An Olympic medalist and a Georgia Bulldog All-American turned ESPN star highlight the seven selections to the Gwinnett County Sports Hall of Fame’s Class of 2015.
Brookwood grad Amanda Weir, a three-time Olympic medalist in swimming, and Shiloh grad Davey Pollack, a three-time All-American at UGA who is now a regular college football analyst on ESPN, are two headliners in the class. Pollack will be joined by another Shiloh product, wrestler Dustin Kawa, in the Class of 2015 to give the Generals their first two inductees into the hall.
Former Norcross track and field standout Stephen Harris, Buford basketball star Christi Thomas and longtime Central Gwinnett football coach Tally Johnson also are slated for induction. The class also includes one posthumous inductee, Grayson native William “Bull” Cooper.
The group will be inducted as part of the hall’s sixth class on May 1 during a dinner at the Gwinnett Center.
“The Gwinnett County Public School Foundation is again proud to present the Hall of Fame class,” said David Seago, president of the GCPS Foundation, the event’s beneficiary. “This will be our sixth induction ceremony and we again have a great class representing the impressive history of sports in Gwinnett County. Each year we realize more and more how important this honor is to the athletes and coaches, as well as their friends and family.
“And equally important, we continue to see firsthand how the funds raised through this event are helping our teachers and students to be more successful in the classroom.”
Weir, still a competitive swimmer who trains out of Gwinnett-based SwimAtlanta, has made the U.S. Olympic Team twice, the first shortly after her Brookwood graduation in 2004. She won two silver medals that year in Athens, Greece as an 18-year-old, then earned a bronze medal in the 2012 Olympics in London.
Pollack is one of only two three-time All-American football players in UGA history — Heisman Trophy winner Herschel Walker is the other — and a former first-round pick in the NFL Draft by the Cincinnati Bengals. His pro career was cut short by a neck injury, but he has excelled as a college football analyst for ESPN, appearing on a variety of programs, including a regular gig on “GameDay.”
He will be joined by fellow Shiloh alum Kawa, the second wrestler picked for the Gwinnett honor. He went 154-3 with three state championships as a high school wrestler and became the first Georgia to win the senior national tournament in 1999. He followed that up by winning two ACC titles at North Carolina State.
Harris is considered one of Gwinnett’s best-ever all-around athletes, propelling him to track and field excellence at Tennessee. In the early 2000s, he regularly ranked in the top 10 nationally in the decathlon and finished fifth in the 2005 USA Track and Field Championships in that specialty. He also won the NCAA decathlon championship as a Tennessee senior.
Thomas was a three-time All-SEC selection with the Georgia women’s basketball team, then was selected No. 12 overall in the 2004 WNBA Draft by the Los Angeles Sparks. She played seven seasons in the WNBA and still plays internationally, as most WNBA players do in their offseasons.
Johnson is a legend at Central Gwinnett, where he spent 35 years from 1974 to 2009. He was the Black Knights’ head football coach for 28 years, winning 185 games, and athletic director for 33. The Central field is named in his honor.
Cooper grew up in Grayson, where he attended school before going to Georgia. He played both baseball and football for the Bulldogs, then played baseball for the Atlanta Crackers and football for the Chicago Cardinals.
HALL OF FAME
What: Gwinnett County Sports Hall of Fame Banquet
When: May 1
Where: Gwinnett Center
2015 inductees: William “Bull” Cooper, Stephen Harris, Tally Johnson, Dustin Kawa, Davey Pollack, Christi Thomas, Amanda Weir
For more information: http://www.gcps-foundation.org/hall-of-fame/
Ticket/sponsorship information: Email to Kelly_Herndon@gwinnett.k12.ga.us
HALL OF FAME HISTORY
A look at the previous Gwinnett County Sports Hall of Fame classes:
Mary Ellen Blanchard