DeKalb County (Alabama) Sports Hall of Fame

Class of 1998

Billy Ray Brown Billy Ray Brown
BIlly was born March 12, 1932. He was a three sport athlete at Dekalb County High School. From 1947 - 1950 he lettered in football. He was captain of the team in 1949. He was All-County two years. He lettered for three years in basketball, served as captain in 1950. He was an All-County basketball player from 1949 - 1950. Billy was a member of the 1945 American Legion baseball team. He led his team to the North Alabama Championship. He played on the Fort Payne DeSotos baseball team from 1949 to 1957. He played football and basketball at the University of Chattanooga from 1950 to 1957 (he took two years off to serve in the Army). At UC he lettered four years in football. He served as captain for two years. He was selected best all-around athletic in 1953. In 1953, he was selected second team Little All American. At UC Billy also played basketball, where he lettered four years. He was selected captain of the basketball team for two years. 
Cochran John E. Cochran, Jr.
Born on May 22, 1944 near Dawson, Alabama, Cochran was a 1962 graduate of Crossville High School where he lettered four years in three sports. He made All County and All District in Basketball - All State as a junior, All State and All American as a senior. He was a three time Academic All SEC fullback and linebacker at Auburn University. He was chosen as a College Football Foundation and Hall of Fame Earl "Red" Blaik Scholar Athlete in 1965. Cochran played in the 1964 Orange Bowl, 1965 Liberty Bowl and 1965 Blue/Gray game. He received a NCAA Post Graduate Fellowship and attended Auburn and the University of Texas, earning a Ph.D. in Aerospace Engineering at the latter institution. He joined the faculty at Auburn in 1969 and while a professor in the Department of  Aerospace Engineering also served as Associate Director of Athletics from 1981 to 1984.
Cole Richard Cole
Crossville High School 1959 - 1962. All County football in 1961 and 1962 (team record 26-3-1). Crossville High School MVP, DeKalb County Most Valuable Lineman and All State, team captain in 1962. Played at University of Alabama for Coach Paul "Bear" Bryant in 1963-1966. "A" Club member, Most Valuable Defensive Player Award and All American in 1966. Played on teams that were 30-2-1 and won two national titles. Permanent captain of the undeafeated SEC Chapionship team. Charter member of Fellowship of Christian Athletes. Coached three years of high school football at Albertville High. Principal of McCord Elementary School in Albertville for past several years.
Edmondson Fred Edmondson
Born May 15, 1933 and deceased in 1990. Three-sport at Geraldine High School. Scored over 2,500 points in basketball making All County three years, All District two years, and All State his senior year. Played in the North/South All-Star game and was elected MVP. Played three sports his freshman year at the University of Georgia making first team in basketball and baseball, and second team in football. Drafted into service for two years then returned to Georgia serving as basketball team Co-Captain two years and Captain his senior year. Voted best defensive player in SEC his junior year. Was known for his ball-hawking and passing skills. Scored 1,015 points (fourth on the all-time list at University of Georgia at the time) and was awarded the school's MVP award. Coached five years in the DeKalb County, GA school system.
Harris Ronnie Harris
Born May 8, 1942 in Geraldine, AL. Was four sport star — football, basketball, baseball and track— at Geraldine High School. All County three years and All-District two years in basketball. Served as team captain two years. Ronnie was awarded a dual scholarship for football and basketball to Jacksonville State University. Started in both sports for four years. Was team captain in both. Selected MVP in basketball in 1964. Played on the tennis team for one year. Selected to the list of "Top Athlete" at JSU. After receiving doctorate from University of Alabama, he served as Chairman of the Department of Physical Education at JSU for 17 years. Was full professor in the Department of Physical Education.
L Hood Lindy Hood
James Marcus "Lindy" Hood was born July 30, 1907 in Collinsville. High school multi-sport star and salutatorian of his senior class. He went to University of Alabama to play football. But it was in basketball that he earned a place in sports history. He was the first player at Alabama to earn All American honors. He also lettered in football, baseball and track. He set a discus record in track.

Lindy got his nickname while on a basketball trip to New Orleans to play Tulane. He entered a hotel lobby where a crowd was waiting on the arrival of the world-famous Charles Lindbergh. The crowd mistook Hood for the celebrity aviator and mobbed him. After that he was always "Lindy" Hood.
J Locklear Jack Locklear
Born February 20, 1932. Two year All County fullback and linebacker at DeKalb County High School. All Tri-State. SIgned a football scholarship with Auburn University where he was a four-year starter and was named co-captain. North/South All-Star game, and starting center in the 1955 Senior Bowl. Played in two Gator Bowls. Member of the All-Time Team at Auburn. In 1954, the coached deemed him the best center and linebacker at Auburn in 20 years. Honorable mention All American; All Opponents Teams by 11 teams. Drafted seventh by the Cleveland Browns.

After his playing days, Jack was a successful coach. Coached football, baseball, and track at Murphy High School in Mobile. Won state championship in track. Returned to Fort Payne;  served on the Board of Education and the Recreation Department Board. Was instrumental in the building of the new Fort Payne High School.
O'Brien Guy O'Brien
Wallace Guy "Mickey" O'Brien. Born 1905 in Dadeville. 1922 graduate of  Tallapoosa County High School. 1926 graduate of Auburn University. Started teaching and coaching career at Geraldine in 1926. In six years at Geraldine, he carried three teams to the state tournament, winning back-to-back state chapionships in 1931 and 1932. In 1932, he went to Jackson County High School at Scottsboro and quickly won two more state championships in 1934 and 1938. In 1944, he won his fifth state championship. Both the high school gymnasium and the recreation complex in Scottsboro were named in his memory. He is credited by former players with designing the zone defense, perfecting the fast break, installing the four-corners offense and developing the ball handlingm play making point guard. O'Brien died June 30, 1944 of complications following an appendectomy. He was 39 years old.
Ridgeway Danny Ridgeway
A star quarterback at Fyffe High School, Ridgeway was twice voted Most Valuable Back in DeKalb County. Earned All-State, All Tri-County, Super All-State and All American honors as a senior in high school. Played at University of Alabama. Member of 1973 National Championship team. As a kicker for the 1974 and 1975 SEC Champs, he set a school record for consecutive extra points. Earned Academic All-SEC and Academic All-American honrs during his career at Alabama. Only player to have his football jersey retired by Fyffe High School.
Shipp Byron Shipp
Born March 17, 1923 in Crossville. Played football at Crossville High School. Following graduation in 1942, he served three years in World War II. Lettered in football from 1947-1948 at Jacksonville State University. Started the football programs at Ider High School in 1949, Forest Avenue Junior High in 1953, and at Plainview High School in 1958. Was member of Northeast Alabama Officials Association for 10 years. He was a school administrator after coaching and spent 17 years at Fyffe as Assistant Principal.

J Smothers

Jimmy Smothers
Born January 4, 1933. Began stringing football games while still in high school at Geraldine where he was an honor student and three-sport athlete. Worked in sports information office while attending Jacksonville State. Became Sports Editor of the Sand Mountain Reporter in 1955. After writing for the Times-Journal and Birmingham Post Herald, he returned to the Gadsden Times in 1961, becoming sports editor in 1963. The winner of 62 newspaper awards including at least one first place in four different decades, he is the only one to win Associated Press awards for "Sweepstakes," "Writing on Deadline," "Feature," and "Best Column" all in one year. He was a double Pulitzer nominee in 1968. Voted lifetime Secretary Treasurer of Alabama Sports Writers Association, Smothers is a member of the Alabama Sports Writers Hall of Fame, and the Etowah County Sports Hall of Fame.
V Wells Vernon E. Wells
A Kreole, Mississippi native. A 1945 graduate of Moss Point High School. Went to Ole Miss, and transferred to Southern Miss. Was three-year starting quarterback at USM who led team to three consecuative seven-win seasons. Set school record with four touchdown passes in one game. Upon graduating from college in 1949, he began his coaching career at Albertville High School. He later coached at Hunstville, Fort Payne and Rainsville resulting in a 37-year football coaching career record of 214 wins, 140 losses and 10 ties. Was twice named state Coach of the Year. Received numerous county and district coach of the year honors. Ended his coaching career at Albertville where he became only the seventh coach in Alabama at the time to reach the 200 win plateau.