DeKalb County (Alabama) Sports Hall of Fame

Class of 2010


Nelson Ellis
Born October 8, 1933. Nelson Ellis played football for three years at Valley Head and was the starting halfback on the team that had a 9-1 record, finished in the top 10 in the state and advanced to the state playoffs in 1951. After serving two years in the Army, Nelson came home and enrolled at the University of Tennessee at Chattanooga where he graduated in two short years with a B.S. in Education. He then began a very successful coaching career. He became known as a builder of programs. He began as an assistant at Fort Payne, under Hall of Fame coach Vernon Wells. He spent two years at Jones Valley before becoming the head coach at Fyffe. At Fyffe his rebuilding career began. The Red Devils had struggled for several years but Ellis was able to achieve a 27-13 record, including a 9-1 record in 1968 and a number 7 ranking in the state. The one loss kept the team from the final four in the playoffs. At Fyffe Ellis also coached the basketball team to a 23-7 record. His track teams won two county championships. Fort Payne then called Ellis for another challenge. The Wildcats had not won a game in three years. During his three-year tenure Coach Ellis’ record was 22-7-1. He accomplished this with a hard nosed, fundamental sound approach to the game. Nelson left for Sylvania where he was unable to turn the fortunes of the Rams. His final coaching job was at Geraldine where in 1977 the team earned a trip to the state playoffs. They were defeated in overtime by the eventual state champion Stevenson Panthers. Almost everywhere Ellis coached he left the team in better shape than he found it. His goal was to instill the lifetime values of pride, dedication, honor, work ethic, and respect in all the players he coached.
Tommy Guice
Born June 13, 1941. When the Alabama High School Athletic Association introduced soccer as an official, sanctioned sport, Fort Payne High School was looking for a coach. Had it not been for Tommy Guice stepping forward Fort Payne would probably not have had a program. Guice gathered the best volunteers he could find and went to work. He coached both the girls and boys team, and spent thousands of hours working with both teams. Because of their involvement in club soccer, the girl’s team was more successful early. In fact they developed into the best girl’s soccer program in the state. They won titles in 1991, 1992, 1993, 1994, 1995, and 1996. The six consecutive titles tied a state record as the most championships in a row, matching the Vestavia baseball program. The girls made the finals the next three years. Guice retired as coach of the girls after nine seasons. The boys program under Guice started slowly but advanced to the playoffs four times in his 10 years. The girl’s program under Tommy compiled a record of 132-17-7. The boy’s record was 115-62-4 for 10 years. Coach Guice’s overall record was 247-79-11 and eleven of his players went on to play college soccer. The girls program went undefeated in area play for nine years, an amazing feat. 
Terry Mitchell
Born February 19, 1949. Terry Mitchell graduated from Pisgah High School where he played basketball for Hall of Fame Coach Paul Cooley. Upon graduation he attended the University of North Alabama where he served as Director of Intramural Sports. He coached at Flat Rock Junior High, Plainview High School and Fyffe High School. Coach Mitchell’s players won in excess of 100 games in basketball, football and baseball. His varsity boy’s basketball teams won 532 games. Coach Mitchell was selected DeKalb County Coach of the Year for 1977-78, 1978-79, Coach of the Decade in 1980, Coach of the Year 1993, 1995-96, 1997-98 and 1998-99. In 1978 and again in 1979, Mitchell’s basketball team was DeKalb County regular season champions, DeKalb County Tournament champions, and was selected as the DeKalb County Sportsmanship Team. Coach Mitchell was instrumental in forming the DeKalb County Sports Hall of Fame, and the DeKalb County Pee Wee basketball league. He served on the Hall of Fame Board of Directors for 10 years. He also served as Director of the Rainsville Civic Center for 20 years. Coach Mitchell served as an assistant to Hall of Fame Coach Jack Doss at S.R. Butler High School, becoming a part of the 2009 5A State Basketball Championship. 
Samuel Weaver
1907-1985. Sam Weaver completed a stellar career at Collinsville High School in 1926. In high school he competed in football, baseball and track. His football talents earned him a grant in aid to the University of Alabama. In those days, freshmen were not allowed to play varsity ball. However Weaver caught the eye of the coaches during that freshman year by his hard-hitting abilities from the defensive end position. The freshman team went undefeated. As a varsity player Weaver routinely took on two blockers, which allowed teammates to blast untouched into the opponent’s backfield. Weaver played in the first game in Denny Stadium in Tuscaloosa. He also played in the first game in Legion Field in Birmingham. He played for the first “Bear,” the legendary Wallace “Bear” Wade. His 1931 team played in the Rose Bowl. One of Weaver’s biggest disappointments was not being able to play in that game because of a hip injury and pneumonia. Upon graduation Sam became a successful business man and leader in his church and community.