Walker named to Tennessee Sports Hall of Fame
Walker named to Tennessee Sports Hall of Fame
Sunday, December 11, 2011

NASHVILLE (Dec. 11, 2011) – East Tennessee State University head track and field/cross country coach Dave Walker was one of ten inductees to The Tennessee Sports Hall of Fame, which was announced Sunday.

Walker, who received both his Bachelor’s and Master’s degrees from ETSU, has coached 34 All-Americans during his tenure in Johnson City. Not only has Walker led the Bucs to 22 cross country conference championships and 10 track and field conference titles, but he also groomed three Olympians – Ed Leddy, Neil Cusack, and Ray Flynn.

“It is with a great deal of pleasure that I am announcing the 2012 Class of Inductees for the Tennessee Sports Hall of Fame,” said Bill Emendorfer, president of the state-wide sports organization. “This year we have one of the most diverse classes of all time. It is not a typical class dominated by football players and basketball players but this year we have professionals from NASCAR, fishing, tennis and golf. Plus we have a true American War hero who has a Tennessee football background. This is truly a unique class.”

When asked about being named to the Tennessee Sports Hall of Fame, Walker was honored and surprised to be selected.

“It was a pleasant surprise when I received the news,” said Walker. “This is quite an accomplishment and it’s an honor to be named to the Hall of Fame. There are a lot of talented people who are already in the Hall of Fame and I’m grateful to join this elite group.”

In addition to being named to the Tennessee Sports Hall of Fame, Walker was also inducted into U.S. Track Coaches Association Hall of Fame (2003) and the ETSU Hall of Fame (1996).  

Walker has enjoyed a lot of success in cross country and track and field at ETSU, as he coached Neil Cusack to the 1972 NCAA Cross Country National Championship title, while his famous “Irish Brigade” team was the runner-up the same year. From 1970-83, Walker carried his cross country teams to 14 consecutive NCAA National Championship appearances, which was an NCAA record for a coach at the current time.

In terms of coaches and all-around people, Walker is one of the most well-respected individuals in the industry. Walker has received the U.S. Track Meet Directors Howard Schmertz Lifetime Achievement Award, while the NCAA Men’s South Regional Cross Country Coach of the Year honor has been named on his behalf.

The ten inductees will be enshrined at its annual banquet on Saturday, May 19, 2012, at the Renaissance Hotel in Nashville.

Below is a listing of the other inductees.

Rick Insell

Coach Insell, a 1977 graduate of Middle Tennessee, built a dynasty at Shelbyville High School, where he guided the Golden Eaglettes to a record 10 TSSAA Class AAA state championships and two USA Today National Championships (1989, 1991) as he compiled a sparkling 775-148 worksheet during his 28-year tenure. Insell was named USA Today National High School Coach of the Year in 1989 and 1991 and he also has been named Converse National High School Coach of the Year on two occasions (1990, 1992). Rick Insell is currently the Women’s Head Basketball Coach of the MTSU Blue Raiders where he coached them to their third consecutive tournament title.

Insell's teams holds the Tennessee state records for consecutive wins with 110, consecutive state titles with four (1989-1992), most state championships for a coach with 10.  During his time in Shelbyville he made sure his players get the job done in the classroom as evidenced by his teams receiving the TSSAA Distinguished Award for Academic Success from 1989-2000, an award based on team GPA. The lowest cumulative GPA at Shelbyville during this stretch is 3.4 and the highest is 3.98.

Insell's Shelbyville team received a special invitation to the Oval Office by President George Bush for academic and athletic achievement and his teams also have been honored in the United States Senate and House of Representatives, the Tennessee State House and Senate and by two Tennessee Governors.

James Marsalius

James "Jim" Marsalis (born October 10, 1945 in Pascagoula, Mississippi) was a college standout at Tennessee State University where he earned many honors including Senior of the year in 1968.   and professional American football player. A star at Tennessee State, he played nine professional seasons as a cornerback from 1969-1977 for the Kansas City Chiefs where he was drafted in the first round, and was awarded Rookie of The Year.  He played for the New Orleans Saints in 1977 and 1978.  He started in Super Bowl IV for the American Football League's Kansas City Chiefs, defeating the Minnesota Vikings in the last World Championship game played between the AFL Champions and those of the National Football League.  Jim went to the Pro-Bowl in 1970 and 71.  As a football coach Jim was a secondary coach at Middle Georgia College.

Gene Bartow

In 1977, Gene Bartow was at the top of the college basketball world. He was one of only three coaches to take two different programs to the Final Four of the NCAA Tournament and as the successor to legendary coach John Wooden at UCLA he had posted the best winning percentage in the history of the program with a 52-9 record after his first two years.

But his next move stunned basketball fans everywhere. Bartow left Los Angeles for Birmingham—and the chance to build a new program from scratch as the athletic director and head basketball coach at UAB.

Success came quickly. Bartow’s first team posted a 15-11 record; his second advanced to the postseason with a trip to the National Invitational Tournament (NIT); and his third won 23 games en route to the NCAA Tournament, which started a string of seven straight tournament appearances, including a trip to the Elite Eight in 1981. In the first eight years of the program, UAB produced three All-Americans.

By the time Bartow retired from coaching in 1996, he had led UAB to nine NCAA Tournament appearances, five NIT appearances, and six conference championships. He was succeeded as head coach by his son, Murry, a former UAB player and assistant coach. In 1997, the on-campus arena at UAB was renamed Bartow Arena in honor of the man who did so much for the program. He remained as athletic director until 2000.

With 647 career wins and 12 NCAA Tournament appearances, Bartow ranks in the top 20 on the list of winningest NCAA Division I basketball coaches. He was inducted into the Alabama Sports Hall of Fame in 1989 and will be inducted into the Collegiate Basketball Hall of Fame in November 2009.

Bill Dance

Raised in Lynchburg, Tennessee, Dance planned to become a doctor, like his father Joseph Bowers and grandfather before him, but changed his mind after happening upon a grisly motorcycle accident in the early 1960s. He then turned his focus to competing in bass tournaments. A fishing lure manufacturer that sponsored him suggested he should start a TV show to promote the product. The program originally began on an ABC affiliate in Memphis, Tennessee, in 1968.

Tournament Information: 23 National Bass Titles; Bassmaster Classic Qualifier 8 out of 9 years and finished 2nd in 1973. Three time B.A.S.S. Angler of the Year - 1970, 1974 & 1977. Of 78 total B.A.S.S. entries, finished 64 times in the money. 7 wins, 8 times runner up, 6 third place, 40 top ten finishes (51% of tournaments entered) and 51 top 20 finishes (65%). In first 11 tournaments, was only out of the top 7 once. Won 7 of the first

Tim Jackson

Did not begin playing competitively until age 17... Is currently the president-elect of the Tennessee Golf Association ... A member of the Memphis Sports Hall of Fame and the Southern Golf Association Hall of Fame ... Will be inducted into the Tennessee Golf Hall of Fame in November. A business entrepreneur, he is a certified public accountant. Once was a president of Automotive Fleet Resources. At one time has held partnerships in hotels and apartments; partner in CPA firm (Barton and Jackson) into late 1990s. Today is a real estate developer. Jackson defeated Tommy Brennan, 1up, to win the 1994 U.S. Mid-Amateur Championship. Reached the quarterfinals of the 1994 U.S. Amateur championship. In the 2001 U.S. Mid-Amateur he beat George Zahringer, 1 up, with a birdie on the 36th hole. Played in more than 35 USGA Championship, reached at least the quarterfinals at six U.S. Mid-Amateurs

Gibby Gilbert

C.L. "Gibby" Gilbert II (born January 14, 1941 in Chattanooga) is an American professional golfer who has won tournaments on both the PGA Tour and Champions Tour. His father started him in golf at the age of 13. He attended the University of Chattanooga. He turned pro in 1965 and joined the PGA Tour in 1967.  Gilbert had dozens of top 10 finishes on the PGA Tour and three victories. Gilbert's best finish at a major was a T-2 at the 1980 Masters, when he and Jack Newton finished four strokes behind the champion. Gilbert has had a lifelong interest in helping young people develop their golf skills. Since 1973, he has made annual appearances for the Tennessee PGA's Junior Golf Academy at Fall Creek Falls.

Zan Guerry

The 62-year-old Guerry’s stellar net career, which includes more than 25 national championships in singles and double and three All-American seasons at Rice University (1969-71).  Mr. Guerry was inducted into the Collegiate Tennis Hall of Fame in Athens, Ga.

Guerry’s hall of fame net resume includes winning national titles in five decades starting with Boys’ 11s Singles in 1960 and most recently a national Senior Father-Son crown with Jeff Guerry.  One would be hard pressed to match Guerry’s run of national gold balls (emblematic of a national championship) for singles titles won in the 11s, 14s, 16s 18s, 35s, 40, and 45s, along with numerous doubles titles.  Other highlights including winning a singles match at the French Open (1969) as well as at Wimbledon (1973) and posting two wins at the 1977 U.S. Open before losing to Jimmy Connors.

Brig. General Austin Conner Shofner-Posthumous      

Austin Shofner was born in Chattanooga and raised at an ancestral home in Bedford County, Tenn. He graduated in 1937 from the University of Tennessee, where he lettered in wrestling and football.

Brig. Gen. Austin Conner Shofner, the marine who got word to the outside world of the infamous Bataan Death March of 1942 after he engineered the first and only successful American team escape from a Japanese prisoner-of-war camp.  The desperate plight of the prisoners, as reported by General Shofner's 10-man group, led to changes in Allied strategy and tactics in the Pacific that were credited with saving the lives of thousands of servicemen. For his exploits then and as a guerrilla leader afterward, he was decorated with the Distinguished Service Cross by Gen. Douglas MacArthur.   In prison camp he remembered the axioms of football that had been drilled into him at Tennessee. One seemed especially made for his situation: Play for the breaks, and when they come your way, score.

Jeff Byrd-Posthumous

Jeff Byrd, who grew up on the flatlands of central North Carolina, moved to the mountains of Tennessee in mid-career and turned himself into a NASCAR superstar of sorts. Byrd arrived at Bristol Motor Speedway to take the helm of the race track in 1996 and, in 2003, was named its president. He was part of the Winston mafia, that core group of bright young people who worked for the R.J. Reynolds Tobacco Co. from the 1970s to 1990s and helped transform NASCAR racing. Several – Byrd among them – would advance from public relations and management careers in Reynolds’ sports marketing division to leadership roles at NASCAR speedways.  He was the face and heart of the track.

About the Tennessee Sports Hall of Fame

The Tennessee Sports Hall of Fame, a non-profit 501c3, was founded by a group known as the Middle Tennessee Sportswriters and Broadcasters Association. Its early growth was due largely to three of the founders: C. E. Jackson Jr., Charlie Sons, and the Rev. A. Richard Smith. The late Bernie Moore, retired commissioner of the SEC, and the late Bishop Frank Julian guided the fledgling Tennessee Sports Hall of Fame in its struggle for recognition. In 1966, the prep sportswriters and sportscasters spent their last $300 to finance the first banquet.

The State Legislature, under the leadership of Speaker of the House Jimmy Naifeh and Lieutenant Governor John Wilder along with Representative Bill Purcell and Senator Robert Rochelle, passed legislation in 1994 to officially create the Tennessee Sports Hall of Fame.

The legislation passed unanimously in both the House and the Senate of the 98th General Assembly. Very seldom in the history in the state of Tennessee has a piece of legislation ever passed unanimously or as quickly as the "Tennessee Sports Hall of Fame Act of 1994."

The creation of the Act began a new era in the history of the Tennessee Sports Hall of Fame. A new Board was founded composed of 25 Tennessee citizens, eight each appointed by the Governor, the Lieutenant Governor, and the Speaker of the House; the 25th member of the Board is the State Treasurer or his designee. No more than eight of the appointed members shall reside in a grand division of the state.

The organizers of the Tennessee Sports Hall of Fame are grateful to their sponsors for making the commemoration possible; to the citizens of Tennessee, whose enthusiasm has driven the event forward; to the many who have brought wonderful individuals to the attention of the selection committee; and, of course, to the inductees, who have contributed immeasurably to their teams and their communities.

For more information on the Tennessee Sports Hall of Fame, visit http://www.tshf.net/.

For more information on Buccaneer athletics, visit ETSUBucs.com.