. Spud put up impressive stats with the Gamecocks, including averaging 15.3 points and 8.2 rebounds per game. During his 1985-86 season at JSU, Spud was named the Most Valuable Player of the Tom Robinson Tournament.
Spud eventually returned to his roots and currently lives in Gadsden. He spends his time doing charitable work with the Gadsden High Art Club, is a proud member of his church and enjoys doing ministry work with Kingdom Hall. He is married to Linda Byers and is the nephew of Curtis Moore.
Alburta “Burt” Daugette Lowe
Burt Lowe started riding ponies at the age of seven in her backyard in Gadsden sometime around 1955. She and her sister Anne spent countless hours competing and pretending to win world championships on their ponies, named Walnut and Scout. Those days of riding around the neighborhood marked the start of a riding career that eventually led to winning five World Grand Championships at the Tennessee Walking Horse National Celebration in Shelbyville, Tenn.
In 1962, Burt sold her father on the idea of buying a Walking Horse called Go Boy’s Dream. Burt gained invaluable show experience, winning many ribbons at horse shows all over North Alabama and Middle Tennessee.
The next chapter of this dream story began in 1966 with the purchase of a beautiful sorrel stallion named Moon-glow Junior. At the 1966 Tennessee Walking Horse National Celebration, Burt and Moonglow Junior were crowned the Amateur World Champions.
Burt and Moonglow Junior enjoyed a successful show season in 1967, winning several shows. Unfortunately, the rider and horse were unable to show at The Tennessee Walking Horse National Celebration due to a crack in Junior’s hoof.
After a two-year hiatus, Burt and Junior finished a disappointing third place at the 1968 Amateur Stallion Championship but came back strong in the 1968 Amateur Championship Stake Class, in which they won the Amateur World Championship. Burt and Moonglow Junior repeated as Amateur World Champions at the 1969 Tennessee Walking Horse National Celebration. They did not disappoint the adoring crowd, winning both the Amateur Stallion Championship and the Amateur World Grand Championship, their fifth and final world championship in four years. At the 1970 Tennessee Walking Horse National Celebration, Moonglow Junior was retired to stud with a beautiful ring ceremony.
Burt and her sister Anne far exceeded their childhood dreams of riding ponies in their backyard located just off Noccalula Road on the mountain in Gadsden.
Steve Copeland
At six-feet, three-inches tall and weighing 195 pounds, Steve Copeland, possessed the ideal structure to excel in most any physical test and do so in outstanding fashion.
As an All-County, All-NEAC, All-State, All-Southern Conference and All-American Honorable Mention selection, football was probably Steve’s best sport. Steve was a better than average basketball player, however, as he averaged nearly 15 points per game. He also was a top baseball prospect, both as an infielder and pitcher.
While attending Gadsden High School from 1959-61, Steve lettered in football, basketball and baseball, earning nine varsity letters along the way. The co-captain of the Tiger football team, Steve was a devastating lineman on defense and a top pass receiving end on offense. Gadsden went 15-4-1 during Steve’s junior and senior seasons under coach Jack Green.
As one of the most sought-after high school football players in the South, Steve received a number of scholarship offers, including the United States Naval Academy, the University of Alabama, Auburn University, the University of Kentucky and the University of Tennessee. However, Georgia Tech athletic director and head football coach Bobby Dodd eventually signed Steve to a grant-in-aid.
Steve earned three letters from 1962 to 1965 at Georgia Tech. As a starter in 22 games for the Yellow Jackets, Steve was named Honorable Mention All-SEC in 1965. Former NFL Pittsburg Steelers defensive coordinator Bud Carson once said, “Steve Copeland was the only player that could play on my defense.” Former teammate and former Georgia Tech and University of Alabama head football coach Bill Curry noted that Steve was one of the toughest and determined football players he had ever played with.
Steve is a board member of the Bobby Dodd Coach of the Year Award and an active member of The Georgia Tech Letterman’s Association, He is married to Sally Brown, and the couple has three daughters – Lesa, Kristen and Lyndie, and five grandchildren – Sam, Charlie, Copeland, Sara Jane and Merrill. Steve is a member of Johns Creek Baptist Church in Johns Creek, Georgia.
Patrick Nix
As a standout quarterback for Etowah High from 1990-1991, Patrick Nix (pictured above) helped the Blue Devils go 19-3 under coach Wyman Townsel. He played in the Alabama/Mississippi All-Star Game, was named as a Super 12 Quarterback and was selected to the Super All-State team.
Patrick played quarterback at Auburn University from 1991-1994. During his junior and senior season, he threw for 4,780 yards and 28 touchdowns while helping the Tigers to a 17-5-1 record.
Patrick served as an assistant football coach at Jacksonville State University from 1996 to 1998. He was head coach at Henderson State University in 1999 and 2000, assistant coach at Samford University in 2001, assistant coach at Georgia Tech from 2002-2006, offensive coordinator at University of Miami from 2007 to 2008) and assistant coach at Charleston Southern University from 2010 to 2012.
Patrick then entered the high school coaching ranks, serving as head coach at Scottsboro from 2013 to 2016. He posted a 28-18 record while guiding the Wildcats to four straight playoffs berths. His 2016 team with son Bo at quarterback went 12-1 and reach the Class 5A state quarterfinals.
Patrick then served as head coach at Pinson Valley. His work with the Indians included a 38-4 overall record and Class 6A state championships in 2017 and 2018.
Patrick has coached for the past five seasons at Central-Phenix City, where he has guided the Red Devils to a 44-9 record, three region titles and the 2023 Class 7A state championship.
Patrick is an active member of Church of the Highlands in Columbus, Georgia.

 

 

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