Meet the 2015 inductees into the MNPS Sports Hall of Fame
by Mark North, president of The Fans, Inc
Hall of Fame – Honoring the Greats
Awestruck: that’s the best way to describe the North Sports Report as the superstars of the past entered the West Club at LP Field to celebrate five new inductees to the MNPS Sports Hall of Fame. This luncheon is like Disneyland for the North Sports Report! “There’s the great…” or “Look, there’s the legendary…”, or “Here comes the incomparable…” each time another hall of famer arrived.
Those in attendance included the incomparable Barbara Frazier (Pearl High, Class of 1981), Larry Schmittou (Cohn High, Class of 1958), and Bob Dudley Smith (West High, Class of 1948); the legendary Coach Charlie Anderson (Cohn High, Class of 1952); Walter Overton (Pearl High, Class of 1970), and Joe Casey (North High, Class of 1946); and the great Joanne Arnold Tribue (Antioch High, Class of 1978), Porter Williams (Pearl High, Class of 1969), and Jinx Cockerham (Hillsboro High, Class of 1966).
This year’s class adds five extraordinary athletes to the MNPS Sports Hall of Fame:
- Coach Joe Allen led Donelson High and McGavock High to basketball state championships; his teams won more than 500 games; he coached nine All-State players, including NBA champion Charles Davis; and he was named Coach of the Year in 1964, 1972, and 1974. The McGavock High School gym floor is named in his honor.
- Preston Brown (Maplewood, Class of 1976) is considered by many to be the best running back in Nashville prep football history. When his high school career ended, he held the single season and career rushing records, was named All-State and All-America in football and was named the NIL Athlete of the Year. In track, he led Maplewood to the state championship, winning the 100 yard dash and 220 yard dash and anchoring the state champion 440 yard relay team. He went on to star at Vanderbilt (led the SEC in receiving) and still holds the school record for longest kickoff return. He was drafted by the New England Patriots and played four seasons in the NFL.
- John Henderson (Pearl-Cohn, Class of 1997) is included in any discussion of the greatest football players in Nashville history. He played defensive tackle and tight end on two state championship teams. A consensus All-America in high school, Henderson was ranked the top player in the state and 7th best player in the country. He played at the University of Tennessee and again was a consensus All-America, played on the National Championship team, and won the Outland Trophy for being the best lineman in college football. He was drafted by the Jacksonville Jaguars in the 1st round and played 11 seasons in the NFL including two Pro Bowl appearances.
- Mike Jackson (Stratford, Class of 1973) was All-State, Metro Player of the Year, honorable mention All-America, and MVP of the Tennessee All-Star game during his stellar high school basketball career. At the University of Tennessee, Jackson started and served as captain on one of the most storied basketball teams in SEC history, teaming with Bernard King and Ernie Grunfeld on Coach Ray Mears’ “Ernie and Bernie” teams of the 1970’s. His sweet, smooth jump shot and 14.3 per game scoring average convinced the NBA’s Buffalo Braves (now the Los Angeles Clipper) to draft him, and he later played professionally in Europe.
- Frank Pillow, Jr. (Whites Creek, Class of 1983) was a two sport star for the Cobras in the 1980’s, winning the state championship in the long jump and anchoring the mile relay team to a state record time and a team state championship. He was named All-American in the long jump and earned a scholarship to play football at TSU. As a receiver, he led the team in receptions and broke the school record for most receptions and receiving yards in a game with a 12 reception, 242 yard performance during a game his senior year. Pillow was drafted by the Tampa Bay Buccaneers and had 22 receptions for 420 yards and 2 touchdowns his rookie season. His professional football career included playing for the Tampa Bay Buccaneers, the Detroit Lions, the Winnipeg Blue Bombers of the CFL, and the Indianapolis Colts.
The program from the MNPS Sports Hall of Fame Induction Ceremony is a treasure trove of information about some of Nashville’s most influential people and greatest student-athletes. The North Sports Report suggests that a copy be available at every high school library.
MNPS: The First Choice for Great, Legendary and Incomparable Students