Athlete Hall of Fame established at North Brunswick High School
Ten individuals associated with North Brunswick High School received the honor of being the first class in the school’s new Athlete Hall of Fame. The ceremony on February 7 brought memories and emotions to the forefront.
“This whole experience from being on the committee to choosing the criteria to the event itself has been the most rewarding in my career as an educator and being involved in athletics,” says Randy Fennell, athletic director at NBHS.
“We considered the folks who have gone above and beyond in contributions to athletics, the community and what they did at North Brunswick,” says Ben Thomas, NBHS graduate and now assistant principal at the school. He explained that Samuel Pellom, Sr. was the first graduate to sign a contract to play for a professional team, and Clarence “Chucky” Brown, Jr. was the second. “We thought to recognize them and to include people of diverse backgrounds was important,” he says. “There were lots of ‘firsts,’ and we thought that was important to select those who were the trailblazers.”
Tanya McGee, former student and former teacher at NBHS and currently athletic coordinator in the Brunswick County Parks and Recreation department, was chair of the Hall of Fame committee and Master of Ceremonies. “We wanted to make sure we had athletes that broke school records, but they had to meet the criteria, too,” she says. “We did our best to pick those who contributed to NBHS and the Leland community.”
The ceremony included dinner for inductees and their guests. They were later introduced to fans who had gathered in the gym for the girls’ and the boys’ basketball games.
Ryan Huffman, president of the NBHS Athletic Booster Club and former NBHS teacher and coach, said the idea of a Hall of Fame started when he and former NBHS teacher and coach Garry Bishop created lists of those who had commendable athletic accomplishments.
Information from Huffman states that NBHS athletes have earned 15 state championships and over 40 individual state championship since 1972, the most earned by any high school in Brunswick, Pender and New Hanover counties. Records also show that 11 NBHS athletes have gone on to play professional sports. Four of them were inducted in the 2020 NBHS Athletic Hall of Fame: Clarence “Chucky” Brown, Jr., Stephen Mintz, Ashley Pellom and Samuel Pellom, Sr.
“It was a great event,” McGee says. “It was beyond our expectations. We made these people feel very special about their accomplishments.”
She was impressed by the inductees’ expressions of deep emotion and their tears of joy. “We were just very proud of all the inductees and their accomplishments,” she says.
“Their accomplishments served to inspire students and faculty to do more for their community.”
“It’s a pretty outstanding school if you think about it and look at all the things we’ve done athletically at North Brunswick,” Fennell says. “We have some great plans for next year.”
Each year a maximum of five inductees will be chosen for the Hall of Fame.