A legendary coach, six homegrown legends, and a sellout crowd of almost 650 attendees … that’s a recipe for a magical evening!
On May 1, the Gwinnett County Sports Hall of Fame inducted the Class of 2019, celebrating the 10th anniversary induction ceremony and evening gala with keynote speaker, Nick Saban, head football coach of the Alabama Crimson Tide and two-time Walter Camp Coach of the Year and winner of six national championships and eight SEC championships. Good Day Atlanta’s Buck Lanford of WAGA Fox5 once again served as emcee for the event.
The six elite inductees, all GCPS graduates or coaches, are:
Coach John Sawyer, beloved South Gwinnett HS baseball coach and teacher for 37 years;
David Saville, team manager for Norcross HS football and now team manager for Clemson football and a ClemsonLife graduate;
Coach Mickey Conn, head football coach from Grayson HS, Clemson assistant coach, and a graduate of South Gwinnett HS and the University of Alabama where he was a walk-on and earned a football scholarship;
Rennie Curran, a football standout at Brookwood HS and the University of Georgia who has gone on to play in the NFL and CFL and serves as a motivational speaker and leadership coach;
Coach Angie Hembree, who led both Norcross HS and Collins Hill HS girls' basketball teams to a total of six state championships and coached many college and pro players; and
Megan Wiggins, a Shiloh HS softball player and a record-breaking player for the University of Georgia who went on to play pro for the Chicago Bandits for four seasons.
The evening included a video introduction from Clemson Coach Dabo Swinney as well as an in-person introduction from Maya Moore who played under Coach Hembree at Collins Hill and has gone on to become a UConn star, Olympic gold medalist, and WNBA standout with the Minnesota Lynx.
Also honored during the evening was Dr. Gary Levengood, recipient of the first annual Pioneer Award for his contributions to Gwinnett County athletics.
All proceeds from event tickets and packages, sponsorships, and an online auction benefit academic initiatives, teacher grants, and student scholarships administered by the Gwinnett County Public Schools Foundation Fund. “When all is said and done, we hope to reach a quarter of a million dollars in contributions,” says Aaron Lupuloff, senior executive director of the Foundation.
Mr. Lupuloff notes that each year this event brings out high-caliber athletes, coaches, and others who support athletes, but also brings out the best in the community. “This evening couldn’t happen without the exceptional inductees— each class is incredible,” he says. “And we’re also fortunate to have a remarkable staff and a supportive community. With your support, the Foundation can help ‘where the need is greatest’ as we work together to provide resources and support to improve the educational future of all students.”
Both school district employees and community members generously contribute to the Foundation to help support teaching and learning across the district, improve student achievement, fund scholarships for students, provide classroom grants for teachers, foster innovation in programs and initiatives, and develop leaders in our schools.
Check out this video from the 2019 induction ceremony from GCPS TV.
Thank you to the sponsors for the ceremony, including:
Presenting Sponsor: Gwinnett Medical Center;
Platinum Sponsors: Hisense, the Sean and Cindy Murphy Family, and Sports Medicine South/Dr. Gary Levengood;
Gold Sponsors: Georgia Power, Jackson EMC, Mall of Georgia MINI, Mitsubishi Electric Classic, Partnership Gwinnett, Scholastic Images Balfour, Hisense, Beverage SuperStore, Gwinnett Sports Commission, Sonesta Gwinnett Place Atlanta, Army National Guard, Primerica, and Peach State Federal Credit Union; and
37 Table Sponsors.