A class of five former Jordan High athletic stars will be inducted into the school’s athletic Hall of Fame on Saturday during a ceremony and dinner at St. Luke Methodist Church.
Fred Dean (Class of 1957), James Rutland (Class of 1961), Pat Donahue (Class of 1965), Douglas Stanley Taylor (Class of 1967) and Bobby Howard (Class of 1969) will all be honored.
It is a particularly successful class, both during and after high school.
Dean played football for four seasons, earning All-Bi-City distinctions in 1954-56 and being awarded a scholarship to the University of Alabama. He was injured in his final year at Jordan and was unable to play for the Crimson Tide.
The list of Rutland’s accomplishments takes up nearly an entire page of print. He participated in football, basketball and track.
As a sophomore, he was the Bi-City high jump and pole vault champion as well as the Region 1-AAA pole vault champion. He finished fourth at the Class AAA state meet.
As a junior, he was the Bi-City pole vault champion, finished first in the pole vault at the Columbus relays, second at an all-class meet in Atlanta and second at the Class AAA state meet.
As a senior, he was co-captain of the football team that won the Bi-City championship and an All-Bi-City second-teamer. In track, he finished first in the Bi-City and Region 1-AAA and third at the Class AAA state meet. He also added the high hurdles to his list of accomplishments, finishing first in the Bi-City.
After high school, he lettered four years in track at the University of Georgia, where he broke the school’s high jump record three times.
Donahue was a three-year letterman in both baseball and football, earning most valuable running back status for the school in 1965. He played in the Oakland A’s organization for five years, from 1966-71.
Taylor lettered in football and baseball in 1964-66 for the Red Jackets. He was also a member of the tennis team and earned a football scholarship to the University of South Carolina. He transferred to Troy State for the 1968-70 seasons and won an NAIA national championship.
He died in 1998 after nearly a yearlong battle with Leukemia. The cause of death was complications after he received a bone marrow transplant in 1998.
His family will be in attendance for the ceremony. Despite living out of the area now, they return each year to award four scholarships worth $1,000 each in Taylor’s honor.
Howard participated in football, basketball and baseball at Jordan, but is most well known for his success as a coach. He coached at Jordan and then Columbus, where he won 12 state championships. He currently coaches at Central High.
Howard said he was humbled to be a part of a class as successful as this one.
“I know all of them,” he said. “They were great athletes. I played with Pat Donahue and Douglas Taylor. They’re all great athletes. I’m just honored to be a part of it.”