Garner Cleveland: Sports

Cleveland High holds reunion of historic 1966 baseball squad

Members of Cleveland School’s 1966 high school baseball team were honored on the 50th anniversary of the Rams’ historic eastern N.C. championship season before the Rams’ game against Smithfield-Selma on April 23.
Members of Cleveland School’s 1966 high school baseball team were honored on the 50th anniversary of the Rams’ historic eastern N.C. championship season before the Rams’ game against Smithfield-Selma on April 23. Cleveland High School Photo

Cleveland High School paid tribute to the 1966 1A Eastern N.C. Baseball Champions and state runner-ups earlier this month. The Rams held a 50th anniversary reunion for the team, which was coached by the legendary Bruce Coats, before their game against Smithfield-Selma on April 23.

Cleveland posted a 19-3 record that season. Members of the squad were Don Adams, Tim Adams, Kenneth Byrd, Weldon Byrd, Tommy Honeycutt, Johnnie King, Steve Langdon, Tyra Langdon, Bob Mangum, Ray McGee, Randy Sauls, Lyle Trader and Phil Wood. Coats’ staff included assistant coach George Thomas and manager/scorekeeper Bruce Stephenson.

King, widely regarded as one of the best high school pitchers ever in Johnston County, threw out the ceremonail first pitch.

New coaches for JCC hoops squads: Johnston Community College has named new head coaches for its men’s and women’s basketball teams. Jason Johnson will lead the Jaguars’ men and Reginald Chapple is the new women’s coach.

Johnson is a Fayetteville native, Fayetteville State graduate and a former assistant coach at Methodist University.

“I want to be a winner here and develop young men,” Johnson said. “I want everybody in Johnston County to be able to identify with our program and have a certain ownership in our program.

“I see myself more as a teacher than a coach. I treat the gym as my classroom. I have the awesome opportunity to teach a lot of life lessons that young people don’t get today.”

Chapple is an Ohio native by way of Chicago and has eight years of women’s college coaching experience, including as head coach at Moody Bible Institute in Chicago.

He is excited about building a program at JCC.

“The opportunity to build a program from the beginning is very exciting,” Chapple said. “To be able to say I was the first coach in program history is something no one else can say. The foundation is being set. My goal is to lay a strong foundation and build upon it every single year.

“My vision is to build a program that is known for its excellence both on and off the court and that helps student athletes succeed in all aspects of life.”

The Jaguars will play their 2016-17 season at the Smithfield Recreation and Aquatics Center. Games begin in early November.

Bradshaw scholarship winners: Southeast Raleigh students Kleo Torres and Khalil Gary have been awarded the N.C. High School Athletic Association’s Willie Bradshaw Memorial Endowed Scholarship. The scholarship provides $750 to outstanding minority athletes at NCHSAA member schools. The Bulldog track and field standouts were two of eight winners from across the state.

Torres has attended four schools and hopes to study digital media at the University of Kentucky next fall.

“Not many students can say they attended four different schools and lived in four different homes.” Torres said. “Everyone has a background, and mine was bumpy. It’s not my background that is important to me, it is my progress.”

Gary will attend George Mason University next fall and study criminal justice. He is a former NCHSAA state champion as a part of a 3,200-meter relay team and works as a Wake Forest Police Explorer in his spare time.

West grad is Mr. Campbell: West Johnston High grad Matt Parrish was named Mr. Campbell at the fifth annual CAMMYS, Campbell University’s year-end athletic awards banquet. Parrish is a senior standout on the Camels’ baseball team.

Parrish has also been named as one of 10 national finalist for the Senior CLASS Award. The award goes to a NCAA Division I athlete who is a senior who excels in their community, the classroom, in character and in competition.

The former Sam Narron Baseball Award winner is a two-time Academic All-American and was hitting .365 with 34 RBI through April’s games.

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