Kyle Cooper was not being recognized, but he was honored.
After months of anticipation, the inaugural class of the Gatesville Athletics Hall of Fame was inducted during last week’s banquet honoring hometown heroes Cotton Davidson, Dora Jean Patterson Dyson and John Frank Post.
Although the night was dedicated to the trio, Gatesville’s athletic director took equal pleasure in the festivities.
“I couldn’t wait to sit down and just listen to those folks,” Cooper said. “It really was a great show, and I just thought it was great night. … It was really meaningful.”
Taking place at Gatesville’s Peacock River Ranch, the semiformal ceremony highlighted the career of each inductee. From Davidson’s groundbreaking career on the gridiron to Dyson’s exploits on the track and Post’s passion for documenting it all, for one night, Gatesville’s athletic history crossed paths with its present persona.
Although it took months of preparation to produce the unique event, Cooper is already looking forward to doing it again.
“We plan for this to be annual,” he said. “We’ve already set out the timelines for our 2015 class. So, we are going to continue forward with it.”
Cooper originally came up with the idea of establishing a hall of fame for former athletes and others who made
significant contributions to the program in the past.
Once the structure was in place, thanks in large part to extensive planning by Gatesville athletic secretary Velvet Jaynes, the Hornets booster club began accepting applications for potential nominees. Players and coaches must be removed from school for a period of five years before becoming eligible, while all other candidates are considered based on merit and contribution of service to the athletic program.
Following the deadline, Gatesville’s Gold Club — a division of the booster club — overlooked the nominations before making the final selections.
For Davidson, who is a member of the Baylor Athletics Hall of Fame following his career as a football player and coach for the Bears, being chosen was an honor, but he is equally excited for future classes.
“I am just so proud that the community is going to have this available through the years to remember people by,” he said. “Very few high schools have something like this.”
In the future, Cooper believes entire teams could be inducted as opposed to individuals, but Dyson, who is a multiple-time gold medal winner responsible for setting numerous national records, believes it will difficult to top the inaugural class.
“(Post) is a wonderful, wonderful person,” she said. “And Cotton is so talented and has such a colorful past. It is a wonderful honor to be in that group.”
Regardless of who becomes part of the next wave of inductees, Post most likely spent time covering them during his 43-year career as sports editor at The Gatesville Messenger, and he is excited to see the community recognizing its former standouts.
“I think it is a great idea to give youngsters who have made the sacrifice to be outstanding athletes the recognition they never expected but are due,” he said. “It is wonderful.”