The following nine individuals, and one team, will be inducted this September as the inaugural class of the Whitley County Athletic Hall of Fame…
1985 Girls Basketball State Championship Team
The 85 Lady Colonels reached the pinnacle of basketball, shocking the Commonwealth with a 4 game run in the Sweet Sixteen at Western Kentucky’s Diddle Arena, defeating Louisville Atherton in the Title Game. The 85 edition of the Lady Colonels won a school record 30 games while losing only twice. The 13th Region title won in a 39-27 victory over Clay County is still the schools only Basketball Regional Title.
Hope Peace Akins – Class of 1986
She led her team to Whitley County’s first Regional Title and helped her squad bring home the only Team State Title in the 53 year history of our school. She scored over 1000 career points and despite being a perimeter player she still holds the school record for career field goal percentage at over 54%. Her 162 assists in a season is still the 4th best mark all time, and her 369 career assists currently ranks as the 3rd best total. While recruited by bigger schools, Hope landed at then Cumberland College to play her collegiate hoops. She ended up as the then Indians 3rd all time leading scorer earning 2nd Team All American Honors in 1991.
Larry Anderson – Basketball Coach
The Leader of the Lady Colonel Nation for 26 years. Coach A guided his teams to a total of 413 victories which currently ranks as the 18th most wins for a Coach in the history of Kentucky High School Girls Basketball. Coach A’s teams won 8 District Championships including one of the most dominant runs in 50th District History winning 4 straight from 2000 through 2004. His team reached the Finals of the 13th Region Tournament in 2001 losing to Jackson County. Coach A’s squads won 20 games or more on six different occasions.
Johnny “Birdie” Clawson – Class of 1969
When it came to scoring, nobody in Colonel History can match the exploits of Birdie. With a unique shooting style, he was among the best players to play in the 13th Region in the 1960’s. Scoring over 1500 points in his career, Birdie averaged 28 points a game his Senior year, 20 his Junior year and 12 his Sophomore year. He would routinely explode for 40+ points and scored a career high of 52 points which is believed to be the Colonel single game record. He was runner up for Region Player of the Year his Senior year.
Dennis Creekmore – Class of 1976
He is the most decorated single athlete in Whitley County High School History. He dominated track meets in the mid 1970s rarely if ever losing. His high school running career was capped off by duel state championships in 1976. He was the 1976 Boys 2A State Track Champion in the mile run with a 2A state record of 4:19.03. His State Record will never be broken, because the race was converted to the 1600 meter run in 1979. He also took home the 1976 Boys 2A State Championship in the 2 Mile run with a time of 9:36.03, which is the 3rd fastest 2A time in state history. He earned a scholarship and ran with distinction at Eastern Kentucky University.
Donnie “Burr” Haynes – Class of 1968
He left his mark on Colonel Athletics as both a multi sport athlete and a coach. Burr was a standout in both baseball and basketball. He starred on the hardwood as a hard nosed player averaging 16 points a game his Senior year in 1968, earning 1st Team All SEKC honors. He was perhaps better on the diamond. Leading the Colonels to multiple baseball District Championships. His exploits as a player earned him a scholarship to Cumberland College in both sports. He excelled in baseball while at Cumberland earning All KIAC honors in 1971,72, and 73. He would later return to Whitley County as our Head Basketball Coach from 1978 to 1982, guiding the Colonels in 1981 to our 2nd 50th District Title in School History.
Bobbie Joe Lawson – Class of 1997
Nobody has run farther in a Colonel uniform on a football field than Bobbie Joe. He was a part of 4 playoff teams including the 1995 team that had what is still a school best 9-0 start to the season. His individual accomplishments are impressive. He remains the leader in career rushing (4214), 1000 yard seasons in a career (3), 100 yard games (24), Carries (612), Points in a season (384), TD’s Rushing in a Game (5), Consecutive 100 yard games (6), TD’s in a career (60) and 100 yard games in a season (9). He rushed for over 200 yards in a single game 3 times. And is the schools #2 player in career all purpose yards (4792). He earned a scholarship and played collegiate football at University of the Cumberlands.
Coach Jim Rains – Basketball Coach
When he inherited the Lady Colonel Basketball Team, the program had never had a winning record. When he left his teams had won a State Title, a Regional Title, had a Regional Runner up finish, and taken home 4 District Championships. In his 8 years at the helm of the program he teams amassed a 194-49 record, an 80% winning clip. His teams still own the 4 best season records in Lady Colonel History and his seven 20 win seasons are nearly half of the program’s 15 total.
Roger Richardson – Class of 1980
Regarded as one of the best athletes ever to suit up in a Colonel uniform, Roger was a multiple sport star. In basketball, he played every position on the floor, often playing center because of the team’s lack of size. He was among the top scorers in the 13th Region his senior year. In baseball, he had a great glove and was among the most fierce hitters in Southern Kentucky during his career. After graduating from Whitley County, Roger played both baseball and basketball at Cumberland College. He led the then Indians to multiple national tournament appearances and is still the program’s all time leading scorer.
Heather Taylor – Class of 2002
She is the most prolific scorer in Colonel or Lady Colonel Basketball History. Heather was among the region’s top scorers every year of her high school career and one of the top 5 in the state both her Jr and Sr seasons. Her 2717 career points is the best by nearly 700 points. The 779 points she scored during a season is a Lady Colonel record, and the 45 she dropped in a game against Cawood on January 29, 2001 is still the program’s single game scoring record. Her 435 steals ranks as the best all time. And her 902 career rebounds puts her among the all time leaders as well.