When Emanuel Davis launched the Henry County Sports Hall of Fame and the first class was inducted in the summer of 2019, he planned for it to be an annual celebration.
“All my life I’ve always wanted and felt like we needed one place in Henry County that we could go to and see everything – the videos, the pictures, everything – because we are a multi-talented sports county,” Davis, a native of Henry County, said at the time.
Once the COVID 19 pandemic hit things were put on hold. Now, however, the second class of inductees is set to be ushered in Saturday night at the Davis Family Event Center in downtown Headland that serves as the headquarters of the Henry County Sports Hall of Fame.
Michelle Griffin, Erica Jones, David Barnes, Gary Fleming, Bobby Joe Jackson, Sr., Dan Capps, Johnny Walker, Sherrill Singleton and Willie West will make up the class of 2023.
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The first class inducted in 2019 were Steve Williams, Willie Tullis, Wilson Robert Lawson, Lester Davis, Jody Singleton, Les Davis, Dave Edwards, Buck Shaw, Comer Baker, Sammy Jackson and Tiffany Davis.
Below are some brief bios on each inductee in the class of 2023.
Singleton was a three-sport star at Newville High School, where he was an All-Wiregrass Athletic Conference selection in football, basketball and baseball.
After graduating Troy University, Singleton would become head football coach and athletics director at Headland, compiling a 40-28-3 record during seven seasons as the football coach. In 1968 he hired Steve Williams as head basketball coach and Singleton coached the B-team basketball team for five years, winning 84 straight games in compiling an 88-2 record. He also coached girls varsity basketball for a year.
Singleton also spent time as principal at Headland and worked with the Headland Recreation Department for 25 years.
Griffin was an outstanding basketball player during her prep days at Abbeville High School, averaging 21.5 points, shooting 78.2 percent from the free throw line, 48.3 percent from the field and averaging 8.3 rebounds as a senior while being named All Wiregrass Athletic Conference. She received a scholarship to play at Wallace Community College in Dothan.
Jones was a tremendous basketball player at Headland High School and was named the best defensive player for the 1990-1991 season as a sophomore and most improved player during the 1991-1992 season. She is now a research scientist at a biotech company and resides in Birmingham.
Barnes was an all-state basketball player at Abbeville High School and returned to his alma mater after graduating college at Troy University to become a successful football and basketball coach for the Yellow Jackets while also serving as assistant principal for 32 years. His 1971 football team went 12-0-1 and his 1968-70 basketball teams didn’t lose a game for three straight seasons. He coached the Yellow Jackets to a state basketball title in 1972.
Fleming was a tremendous athlete at Abbeville High School and later a star football player at Samford University in the last 1960s, being named the MVP on defense in 1968 and drafted by the Baltimore Colts in the seventh round in 1969. He then began a standout high school coaching career in football and basketball throughout the state at Abbeville High, Montevallo High, Briarwood Christian, Faith Christian Academy and Ashville.
Bobby Joe Jackson, Sr.
Jackson started all four years at Newville’s Rosenwald High School, averaging 30 points, nine rebounds and six assists. Jackson, who passed away two years ago, is most notably remembered on the court for his fast breaks, long-range jump shots and strong rebounds.
Capps was a tremendous baseball player at Abbeville High School and followed that up at Wallace College, where he played in 1969 and 1970 before transferring and graduating from Auburn. He began an assistant coaching career at Smiths Station (1972-1976) and later at Randolph County High until 1980. In 1988, he returned to Abbeville High as an assistant football, basketball and baseball coach. He has been involved as an umpire in baseball for many years and was named to the Dixie Boys Baseball Hall of Fame in 2019.
Walker played on the last football team of the Henry County Training School in 1969 when he was a sophomore and was a member of the school’s conference championship team during the 1969 season. He transferred to Abbeville High School as a senior and was named to the All-Conference basketball team and was a member of the 1971 Class 2A state championship team, averaging 18 points, 12 rebounds and six assists. He was an honor graduate of Alabama A&M University.
West played basketball at North Side High School in 1968 and was named the team MVP. He joined the Headland High School team in 1971 and was named All-State and All-Region in 1971 and 1972. He scored 38 points in a state playoff game in 1972, which tied the single-game state playoffs scoring record at the time. He earned a scholarship to the University of North Alabama where he became a standout player on the college level. He later coached at Bradshaw High in Florence and taught for 38 years before retiring in 2014.