DOBSON — Inductees to the county’s sports hall of fame have been announced for 2016.
On Wednesday, the Surry County Parks and Recreation Department released the names of all those who will be added to the Hall of Fame and Ring of Honor memorial at Dobson Square Park.
Hall of Fame inductees include players coaches and administrators with impressive accomplishments in Surry County sports. Ring of Honor inductees include individuals, teams, corporations and organizations which have made significant contributions to sports programs in the county.
The bylaws for the hall of fame committee allow a maximum of six inductees every year, and six more names will soon appear at the hall of fame memorial.
Brenda Bledsoe attended Copeland High School from 1956 to 1960, and was a star on the girls’ basketball court. She averaged 32 points per game in her senior year there. While there she was voted the team’s most valuable player and earned All-Surry County and All-Northwest recognition.
She was also twice named to the All-State team. However, she most covets the Babe Ruth Sportsmanship Award she received while playing basketball for the school, which was phased out as part of a consolidation of the county’s schools.
Steven Caudill had a successful career in men’s swimming at Elkin High School from 2003 to 2007. However, his career carried far beyond his high school years.
While at Elkin High, Caudill earned seven individual state championships. In his latter two years he was named the MVP at the state championships. Caudill went on to attend Gardner Webb University, where he was a swim team captain. He holds eight school records at Gardner Webb.
Following his time as an undergraduate, Caudill worked as a graduate assistant swim coach at Florida State University from 2001 through 2013. In his time there, he coached 13 NCAA All-Americans and four ACC individual champions.
Caudill still holds eight school records at Elkin High and is considered the most decorated athlete in the school’s history.
The ball coach
David Diamont coached varsity football for a combined 39 years at Mount Airy and East Surry High Schools, retiring from East Surry recently.
Diamont was selected to coach the East/West All-Star game in 1985 and 2008. He was also an assistant coach for the 2006 Shrine Bowl of the Carolinas, an all-star game which pits North Carolina’s best against South Carolina’s best football players.
Diamont won 273 games while coaching football and ended his career with a .653 winning percentage.
Tony George graced Mount Airy High School’s basketball court from 1973 to 1984, and continued his career at the next level and in the coaching arena.
After graduating from Mount Airy, George went on to play four years at Pfeiffer University before returning to coach at his home school.
He coached 11 seasons at Mount Airy High School, and in four of those seasons was named coach of the year. Three times he led the school to runner-up finishes at the regional tournament. George compiled a 226-107 record while coaching at the high school.
Additionally, George coached a season at Surry Community College, where he led the team to an NJCAA Div. III final four appearance.
Three sport stand-out
Vickie Hardy played basketball, softball and volleyball at North Surry High School from 1973 to 1977. She won the school’s Women’s All-Star Sports Award in 1976.
Between all three sports, Hardy was named to eight all-state teams and was three times named the MVP of a state tournament.
She went on to play at Cawtawba college, where she excelled on the softball field and volleyball court and was named the school’s most outstanding female athlete in one of her two years at the college. She was the school’s MVP in both sports and earned all-conference honors in softball.
Hardy was inducted into the North Carolina USSSA Slow Pitch Softball Hall of Fame in 2011.
Excelling in the trenches
At Elkin High School, from 1965 through 1968, Will Holthouser played football, basketball and baseball. However, it was his time on the football field which carried him to an athletic career at the collegiate level.
While at Elkin, Holthouser was three times named to the all-conference team as an offensive guard.
His career at Elkin led to a full scholarship to Wake Forest University, where he ended up playing linebacker. He was named the Demon Deacons’ scout team captain while playing at the university and lettered in three of his five years at the school.
Holthouser was on the Demon Deacons’ 1970 ACC championship team and went on to coach the sport for 37 years, 30 of which were at the collegiate level.
The Ring of Honor is limited to two inductees each year, and the class of 2016 consists of two.
The 2000-2001 East Surry Lady Cardinals basketball team compiled a 28-3 record in its state championship season and was picked to be inducted into the Ring of Honor.
The voice of David Beal should be recognizable for those who frequent Mount Airy High sporting events. Beal has been volunteering as the announcer for football games at the school since 1977, and he began announcing for baseball games in 2012.
Beal also served as a volunteer special assistant for the Winston-Salem Spirits, a minor league baseball team which saw its name changed to the Warthogs, from 1989 to 2008.
He serves on multiple committees in Mount Airy and Surry County, including the county and city hall of fame committees and the county’s parks and recreation advisory committee.
Beal is already a member of the Greater Winston-Salem and Mount Airy Sports Halls of Fame.
Andy is a staff writer and may be reached at 415-4698.