Gwinnett inducts second sports hall of fame class

George Rogers, Eddie Martin, Mary Ellen Warta and Ted Roof, left to right, sport their new blazers for a photo after they were inducted into the Gwinnett County Sports Hall of Fame during a 2011 ceremony at Coolray Field.

LAWRENCEVILLE -- George Rogers doesn't lack for memorabilia from his heralded football career.

At the request of event organizers, the most coveted piece in his collection was present at Sunday afternoon's Gwinnett County Sports Hall of Fame induction ceremony at Coolray Field.

"Gang, it's here, that's not a replica," Aaron Lupuloff of the Gwinnett County Public Schools Foundation told the crowd. "That's the real Heisman."

At the request of event organizers, Rogers brought his award for being 1980's top college football player to Sunday's gathering, which took place before and during the Gwinnett Braves' baseball game. But he left with much more.

Like his fellow inductees into the hall's second class -- former Norcross swimmer Mary Ellen Warta, Central Gwinnett grad and college football coach Ted Roof, Central grad and longtime basketball coach Eddie Martin and late brothers Ivey and Red Wingo of Norcross -- Rogers left the event with quite a bit of hardware.

Each honoree was presented with a Gwinnett hall of fame blazer and ring.

"I've got my Super Bowl ring on, I've got my Heisman ring on, but this ring's going to stand out more than any of them because it's from Gwinnett County," Rogers, a Duluth grad, said during his pre-game induction speech.

Each of the selections was announced to the crowd during the G-Braves game, while the private induction gathering, in a suite, was a more intimate setting for the hall of famers and their families. Most brought their children and even the Wingo brothers were represented by family, including Red Wingo's grandsons from Michigan.

It also allowed for the inductees to mingle with each other, a unique opportunity for Rogers and Roof, who played against each other in high school football, and for Martin, who also was a Gwinnett athlete during that same era.

Roof didn't pass up the opportunity to kid Rogers and Martin during his speech.

"I'm not sure I'm supposed to say this, but I used to watch George and Eddie as a kid," Roof said.

The hall's first class, inducted in 2010, featured Terry Harvey of Dacula, Ida Neal-Smith of Central, Matt Stinchcomb of Parkview, Cindy Brogdon of Greater Atlanta Christian and late boxer Ezzard Charles, a Lawrenceville native.

Both of the first two inductions were well received, leaving high hopes for next year's third class.

"This is really a first-class event," said Roof, now the defensive coordinator for BCS champion Auburn. "I'm very, very honored and very, very humbled. And I'm going in with some great athletes and some great people."

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