Five Inducted into Fayetteville Sports Club Hall of Fame

Special To The NCHSAA from The Fayetteville Observer

FAYETTEVILLE –Friends, family, rivals and co-workers gathered at the Crown Coliseum banquet room recently to share memories and hear a few stories as the Fayetteville Sports Club honored its 12th class of Hall of Fame inductees.

Ushered into the hall, which includes the hanging of a plaque for each inductee inside the coliseum, were long-time recreation league coach and city athletic official George Crumbley, South View football coach Randy Ledford, Fayetteville Observer sports editor Thomas Pope, amateur golfer Gary Robinson and Appalachian State track and field coach John Weaver.

Still pictures of each inductee were displayed for the audience after brief remarks by master of ceremonies Mac Edwards, followed by introductory speeches for each honoree and remarks by the inductees themselves.

"You don't ever expect anything like this,'' said Crumbley, who headed up the athletic program for the city of Fayetteville from 1950-66.

"Back then it was more personal,'' Crumbley said. "We only had the one field at Honeycutt when it first started. If they didn't want to play football or baseball they came inside and played games.

"You don't have much of that today. It was a great 16 years for me. It's a good thing to remember.''

Veteran South View statistician Mike Molin introduced Ledford, saying that the longtime football and former baseball coach at South View "epitomizes integrity.'' Molin was pinch-hitting for former Seventy-First baseball coach Ted Chappell, who coached Ledford in high school, but was unable to attend because of back surgery. Molin presented Ledford with a baseball from Chappell that was autographed by Chappell's former teammate, pro baseball great Jim "Catfish" Hunter.

Ledford noted that he's the eighth coach with a connection to South View to be inducted into the Hall of Fame. "It means a great deal,'' he said. "It speaks a lot for the group of people that have been there, worked together, did things together and shared good athletes.''

Although South View's enrollment has been cut into twice with the creation of Jack Britt and Gray's Creek, Ledford said the school still has a small-town atmosphere. "For all of us to win, it had to be the kids and their parents that raised them, gave us some kids that were exceptional athletes,'' Ledford said.

Pope was presented by his children, Michael and Leigh Anne, who said their father led by example and set the bar pretty high.


With his induction Pope and his father Arnold became only the second father-son duo inducted into the hall. The first was golfer Raymond Floyd and his father L.B. Arnold, a senior weightlifter, veteran official and Scottish Games competitor, was inducted last year.

Pope, who spent much of his career at the Fayetteville Observer covering motorsports before being promoted to sports editor, said it's nice to be appreciated by the people he has covered for decades. "I consider it a very elite group, and I'm kind of in awe of the whole thing,'' he said.

"I was just interested in covering and writing sports,'' he said. "A lot of awesome things have happened to me in the last year as far as personal rewards, writing awards and recognition in the motorsports industry. This was the icing on the cake, a very humbling deal.'' 

Pope said his only favorites in the business are guys who have good quotes in them. "People like that make this job fun,'' he said.

Robinson's daughter, Jennifer Dreier, called her father a man who exudes passion for golf.

Robinson, a seven-time winner of the county golf championship, said the recognition was something you don't think about. "I never, ever thought I would enter the Hall of Fame,'' he said. "I know the guys that entered before me, Chip Beck, L.B. Floyd, Steve Conley, it takes perseverance and longevity, which I'm proud of.

"It means the world to me.''

Weaver, a self-described Army brat, settled in Fayetteville through the military and graduated from Seventy-First High School before becoming Douglas Byrd's first track coach. He said he built the track team by taking players that were cut from the school's first football team.

"It's the farthest thing from my mind that this would happen,'' Weaver said of his recognition. "It's really heartwarming for me to know they feel that much about me,'' he said of local friends he felt contributed to his selection.

Weaver said the lessons he learned at Byrd on how to build a team and train athletes carried over to his success at Appalachian State. "All those experiences and all those things worked for me at Appalachian,'' he said.

Weaver said his most favorite moments are hugging his athletes and shaking their hands when they graduate, and being there when his athletes set personal bests on the track.

With the induction of this year's class, the hall's membership now stands at 58. The first class was inducted in 2003.