The variety of athletic options available in North Carolina are as diverse as the state’s geography and population.
It’s a fact that will be on full display later this week, when the newest members of the North Carolina Sports Hall of Fame are inducted Friday at a ceremony at the Raleigh Convention Center.
The 15-member Class of 2018 is comprised of players, coaches and officials from traditional pursuits such as baseball, basketball, football, tennis and golf. But there’s also a surfer and a speedskater in the group.
“The achievements of this year’s class of inductees enrich North Carolina’s remarkable sports heritage, and the individuals have certainly earned the honor of joining the 336 men and women who have been previously enshrined,” Nora Lynn Finch, president of the state shrine, said in a statement.
This year’s inductees include (*indicates posthumous):
A native of Lynchburg, Va., Andrews first made a name for herself as a college golfer at North Carolina who won the prestigious North and South Amateur at Pinehurst in 1988. After turning professional in 1990, she went on to win six LPGA tournaments, including a major title at the 1994 Nabisco Dinah Shore while representing the U.S. at the Solheim Cup in 1994 and ’98. Now retired from competition, Andrews is a respected golf instructor at Pine Needles Resort.
Bankhead enjoyed a standout amateur career at Reidsville High School and UNC, while also representing the U.S. in the 1984 Olympics, before becoming the 16th overall pick in the 1984 Major League Baseball draft by the Kansas City Royals. The right-hander made his Major League debut with the Royals on May 25, 1986, and played 10 seasons with five different teams, going 57-48 with 614 career strikeouts.
Hal “Skinny” Brown*
Nicknamed by his parents because he was a chubby child, Brown was a knuckleball specialist who pitched for five Major League teams from 1951-64. He compiled an 85-92 record, with 3.81 earned run average, 47 complete games and 13 shutouts. Before his time on the diamond, the Greensboro native served as an Air Force gunner who was on a bomber that provided air support for the D-Day landings on Omaha Beach.
Still considered one of the greatest hitters in NC State baseball history, Cammack was a four-time All-ACC selection at third base who led the Wolfpack to the 1968 College World Series and hit a school-record .429 the following season. In addition to his prowess on the baseball field, he was also a star point guard who helped the basketball team at Fayetteville High School to a 4A state championship.
A Greensboro native who began his career as an inline skater before switching over to ice, Cheek won three Olympic medals, including a gold with a dominating performance in the 500 meters at Turin, Italy, in 2006. Cheek was elected by his teammates to carry the U.S. flag in the closing ceremonies in Turin and has gone on to co-found Team Darfur, an international organization of athletes working to call attention to the humanitarian crisis related to the war in Darfur.
A star receiver and punter for Duke in the late 1960s, the Edenton native was the leading pass-catcher in ACC history when he finished his career with the Blue Devils. Chesson caught 164 passes for 2,399 yards and 10 touchdowns. His 74 receptions and 1,080 receiving yards in 1970 were also single-season conference records at the time. Chesson played in the NFL for the Atlanta Falcons and was a long-time analyst on the Duke radio network.
DuPont holds the distinction of being the first woman to win a national championship in any sport at UNC, as well as the school’s first female All-American. In addition to winning singles tennis titles in 1968, ’70 and ’71, along with a doubles crown in ’70, the Charlotte product was also a member of the Tar Heels’ women’s basketball team and was named North Carolina’s AAU Athlete of the Year in 1970. She joined the women’s professional tennis tour after graduation, rising to a world ranking as high as No. 9.
Mindy Ballou Fitzpatrick
A four-time all-conference player in volleyball and All-American in basketball, Ballou Fitzpatrick is the only West Carteret High athlete to have his or her jersey retired. She then set a South Carolina school record for assists in a season while ranking second on the Gamecocks’ career list. Following her graduation in 1986, she became a surfing champion, with five Eastern Surfing Association titles to her credit.
Hayes became the first African-American football coach in the ACC in 1973 when he was hired as an assistant at Wake Forest. He got his first head coaching job at Winston-Salem State, where he won three CIAA championships and twice took his team to the NCAA Division II playoffs before moving on to NC A&T in 1988. A graduate of NC Central, Hayes earned a record of 195-104-2 in 27 seasons and finished his career as the winningest coach in the history of both Winston-Salem State and A&T.
A high school teammate of Roman Gabriel at New Hanover, Holley is best known as the winningest coach in North Carolina history. His teams won 412 games over 46 seasons, mostly at Wallace-Rose Hill and Tabor City high schools. Holley’s teams made 14 state championship game appearances, winning his only title in 2008 with Harrells Academy.
Another legendary high school coach, Jones won 662 games, 18 conference championships and two state titles during his 38 seasons from 1957-95 at Kinston High. A native of Thomasville and a graduate of East Carolina, he also coached a state championship baseball team.
The longtime baseball coach at Florida State, Martin has the most wins and the highest winning percentage of any active college coach in the nation. He has won more than 1,900 games and led the Seminoles to 16 College World Series appearances. As a player, the Gastonia native was a junior college All-American at Wingate before hitting .354 as a senior at Florida State in 1965.
Frank “Jakie” May*
A left-handed pitcher from Wendell, May won 72 games with a 3.88 ERA in a 14-year Major League Baseball career with three National League teams from 1917-32. His best season was 1927, when he won 15 games with the Cincinnati Reds.
A former football star at Rose High in Greenville and in college at Elon, West is one of the most recognizable umpires in Major League Baseball. The longest-tenured umpire in the game with more than 40 years of experience, West has worked six World Series, nine league championship series and three All-Star Games.
A friend and business partner of Michael Jordan, Whitfield is the president and CEO of the Charlotte Hornets. He was a captain and basketball team MVP at Campbell who was inducted into the school’s sports hall of fame in 1995. In addition to his work in sports, the Greensboro native has been active in numerous civic causes that have benefitted young people in the Charlotte area.