Jordan High will induct a quartet of individuals, two players and two coaches, and an entire team into the school’s hall of fame at a ceremony at St. Luke Methodist Church on Saturday.
Late coaches Red Jenkins and Bobby Allen, who died of a heart attack on June 25, will be represented by family members at the ceremony, while former athletes Lawton Garnto and Charles Oliver will be present for the ceremony. Also present will be all but two members of the 2007 state championship basketball team, including coach Gerald Turner who remains the team’s head coach.
“This is just an honor for these guys,” Turner said of his team’s induction. “It’s never happened before. It’s quite an honor to be recognized. It’s a feeling I wish everyone could have.”
That team went 26-6 and defeated East Hall 65-53 in the Class AAA final. Steve Peterson, a member of the team who will be present at the ceremony, said it was extra special to be inducted with friends he grew up with.
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“We were the kids that grew up together,” he said. “For us, all growing up together, it’s just extraordinary. We’re a family more than friends, so it’s hard to express how it feels to be recognized like this.”
Turner said he expected all but James Abraham and Pierre Ware, who he said were overseas in the military, to be present for the induction. Peterson said it would be a great reunion for his teammates.
“We’re looking forward to it,” he said. “There’s going to be a lot of laughs.”
Jenkins, the school’s inaugural football coach from 1937-41, will be represented by his son, Don, at the induction. Allen’s wife will be present on his behalf.
Allen, who played football at the University of Georgia and graduated in college in 1963, was Jordan’s head football coach for two seasons in 1966-67.
Garnto, a reserve in the Muscogee County Sherriff’s Department, graduated from Jordan in 1962. He played football basketball and baseball at Jordan, lettering in all three in each of his sophomore, junior and senior seasons. His brother, Ben, was inducted into the Jordan Hall of Fame two years ago, making them the first pair of brothers to be inducted. Both were quarterbacks for the football team.
Oliver spent just one year at Jordan, his senior year in 1972 following the integration of Columbus schools. He ran track at Jordan and continued his athletic career at Troy State, where he won the 1976 NAIA National Championship in the 400-meter dash and still holds the school record in the event (45.74 seconds). He also was a member of the track and field coaching staff at the University of Tennessee, winning a national championship in 1991.
The ceremony will begin at 6 p.m. on Saturday at St. Luke Methodist Church.
David Mitchell,706-571-8571; Follow David on Twitter @leprepsports.