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Champion athletes inducted into hall of fame

Posted: February 14, 2012 - 6:58pm  |  Updated: February 22, 2012 - 1:25am
Former baseball player Lou Brissie (center) received the first Lou Brissie Award, which recognizes community involvement and athletic achievement.  SARA CALDWELL/STAFF
SARA CALDWELL/STAFF
Former baseball player Lou Brissie (center) received the first Lou Brissie Award, which recognizes community involvement and athletic achievement.

 

The North Augusta Sports Commission inducted a new batch of athletes into its hall of fame during a ceremony Saturday at Grace United Methodist Church.

The ceremony was highlighted by the induction of the 1961 North Augusta High School state championship football team. The team overcame a loss to Academy of Richmond County in the second week of the season to reel off 10 consecutive wins, riding the momentum to a state title victory over Clinton, 19-0.

The team’s 12-1 mark set the school record for wins in a season, and it was the second state title in school history. Coach Cally Gault was named South Carolina Coach of the Year that season, and Craig Baynham, Gene Williams and Sonny Anderson were named to the All-State team.

The ceremony marked the first time the team met as a group since a 25-year reunion in 1986.

After 51 years, they remained honored and humbled by the recognition.

“It’s a great feeling,” said Bill Harville, a right guard. “It’s a very good event. That ’61 team was a classic team. It was very rewarding to be a part of it.”

Among other inductions was Beth McKie Meyer, a standout athlete at North Augusta High from 1975 to 1977. Meyer was a two-time Aiken County scoring champion and was named All-County and All-Conference in basketball, while earning team MVP awards in basketball and tennis.

She was named All-State as a junior, averaging 23.4 points per game. Her success continued at Augusta College, where she was named All-Conference all four years. She still holds four career records and averaged 20.4 points per game.

“It’s a very big honor,” Meyer said. “I feel very humbled to be inducted into the hall of fame with so many other gifted athletes who played in North Augusta.”

Meyer said spending much of her life in North Augusta made the honor even more meaningful.

“For my family, my dad was very responsible for coaching and teaching me a lot of the stuff, so it has been rewarding,” she said.

Jim Bush was another former North Augusta standout inducted into the hall of fame. He was named to the All-State football team during his high school career, and he signed a scholarship to play for Clemson University before eventually playing under a scholarship at Furman University, where he was a member of the team for two years.

Sammy Twiggs was also inducted as a former North Augusta athlete. He was named All-Area Honorable Mention in football while starting for the football, basketball and baseball teams.

He joined Georgia Southern University’s football team as a preferred walk-on under Erk Russell and Paul Johnson and made 31 starts on the offensive line.

While Twiggs was a member of the Eagles, the team won three national championships and compiled a 60-13 record. Twiggs was named Player of the Game for the championship game in 1989. He went on to become a PGA club professional at Greenwood Country Club.

The ceremony was also highlighted by the appearance of Lou Brissie, a professional baseball player with the Philadelphia Athletics and Cleveland Indians from 1947 to 1953 and resident of North Augusta.

A tribute to Brissie, and an award initiated in his honor, were presented. The Lou Brissie Award recognizes a combination of community involvement and athletic achievement.

“This is really a tremendous thing,” Brissie said. “I just have difficulty imagining this could ever happen to me, but it has and I appreciate it.”

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