My first thought after viewing the 12 people to be inducted next month into the Warren County Sports Hall of Fame is wow, what a class!
This is an all-star group that definitely ties up a few loose ends by including some obvious omissions to our Hall of Fame, most notably Russ Spivey and Babs Biles. In recent years those are the two names I’ve heard mentioned the most as players who need to be inducted.
I also like the inclusion of Bill Rutledge, definitely a top football player, and Paige Northcutt, an Olympic medalist. It can be pointed out Paige didn’t win her Olympic medal while living here, but she has become the face of Warren County swimming. She coaches the swim team, gives lessons to children, and is the most vocal advocate for the need for an indoor pool here.
Since the announcement of a new Hall of Fame class always generates discussion, here are a couple comments I would like to add.
The biggest thing that jumps out at me is the fact I’ve been covering Warren County sports for 26 years and not a single player I’ve covered while in a Pioneer uniform is inducted in our Sports Hall of Fame.
I did cover Bill Rutledge when he played for the Nashville Kats and I wrote about George Oleksik when he played for MTSU. I also covered Cat Walker when he pitched in the World Series, but these were all accomplishments after their Pioneer playing days.
What this means for our current Pioneer players is they weren’t even born when our Hall of Famers were making their mark. I think it would be neat to induct more recent players to make the honor seem not so distant to our students.
C.J. Taylor, the only Mr. Football in Warren County history, is a no-brainer to be inducted into our Hall of Fame. Why wait 10 years to do it? Include C.J. and a few other younger players in next year’s class.
Another thing that catches my eye is the inclusion of longtime band director Mike Chilcutt as an athletic contributor, a great choice. Including support personnel is certainly appropriate as the band, cheerleaders and Pioneerettes all contribute to the atmosphere.
As for a few names I think should be included in our Hall of Fame:
Freddy Hoover – I don’t know if he achieved fame playing for Warren County, but he ran in 12 straight Boston Marathons.
Todd Willmore – A former Pioneer player, he has represented our community well as a high school coach, swim team coach, and current athletic director.
Caleb Northcutt – Let’s not forget the Hall of Fame should be about honoring our best athletes. I missed the Jeff Womack days of the early 1980s. Northcutt is the best running back I’ve seen wear a Pioneer uniform since 1995.