Honoring Reynolds’ athletic past


Lia Blackard, Staff Writer

RJ Reynolds High School has been around since 1923. Through the years, thousands of students have walked the halls, participated in sports and graduated from RJR. Athletic events have always been a big part of student life. The student section at RJR is called the Rowdies which is fitting. Cheering on fellow students and supporting the school through victories and losses is a fun way to show school appreciation. 

In 2008, Reynolds began inducting people into the school’s Sports Hall of Fame. This is an incredible honor which is given to people who have made a recognizable contribution to the athletic department at Reynolds. At half time, during the varsity boys basketball game, the inductees are recognized in front of all the fans. It is an emotional and cherished moment for the people being inducted.

“Being acknowledged is the thing that is so warming,” selection committee chairman Jimmy Hoots said. “When you talk to any of these people you can tell it means a ton to them. We will have guys that are in their 60s and 70s tearing up at the dinner because it means so much to them to look back on their high school days and their accomplishments. That is what makes all so special and worth wild, just proud to be a part of for those reasons.”

For someone to be inducted, they must be nominated. Anyone can send in a nomination form and they can be found on the school’s website. Once nominated, the hall of fame selection committee reviews the nominees and vote on them. 

An athlete from any year can be nominated once they been a graduate for seven years. The selection committee reflects on all the athletes since Reynolds high school was first established. 

“To bring candidates in without having too many in any single year, to allow each year to have its own well appreciated class,” Hoots said. “We are almost a hundred years old as a school now, a man from the late 30s is being inducted so when you go back that long it’s very cool and it’s also a daunting task.”

The selection committee is primarily made up of past Booster Club presidents and a few past Reynolds principals. Names in nomination are reviewed and decided if they really stand out and are at the head of the group. There is typically a meeting discussing the candidates followed by a few weeks of break for consideration until coming back together and then vote about two or three times. 

Not all of the people inducted each year were athletes. Several of them were people who contributed so much toward the athletic department and the athletes. Lee Crush is being inducted this year, he was not an athlete but he is a doctor and has been a volunteer team physician for 20 years or longer. He has helped all the athletes on and off the field with their injuries. He has been a huge supporter of Reynolds athletic program which is why he was chosen for this year’s class.     

There are seven inductees this year. This includes Mr. Tom Chambers (1944), Dr. Lee Kirsch (2019), Mr. Eddie Hoyte Lyons (1939), Mr. Rod McGeachy (1987), Mr. Martin R. Patrick (1974), Mr. Sanford H. Rudolph (1971) and Mrs. Bernadette Monroe Washington (2001). They were recognized on January 31st and will always be a very important part of the Reynolds community and legacy.