I don’t know exactly how many high schools do something like this, but it is not enough.
On Saturday, Gatesville will hold its inaugural Athletics Hall of Fame Banquet, recognizing the achievements of former students Cotton Davidson, Dora Jean Patterson Dyson and John Frank Post.
To some, the names hold little meaning, but to those familiar with the Hornets’ and Lady Hornets’ history, the honor is overdue for the trio.
Davidson is perhaps the most well known of the group, having played at Baylor following a successful high school career in which he landed on all-district teams in football, basketball and baseball and competed in two state track meets between 1945 and 1949.
While most consider Robert Griffin III to be the best player to ever emerge from the Bears’ football program, Davidson was actually the first-ever Baylor quarterback to be drafted into the NFL. He was selected fifth overall by the Baltimore Colts in 1954.
Following his rookie season, the United States Army drafted Davidson, and he was named the All-Army Quarterback in 1955. He returned to the NFL in 1957, but soon found himself playing in the Canadian League.
In 1960, he became the original starting quarterback for the Dallas Texans and was named the MVP of the AFL All-Star Game in 1961.
Eventually, he wound up as a member of the Oakland Raiders before retiring and spending more than two decades as a member of Baylor’s coaching staff. He also served on the Gatesville ISD school board for 13 years, serving as president for five years.
Davidson is surrounded by equally deserving inductees.
Dyson was an all-district first-team selection in basketball for three consecutive seasons, beginning in 1959, but is most recognized for her outstanding track accomplishments.
In 1960, she tied track and field royalty Wilma Rudolph in the 50-yard dash at the U.S. AAU Olympic Trials before going on to set a national record in the high jump one year later.
She was named most versatile and most athletic girl during her senior year at Gatesville.
Dyson proceeded to compete all over the country and globe, winning multiple gold medals and setting various national records, in addition to being featured in Sports Illustrated.
Rounding out the inductees is Post, who is a lifelong Gatesville resident.
Following in his father’s footsteps, who was a member of the inaugural Hornets football team in 1912, Post played defensive and offensive end for the Hornets in 1937 and 1938. His teams went a combined 15-5 over the two seasons.
After graduating, he became a sports writer, accepting the position of sports editor for his hometown paper in 1941. He held the title for more than 40 years, dedicating himself to covering the Hornets like no other, and became a part owner of the publication in 1947.
As an owner, he was well decorated for his service, being named Citizen of the Year in 1968.
With 43 years of experience as sports editor, Post finally retired in 1984.
While each of their legacies is already entrenched, being inducted into the Gatesville Athletics Hall of Fame seems like a proper culmination for the trio.
The event should be a memorable night for everyone in attendance and most likely will only grow in popularity over time.
It is a wonder more schools do not do something like this for their elite alumni each year.
I know many schools honor their standout athletes of the past with photos inside trophy cases and jerseys mounted on the wall, but I’d like to see more.
In fact, I’d like to see every school create their own individual hall of fame that includes all sports with new members announced every year.
Just imagine how impressive Copperas Cove’s list of inductees could be.
As a society, myself included, we focus far too much on the present athletes and fail to remember the unique talents that helped pave the path.
Schools are a community within themselves, and Gatesville is certainly embracing that concept fully. I hope other programs around the area, state and country follow the Hornets’ lead.
There are plenty of worthy athletes and coaches out there, and they too deserve a hall to call home.
Contact Clay Whittington at firstname.lastname@example.org