Whitley County Schools is happy to announce this year’s inductees into the Colonel Athletic Hall of Fame:
Every good basketball team has a player they can turn to when a basket is needed, and Hudson was that player for the Colonel basketball team in the early 1970s. He was a tall, athletic player with a gift for scoring. He proved to be a mismatch for most defenses in the 50th District and 13th Region.
During the Colonels’ region runner-up finish in 1973, Hudson led the postseason charge offensively, scoring 16 points in their first-round district tournament defeat of Corbin. In the district championship, Hudson shined for the Colonels again, pouring in 23 points and grabbing 14 rebounds in a double overtime win over Knox Central.
Hudson was a big part of the 1973 team’s success, finishing as the leading scorer and being named to the region’s All-Tournament Team.
One of the foundational players during the early years of Lady Colonel Basketball was Betsy Rains.
Betsy was Whitley County’s floor general, directing traffic and providing leadership. She was an integral part of the first district title team in 1980, helping the Lady Colonels to a 27-5 record. In 1981 the team defended their district crown, going 27-3. Then, in 1982, they went farther than any team before them, losing in the regional title game and ending their season at 29-7.
That three-year period produced more wins (83) than any three-year period before or since.
Great point guards make the game easier for those around them, and Betsy was no different. She was a prolific passer, ending with 358 career assists, good enough for sixth on the all-time list. During her senior season she set what was then a Lady Colonel record of 166 assists in a season, which still sits as the third best assist season of all-time.
After graduation, Betsy earned a full scholarship to play collegiate basketball, taking her talents to then Cumberland College where she starred for four seasons. She played on some of the most accomplished teams of that era, and had individual success in the process, finishing with 1315 career points, which was good enough at the time for the third spot on the Lady Indians career scoring list.
Walter “Fuzz” Jackson
One of the first great running backs in Whitley County Football history burst onto the scene in the mid 1970s. Walter “Fuzz” Jackson was the first Colonel player to cross the career 1000-yard rushing mark. He eventually ended with 1409 career yards, and was part of the first two teams in Whitley County Football history that had above .500 records, going 6-4-1 in 1974 and 7-4 in 1975.
His 19 career rushing touchdowns was, at the time, the program standard. He breached the century mark on the ground four games during his career, despite never getting more than 23 carries in a contest. He had the first known 100-yard game by a Colonel rusher in 1974 against Rockcastle County, running for 102 yards on 21 carries.
But “Fuzz” Jackson became a household name and established his place as a legend in Whitley football history by running for a record 307 yards on just 21 carries against Lynn Camp in the final game of the 1974 season. It was, at the time, the single game rushing record which stood for 30 years until it was broken in 2004. His 304 yards in a single game remains one of only four 300-yard rushing games in Colonel Football history.
1996 Softball Team
Entering the 1996 softball season, most believed the Lady Colonels were a favorite to win the then 47th District Softball Championship. The Lady Colonels delivered on that expectation with a convincing 8-1 win in the district championship game against Williamsburg.
After capturing the 13th Region Softball Championship, defeating Bell County 5-3, the Lady Colonels were off to the state softball tournament.
Saying the Lady Colonels were an offensive powerhouse is an understatement, going into the state tournament leading the state in both home runs (19) and stolen bases. As a team, they were second in the state in triples (32) and total hits (317) and were among the state’s highest team batting averages (.405).
During the state tournament the Lady Colonels went 3-2, finishing in the top six of the state. The team finished the 1996 campaign with a 29-8 overall record.
1976 Football Team
Every great sports program has a beginning; The first time something special happens. For Whitley County Football, that time was 1976.
The Colonels had shown promise the year prior with a 7-4 mark and those close to Colonel Football knew that the Bicentennial squad had a chance to do something no other Colonel Football team had done. The season began with seven consecutive victories; the last of which was a 9-3 overtime win over Lincoln County that launched the team into playoff position.
Consecutive losses to Bell County and Laurel County left little room for error, but a victory over Rockcastle County in the penultimate week of the regular season cemented the district crown and the program’s first-ever playoff berth.
The Colonels season came to an end in the first round of the post season against Northern Kentucky powerhouse Erlanger Lloyd. The season’s final record was 9-3, which at the time was a program best mark for wins in a season.