Hall of Fame celebrates school’s storied athletes

Ragen Twiford, Staff Writer

Sixteen former standout athletes and coaches from Manteo High School returned to the school Friday, Sept. 15 to be inducted into the school’s inaugural Hall of Fame class.

The idea of a Hall of Fame came to athletic director Alfie Wheeler after seeing his undergraduate college, High Point University, do something similar.

“I met with the athletic director at High Point University, and we spent some time talking about the Hall of Fame. They just recently started one at HPU, and we talked about different aspects and ideas of the project,” Wheeler said. “I then received great feedback when talking with school administration, community members and alumni. The Athletics Hall of Fame took hard work by numerous individuals.”

This year’s inductees were chosen by a 10 person committee made up of past athletes, former teachers and community members. Each member was chosen to represent a different era in MHS athletics. The committee accepted nominations and then spent the last year sorting through applications.

Of the 16 inducted, 14 were former athletes and two were coaches. The athletes date back to as far as the class of 1939 and as recent as the class of 2007 and cover a wide range of sports: basketball, football, softball, baseball, volleyball and track.

“Manteo High School has a rich athletic tradition, and we think it is important for it to be honored.  We want to acknowledge the accomplishments of our student athletes, and make sure that the past is recognized,” Wheeler said.

Prior to the game, a reception was held for the inductees and their guests as well as school board members, school administration and the superintendent. The reception allowed the former athletes and special guests to reconnect.

“[I’m] glad this event brought many of us back together once again,” said Stevie Joe Burton, 1979 MHS graduate and 2017 inductee.

During halftime of the varsity football game against Northside, the inductees or family representatives were recognized and received a plaque from the school. The plaque included a picture of the athlete or coach along with his or her name, his or her graduating class, the sports he or she played in high school and college, and other awards and honors that he or she received while here.

Duplicates of the plaques the coaches and players received also now hang outside the gym lobby.

“We hope that our athletes will feel a sense of pride in playing for MHS and wearing the black and gold. We want them to recognize others that have come before them, and hopefully they will be inspired to achieve great success as student athletes and as people,” Wheeler said.

This Hall of Fame will help memorialize the school’s strong athletic history, and those inducted in this inaugural class are excited to be a part of it.

“I was honored to be included in such a group,” said David Daniels, 1965 graduate and 2017 inductee. “I was humbled knowing many others were better qualified than I. I am hopeful and excited for many other athletics who will be honored for their God given talents in the future.”

The Hall of the Fame is sponsored by Grizelle Fearing and Mollie A. Fearing Associates, and now that is now established Wheeler says the tradition will continue and more inductees will be added each year.

“Without their [Grizelle Fearing and Mollie A. Fearing Associates] support, the Hall of Fame would not be possible, and we want to thank them for their support,” Wheeler said.