STEPHENS HIGH SCHOOL ATHLETES & SUPPORTERS
Honored by the Hall of Fame in 2018
STEPHENS HIGH SCHOOL
In 1929, a school building was dedicated that would become Stephens School. The school, first through 12th grades, served local African-American students for nearly 40 years until its merger with Calhoun City Schools in 1966.
Tonight we recognize the athletes, coaches and administrators from Stephens High School, which produced some of the most legendary basketball teams, athletes and coaches in Calhoun-Gordon County history.Both the men’s and women’s basketball teams claimed multiple state and district championships. Records indicated the Boy’s teams won as many as state championships and the women’s teams won 5 championships, respectively. The track and field teams also produced many great athletes. The Calhoun-Gordon County community is fortunate to still have so many influences and leaders born out of Stephens’ High School. Many former students and athletes credit Principal Dr. Betty Smith with her leadership and continued influence on their lives.The Calhoun-Gordon County Sports Hall of Fame is proud of its current inductees associated with Stephens High School; Pete Garigan, Maude Chattam and Zeke McDaniel.
We are pleased to recognize the athletes, coaches and administrators from Stephens High School.
1979 RED BUD WRESTLING TEAM
Honored by the Hall of Fame in 2017
CARDINALS TAKE HOME THE STATE CHAMPIONSHIP
Expectations were high for the 1979 Red Bud Cardinal wrestling team. Undefeated in their past two seasons, the team’s state finishes had improved from 5th in 1977 to third in 1978, and the Cardinals were considered a strong preseason favorite to take it all at the 1979 state tournament. The team was returning five state finishers including three who placed 2nd. Coach John Wilson, who had built the program from scratch, had left for personal reasons to take a position at rival Armuchee High School so there was a cause for concern even for a strong program. Wilson’s replacement, Coach Frank Caputo, had very little experience in coaching wrestling, but what he lacked in technical knowledge was more than made up for with his physical conditioning program. Coach Caputo trained the team so that his athletes would dominate the third period with superior conditioning, if the match made it that far. Coach Jim Moore, a community coach, provided the team with the technical training in the rapidly evolving sport.
Coach Caputo’s three goals for the Red Bud wrestling team were 1) continue the undefeated winning streak, 2) Win the region title, and 3) Win the State Championship. All three goals were met and the undefeated record was extended to 25. Red Bud won the Region Title with 10 individual region champions and two third place finishers; and the team secured the State Championship with a school record 10 state finishers. The state finishers included three state champions, three runner-ups, three third place finishes, and one fourth.
Winning the State Championship was a community effort. Red Bud wrestled on borrowed mats and wore outdated uniforms until the 1978 season. Several fundraiser events along with generous contributions from individuals allowed the team to purchase a new mat and new uniforms. The pride that had started with winning matches had brought the small community together. On many nights, the Red Bud Dome was filled to capacity to watch the team wrestle. People who had never heard of wrestling just two years earlier were now attending home and away matches to support their Cardinals.
While records are made to be broken, the 1979 Red Bud Cardinal wrestling team can be very proud that their State Championship still stands as the only wrestling championship in Gordon County’s rich history of the sport.
The Calhoun-Gordon County Sports Hall of Fame is proud to recognize the Red Bud Cardinal wrestling State Champions of 1979.
1952 CALHOUN FOOTBALL TEAM
Honored by the Hall of Fame in 2016
1952 STATE CHAMPIONS
With a stingy defense and a punishing ground game, the 1952 Calhoun Yellow Jacket football team remains a great source of pride in Calhoun and Gordon County. While undersized, this Yellow Jacket football team managed to hold six teams scoreless on its way to a 7-1-2 record and a victory over the heavily favored Fort Valley Green Wave to claim the Class C state championship.
The 1952 Yellow Jackets scored 159 points in that nine-game regular season while only giving up 40 points. Trailing in the 4th quarter of the championship game, Calhoun rallied to stun the Green Wave by a score of 19-14. The determination and grit of that 1952 team were never more evident than on the last play of the championship game. Trailing by just five points, Fort Valley completed a long pass that looked to be the game winner. However, a Yellow Jacket defender ran down the runner and made a game-saving tackle at the 10-yard-line as time expired to end the contest and secure the state championship title.
While several of the players and coaches from that team have passed on, there are many here tonight and that 1952 Calhoun Yellow Jacket team will remain a source of pride for our community for many years. The Calhoun-Gordon County Sports Hall of Fame is proud to recognize the members of this team at the 2016 annual banquet.