RALEIGH -- We're nearing one of the most exciting weeks of the year for sports enthusiast in North Carolina. The North Carolina Sports Hall of Fame is proud to induct this year's 2018 class featuring a standout golfer, an Olympic speed skater, an All-American pitcher and a champion tennis player just to name a few.
Spectrum News anchor Caroline Blair sat down with Bobby Guthrie, associate executive director for the North Carolina Sports Hall of Fame, for an In Depth look at the 55th annual induction class.
Here’s a look at the bios provided by the NCSHOF:
DONNA ANDREWS: An outstanding golfer, Andrews won a major title on the LPGA Tour as well as five other tournaments during her time on the tour from 1990 to 2005. She finished in the top ten in money earned in a season three times. The Lynchburg, Va. native is now a teaching pro in Pinehurst.
SCOTT BANKHEAD: Bankhead, an All-American pitcher at North Carolina, had a 10-year major league career, including six with the Seattle Mariners with whom he won 14 games in 1989. The Raleigh native and Asheboro resident produced two of the best seasons in Tar Heel history.
HAL “SKINNY” BROWN *: Brown pitched for six teams in his major league career, which spanned from 1951 to ‘64. His best season came in 1960 with the Orioles. Baltimore battled the Yankees all summer for first place in the American League race before finishing second. Brown, born in Greensboro, went 12-5 with a 3.06 ERA that season.
CHRIS CAMMACK*: Almost 50 years after graduation, Cammack still ranks as one of N.C. State’s best all-around baseball players. The Fayetteville native starred at third base for four years, earning all-ACC honors four times and set the Wolfpack record for single-season batting average with a .429 mark in 1969. He was also a point guard on a state championship high school basketball team at Fayetteville High.
JOEY CHEEK: Cheek, a Greensboro native, has won three Olympic medals in speed skating. He began as an inline skater as a teen before switching to speed skating. He won medals in the 2002 and 2006 Olympic Games. He is also a well-known humanitarian, co-founding Team Darfur, an international association of athletes devoted to raising awareness of humanitarian crises related to the war in Darfur.
WES CHESSON: Chesson, a native of Edenton, played for former Duke star Jerry McGee in high school at Holmes High and then went on to Duke himself. He was a star receiver and punter for the Blue Devils in the late 1960’s. By the time he graduated, he was the leading receiver in ACC history and was drafted by the Atlanta Falcons.
LAURA DUPONT *: A native of Louisville, Ky., DuPont moved to Charlotte as a teenager and quickly dominated the state’s junior tennis tournaments. She attended North Carolina where she won the pre-NCAA national collegiate championship. After graduation she joined the WTA Tour, where she was a standout in both singles and doubles.
MINDY BALLOU FITZPATRICK: Fitzpatrick, a native of Carteret County, was a volleyball and basketball standout at West Carteret High School. She went on to become a collegiate basketball star at South Carolina, where she played from 1983-86 and was a three-time All-American. She later became a championship surfer.
BILL HAYES: Hayes spent 27 years as a college head football coach and won 195 games, including stints at North Carolina A&T (1988-2002) and Winston-Salem State (1976-87). After his coaching career, he served as athletic director at his alma mater, North Carolina Central, Florida A&M and Winston-Salem State.
JACK HOLLEY*: Holley was an outstanding athlete at New Hanover High School and graduated from Guilford College. He coached an amazing 46 years at the high school level and his football teams won a whopping 412 games, which placed him in the top ten nationally at one time. His stops included Tabor City and two long stints at Wallace-Rose Hill, among others.
PAUL JONES*: Jones, born in Thomasville and a graduate of East Carolina, compiled a brilliant basketball coaching record at Kinston High School. He spent 38 seasons there, from 1957 through ’95, and his teams won 662 games and 18 conference championships along with two North Carolina High School Athletic Association state titles and four runner-up finishes. He also coached a team to a state title in baseball.
MIKE MARTIN: Martin has built one of the greatest collegiate baseball programs in the country in his 38 years at Florida State. The Charlotte native, a graduate of Garinger High, has the most wins and the highest winning percentage of any active coach. Under his direction, Florida State has become a fixture in the national polls and NCAA Tournament play.
FRANK “JAKIE” MAY*: Growing up in Wendell, May had a 14-year major league career. The lefthander pitched for three National League teams between the 1917 and 1932 seasons. He had 72 major league wins, including 15 for Cincinnati in 1927, and finished his career with a 3.88 ERA.
JOE WEST: West was born in Asheville, graduated from Rose High in Greenville and played football at Elon. He is the longest tenured umpire currently working in major league baseball, with over 40 seasons, and prior to his induction in the Hall has worked in six World Series, nine League Championship series and three All-Star games.
FRED WHITFIELD: Whitfield has teamed with Michael Jordan to give Charlotte one of the best-run franchises in pro basketball. President and chief operating officer of the franchise, which he joined in 2006, the native of Greensboro graduated from Campbell University and is in that school’s sports Hall of Fame. Thousands of young people in Charlotte have benefited greatly by his civic work over the years.
The 55th annual North Carolina Hall of Fame induction banquet is set for Friday, May 4 at the Raleigh Convention Center. Ticket information for the banquet is available by emailing Don Fish at firstname.lastname@example.org or call (919) 845-3455. And for those who can't make it, the Hall of Fame does have a free permanent exhibit on the 3rd floor of the North Carolina History Museum in Raleigh.