VALDOSTA –– The Valdosta High School Wildcat Hall of Fame will induct nine new members today at 7 p.m. at the old VHS Performing Arts Center.
The late David Waller Sr. headlines the list of inductees, serving at VHS from 1950-2018. Charlie Daniels (1968-71), Paul Hogan (1997-2000), Ernestine Jackson (1975-2015), Roseziner Jackson (1978-81), O.D. Netter Jr. (1969-72), Lynn Roberts (1976-79), James Wakefield (1980-83) and Cecil Whitehead (1972-75) will be honored during tonight’s banquet.
Justin Crenshaw will open the proceedings with a prayer and a performance of the national anthem. Longtime play-by-play voice of the Wildcats, Monty Long, will welcome the crowd and recognize the Wildcat Hall of Fame committee as well as give the Program Dedication.
VHS athletic director Reginald Mitchell serves on the Hall of Fame selection committee. Mitchell talked about the 2019 Class during an interview Friday.
“It’s very important (to keep the tradition alive),” Mitchell said. “I believe this is one of the prestigious high school hall of fames in the country. To be a Wildcat is extremely important for people in this community. To go in as a Wildcat Hall of Famer, man that’s a huge accomplishment.
“The committee didn’t take it lightly. We started looking through who we wanted to be in this class. When this started, it was the Valdosta Sports Hall of Fame. Now we’re trying to make it an inclusive Valdosta Wildcat Hall of Fame. In saying that, that will allow us to induct more candidates into the Hall of Fame and that’s why we have such a large class this year.”
In addition to Mitchell, former VHS football player and coach Jerry Don Baker serves as the Chairman of the committee. Other members of the committee include Bob Bolton, Irvin Davis, Dwayne Hart, Keith Middleton, Alvin Payton, Roger Rome, Stan Rome, Troy Thomas and Donald “Butch” Williams.
“Before, it was kind of centered around football Wildcats,” Mitchell explained. “Now, we’re going to open it up for all Wildcats –– no matter if you played football, basketball, wrestling or track. This year, we have two females going into the Hall of Fame this time. That’s what we want to do with this moving forward, we want to make this an exclusive club for former Wildcat athletes and we’ll look to improve it in the future.”
Today’s Hall of Fame banquet will be semi-formal, but Mitchell says ideas have been tossed around about making the event more formal in the future.
The VHS Wildcat Hall of Fame ceremony will be held at the old VHS Performing Arts Center, located at 3103 N. Forrest Street in Valdosta. Fesitivities begin at 7 p.m.