Athens Drive has a decorated athletics history, producing future pros in a number of sports. On Friday, it welcomes its first sports hall of fame class that includes two NFL players, an MLB all-star, a pro golfer, a hall of fame coach, a state record holder in swimming, a pro basketball player, a longtime band director and two state championship teams.
Donald Evans, class of 1982: Evans was a standout football player at Athens Drive before earning a scholarship to Winston-Salem State. He was drafted by the Los Angeles Rams with their first pick (47th overall, second round) in the 1987 draft. Evans played eight seasons in the NFL with the Rams, Eagles, Steelers and Jets. He is currently a member of the Winston Salem State University Hall of Fame and the CIAA Hall of Fame.
Katherine Perry, class of 2010: Perry led the girls golf team to two 4A sate titles, was a two-time individual state champion and a two-time conference player of the year. After graduating from Athens she went to North Carolina on a golf scholarship where she won the ACC title. She is currently competing as a pro golfer on the LPGA Tour.
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Buddy Crutchfield, class of 1994: Crutchfield was a three-sport star at Athens, playing football, boys basketball and track and field. As a football standout he starred as a running back, wide receiver, free safety and outside linebacker. He was all-conference on both sides of the ball and an All-Area Free Safety. He finished his career as Athens’ all-time leader in interceptions (17), returning seven for touchdown. He helped lead the football team to its first two playoff appearances and became a four-year starter at N.C. Central. He was a three-time All-CIAA pick and two-time All-American. He played for the Washington Redskins, New York Jets as well as the Carolina Cobras of the Arena Football League.
Lawrence Dunn, coach: Dunn was the school’s first boys basketball coach and is the school’s winningest coach regardless of sport. In addition to basketball, he also served as the cross country coach and an assistant football coach, all while being a huge influence in the Athens Drive Community. He won 20-plus games in his first 10 seasons, several conference championships, several sectional championships, and made two state playoff regional appearances. Dunn is currently a member of the N.C. High School Athletic Association Hall of Fame.
Terry Blalock, band: Blalock served as band director at Athens Drive High School from 1981-93 and is the second-longest tenured band director in school history. During those years his marching, concert and jazz bands won numerous awards locally, statewide and nationally from Florida to New York. Also during his tenure, the band was selected as the “Ceremonial Band” for three Presidential visits to North Carolina. After leaving Athens, Blalock retired as a principal and is currently adjunct faculty in the education department at Campbell University. He continues to perform professionally and leads three professional bands in the area.
1987 boys soccer team: The 1987 boys soccer team was coached by Greg Welsh and was the first state championship team for Athens Drive.
1992 boys soccer team: The 1992 boys soccer team was coached by Greg Welsh and was the second state championship team for Athens Drive.
Josh Hamilton, class of 1999: Hamilton was the best baseball player in Athens Drive’s history and synonymous with Athens Drive baseball. He was the 1999 N.C. Gatorade Player of the Year, the No. 1 pick in the 1999 MLB Draft, and led Athens Drive to its only appearance in the baseball championship series. Hamilton went on to play for the Cincinnati Reds, Texas Rangers and Los Angeles Angels. He was a career .290 hitter, with 200 home runs, 701 RBIs and 1,134 hits. He was the AL MVP in 2010 and was the ALCS MVP as well, leading the Rangers to a World Series appearance. He was a five-time all-star, three-time Silver Slugger Award winner and led the AL in batting average in 2010 and in RBIs in 2008. He is also one of a handful of MLB players to ever hit four home runs in a single game.
Kirsten Smith class of 2006: She was the best swimmer ever in the history of Athens Drive swimming. In her entire career at Athens she only lost one event which was a second place finish at the regional meet her senior year. She went on to win the state title in that event and every other event she competed in throughout her entire career at Athens Drive, setting state records along the way. She went on to swim at Florida.
Shawn Ray, class of 1998: Ray was a starter on varsity his entire four-year boys basketball career and ended No. 2 on the all-time scoring list. He led the basketball team to one of the schools two final four appearances, led the football team to two playoff appearances, and was a regional qualifier in track and field. He was selected as a member of two all-star games. Ray made the all-conference team four times in basketball and twice in football. He was All-Area in football and basketball as well as all-state. He played at N.C. Central where he was a two-time all-conference pick and played 12 years in Europe, where he was a seven-time all-star.