Etowah County Sports Hall of Fame to induct Class of 2015

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The annual Etowah County Sports Hall of Fame Banquet and Induction will be held on Saturday, April 11, at 6 p.m. at the Gadsden Convention Hall.

Inductees are Freddie Kitchens from Etowah High School, Cassie Duncan Shields from Hokes Bluff High School, Dr. Gary White from Gadsden High School and Jimmy Wood from Glencoe High School.

Tickets may be purchased at the City of Attalla Board of Education, Cadence Bank in Rainbow City, Hokes Bluff High School and Keystone Bank in downtown Gadsden.Tickets may also be purchased from hall of fame board members or by calling 256-442-5566 or 256-312-5566.Tickets are $25 per person and include a catered dinner.

The First Annual Hall of Fame Scholarships will be presented at the banquet. Four young men and seven young women were nominated by their respective schools based on athletic achievements, academic standings and community service. One male and one female will be selected for this scholarship. For further information, call 256-442-5566.

Mr. Jimmy Wood was born in 1949 and graduated from Glencoe High School in 1967, where he played football and earned the Yellow Jacket Award. Jimmy was an Alabama High School Athletic Association All-Star, a People’s Choice award winner and an All-Etowah County first team member. He attended the University of Georgia, where he graduated in 1972, and received a MS in Education from Jacksonville State University.  While at Georgia, Jimmy was the captain of the freshman football team, was the Game Captain in 1970 and played in the 1968 Sugar Bowl and the 1969 Sun Bowl.  He was also an Honorable Mention All-SEC player.

Jimmy went on to become a well-respected coach in several sports, including assistant football coach at Clarkston High School, line coach at DeKalb County (Ga.) High School, and junior high wrestling coach at Columbia (Ga.) High School. Jimmy also coached football and wrestling at Walter Wellborn High School and football at Ohatchee High School for the school’s Class 1A state championship team. He was the Pepsi Cola Class 1A Coach of the Year and the AHSAA Class 1A Coach of the Year. Jimmy ended his coaching career at Saks High School. He then worked for Phillips Supply Company and Alfa Mutual Insurance Company for 30 years. Jimmy remains active in many civic and educational institutions.

Dr. Gary White was born in 1938 and graduated from Gadsden High School in 1957.  While at GHS, he lettered as the manager of the Tigers’ football, basketball and baseball teams. Gary received a managers scholarship to the University of Alabama, where he received his Bachelors Degree in 1962, Master’s Degree in 1964 and Educational Doctorate in 1980.

Both during and after college, Gary became an employee of the University of Alabama, first as a graduate assistant football coach, then as a football dorm director. He was an Administrative Assistant of Academics for the UA Athletic Department, the Assistant Athletic Director of Football Operation and the Associate Athletic Director over Compliance with NCAA Rules and Regulations. Gary also was a talent scout for the Dallas Cowboys of the National Football League.

Gary retired from the University of Alabama in 1996 after serving more than 39 years.  He was a teacher, mentor and provided guidance for countless young men at the university, influencing their lives in many ways. He was instrumental in helping the university achieve many honors and championships while helping young men become champions.

Mr. Freddie Kitchens was born in 1974 and graduated from Etowah High School in 1993. While at Etowah, Fre-ddie was the quarterback of the Blue Devil football team. He was the Class 5A All-State Player of the Year selection both from the Alabama Sports Writers Association and the Birmingham News, the ASWA Mr. Football, an Alabama-Mississippi Game All-Star and a High School All-American. Freddie went on to an exemplary career as a three year-starting quarterback for the University of Alabama, played in three bowl games and set school career records in attempted passes (third), yards completed (fourth) and in completions (fifth).

After graduation, Freddie began an enviable career as a football coach at colleges and the National Football League. He coached for North Texas and Mississippi State for 10 years. He also coached in the NFL for the Dallas Cowboys and for nine years for the Arizona Cardinals. He has been a tight ends coach and remains the quarterback coach for the Cardinals. Freddie continues to coach some of the best quarterbacks in the NFL. He also coached in the 2008 Super Bowl.

Freddie has always given back. He has held a free football camp for kids in his home state of Alabama for 15 years where he influences, motivates and encourages young people.

Mrs. Cassie Duncan Shields was born in 1970 and graduated from Hokes Bluff High School in 1988. Cassie had an amazing career in basketball at Hokes Bluff, winning All-County and All-City honors, County MVP, two-time Player of the Year, two-time Birmingham News and Alabama Sports Writers Association Class 4A Player of the Year, a member of the Super Five Team, the USA Today Player of the Year and the Atlanta Tip-Off Club Player of the Year. Cassie also was selected to the Orlando Sentinel All-South Team. Cassie had her playing jersey retired at Hokes Bluff High School, becoming the only father-daughter duo to receive that honor in Etowah County. While at Hokes Bluff, Cassie was a member of the state champion cross country team, winning county and sectional championships. She also was a four-year starter and All-Section recipient in softball.

Cassie received a full basketball scholarship to Jacksonville State University, where she was a three-year letterman and starting point guard for the JSU basketball team, where she played on the Gamecock’s 1991 Final Four NCAA Division II team.

After graduation, Cassie took her love of sports to a coaching career in basketball and softball at Centre Middle School, Cherokee County High School and Hokes Bluff Middle and High schools She is respected by her opponents and her peers. Those who know Cassie know her as a person who has given so very much to so many in the sports field.

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