Dale Earnhardt Jr. and Davis Love III headline the NC Sports Hall of Fame 2019 inductees

Dale Earnhardt Jr. shares some of his favorite memories as his NASCAR racing career draws to an end

NASCAR fan favorite Earnhardt Jr. reflects on his winning against his father and wanting his fans to be happy as his racing career draws to a close.
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NASCAR fan favorite Earnhardt Jr. reflects on his winning against his father and wanting his fans to be happy as his racing career draws to a close.

The North Carolina Sports Hall of Fame has named its inductees for 2019, and the 12-member class includes former NASCAR star Dale Earnhardt Jr., former UNC and PGA Tour standout Davis Love III and former ACC commissioner Gene Corrigan.

The induction ceremony and annual banquet will be held Friday, May 3 at the Raleigh Convention Center.

The class of 2019 (bios provided by N.C. Sports Hall)

-- *-Ernie Barnes*: Barnes grew up in Durham, attending Hillside High and then North Carolina College, where he played football and majored in art. After five years in pro football, he became an internationally acclaimed artist, known as “America’s Best Painter of Sports.” The Los Angeles Olympic Organizing Committee named Barnes “Sports Artist of the 1984 Olympic Games.”

-- *-Willie Bradshaw*: An outstanding athlete at Durham’s Hillside High and North Carolina College, his coaching stops included 15 years at Hillside, where he was athletic director and later athletic director for the Durham City School system. He was nationally known in athletic administration circles, also serving as president of both the N.C. High School Athletic Directors Association and N.C. Coaches Association.

-- Eddie Bridges: The work by Bridges in hunting and fishing as well as conservation has made him a national leader. He developed the “lifetime” hunting and fishing licenses in North Carolina, a program that since its enactment has raised more than $110 million. He has been a state leader in the acquisition, protection and conservation of wildlife game and fish resources and is former chairman of the Game and Fish Committee of North Carolina’s Wildlife Resources Commission.

-- Rod Broadway: An Oakboro native, he was an all-star defensive lineman at UNC. During his 39-year football coaching career, he was the only coach to win national black college championships at three different schools. His teams won five national titles— one at Grambling State and two each at N.C. Central and North Carolina A&T. He had a record of 125-45 in 15 years as a head coach.

-- Gene Corrigan: Corrigan has been one of the most respected and influential administrators in college sports. He had an impact in many roles -- as an athletic director, commissioner of the ACC and a leader in the NCAA. He served as athletic director at Washington and Lee, Virginia and Notre Dame, and he was commissioner of the Atlantic Coast Conference from 1987 to ’97. He is also a former president of the NCAA.

-- Dale Earnhardt Jr.: Earnhardt has enjoyed a tremendously successful career in stock car racing. The native of Kannapolis competed in well over 600 races, winning the Daytona 500 twice and earning 26 Cup victories. Off the track, he has been one of the sport’s greatest goodwill ambassadors and was voted by fans the most popular driver on the NASCAR circuit 15 times. He is now a television analyst for the sport.

Retired NASCAR driver Dale Earnhardt Jr. stars in a Goodyear commercial released on YouTube on Wednesday, Feb. 14, 2018.

-- *-Steve Gabriel: A native of Lincoln County and long-time resident of Boone, Gabriel was a legend in wrestling. A graduate of Appalachian State where he was the starting quarterback, Gabriel founded the wrestling program at Appalachian High School in Boone, where his teams went 140-0 over a 13-year period. He later served as wrestling coach at Appalachian State for many years. He is in the ASU Athletic Hall of Fame and National Wrestling Hall of Fame.

-- Dee Kantner: A long-time resident of Charlotte, Kantner is one of the most highly regarded women’s basketball officials of all time, earning numerous recognitions. She has been selected for every NCAA tournament since 1992 and has worked 22 Final Fours-- eight national semifinals and 14 national championship games. She also officiated in the WNBA for two seasons as well as working three world championships.

-- Davis Love III: Born in Charlotte, Love played college golf at UNC, where he was a three-time All-American. His 21 wins on the PGA tour includes the 1997 PGA Championship and he was in the top 10 of the official World Golf rankings for over 450 weeks. He captained the U.S. Ryder Cup teams twice and joined the World Golf Hall of Fame in 2017.

Wyndham Championship Golf.JPEG
Davis Love III watches his tee shot on the second hole during the final round of the Wyndham Championship golf tournament at Sedgefield Country Club in Greensboro, N.C., Sunday, Aug. 23, 2015. Chuck Burton AP

-- Paul Miller: Miller had a stellar career as a three-sport star at Ayden High, starring on unbeaten football and basketball teams, before going to UNC, where he was a starting quarterback for Bill Dooley-coached teams. He led the ACC in total offense in 1971 as the Tar Heels were 9-3 and went to the Gator Bowl, earning both all-ACC and all-ACC Academic honors. He later earned his law degree from UNC and became highly successful in business.

-- *-Neill McGeachy: Born in Charlotte, McGeachy excelled as a player, coach, administrator and promoter. He was a star athlete at Statesville High and collegiately at Lenoir-Rhyne, where he was a 1965 graduate and a 1987 LRU Sports Hall of Fame inductee. He was the founder and president of Sugar Creek Enterprises, Inc., a sports promotion and public relations company, from 1977-97 and later returned to LRU as athletic director from 2002 to 2016. He is a member of the North Carolina Tennis Hall of Fame.

-- *-Thell Overman: Overman was a three-sport athlete at Guilford who became one of the state’s best high school coaches over a 40-year career. His football record was 278-73-6 games and he posted a 541-118 baseball mark at Warrenton’s John Graham High (four years) and Wallace-Rose Hill High (34 years) combined.

* -- Posthumous inductees.