CLASS OF 2003
Gayle Barron grew up in Atlanta and graduated from Druid Hills High School and The University of Georgia. She started running in the 1960s and was a trailblazer in the sport of running. She was a co-founder of Peachtree Road Race and the top female finisher five times. She was also a three-time winner of the Atlanta Marathon. She was one of the most successful women’s marathon runners of her era. As a professional marathoner, she ran 24 out of 36 races in under three hours. Her professional running career culminated with a win at the Boston Marathon in 1978. After her running career ended, she became an author and Atlanta area media personality.
Kevin Butler grew up in Stone Mountain and was a star placekicker for Redan High School. He went on to the University of Georgia where he was a four-time All-SEC performer as the Bulldogs kicker (1981-1984). He set multiple records at UGA and was part of two SEC Championship teams (1981 and 1982). He was drafted in the fourth round of the NFL draft in 1985 by the Chicago Bears and was part of the Bears Super Bowl Championship in his rookie season. Butler played 11 seasons with the Bears and an additional two seasons with the Arizona Cardinals before his retirement after the 1987 season. He is considered one of the greatest kickers of all time and was selected to the All-Century teams by Sports Illustrated and The Walter Camp Football Foundation. He was the first kicker ever inducted into the College Football Hall of Fame.
Wallace C. “Country” Childs grew up in Sycamore and became a legendary high school basketball coach. He won 533 games during 21 years of coaching basketball, including state titles in 1947, 1950, and 1951 at Irwinville High School. He was selected to lead the South squad in the National North-South game in 1951. During his time at Irwinville, he had a winning streak of 78 consecutive wins. He also won a state title in 1955 at Blackshear High School. He is one of the most respected and admired high school basketball coaches in state history.
Joshua “Josh” Gibson was born in Buena Vista and is considered by many to be the greatest baseball player in the history of the Negro League. In 17 seasons as professional baseball player between 1930 and 1946, he was a 12-time All-Star and was part of two Negro League Championship teams. He had a career .359 batting average, and holds the single season record for highest batting average (.441). Gibson hit 238 home runs in official games but it is estimated hit nearly 1000 home runs in both official and “unofficial” games played in his career. His slugging percentage was .648. Baseball historians consider Gibson to be among the very best power hitters and catchers in baseball history. In 1972, he became the second Negro league player to be inducted in to the National Baseball Hall of Fame.
ANNE PARADISE HANSFORD
Anne Paradise Hansford was raised on her family’s farm near Lexington. Her high school team at Mesan Academy went undefeated for four straight years. She briefly attended the University of Georgia which did not have an intercollegiate women’s basketball team at the time, so Hansford coached intramurals and played on the field hockey team. In 1943, she left UGA to join the Atlanta AAU team. Her most successful years came while playing for The Atlanta Blues from 1946-1948. During this time, she became the first Georgia women to become an All-American and was nominated 2 times. In 1947, she led the team to an undefeated 40-0 season and the National Women's AAU basketball championship. She played one final season in the AAU with Chatham Blanketeers before deciding to quit basketball; while with the Blanketeers, she earned her third All-American honor. In her final season, she led the Blanketeers to a fourth place finish in the national tournament. She is considered one of the state’s best female athletes of her era.
Dewitt Weaver was born in Danville, Kentucky. He spent part of his youth there and in Lubbock, Texas, where his father was the head football coach at Texas Tech in the 1950s. In high school, Weaver did play quarterback and punted for the Lubbock High School Westerners, success that led to him earning a football scholarship to SMU, where he was a backup quarterback to eventual Dallas Cowboy Don Meredith. Weaver moved to Georgia after college and became a dominant player in Georgia amateur golf. He turned professional in 1964. Weaver competed on the PGA Tour from 1967 to 1976, winning twice in the early 1970s. His best year as a professional golfer was 1971 when he finished in the top-25 on the PGA Tour money list. In 1980 and 1981, he was the Georgia PGA Player of the year. He is a member of the Georgia Golf Hall of Fame.