CLASS OF 1988
EDGAR CHANDLER, JR.
Edgar Thomas Chandler, Jr. played three sports during his high school days at Cedartown High School. His football skills earned him All-American honors as offensive lineman during his senior year of 1963 helping Cedartown to their first state football championship. In 1964, Chandler followed his legendary high school coach Doc Ayers to the University of Georgia to play under head coach Vince Dooley. Chandler was named All-American in both 1966 and 1967. He was part of an SEC-winning squad as a junior, and was the team’s captain his senior season. The Buffalo Bills drafted Chandler in the 4th round of the common AFL/NFL Draft as a linebacker. He was converted to inside linebacker to take advantage of his speed and agility. Chandler played from 1968 to 1972 for the Buffalo Bills and in 1973 for the New England Patriots. Chandler scored his only touchdown as a professional during week 7 of the 1970 AFL season when he returned an interception 58 yards for a touchdown against Boston. Before ending his football career he played one season with the Birmingham Americans of the upstart World Football League where he helped them to win the World Championship.
DOUGLAS "BUDDY" FOLKES
Douglas “Buddy” Fowlkes was a state 220 track and field champion at North Fulton High School in 1945. He quickly made a name for himself at Georgia Tech earning top point honors in three SEC track & field championship meets. He set SEC all-time individual high-point honors that stood for 33 years and won the SEC long jump title three times. He scored 439 career points which set a Tech Varsity record at the time. He served as team captain in 1949 and was a co-captain in 1948 and 1951. In 1962 he ran the 100 yard dash in 9.5 seconds at a Georgia AAU meet, which was a record for a 34-year old man. He would return to Tech as head coach of their track & field squad in 1965 and remain in that position until 1992. Fowlkes’ list of accomplishments include three Olympic medalists, two World Record holders, 10 NCAA national champions, 50 All Americans, 77 Atlantic Coast Conference champions and 126 All-ACC selections. Buddy was a founder of the Atlanta Track Club and he also spent three decades as an Atlanta city alderman and a member of the Atlanta City Council.
Born in Fort Payne, Alabama, Leon Hardeman moved to Northwest Georgia where he earned All-City and All-State honors in football leading LaFayette to the Class B North region finals in 1948. Then in was on to Georgia Tech where the 5-foot-6, 175-pound halfback went on to become a college football standout. Playing three seasons at Tech for legendary head coach Bobby Dodd, Hardeman ran for 1,794 yards and 22 career touchdowns, along with 223 yards receiving, as the Jackets went 32-2-2 during that span. Tech recorded an Orange Bowl victory and two Sugar Bowl victories, while the 1952 team went 12-0 and were tabbed National Champions by International News Service. The United Press named Hardeman as the Southeastern Conference Player of the Year. He capped that championship season with a 1953 Sugar Bowl MVP award in the Jackets' 24-7 win over Ole Miss. He was named third team All-American in his senior season and was All-SEC all three seasons with the Jackets. The Baltimore Colts drafted Hardeman in the 23rd round in 1954, but he turned down the NFL offer to enlist in the military.
Charles (Graham) Hixon, Jr. was an Alabama native and a graduate of Auburn University. He earned a Master’s Degree in Mathematics from the University of Georgia and started a career of teaching and coaching. In 1949 he became an assistant football coach at Gainesville High School and was head baseball coach leading his team to an undefeated record. He became head football coach in 1955 compiling a 64-17-7 mark in 8 seasons. After one year at Commerce, Hixon moved to College Park and would remain there for the next 25 years at Woodward Academy. During his tenure, Hixon claimed the 1970 and 1980 State Championship. He was named the 1985 National High School Athletic Coaches Association Coach of the Year, the Atlanta Journal-Constitution’s Coach of the Year in 1970 and 1980, and led his team to 17 playoff appearances. Overall, Hixon posted a record of 279 wins, 91 losses, and 17 ties was honored by Woodward Academy naming its football field after Graham and establishing a fund in his name.
James Karl “Jim” Luck earned 12 letters at Americus High School as an All-State, All-District baseball and basketball player and District Track Champion. He landed at Georgia Tech where he lettered in both football and baseball. Luck moved into the coaching ranks with various stops throughout Georgia including Cedartown, Americus, and Bainbridge High School. At Americus his baseball teams claimed 3 State Championships in 4 Seasons. In 1955, Jim joined the coaching staff at Georgia Tech under Bobby Dodd. He would combine his football duties with baseball becoming head baseball coach in 1962. Luck manned that post until 1981 winning 320 games, the most at that time by any Tech coach. Luck either played or coached in 476 football and baseball victories at Tech over a three-era span. He is a member of the Georgia Tech Hall of Fame as both a player and a coach.
Amater Z. Traylor of Atlanta was one of the most decorated basketball players of his time. Traylor stayed in his home city to attend Morehouse College and was a 4-year letterman from 1923-1926. During that span the Maroon Tigers captured four consecutive SIAC Championships and Traylor was an All-Southern performer. Morehouse claimed the 1923 National Championship and they were the National runner-up in 1924. Traylor was named an All-American in both 1925 and 1926. After graduating Morehouse in 1926, Amater continued his work in education serving as chairman for the Organizational Committee for Athletics of the Georgia Council of Black Principals in 1947. He was also the executive secretary of the Georgia Interscholastic Athletic Conference from 1958‐1966.
LeRoy Tashreau Walker, a native of Atlanta became the first African American elected to serve as president and chief executive officer of the United States Olympic Committee in 1992. He directed U.S. participation in the 1996 Olympic Centennial Games held in Atlanta. As a youngster, LeRoy left Atlanta for small Benedict College in Columbia, South Carolina where he earned 11 letters in football, basketball, and track and field. In 1940, he graduated and pursued his Master’s degree from Columbia University. After receiving his Ph.D. in biomechanics at New York University, he went back to Benedict College to begin a track and field collegiate coaching career. He received enough sports scholarships to finance his college expenses. In 1945, he became the head coach for the North Carolina Central University track team. He remained at NCCU until 1986 and his teams totaled 80 All-Americans and 35 national championships. In addition to coaching NCCU, he coached track teams from other countries. Israel and Ethiopia in 1960, Trinidad and Tobago in 1964, Jamaica in 1968, and Kenya in 1972. The last team he led to the Olympic Games was the United States squad of 1976.
Larry Rayfield Wright was raised in Griffin and was a standout basketball player who did not play football, the sport which would ultimately make him a household name. Wright went to Fort Valley State College to play basketball but Coach Stan Lomax convinced him to join the football team. Lomax tried Rayfield at several positions for the Wildcats but he settled at tight end. He was good enough to be selected by the Dallas Cowboys in the seventh round of the 1967 NFL/AFL combo draft. Wright’s pro career began at tight end but he moved to offensive tackle and won a starting role as right tackle before the first day of training camp in 1970. For thirteen seasons, Wright played more than 200 games, started at right tackle in six NFC Championship games, and played in five Super Bowls, winning two of them. He earned his first of four All-Pro honors in 1971 and was voted that same year to the first of six straight Pro Bowls. For seven seasons, he served as one of the team’s co-captains. In 2004, Rayfield was inducted in the Dallas Cowboys Ring of Honor and the Texas Sports Hall of Fame. In 2006, he was elected to the Pro Football Hall of Fame.