Blount Press Row

The F5s

Alcoa announces school’s first Hall of Fame class

Former Alcoa boys basketball coach Vernon Osborne headlines an impressive group as part of the school’s inaugural Hall of Fame class. The grouping of F5 Tornadoes will be inducted during halftime ceremonies at Friday’s football game.

From: Dr. Brian Bell
Director, Alcoa City Schools

Breaking state and national athletic records on the Alcoa High School campus in football and boys and girls basketball, knocking down racial barriers in state and regional athletic competitions, but most importantly setting high standards for others to follow are the combined accomplishments of 10 former Alcoa players, coaches and leaders.

The inaugural class of the Alcoa High School Athletics Hall of Fame will be recognized at the school’s football game on Friday at halftime of the game vs. Gatlinburg Pittman.

Former Tornadoes to be honored include: Volta Francis (V.F.) Goddard, Vernon Osborne, Bill Bailey, David Marsh, Dawn Marsh, Herman Thompson, Jim Riddick, David Davis, Shannon Mitchell, and Albert Davis.

“The Hall of Fame will recognize and honor outstanding achievements of individuals, coaches and contributors in the athletic program who have promoted and continue to support the growth of athletics at Alcoa High School,” Bell said. “We want to use this venue and this group of people to display to our current and future students and the Alcoa community the athletic accomplishments of people who have been instrumental in creating an excellent athletic tradition at our high school.”

The inductees will be recognized at a Hall of Fame reception in the school’s upstairs rotunda at 6 p.m.

“Permanent plaques honoring each of them have been placed in the library hallway to serve as a reminder to students of the school’s deep heritage,” Alcoa athletics director Josh Stephens said.

During halftime Friday, each honoree, their families or representative will be presented on Goddard Field.

V.F. Goddard — In addition to serving as the Alcoa City Schools Superintendent from 1924-1957, and initiating sports at Alcoa in 1924, Goddard became one of the early leaders of the Tennessee Secondary Schools Athletic Association (TSSAA). He served as its president for seven years and was on the organization’s Board of Governors from 1935-1957, where he was instrumental in hiring the first TSSAA Executive Director, A.F. Bridges. The AHS football field was named in his honor in 1964 and he was inducted into the TSSAA Hall of Fame in 2015. Goddard was a member of the Tennessee General Assembly from 1961 to 1967. Dr. Goddard passed away in 1975.

Vernon Osborne — Osborne served as the head basketball coach at Alcoa High from 1950- 1989. His early teams played at the Springbrook gym. He continues to rank in the top 25 in the nation for winningest coaches in high school boys basketball. When he retired, Osborne had achieved 865 wins with 327 losses, a .725 winning percentage that included 20 district titles, 12 regional championships, 10 state tournament appearances, two state-runner up titles and two state championships (1959 and 1967). More notably than these statistics, Osborne changed the face of high school basketball in Tennessee when he became the first head basketball coach in Blount County to include an African-American on his team. Osborne would have kept his team at home at the district tournament had they not allowed David Davis (another inductee) to compete. Coach “O” currently resides in Alcoa.

Bill Bailey — Bailey served as the AHS head football coach from 1950-1956 and 1960-1965. His 92 wins, 32 losses, 6 ties, and a .731 winning percentage led him to being named the 1954 Tennessee Coach of the Year. He led his team to a 29-game winning streak spanning nearly three seasons in the 1950s. Bailey was known for creating a new strategy for every contest and proudly saw his teams have a five-year winning streak against cross-town rival Maryville. Two of the current Alcoa City School board members, Mickey McClurg and Charles Cameron, both played on a Bailey team. Between his two terms as Alcoa’s head coach, Bailey led Emory and Henry University’s football team with a 19-8 record and a conference title in 1959. After leaving the coaching ranks, Bailey served as principal of AHS from 1966-1974, and then Superintendent of Alcoa City Schools from 1984-1988. Like Goddard, Bailey has been inducted into the TSSAA Hall of Fame, the initial class of the Blount County Sports Hall of Fame, and in 2005 the AHS Football Stadium was named in his honor. Coach Bailey passed away in 1996.

David Marsh –– Marsh will be inducted to the inaugural class as an athlete and boys’ basketball and girls’ softball head coach. Marsh served as the head basketball coach from 1989-2002 with 333 wins and 89 losses, a .787 winning percentage that included 11 district titles, eight regional championships, six state tournament appearances and a state runner-up in 1992. As girls’ softball coach, Marsh accumulated 84 wins, 19 losses and three state tournament appearances. He has also been inducted into the Blount County Sports Hall of Fame and the AHS basketball court was recently named in his honor. Marsh, who currently teaches driver’s education at AHS, is also to be recognized at the induction ceremony for his achievements on the basketball court as he was named All-American, All- District, All-Region, All-County and All-State Tournament in 1967. He continued his basketball career at Union University, where he was named on the 1971 Little All-American Team and later the Union University Hall of Fame. Marsh intimidated his opponents as the “master of basketball defense” and one Knoxville sports writer claimed he was the best defensive basketball player he had ever seen. His sophomore year, the Alcoa boys team was not expected to compete in the state tournament with two starting sophomores. Marsh and fellow inductee David Davis rose to acclaim as members of the “Mighty Mites”.

David Davis — The fellow “Mighty Mite” Davis, another member of the Alcoa High School Class of 1967, will be recognized for his athletic achievements in two sports: football and basketball. He broke the racial barrier as the first African American to play in the TSSAA Boys state Basketball Tournament. Davis was named Honorable Mention All-American in 1967, All-State in 1966 and 1967, Honorable Mention in 1965, All-East Tennessee in 1967, All-Region and All-District Tournament in 1965-1967, plus All-Blount County in 1966 and 1967 and All-State Tournament in 1965, 1966 and 1967. In football he received similar accolades: Honorable Mention All-State in 1965-1966 and 2nd Team All-East Tennessee in 1965. He elected to play at Tennessee State University from 1967-1971 and then joined the National Football League with the Green Bay Packers (1971-1972), the Pittsburgh Steelers (1973) and the New Orleans Saints (1974). Davis has been inducted in the Tennessee State Sports Hall of Fame and also in the initial class of the Blount County Sports Hall of Fame. Davis currently lives in Decatur, GA.

Jim Riddick — Riddick, a member of the 1959 State Champion basketball team, was named MVP of the state tournament with 21 rebounds and 15 points in the championship game. He was named three-time All-Region Tournament (1957-1959) and is the current AHS record holder with 1,794 career rebounds and season rebounds with 575. Riddick continued his basketball career at East Tennessee State University, where he served as captain his senior year. He returned to Blount County to become head basketball coach at Townsend, Porter and William Blount high schools. In 2002, he was inducted into the Blount County Sports Hall of Fame. Riddick currently lives in Alcoa.

Albert Davis — Another gridiron star to be recognized is Albert Davis, Class of 1967, who was named All-State, All-East Tennessee and All-County in 1965 and 1966. Davis was named All-American in 1965 and 1966 and Parade All-American in 1966. He was the first African American from Tennessee to be named All-South in 1965.Davis was the first African American to participate in integrated sports in Blount County in 1963. His famed number 32 jersey was retired and he was named Blount County’s Best High School Football player over the past quarter century in 1983. He continued his football career at Tennessee State University from 1967-1971 before joining the National Football League with the Philadelphia Eagles (1971). Davis also played with the World Football League’s New York Stars (1974) and the Honolulu Hawaiians (1974-1975). He was inducted into the Knoxville Sports Hall of Fame in 1997 and the initial class of the Blount County Sports Hall of Fame. Davis currently resides in Louisville.

Herman Thompson — Thompson’s basketball jersey No. 22 is the only Alcoa High School basketball jersey to be retired because of his record scoring titles and for being the most successful basketball player in the school’s history. While at Alcoa, he played at the Springbrook gym and in 1953 became the first Blount County basketball player to be named All-State. Thompson was MVP of the 1953 Region tournament and was named two-time all-region tournament, all-district tournament and all-county in 1952 and 1953. He is the AHS record holder in most points in a game at 42, set in 1953 and continued his scoring dominance at the University of Tennessee. He served as captain of the 1956-1957 Volunteer basketball team and currently ranks in the top 25 all-time scorers at UT. He was named to the University of Tennessee All-Century Team in 2009 and inducted in the first class of the Blount County Sports Hall of Fame.

Shannon Mitchell — Mitchell, a graduate with the 1990 class, was named to the Preseason Street and Smith All- American team, All-State, All-East Tennessee, all-county and was a Mr. Football Finalist. He led his team to the 1989 state championship victory. Mitchell’s football talents continued as a four-year starter for the University of Georgia. He was named All-SEC Freshman team in 1990, All-SEC team and second team All-American in 1993. While a Georgia Bulldog, Mitchell set records with single game pass receptions at 15, career receptions for tight ends, and receptions in a season for tight ends. He joined the National Football League with the San Diego Chargers from 1994- 1997 which included the 1995 Super Bowl. Mitchell was inducted into the Blount County Sports Hall of Fame in 2004. He currently resides in Alcoa.

Dawn Marsh — Representing a host of successful female athletes who graduated from Alcoa High School is Dawn Marsh, a 1984 graduate who led the Lady Tornado basketball team to the state championship game and a second-place finish, earning MVP for the state tournament. An Honorable Mention All-American, Marsh continued her basketball honors for the University of Tennessee Lady Vols from 1984-1988, under the direction of famed coach Pat Head Summitt. During her stint at UT, Marsh was a member of the 1987 national championship team and competed in three NCAA Final Four tournaments. She was a four-year starter, elected to the SEC All-Tournament team in 1985 and set many assist records including career assists at 767, season assists at 244 and game assists at 18. Upon her UT graduation, Marsh became the assistant coach at the University of South Alabama and Mercer from 1991 until 1994. She became girls head coach at Duluth High School from 1994 until 2004, where she also coached softball and golf. She joined the ranks of the NCAA as a basketball official in 2004 and continues to serve in that capacity. Marsh was named by Blount Press Row as one of Blount County’s Top 50 women athletes of the Title IX era in 2012 and was inducted into the Blount County Sports Hall of Fame in 2005. She currently lives in Lawrenceville, Ga.

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