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December 6, 2014 Published in Sports, Top Stories

ACPS Honors Inaugural Athletic Hall Of Fame Inductees

By Katie Smythe

Hall of Fame Class of 2014

Hall of Fame Class of 2014

Alexandria honored the inaugural class of the Athletic Hall of Fame – 20 exceptional former ACPS athletes – inducted last night at T. C. Williams High School. The first African-American player in the NBA, an Olympic silver medalist and the captain of the famed 1971 football team were among the first alumni to be officially recognized for their contributions.

The initial class of inductees spans 60 years of sports history, representing every decade since the 1940s. Some recipients attended Parker-Gray, George Washington or Hammond High School prior to the opening of T. C. Williams, but the slogan “Once a Titan, Always a Titan” seemed to apply to all. The pride was palpable in the Gerry Bertier Gymnasium on the Earl Lloyd Court, both named for athletes in the initial Hall of Fame class.

“You’ve paved the way for our young people,” said Alexandria City Public Schools Superintendent Alvin Crawley, recognizing the accomplishments of these storied athletes.

Gerry Bertier – Football, T.C. Williams 1972                                               Sori Kanu – Football, T.C. Williams 1995
Rodney Bridges – Track and Field, T.C. Williams 1989                              Earl Lloyd – Basketball, Parker-Gray 1949
Keith Burns – Football, T.C. Williams 1990                                                 Walter "Chip" Lubsen – Crew, T.C. Williams 1973
Tynita Butts – Track and Field, T.C. Williams 2009                                     Mike Mansy – Cross Country / Track and Field, T.C. Williams 1979
Ed Doran – Basketball, Hammond 1959                                                     John O'Connor – Baseball, Hammond 1970
Steve Douglas – Baseball, T.C. Williams 1975                                            LaChina Robinson – Basketball, T.C. Williams 1998
Michelle Griglione – Swimming, T.C. Williams 1986                                    Tierra Ruffin-Pratt – Basketball, T.C. Williams 2009
Cathy Grimes – Basketball, T.C. Williams 1981                                           Martin Smith – Track and Field, T.C. Williams 1970
Charlotte Hollings – Crew, T.C. Williams 1982                                            Harley "Skeeter" Swift – Basketball, George Washington 1965
William "Red" Jackson – Football, Parker-Gray 1948                                  Craig Talley – Track and Field, T.C. Williams 1971

Parker-Gray vs Hoffman-Boston game (Photo: Katie Smythe)

Parker-Gray vs Hoffman-Boston game (Photo: Katie Smythe)

In the receiving line to congratulate the inductees were several giants in their day as well, including Coach Bill Yost and Coach Herman Boone from the 1971 state champion football team, previous T.C. track coaches Mike Tomasello and A.K. Johnson, along with former T.C. Principal John Porter and athletic director Kerry Donley, current City Council and Alexandria School Board members, Superintendent Crawley and T.C. Williams Principal Suzanne Maxey. Watch a short video clip here.

The induction ceremony took place prior to the annual basketball showdown between T. C. Williams and Wakefield High School. The game carries on a tradition between the two local African-American high schools, Parker-Gray in Alexandria and Hoffman-Boston in Arlington. In last night’s game, Wakefield defeated T. C. Williams 74-46.

The plaques for the Athletic Hall of Fame hang in the hallway leading to the gym. The accomplishments of each recipient follow the photo gallery.

ACPS Athletic Hall of Fame

2014 Hall of Fame Inductees

Gerry Bertier, 1972 T.C. Williams graduate – The captain of the 1971 State Championship football team, Gerry was a dominant defensive presence. He recorded a phenomenal 142 solo tackles and 42 quarterback sacks and earned First Team All-Region, First Team All-State and National Prep Player of the Year honors. Paralyzed in an automobile accident during the summer following his senior year at T.C. Williams, Gerry went on, under the guidance of Bill Yoast, his defensive coach at T.C. Williams, to be a National Champion Para-Olympic athlete. The T.C. Williams gym is named in his honor.  [Football]

Rodney BridgesRodney Bridges, 1989 T.C. Williams graduate – A standout performer for the 1989 State Championship team, Rodney capped his brilliant high school track and field career by winning the 100-meter dash in 10.51 seconds (a Virginia state record and T.C. Williams school record that stood until 2014) and the 200-meter dash in 21.47 seconds (a T.C. Williams school record that stood until 2013) at the State Championship meet. Rodney went on to excel in the sprints at George Mason University. [Track & Field]

Keith BurnsKeith Burns, 1990 T.C. Williams graduate – A three-sport star at T.C. Williams, Keith was named First Team All-Met, Northern Region Defensive Player of the Year and District Player of the Year for his performance on the gridiron his senior year. After high school, Keith made First Team All-America at Navarro College, and then played two seasons at Oklahoma State University, where he was an All-Big Eight pick each season. He went on to play 12 seasons for the Denver Broncos, with whom he won two Super Bowls and was honored with the 2002 Ed Block Courage Award given by each NFL team to the player most respected by his teammates.  [Football]

Tynita ButtsTynita Butts, 2009 T.C. Williams graduate – Ranked first in the nation in the high jump and second in the long jump her senior year, Tynita was honored as The Washington Post’s Track and Field Athlete of the Year, as well as Gatorade Athlete of the Year. She was a two-time Virginia State Champion and two-time Penn Relays Champion in the jumping events. Tynita attended East Carolina University, where she was a five-time NCAA All-American in the high jump, a three-time NCAA All-American in the long jump and Conference USA Track and Field Athlete of the Year.  [Track & Field]

Ed DoranEd Doran, 1959 Francis C. Hammond High School graduate – The leading scorer for the 1959 Admirals Northern District Championship basketball team, Ed was named First Team All-State and First Team All-Met his senior year. Ed went on to star at Carson-Newman University. Following college, Ed returned to his native Alexandria, where he served the public schools as a teacher and guidance counselor for 30 years. [Basketball]

Steve DouglasSteve Douglas, 1975 T.C. Williams graduate – A three-sport star in high school, Steve is generally recognized as the greatest baseball player ever produced at T.C. Williams. As a senior, he made First Team All-Met and First Team All-State in baseball. Drafted by the Minnesota Twins in the third round of the Major League Baseball draft, Steve played in the Twins’ organization from 1975-82, advancing to the AAA level before his career was ended by injury. Steve ended his career with a lifetime .290 average, including the 1978 season where he hit a career best .343 with 19 home runs and 106 RBI in Class A. [Baseball]

Michelle GriglioneMichelle Griglione, 1986 T.C. Williams graduate – A First Team All-Met swimmer, Michelle also excelled in the classroom. At T.C. Williams, she graduated second in her class, and then went on to study chemical engineering, earning her undergraduate degree at Stanford University and her Ph.D. at the University of Florida. At Stanford, Michelle was NCAA Champion in the 400-yard Individual Medley. A qualifier for the U.S. Olympic Trials in 1984, 1988, 1992 and 1996, Michelle went on to medal in her specialties, the butterfly and individual medley, in numerous international competitions, including a gold medal in the 200-meter butterfly at the 1994 Goodwill games.  [Swimming]

Cathy GrimesCathy Grimes, 1981 T.C. Williams graduate – While at T.C. Williams, Cathy was a four-year starter, MVP for three seasons and an Academic All-America her senior year. Cathy went on to star for the University of Virginia, where she received First Team All-ACC honors, was a finalist for National Player of the Year and NCAA Scholar Athlete of the Year. Cathy ended her career as UVA’s all-time leading scorer and was the first woman in UVA history to have her jersey retired. Cathy went on to earn her law degree from UVA and continued her involvement in athletics as a volunteer coach and mentor for young athletes.  [Basketball]

Charlotte HollingsCharlotte Hollings, 1982 T.C. Williams graduate – A First Team All-Met rower at T.C. Williams, Charlotte rowed in boats that garnered three national championships as well as a Stotesbury Cup title. She continued to row competitively after high school, competing in five World Championships, including rowing in the gold medal-winning boat in 1994. Charlotte has continued her involvement in the sport as a coach at T.C. Williams and also at the collegiate level, as director of the Florida Rowing Center and founder of Calm Waters Rowing Camp. [Rowing]

William 'Red' JacksonWilliam “Red” Jackson, 1948 Parker-Gray High School graduate – A three-sport star at Parker-Gray, Red played football collegiately at North Carolina A&T State University, where he was named to the Black College All-America Team in 1949 and 1950 and quarterbacked the Aggies to a Black College National Championship. He played professional baseball in the Negro League as well as professional football in the Canadian League. After his playing days, Red enjoyed a successful collegiate coaching career.  [Football & Baseball]

Sori KanuSori Kanu, 1995 T.C. Williams High School graduate – At T.C. Williams, Sori competed in indoor and outdoor track, but his passion was football, where he earned First Team All-State and First Team All-Met honors. Sori went on the play safety for four years at Michigan State University, followed by a professional career with the Detroit Lions. A first-generation American, Sori has consistently given back to the community as a volunteer youth coach and through his sponsorship of athletic camps in the Detroit area. [Football]

Earl LloydEarl Lloyd, 1949 Parker-Gray High School graduate – The driving force on the Parker-Gray Basketball “Dream Team” in the late 1940s, Earl went on to star at West Virginia State University, where he was named CIAA Player of the Decade for the 1940s. Earl was the first African-American player in the NBA as a member of the Washington Capitols, a charter Basketball Association of America team based in Washington, D.C. . Following a ten-year NBA career, including playing on the 1955 NBA championship team, Earl became the NBA’s first African-American assistant coach. In recognition of his skill and barrier-breaking achievements, Earl is a member of the NBA Hall of Fame.  [Basketball]

Chip Lubsen (Crew, TCW 1973)Walter “Chip” Lubsen, 1973 T.C. Williams graduate – As stroke of the Varsity 8 at T.C. Williams, Chip led the Titans’ crew in numerous state and national competitions, including the prestigious Royal Henley Regatta in London. Chip continued his rowing career at Cornell, then on the international stage. Chip was a member of three Olympic teams and was on the U.S. team that won a silver medal in the Heavyweight 8 at the 1984 Olympic Games. [Rowing]

Mike MansyMike Mansy, 1979 T.C. Williams – The first of a long line of outstanding T.C. Williams distance runners, Mike was undefeated in cross country his senior year, including a victory at the state championship meet. He capped his high school career by winning the Outdoor State Championship in the mile with a time of 4:13.3. Mike went on to compete for East Tennessee State University, where he was a three-time First Team All-Southern Conference selection. [Cross Country / Track & Field]

John O'ConnorJohn O’Connor, 1970 Francis C. Hammond High School graduate  – A three-sport star at Hammond, John is the only player ever to be named First Team All-State in both football and baseball. He is also the only player to be honored by the Alexandria Sportsman’s Club as one of the top 100 players in Alexandria history in two sports. John went on play baseball at State College of Florida, Manatee-Sarasota, where he earned All-America honors, then at the University of Georgia. Drafted twice by the Washington Senators and once by the Baltimore Orioles, John elected to forgo a professional career and returned to Alexandria, where he became a successful independent State Farm Insurance agent.  [Baseball & Football]

LaChina RobinsonLaChina Robinson, 1998 T.C. Williams graduate – A three-year basketball starter at T.C. Williams, LaChina received All-Met recognition her junior and senior years. She went on to start all four years at Wake Forest and was named to the 1999 ACC All-Freshman Team. LaChina went on to work with the basketball program at Georgia Tech and then as sports commentator for Fox Sports and ESPN. In 2009, she was the recipient of the Atlanta Dreams Women of Inspiration Award for her inspirational work in the community.  [Basketball]

Tierra Ruffin-PrattTierra Ruffin-Pratt, 2009 T.C. Williams graduate – The most decorated basketball player in T.C. Williams history, Tierra was named First Team All-America, the ninth-ranked high school prospect in the nation, two-time Virginia Gatorade Player of the Year, four-time All-Met (including two-time Player of the Year) and First Team All-State for two years. She went on to star at the University of North Carolina, where she was First Team All-ACC and All-Region 2. Tierra began her professional career with the Washington Mystics in 2013. Off the court, Tierra has been tireless in her efforts to promote athletics and good citizenship among youth in the Washington Metro area. [Basketball]

Martin SmithMartin Smith, 1970 T.C. Williams graduate – At T.C. Williams, Martin played basketball, football and baseball. He then was a three-year starter for the Bridgewater College basketball team. During his junior year, he took up track under the tutelage of the legendary Harry G.M. Jopson. This led to a successful running career in college and beyond, as well as a prolific coaching career. With stints at University of Virginia, University of Wisconsin, University of Oregon, University of Oklahoma and Iowa State University, Martin has led his teams to five National Championships and 25 Conference Championships. He has been named National Coach of the Year twice and Conference Coach of the Year nine times. [Basketball; Track & Field]

Harley 'Skeeter' SwiftHarley “Skeeter” Swift, 1965 George Washington High School graduate – Perhaps the most colorful athlete in the history of the city, Skeeter was the face of Alexandria sports in the early ‘60s. A three-sport star at George Washington, he was First Team All-Met and All-State. He went on to play basketball at East Tennessee State, where he was three-time Ohio Valley Conference Player of the Year. Drafted by both the NBA’s Milwaukee Bucks and the ABA’s New Orleans Buccaneers, he enjoyed a five-year career in the ABA, where he averaged 11.6 points per game.  [Basketball]

Craig TalleyCraig Talley, 1971 T.C. Williams graduate – The first individual track and field state champion in T.C. Williams history, Craig won the 880-yard run at the 1971 state meet in at time of 1:54.2. He then went on to place second in the nation at the same event at the Golden West Invitational in California with a time of 1:51.8. Craig went on to compete for Virginia Tech, then returned to Alexandria, where he pursued a lifelong career as a youth tennis instructor. [Track & Field]

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