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Lake Co. native Reese adds HOF to resume

Lake Co. native Reese adds HOF to resume
New York Giants’ general manager and Lake County product Jerry Reese has yet another feather to add to his cap of growing accomplishments.
Reese, who became a Super Bowl Champion GM after the Giants’ 17-14 victory over the New England Patriots Sunday, is among a group of 11 set to be inducted into the Tennessee Sports Hall of Fame at its annual banquet Feb. 29 at the Renaissance Hotel in Nashville.
The Lake County product will be joined by another local legend with West Tennessee roots that can boast of a National Football League championship on his resume.
Former Cleveland Browns’ offensive lineman Gene Hickerson, who was born in Trenton, is also on the list of those to be enshrined in the latest class of the “Volunteer State’s” elite sports stars.
Hickerson is just one of three Tennessee natives in the Pro Football Hall of Fame. A tackle at the University of Mississippi, he shifted to guard as a rookie for the Browns, where he played for 14 seasons.
Hickerson played in four NFL title games and he was a part of Cleveland’s 1964 league champion team.
Joining the future Hall of Famers with local ties to complete the class of 2008 is Sterling Marlin, Fred Smith, Joan Cronan, Mike Paxton, Jack Lupton, Madeline Manning, Dick Huffman, Ronald Lawson Sr. and Margaret Sexton Gleaves.
• Marlin is a two-time winner of the Daytona 500 NASCAR race and the only driver in Cup series history to win the race in consecutive years (1994, 1995). He has twice been named the state’s professional athlete of the year.
• Smith, who is the chairman, president and CEO of the FedEx Corporation, has been selected due to his company’s continued support of sponsoring professional and collegiate athletics in Tennessee. Currently, FedEx Forum in Memphis is the home for the NBA’s Memphis Grizzlies and the No. 1-ranked University of Memphis Tigers.
• Cronan is in her 24th year as the women’s athletic director at Tennessee. Under her guidance, the Lady Vols’ athletic programs have won seven NCAA national championships and 25 Southeastern Conference regular-season crowns.
• Paxton, a 1975 graduate Memphis State, played for the Cleveland Indians from 1978-80. During Paxton’s career, he tied a major league record for strikeouts in an inning with four during a game in 1978. He was drafted by the Boston Red Sox and was the organization’s 1977 co-rookie of the year.
• Lupton created The Honors Course in Chattanooga and the facility has changed the face of Tennessee golf. He helped to create a fund for special golf projects in the state while also assisting in the funding of the women’s golf program at Tennessee.
• Manning, a former track star at Tennessee State, won Olympic gold and silver medals in 1968 and she broke the two-minute mark in the 800-meters to gain All-World and All-American honors. Manning is a member of the National Track and Field Hall of Fame and the Olympic Hall of Fame.
• Gleaves, a Nashville native and outstanding women’s basketball player during the 1940s and ’50s was an eight-time All-American guard who played on five national championship teams during her career at Bellevue High School, Nashville Business College, Vultee Aircraft and Cooks Goldblumes.
• The late Huffman lettered in football at Tennessee. He was drafted by the Los Angeles Rams and he played for the team from 1947-1950. A one-time Pro Bowler, Huffman was lured to the Canadian Football League, where he finished out his professional football career.
• The late Lawson, earned national recognition as a high school All-American at Pearl High School, where he led his team to three Black National High School Championships from 1985-1960. He also played for the legendary John Wooden at UCLA.
The Lambuth University women’s basketball team is also among a list of a dozen honorees to be presented with awards at the banquet. The Lady Eagles won the school’s first NAIA women’s basketball championship and they share the title of amateur team of the year with the NCAA women’s national champion Tennessee, Martin Methodist College’s soccer team and Vanderbilt University’s bowling team.
UT superstars, past and present, will be well-respresented with Chris Lofton, Monica Abbott, Candace Parker, Peyton Manning and Tamika Catchings among the list of honorees to be recognized for their sports achievements during the 2007 year.
Lofton is the Hall’s co-amateur male athlete of the year, along with Vanderbilt All-American pitcher and No. 1 MLB draft pick David Price.
Abbott and Parker share the female amateur athlete of the year award with current University of Kentucky basketball player Victoria Dunlap while Manning and Catchings have been tabbed the pro athletes of the year in the male and female ranks, respectively.
Nashville native and PGA golfer Brandt Sneaker shares the top male pro athlete award with Manning.
Tickets for the awards banquet and induction ceremony are $125 each. For more information concerning the event, contact the Tennessee Sports Hall of Fame at (615) 242-4750.

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