2013 Class of Huntsville-Madison Co. Athletic Hall of Fame
Twelve former athletes with ties to the Tennessee Valley, including one of the University of Alabama's most celebrated female gymnasts, have been elected to the Huntsville-Madison County Athletic Hall of Fame.
Dee Foster Worley, who was known as Dee Dee Foster when she competed for coach Sarah Patterson's Alabama gymnasts from 1989-93, will join 11 men in the Class of 2013 during the Hall of Fame's annual Induction Banquet at the North Hall of the Von Braun Center on April 1. She attended Grissom High School in Huntsville before going off to college in Tuscaloosa, becoming the first African-American woman to sign an athletic scholarship with the Crimson Tide. At Alabama, she was a 17-time first-team All-America in gymnastics, a school record.
The 2013 class of the Huntsville-Madison County Athletic Hall of Fame also includes former basketball players Richard Gattis, Pat Lewallen and Tony McGinnis, former football players Thad McDowell, the late Porter Moore and Jeff Redcross, former baseball players David Keel and Mark Hutchison, former softball player Charles Hillis, former track standout Mike Hill, and longtime Lee High School baseball coach Butch Weaver.
Gattis played basketball at Lee High School and later at the University of Alabama- Huntsville in the early 1970s. Lewallen played basketball at Butler High School in the mid-‘70s and went on to the University of North Alabama, where he was a member of the Lions' NCAA Division II national championship team in 1978-79. McGinnis, also a Butler graduate, was an All-Stater in 1991 and a four-year letterman on the Texas A&M basketball team from 1992-95.
McDowell was one of the top players on Johnson High School's football dynasty of the 1980s, when the Jaguars won five straight city championships and four straight area championships. He went on to stellar career at Southern Mississippi. Moore, who died at 27 in 1976, starred in both football and basketball at Lee, where he was one of the early pioneers in athletics during the integration of the Huntsville schools in the late 1960s. Redcross played football at Sparkman High School and quickly developed into a dominating collegiate player at UNA, becoming a four-year letterman and an All-American on teams that went 32-14-1 and won a Division II national championship (1993).
Keel, a 1990 graduate of Lee, was an All-State baseball player for the Generals and the MVP in the city as a senior. He signed a scholarship with the University of Mississippi and later transferred to Motlow State, played seven years of minor league professional baseball, and later coached baseball at UAH. Hutchison was a two-time All-City player in baseball at Butler (1979 and 1980) and also All-City in basketball in 1980; he played baseball at Calhoun Community College and then received a baseball scholarship at Auburn, where he became the starting shortstop in 1983. He is now the head baseball coach at Westminster Christian Academy.
Hill, now a medical doctor in Knoxville, Tenn., was one of the early track stars at Grissom (1971-75) and later carved out a fine distance-runner career on the track team at the University of Alabama. Hillis, who owns a Huntsville scoreboard sales and service business, was one of the most prominent softball players during the pinnacle of fast-pitch popularity in the 1950s and ‘60s. He played fast-pitch for more than four decades.
Weaver, a 1974 graduate of Lee, played football, basketball and baseball for the Generals before continuing his education at Calhoun and then at Alabama, where he graduated in 1979. He went on to a long high school coaching career that has included stops at Bob Jones, Butler, Johnson, Madison Academy and Butler. He is currently in his 27th year as the head baseball coach at Lee, where he has been named the city's Coach of the Year six times. His teams have appeared in 19 state playoffs.
This will be the 21st class since the Huntsville-Madison County's first induction class of 1989, when a record number of 30 individuals were enshrined. Counting this year, the Hall of Fame will have inducted 288 and presented 21 additional Special Achievement Awards.