CLASS OF 2020
East Atlanta High School standout Willie Anderson was a standout forward for the Georgia Bulldogs basketball team between 1985 and 1988. He was an SEC All-Conference selection following is senior year when he averaged over 16 points and 5 rebounds per contest. The San Antonio Spurs made Willie their 1st Round pick in the 1988 NBA Draft. His first NBA season he made the All-Rookie team after averaging 18 points per game. In year 2, he welcomed the arrival of the Admiral, David Robinson and the two remained teammates through the 1994 season. Willie was part of the 1995 Expansion Draft which sent him briefly to Toronto, then it was on to the New York Knicks for the ’96 season and then to South Florida for a one-year stint with the Miami Heat. He totaled over 6700 points and 2000 rebounds during his NBA career. He also played in Europe for three different teams.
There are few people who represent the Blue and Gold of Fort Valley State University better than Lonnie Bartley. The LaGrange native attended Troup County High School where he played three sports for the Tigers. Then it was on to Fort Valley where he would be a mainstay over the next 40 years. In 1983 he graduated, was named a Full-time Assistant and one-year later took the reigns as head coach after Jessie Brown’s retirement. Lonnie would lead the Lady Wildcats to 27 consecutive winning seasons and 11 SIAC Conference championships. All in all, his teams made 17 post-season appearances with 2 trips to the Division 2 Sweet 16. He notched 652 career wins – most by any coach at a Historically Black College. Lonnie was named SIAC Coach of the Year 10 times and the Georgia Division II Coach of the Year in 2006 by the Atlanta Tipoff Club.
Gary Colson became one of the youngest college head coaches in the country when he took over at Valdosta State in 1958. Over the next 10 years Colson lead the Rebels to an impressive 176-73 record, winning seven GIAC regular season titles and making 2 trips to the NAIA National Tournament. Colson’s success at Valdosta caught the attention of many NCAA Division 1 schools, but he opted for Pepperdine University. He spent 11 years with the Waves winning 153 games. In 1980, Colson landed at New Mexico to resurrect the floundering Lobo’s program and he did just that. In 8 seasons he won 146 games his ’84 team notched 24 wins and earned Colson WAC Coach Of The Years honors. Then it was on to Fresno State. In five seasons he won 76 games with the Bulldogs including a 3rd round NIT appearance in 1984. He eventually retired from coaching with over 550 career wins.
EDDIE LEE IVERY
In 1974, Thomson native Eddie Lee Ivery rushed for over 1700 yards his senior season and promptly committed to play his college football on the Flats at Georgia Tech. As a Yellow Jacket he stamped his mark on the record book by rushing for over 3500 yards at almost 6 yards per carry. At one time, Ivery held the NCAA single game rushing record. With the stomach flu, he galloped 356 yards in the snow against Air Force in 1978. That year he was an All-American and finished 8th in the final Heisman Trophy balloting. His stellar career at Tech prompted the Green Bay Packers to select Eddie Lee in the 1st round of the 1979 NFL Draft. Unfortunately, Ivery suffered a torn ACL in only the 4th play of his first NFL season. He did rebound however and spent 8-years on the frozen tundra amassing 2900 yards and scoring 23 touchdowns for the ‘Pack. He was inducted into the Georgia Tech Hall of Fame in 1983, is a member of the Tech All-Time Team.
Kelley O'Hara was raised in Peachtree City and was a 4-year standout at Starrs Mill High School helping the Panthers claim the 5A State Title. O’Hara was a 2-time Parade All-American who played collegiately at Stanford. She helped lead the Cardinal to the College Cup in her final 2 seasons. She tallied 26 goals and 13 assists her senior year on her way to winning the Hermann Trophy as collegiate soccer’s top player. She finished her Stanford career with 57 goals and 32 assists. In the professional ranks, Kelley was a 1st round pick helping the Santa Clara Gold Pride win the Women’s Professional Soccer league championship in 2010. Her pro career also featured stops in Boston, Atlanta, New Jersey, and Utah. O’Hara has long been a fixture in International competition. She was a 2012 Olympic Gold Medal winner for Team USA in which she played every single minute of the competition.
Running back Adrian Peterson was the Class 4-A Player Of The Year in 1997 in Alachua, Florida. That capped a prep career in which he rushed for 4,949 yards. He signed with Georgia Southern and immediately made an impact on the Eagles offense rushing for over 1900 yards his freshman season. As a sophomore, Peterson captured the Walter Payton Award, the 1-AA equivalent to the Heisman Trophy. He was the first sophomore to ever capture that prestigious honor. During his career at Southern he rushed for over 6500 regular-season yards, most in Division 1 history. He had 48 consecutive games in which he topped the 100 yard mark. Peterson was drafted by the Chicago Bears in the 6th round of the 2002 NFL Draft. His career best 510 rushing yards came during the 2007 season. Adrian retired following the 2009 season. He is a member of both the Georgia Southern and College Football Hall of Fame.
At the ripe old age of 13, Bobby Pope began his broadcasting career doing little league baseball play-by-play in his hometown of Thomaston, Georgia. At 19, he moved to Macon and began work at WMAZ Radio and Television; first as a news and sports reporter and then in 1970 the station’s Sports Director. Bobby anchored the nightly sportscasts on television and did play-by-play for Mercer basketball. Because of his Mercer connections, Pope was asked by the school to head their Sports Information department which he agreed to do on a part-time basis. But eventually, he would leave WMAZ to join Mercer full-time and 4 years later was appointed the school’s Athletic Director. During his time as AD, Bobby was steadfast in upgrading the facilities for many sports like baseball, soccer, tennis, and softball, and was instrumental in spear-heading construction of the campus centerpiece, the University Center. He is a member of the Georgia Radio Hall of Fame as well as the Mercer Athletic Hall Of Fame.
Jeff Treadway was a standout performer for the Griffin High School Bears. In 1980, he signed with Middle Georgia College helping the Warriors to a National Junior College Championship. Then it was on to the University of Georgia where Treadway batted .381 over a 2-year span playing second base for the ‘Dawgs. He was named team MVP and was an ALL SEC 1st team performer in 1983. After leaving Athens, Jeff signed a free agent contract with the Cincinnati Reds. After 2 seasons in Cincinnati, Treadway headed back to Georgia and signed with the Atlanta Braves. In 1991, he batted a career high .320 as the Braves captured the National League Pennant and advanced to The World Series. After the ’92 season, Treadway signed a free agent contract with Cleveland. The following season he was with the Dodgers and then a brief stint in Montreal before retiring with a career .281 batting average.