CLASS OF 1996
William Andrews is from Thomasville where he was a dominant high school football player, leading Thomasville High School to two consecutive state championships. He went on to play collegiately at Auburn in the late 1970s where he shared the backfield with future NFL greats, Joe Cribbs and James Brooks. He was drafted by the Atlanta Falcons in the third round of the NFL draft in 1979. He played with the Atlanta Falcons from 1979 to 1986. During that time, he was a four-time Pro-Bowler rushed for over 1000 yards in each of his first three NFL seasons. He led the NFL with over 2000 all-purpose yards in 1981. Although his career was hindered and ultimately shortened by a serious knee injury, Andrews is considered one of the most versatile backs of his era. He was one of the strongest and most punishing running backs in NFL history.
Graham Batchelor was from Sweet Home, Texas as made his way to the University of Georgia where he was a football letterman from 1931 to 1933. A born leader, he was Team Captain of the Bulldogs in 1933 while making All-SEC that same year. He was also Captain of the UGA Track Team. Batchelor was an outstanding track and field athlete and was SEC Champion in the javelin and broad jump in 1934. He put his versatility as an athlete on display as Heavyweight Boxing Champ while at UGA. After his playing days, Batchelor went on the a successful coaching career including a stop at Georgia Military College.
Andy Johnson was from Athens and was the Class AAA Back of the Year and a high school All-American as a quarterback his senior year at Athens High School in 1969. That same year he led the Trojans to a State Championship. Johnson chose to go to college in his hometown and starred in football and baseball at the University of Georgia. Considered by many the greatest running quarterback in UGA history, Johnson famously led the Bulldogs on a dramatic, fourth quarter, game-winning drive against Georgia Tech on Thanksgiving night 1971. Johnson was drafted by the Atlanta Braves but instead chose to play professional football. He was drafted as running back by the New England Patriots in the fifth round of the 1974 NFL draft. He played nine years in the NFL and one year with the Boston Breakers of the USFL.
Kim King grew up in Atlanta where he was a star athlete at Brown High School. He was a three-year starter at quarterback for Georgia Tech from 1965 to 1967 and a team captain his senior year. He led the Yellow Jackets to the Orange Bowl and Gator Bowl during his time as the signal-caller. After his graduation from Tech, King became an accomplished and respected businessman and community leader in the Atlanta area. He continued his affiliation with Georgia Tech when he became the color commentator for the football radio broadcasts in 1974, a role that he remained in for over 20 years. Sadly, King died of cancer at age 59 in 2004. The Kim King Locker Room at Bobby Dodd Stadium is named in his honor.
L.J. “Stan” Lomax was born in Athens and grew up in Atlanta. He assumed head coaching duties at Fort Valley State College after a wildly successful tenure at Brunswick’s Risley High School. At Risley, he led his teams in multiple sports to state championships, including two football championships (1950 and 1957), two basketball championships, and five consecutive track and field championships. Lomax coached multiple sports at Fort Valley State, and his best known for his 14 year tenure as the school’s football coach. During his time as head football coach his teams compiled a record of 86-33-7 and he was named SIAC’s Coach of the Year four times. Lomax served in World War II, and earned a Master’s Degree in Education from Boston University.
William Porter “Billy” Payne grew up in Athens and attended college in his hometown, earning both his undergraduate and law degrees from the University of Georgia. He played football at the University of Georgia for legendary coach Vince Dooley. In addition to a successful career as lawyer and a businessman, Payne was instrumental in bringing the 1996 Olympics to Atlanta. After Atlanta won the bid to host the 1996 Summer Games, Payne remained as the head of the Atlanta Committee for the Olympic Games, serving as the chief administrator to organize the Olympics. He was the first person to lead the bid effort and then remain to lead the Games. In 2006, Payne was announced as the new chairman of the prestigious Augusta National Golf Club, home of the Masters Tournament. He remained as chairman of Augusta National until 2017.
Paul Rapier Richards grew up in Waxahachie, Texas and began his minor league career at age 17 in 1926. After seven years in the minors, he made his Major League debut with the Brooklyn Dodgers in 1932. Between 1932 and 1946, Richards played for the Dodgers, New York Giants, Philadelphia Athletics and Detroit Tigers, primarily as a catcher. He was part of the Detroit Tigers’ 1945 World Series Championship team. From 1938 to 1942, he was player/manager for the Atlanta Crackers, leading the team to a pennant in 1938. After his playing days, Richard enjoyed a winning career as a major league manager. He later served as General Manager for several major league teams, notably the Atlanta Braves from 1967 to 1972.
Cecil J. “Pete” Silas grew up in Miami, Florida and made his way to Atlanta where he was a star basketball player for the Georgia Tech Yellow Jackets in the early 1950s. He was a team captain an All-SEC performer in 1953. He was drafted by the Minneapolis Lakers but instead chose to begin his business career. Silas began a successful career at Phillips Petroleum instead but retained his love of basketball, playing on the U.S. team that won the 1955 Pan American games while he was in the Army. He an outstanding career as a businessman, rising to the rank of Chairman and CEO of Phillips, and was involved in many charitable causes throughout his life. He is a member of the Georgia Tech Hall of Fame.
Donald “Duck” Stephenson grew up in Bessemer, Alabama and came to Atlanta to play football at Georgia Tech for Coach Bobby Dodd in the Mid-1950s during some of the most successful years of Georgia Tech football. He was a three year letterman and Team Captain during his career as a Yellow Jacket. He was two-time All-SEC player and a two-time All-American in 1956 and 1957 as a center. He is one of the few players in Tech history to be a two-time All-American. Stephenson played professionally in the CFL for eight seasons for the Edmonton Eskimos and Calgary Stampeders. He is a member of the Helms Football Hall of Fame.
Ted Turner was born in Cincinnati, Ohio and moved with his family to Savannah as a child. He eventually moved to Macon in the 1960s to take over his father’s advertising business, eventually turning Turner Advertising Company into a global enterprise. Turner parlayed his early business success into a one of the most successful media careers in history. Turner founded WTBS and later CNN, the success of which helped launch Turner Broadcasting System into ownership of a variety of media entertainment entities. Much of his success was centered in the Atlanta media market, ultimately leading to Turner’s ownership of the Atlanta Braves and Atlanta Hawks. Turner Field which hosted the 1996 Summer Olympics and was home to the Atlanta Braves, was named in his honor. Turner also had a successful sailing career, defending the America’s Cup against Australia in 1977. He was founder of the Goodwill Games and World Championship Wrestling and was involved in a variety of other sports related organizations. In addition to his famous media and sports related ventures, he is known for his philanthropy and political activism.
TUBBY WALTON, SR.
W.H. “Tubby” Walton Sr. was from Corinth. He helped organize the "Million Dollar League" (baseball) in the 1920s as well as "Walton's Firecracker Nine" tournament team. He played catcher for the Atlanta Crackers and helped future big league players and managers get their starts in baseball ‐ they include Luke Appling (Baseball Hall of Famer), Marty Marion (St. Louis Cardinals), Cecil Travis (Washington Senators), Johnny Mize (St. Louis Cardinals and New York Yankees), Jo Jo White (Detroit Tigers), and Hugh Casey (Brooklyn Dodgers). A trusted man of sound judgment, Walton was the only college umpire that Georgia and Georgia Tech could agree on to umpire their games for several years.