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Wed. Jul. 30 9:02 am
Saturday, Feb. 11, 2012

State champs among inductees to North Augusta's sports hall of fame

Staff Writer
SARA CALDWELL/STAFF
Lou Brissie (left) sits and speaks with others in attendance at the banquet and induction ceremony for the North Augusta Sports Hall of Fame on Saturday in North Augusta.

 

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

The ceremony was highlighted by the induction of the 1961 North Augusta High School state championship football team. The team overcame a loss to Richmond Academy 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, on Thanksgiving night. It was North Augusta’s second shutout win over Clinton that season.

“That was a remarkable season,” said Mike Harley, a tackle on the team. “It was more desire amongst all the players than size and ability. This team really had the desire to win, and we went out there anticipating to win every game.”

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 state champions met as a group since a 25-year reunion in 1986. After 51 years, the team 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 School 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 he 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. I was truly surprised.”

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. “I’ve been teaching in North Augusta for 31 years, so I pretty much stayed in North Augusta my whole life, so it’s an honor. It’s very special.”

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 before eventually playing under a scholarship at Furman, 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’s football team as a preferred walk-on under Erk Russell and Paul Johnson, where he made 31 starts on the offensive line.

While Twiggs was a member of the Eagles, the team won three national championships and earned 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, as well as 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. I thank this organization for considering it and doing it. It’s beyond any dream I’ve ever had.”

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