Gwinnett Sports Hall of Fame class named

A heavyweight boxing champion and an Olympic groundbreaker highlight the five-person inaugural class of the Gwinnett County Sports Hall of Fame released on Friday by the Gwinnett County Public Schools Foundation.

The initial inductees, who will be honored June 6 at the Gwinnett Braves game, include Lawrenceville native Ezzard Charles, the world heavyweight boxing champion from 1949-1951, and Buford native Cindy Brogdon, a Greater Atlanta Christian graduate who won a silver medal with the 1976 U.S. women's basketball team.

The group also features Terry Harvey, a three-sport star at Dacula who was a standout in both football and baseball at North Carolina State. Parkview grad and former Georgia All-American Matt Stinchcomb, who played seven seasons in the NFL, also will be inducted along with Central Gwinnett and Georgia Tech product Ida Neal-Smith, an ACC basketball legend who was the first Yellow Jacket to make first-team All-ACC in women's basketball.

"The Gwinnett County Sports Hall of Fame is long overdue for our community," said the GCPS Foundation's David Seago, who is heading up the project. "There are so many great athletes from this area and it's time that we recognize them. At the Gwinnett County school system foundation we have been looking for a signature fundraising event, and this could not be a better fit. June 6 promises to be a great event as we induct the first class, and at the end of the day, the athletes and the school system will benefit."

Though the GCPS Foundation is sponsoring the hall of fame, induction is open to any Gwinnett athlete, even if he or she didn't attend a GCPS school. Organizers plan to honor a new class each year, beginning with the June 6 event at Coolray Field.

The Gwinnett Braves will host the event before and during its 2:05 p.m. game that day. The four living hall of fame inductees will be present to accept their awards, while Ezzard Charles Jr. will accept the honor for his late father.

"We are thrilled the Gwinnett County Public Schools Foundation asked us to partner and host the first annual Gwinnett County Sports Hall of Fame ceremony at Coolray Field," G-Braves general manager North Johnson said. "The foundation has worked extremely hard to make this an event the entire county will be proud of and one that will properly honor the sports heroes of the area. The Gwinnett Braves are excited to be a small part of this long-awaited event."

A permanent, or perhaps even rotating, home for the hall of fame display has not be selected.