Fannin County 2015 Hall of Fame Class Introduced

Featured Stories, Rebel's Corner

The Fannin County Hall of Fame announced the 2015 class. There was one team, the 1998-99 Fannin County Lady Rebels basketball team, and 12 individuals, Dot Hardeman, Fred Ganues Sr., Don Carter, Ron Jabaley, Robert Guthrie, Mike Ballew, Clarence Franklin, Tony Farmer, Gary Mealer, Julie Mealer Seabolt, Chad Galloway and Stacy Parris. MIKE BALLEW
-Played basketball, football and baseball at West Fannin High School. Played basketball four seasons from 1964-1968, football and baseball during senior year of 1967-68. Had never played football before but tried out for the team as a senior and contributed as a halfback. The school did not have a baseball program until his senior year of 1967-68. Was a three year starter in basketball and was the only player in West Fannin history to start on three different state tournament teams. Led the basketball team in assists for three seasons. Was team co-captain as a junior and captain as a senior. Named to the Region all-tournament teams as a junior and senior. Averaged 12.7 points per game as a senior in 1967-68. Played guard and was described as his coach as a ‘coach on the floor’. Excelled defensively. Received a basketball scholarship to Truett-McConnell. Started both seasons and was selected as the best defensive player for two years. Had a 35-year career in education including 10 years of coaching basketball and football at Blue Ridge Elementary School and West Fannin Middle School. Served as the first Recreation Direrctor in Fannin County and supported athletics as a principal for nine years.

A native of the small community of Colwell, attended Colwell elementary school. As an 8th grader led Caldwell to the Fannin County Tournament championship and had a scoring average of 22.4 points per game.Played basketball at West Fannin High School – 1964-1968.Earned three varsity letters and was a starter on the 1966-67 and 1967-68 teams. Named Most Improved Player on the 1966-67 team and Most Valuable Player in 1967-68. Named to the Region 7AA All-Tournament teams in 1966-67 and 1967-68. Elected Co-Captain of the 1967-68 team. Named to the All-Tri State first team by the Chattanooga Times in 1967-68. Was named to the Honorable Mention team in 1966-67. As a junior in 1966-67, scored approximately 475 points for a 16 points per game average. As a senior in 1967-68, scored 339 points for a 14.7 points per game average. Awarded basketball scholarships to North Georgia Technical Junior College (2 years) and Albany Junior College (one year). Started every game played by those two schools during his 3-year college career. Had a scoring average in double figures all three years.

Due to his size and ability was selected as a member of the Copperhill High School football team as an 8th grader at the school in the fall of 1954. Played football for Copperhill High School as a freshman in 1955. Was cited for his outstanding defensive play in the game vs. Ducktown by the Copper City Advance. Played football, basketball and baseball and West Fannin High School – 1956-1958. Joined the football team for the 5th game of the 1956 season after completing academic requirements associated with his transfer from Copperhill. Named to the 1957 Associated Press Class AA All-State Honorable Mention squad. Left school before his senior season of 1958 to join the Navy, where he served as a Navy Seal. Carter’s teammates and coaches have high praise for his athletic talent and performance. Although he played only one and one half seasons at West Fannin, contemporaries consider him one of the most rugged and gifted football players ever to play at the school.

Played golf (two years), basketball (three years) and baseball (four years) at West Fannin High School 1967-1971. Won varsity letters in golf as a junior and senior, the only two years that the school offered the sport during his high school career. Won the Region 6A tournament individual championship in 1971 at the Chattahoochee Golf Club near Gainesville, Georgia. As a freshman at West Georgia College, finished in the top 5 at the NAIA, District 25 tournament played at Callaway Gardens. This performance earned him a full golf scholarship at West Georgia. Was the low medalist in the GIAC Conference in 1972 and was named to the NAIA All-District team. Named MVP of the golf team in all four years that he competed at West Georgia College. Turned pro after graduation from college. Began professional career as assistant pro at the Rolling Hills Golf Club in Cleveland, Tennessee. Won the Rolling Hills Tournament Championship in 1972 and 1973. During the 25 year period from 1975-2000 held positions as assistant, then head professional at golf clubs in Tennessee, Texas and Arizona, while continuing to play competitively. Earned a PGA status of A-1. Won over 20 mini-tour events during playing career. Also won three tournaments in Mexico. Won the West Tennessee PGA championship at Colonial Country Club in Memphis in 1978. Won the New Hampshire State Open in 1984. Holds 10 course records including a score of 59 at the Copper Basin Golf Club. Has 14 holes in one during his golf career. Qualified for and competed in the U.S. Open at Oakmont, Pennsylvania in 1983. Since 2000, has pursued a career as a caddy for major corporate clients in Florida and at his home course in Cleveland, Tennessee. Has caddied for numerous luminaries such as Peyton Manning, George W. Bush and John Schuerholtz.

Played basketball at Copperhill High School 1943-1947. Was team captain in 1945-46 and was selected to the Bi-State Tournament all-tournament team in 1945. Began coaching in 1948. For the next 40 years coached various teams in the Fannin County area including Dixie Youth baseball teams, Connie Mack and Babe Ruth League teams, independent men’s and women’s basketball teams, softball teams and local all-star baseball, softball and basketball teams. Served as the Public Address announcer at East Fannin High School for the entire 20-year history of the school’s football program. Was a basketball official for over 30 years including elementary school, high school B teams and high school varsity games in the area. Formed a fast pitch softball team that competed throughout North Georgia and East Tennessee for many years. Formed a number of independent basketball teams including the Black Knights and Lady Black Knights teams of the 1950s and 1960s. Has been a general supporter of athletics in the Fannin County/Copper Basin area for nearly 60 years.

Played basketball at Epworth High School in 1940-41 and at McCaysville High School in 1941-1943. Led Epworth Elementary School to the championship of the Gold Medal Tournament for grade schools and junior high schools in March, 1940. Was the individual game high scorer with 23 points and was selected to the all-tournament team. Tournament officials selected the three outstanding boys and girls of the tournament and she was selected as one of the outstanding girl competitors. At Epworth High in 1941, was selected to the All-County team and was selected as one of the three outstanding girl players in the County. At McCaysville in 1942, was selected to the All-County team. Was instrumental in assisting Fred German organize a girls basketball program at McCaysville High School. 1941-1942 was the first girls team at that school, which opened in the fall of 1940. Completed both her junior and senior year academic requirements at McCaysville in one year (1942-43) and graduated in the spring of 1943. Was salutatorian of her graduating class. Set a county scoring record with 41 points against Blue Ridge High School in February, 1943. This record was not broken until 1965. Led McCaysville High School to the 9th District girls championship in 1943. This was only the second team in the history of McCaysville High School. There was no state tournament for girls at that time, so the District Championship was the ultimate accomplishment for this team. Led McCaysville High School to the Bi-State girls basketball championship in 1943. Was named to the all-tournament team. No Fannin County tournament was played in 1943 due to wartime travel restrictions. Coached the girls basketball team at McCaysville in 1944-1945. Competed in local softball leagues for over 30 years, always one of the top player in the various leagues. Contemporaries generally consider Dot Tipton Hardeman one of the most outstanding athletes, man or woman, in the history of the Fannin County/Copper Basin area.

Overcame osteomyelitis as a youth to become an outstanding high school athlete. Played football and basketball at West Fannin High School – 1961-1965. Elected co-captain of the football and basketball teams in 1964-65. Was the starting quarteback on the football teams of 1963 and 1964. Had his best season in football as a junior in 1963, when he finished 4th in Region 3AA in rushing with 717 yards and second in scoring with 78 points (including 12 touchdowns). Also passed for 8 touchdowns and two PATs during the 1963 season. Selected Most Valuable Back in 1963 and 1964. Named to the Atlanta Journal-Constitution Class AA Honorable Mention All-State team in 1963. Selected to the Atlanta Constitution Prep Stars of the Week 3 times during the 1963 season for his performances vs. Murray County, Murphy and Dalton. Selected as the football team most outstanding player by the Copper Basin Jaycees in 1964. Awarded the Basketball team Sportsmanship Award in 1965. As a sophomore at Reinhardt College, was elected the most outstanding athlete in the boys’ intramural sports program.

Played football at Copperhill High School in 1954 and 1955. Was the starting center as a sophomore on the 1955 Copperhill team that finished with a 7-3-1 record and the school’s only appearance in a Bowl game. Played football at West Fannin in 1956 and 1957. Was the starting center both seasons that he was a member of the West Fannin team. Also was a starting defensive tackle. Named to the Atlanta Journal-Constitution Class AA All-State Honorable Mention team in 1957. Kicked 11 successful points after touchdown (extra points) for the 1957 West Fannin football team. Was the starting catcher for the 1957 West Fannin baseball team. After high school, attended Baylor Prep School in Chattanooga for the 1958-59 school term. At Baylor, he played center and earned a letter for the 1958 team. Was named to the Chattanooga News Free Press Chattanooga All-City Honorable Mention team. During the 1958 season at Baylor, was successful on 13 extra point kicks out of 15 attempts. At Baylor, Ron also won athletic letters in wrestling and baseball.

Earned 4 letters in track and field, 4 letters in cross country and 3 letters in basketball at Fannin County High School 1991-1995. Began competing in track and field at age 7 and won or placed in numerous events at the local, district and state levels. In 1991 competed in the National Junior Olympics in Raleigh, NC and placed 6th in the pentathlon, ninth in the long jump and 12th in the high hurdles. As a high school freshman in 1992, won the TAC Junior Olympics Intermediate boys southeastern US decathlon championship. Finished third in the high hurdles at the same meet. Advanced to the TAC Nationals in Los Angeles and finished 13th nationally. In 1993, won the USATF Junior Olympics Regional Championship in the decathlon held in Hampton, Virginia. Advanced to and finished third at the National Championships held at LSU in Baton Rouge, Louisiana. In 1994, won the Region 8AA 110 meters high hurdles championship and finished second in the pole vault. Advanced to the Georgia state track and field meet and won class AA state championships in both the pole vault event and the 110 meter high hurdles. Finished 4th in the pole vault event at the 1995 Georgia class AA track and field meet. Invited to compete at the USA/Mobil National Track and Field indoor meet at the Georgia Dome In Atlanta in 1995. Competed in the 60 meter high hurdles and finished 6th in an elite national field of athletes. Finished third in the 1995 Junior Olympics decathlon event in 1995 in Chapel Hill, North Carolina. Was injured competing in the pole vault event, but continued to compete and narrowly missed a second place finish and another appearance at the National Championships. His courage in finishing the event, although obviously injured, gained him a standing ovation and the respect of the fans, coaches and athletes in attendance. Was awarded a track scholarship by the University of Tennessee. Personal issues brought his promising track and field career to an end before he was able to compete at the collegiate level.

Played football, basketball and baseball at West Fannin High School 1969-1973. At West Fannin, earned 4 varsity letters in baseball, 3 in football and 3 in basketball. In football, was awarded the Sportsmanship award as a sophomore, junior and senior, the Scholastic award as a sophomore and the Most Valuable Back award as a senior. In basketball, was awarded the Sportsmanship award as a sophomore, junior and senior and the Scholastic award as a sophomore. As a junior was named to the all-tournament team and named as the MVP in the sub-region tournament. Was named to the region 6A all-tournament team. He helped his team to championships in both tournaments. As a sophomore, was named to the Chattanooga Times/Free Press honorable mention all Tri-State basketball team. In baseball, was awarded the Best Hustler award as a sophomore and was named the Most Valuable Player of the WF team as a junior. Received a basketball scholarship to Gainesville Junior College and won 2 letters there in both basketball and baseball. Received a baseball scholarship to Berry College and earned a varsity letter there in 1975-76. Coached for 12 years at Murray County, Gordon Lee, Armuchee and Fannin County High Schools. Coached football, basketball and golf. Has devoted 25 years to school administration including 4 ½ years in Fannin County schools.

Played basketball and softball at Fannin County High School 1989-1993. Became a basketball starter during freshman year and started for the remainder of her career. During her senior year of 1992-1993, averaged 19 points and 12 rebounds per game, leading FCHS to the girls Class AA state championship. This was the first team state championship in the history of Fannin County. Named to the Atlanta Journal-Constitution/Atlanta Tip-Off Club class AA all-state second team in 1993. Selected to play in the Georgia Athletic Coaches Association North-South All-Star game in 1993. Named Northwest Georgia girls Most Valuable Player by the Rome-based NW Georgia Tip-Off Club in 1993. During her high school career, set school records for most points scored with 1403 and most rebounds with 1096. FCHS honored her by retiring her jersey number. Awarded a full basketball scholarship to North Georgia College.

Played basketball, softball and track and field at Fannin County High School 1995-1999. Won four varsity letters in basketball, four in softball and one in track and field. Scored 1296 points during her career at Fannin County, including 40 points in the 1999 State Championship game victory. Was named to the Region 7AA all-region team three times and was named region Player of the Year as a senior. Named to the Atlanta Journal-Constitution Class AA all-state honorable mention team in 1999. Named MVP of the Fannin County team in 1999. Named Player of the Year by the Northwest Georgia Tip-Off Club in 1999. FCHS honored her by retiring her jersey number. Selected to play in the Georgia North-South All-Star game in 1999. Awarded a full basketball scholarship to North Georgia College and State University. Was named to the Conference All-Freshman team in 2000. Was a three-year starter at North Georgia College and State University.


(Mgr Melissa Weeks, Melissa Flowers, Roxie Reed, Stacy Parris, Leah Nelson, Tina Grice, Mgr Betty Jean Raper, Amanda Newton, Rachael Nicholson, Jamie Thomas, Amy Bundy, Jessica Holloway, Cindy Williams, Leslie Taylor, Crystal Jeffers, Christie Kay,Assistant Coach Eddie Payne, Head Coach Johnny Farmer)

Won the Region 7AA Championship. Won the Georgia State girls basketball class AA Championship with a record of 29 wins and 1 loss. Only the second team in the history of Fannin County to win a State Championship. Had a regular season record of 24-1 and defeated Monroe Area, St. Pius X, Westminster, Dodge County and Putnam County (81-64) in State Tournament play to win the title. Smallest margin of victory in the State Tournament was 15 points.

The Fannin County Hall of Fame announcement ceremony can be viewed below.

2014 Fannin County Hall of Fame Class Introduction from Fetch on Vimeo.

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