The Batesville Area Athletic Hall of Fame induction ceremony is set for June 23 at 6 p.m. at the Batesville Community Center and the 20th class will be represented by Don Fowler, Billy Moyer, George Snelgrove, George Terry, Curtis Wainwright and Melinda Wyatt. Dale Cole will be recognized as the Bill Estes Award winner.
Fowler and Terry will be recognized posthumously.
Advance tickets can be purchased now at Kent’s Firestone, First Community Bank and at the main branch of Citizens Bank for $20 apiece. They can be purchased at the door for $25. The ticket also pays for dinner, which is being provided by Fred’s Fish House.
Fowler was a very successful high school basketball coach while at Sulphur Rock, Swifton, Bradford, Oil Trough, Pleasant Plains (Midland) and Newark (Cedar Ridge). Known for their tenacious defense, Fowler’s teams won wherever he coached. His cumulative senior boys’ teams record was an amazing 595-190, an average of almost 20 wins and six losses per season. His teams won numerous district and regional titles and participated in several state tournaments.
A Swifton High and Arkansas College graduate, where he played basketball and baseball, Fowler also coached other sports throughout his exceptional career.
Moyer is still known as “Mr. Smooth” for his maneuvers in a late model race car. That steady and fluid efficiency led the Batesville man to 828 feature victories over three decades and counting. At 60, Moyer, a 2002 Dirt Late Model Hall of Fame inductee, is still steering the number 21 car.
Topping Moyer’s many race and series championships are a record six World 100 titles, and his popularity among fans, the media and competitors is evident in the many “Driver of the Year” and “Most Popular” awards attached to his name.
Snelgrove directed outstanding high school basketball teams during a 14-year coaching career which included stops at Sulphur Rock, Oil Trough, and Tuckerman. His senior boys teams posted 363 wins and 109 losses, collecting six district and region titles. His coaching days were highlighted by state championship appearances in 1966 (Oil Trough) and 1973 (Tuckerman), and two Arkansas High School Coaching Association All-Star assignments, including the head coach position for the 1973 East team.
Snelgrove, an Arkansas College graduate, later served as a school administrator for 22 years, mostly at Batesville High, totaling a 36-year career in education.
Terry, a native of Batesville, played on the legendary 1927 Batesville High state championship basketball team that lost a national championship game by two points in Chicago and lettered in three sports while playing at George Washington University and College of the Ozarks.
However, it was as a coach that Terry made his mark. After his eight football teams at Pine Bluff High posted a 49-12-6 record, which included a state championship in 1951, Terry worked as an assistant coach at LSU, West Point, and South Carolina. When LSU won the 1958 national title, Head Coach Paul Dietzel called Terry “the finest football scout and perhaps the best defensive coach I’ve ever seen.” After Terry’s death, South Carolina named its spring sports facility after him, and in 1976 he was named to the Arkansas Sports Hall of Fame.
Wainwright, who excelled at football and track and field for the Pioneers before graduating from Batesville High in 1973, is also being honored for later achievements. He began powerlifting in the early ’80s and finished third in an Alabama Championship. Since then, Wainwright has won numerous gold, silver and bronze medals in North American, Pan American, and Master World Championships. He is a two-time winner of the International Powerlifting Federation (IPF) Master World Championship, has set four IPF world records and is one of only five men over the age of 60 to squat lift over 600 pounds.
Wyatt graduated in 1982 and was an all-state selection as a member of the Lady Pioneers’ first basketball state title team that same year. She attended Pensacola Junior College on a basketball scholarship and also played softball, then transferred to the University of West Florida where she won the Female Athlete of the Award as a softballer.
Her success in softball continued as a high school coach. At J.M. Tate in Cantonment, Fla., her teams have won seven Class 7A district titles, the 2015 state crown, and Wyatt won the 7A and Overall Coach of the Year Awards that season.
Wyatt was also instrumental in founding the Lady Aggie Strikeout Cancer Fundraiser, which has raised $88,973 over the last 10 years.
Cole has been a driving force in the Batesville area for community projects that benefit citizens of all ages and all walks since arriving here 30 years ago. The Texas native and University of Texas grad currently serves as chairman and CEO of First Community Bank and is on numerous local boards that stimulate economic development. Cole is a passionate supporter of education, which has resulted in the promotion of academics and athletics. He is an ardent champion of initiatives that improve the quality of life for all people in the community.
Submitted by Paul Glover