2016 Inductees Greater Savannah Athletic Hall of Fame

Savannah, GA – Tonight, May 2nd, four new athletes were inducted into the Greater Savannah Athletic Hall of Fame. The new 2016 inductees are: Pervis Ellison, Eric Green, John Skeadas and Hank Lehwald. High school athletes were also honored, as St. Vincent’s Taylor Deloach received the Lawton M. Calhoun Award. Other high school athletes that were recognized included: boy’s basketball- Dimetri Chambers (Jenkins), girl’s basketball – Anna Muller (SCD), football- Sanders Creech (BC), volleyball- Hannah Carver  (Calvary), boy’s soccer – Aaron Osbourne  (SCPS), girl’s soccer – Sarah Stewart  (St. Vincent’s), softball – Carolina Pinckney     (SCD) and baseballs- Chipper Wiley (BC).

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ARTICLE FROM THE GREATER SAVANNAH ATHLETIC HALL OF FAME:

SAVANNAH, GA (March 31, 2014) – The Greater Savannah Athletic Hall of Fame will induct the Class of 2016 and honor the 2016 Lawton M. Calhoun Award winner and the recipient of the 2016 M.A. Spellman Special Award on May 2 at The Savannah Civic Center.

Each year, the GSAHOF inducts four Athletes and two Citation recipients and presents the area’s most accomplished high school athlete with the Lawton M. Calhoun Award. Additionally, the GSAHOF presents the M.A. Spellman Special Award to an individual or organization that has made a resounding impact on the community through sports, and the best high school athletes in football, boys’ and girls’ basketball, volleyball, boys’ and girls’ soccer, baseball and softball are honored.

A cocktail reception precedes the induction ceremony beginning at 6 pm, and the induction ceremony begins at 7 pm. Tickets for the induction ceremony are $25 apiece and may be purchased by contacting the Greater Savannah Athletic Hall of Fame at (912) 351-3852.

2016 ATHLETES

To be eligible for consideration as an Athlete, the athlete must have spent his or her formative years (participating in area schools) within the Greater Savannah area and must not have competed in the sport in which the athlete excelled for five years or must be at least 40 years of age. Lifelong sports such as golf, tennis, and bowling are exceptions. Additional consideration is accorded to athletes who excelled beyond the local level.

Pervis Ellison – Basketball

Pervis Ellison needs no introduction in Savannah. After being named a McDonald’s High School All American in 1985 following an incredible high school career at Savannah High School, the 6-foot-9 Ellison was the centerpiece on Louisville’s 1986 NCAA National Championship team, earning the nickname, “Never Nervous Pervis,” and becoming the first ever freshman named the Most Valuable Player of the NCAA Tournament. At Savannah High, Ellison was an unstoppable force, leading Ron Love’s Blue Jackets to sub-region championships and the Class AAAA final four. When he moved on to Louisville, he was a three-time Metro Conference All Conference performer as well as the Metro Conference Co-Player of the Year and a consensus First Team All American in 1989. He was drafted No. 1 overall in the 1989 NBA Draft by the Sacramento Kings and played more than a decade of professional basketball for the Kings, the Washington Bullets, the Boston Celtics and the Seattle Supersonics. He was the Most Improved Player in the NBA in 1992 and scored more than 4,400 points and grabbed more than 3,100 rebounds in his career. He represented the United States in the Pan American Games and was named the Lawton M. Calhoun Award winner by the Greater Savannah Athletic Hall of Fame in 1987. His accomplishments elevated the profile of basketball in Savannah and made an unforgettable impact on the city’s sports history.

Eric Green – Football

As a three-year starter for Windsor Forest High School, Eric Green’s blend of size and athleticism made him one of the most dominant football players ever to compete in Savannah. He earned a scholarship to play for Liberty University and named a second team All American performer in 1989 and was selected to play in the Senior Bowl and Hula Bowl after his senior season. He was drafted by the Pittsburgh Steelers in the NFL draft as a tight end and was named the 1990 AFC Rookie of the Year and won the Joe Green Award given to the most outstanding Steeler after that season. He played for the Steelers, Dolphins and Ravens during his 10-year NFL career, and he was selected for the Pro Bowl in 1993 and 1994. During his career, he caught 362 passes for more than 4,300 yards and 38 touchdowns. He is a member of the Liberty University Athletic Hall of Fame, and his number 86 jersey has been retired at the school. He was named the Lawton M. Calhoun Award recipient by the Greater Savannah Athletic Hall of Fame in 1991, and he remains one of the most gifted and successful athletes in Savannah’s sports history.

John Skeadas, II – Golf

John Skeadas, II, is a member of Savannah golf royalty, and his accomplishments in amateur golf make him one of the finest players Savannah has ever seen. Beginning with a Class A state championship in at Savannah Country Day School in 1978, Skeadas continued to collect victories and accomplishments throughout his amateur golf career. On the local level, he won the Savannah City Amateur championship three times and won 13 events throughout southeast Georgia as well as two coveted club championships at the Savannah Golf Club. But more impressively, Skeadas qualified for the 1996 United States Mid-Amateur Championship and was awarded a silver medal for the lowest qualifying score at his Sectional. And 15 years later, he was one of only 12 amateur players in the country to qualify for the U.S. Senior Open in 2012 and again earned a silver medal for the being the qualifier with the lowest score. Skeadas’ success on the golf course originated with talent but was sustained through a tireless work ethic. He achieved at every level of the amateur game for more than 30 years, making him one of Savannah’s most accomplished golfers.

Hank Lehwald – Multiple Sports

Hank Lehwald’s athletic ability was hard to hide, and his talent allowed him to excel in any sport he chose while growing up in Savannah. Eventually he would forgo a football scholarship offer from the University of Florida to sign a Major League Baseball contract with the Los Angeles Dodgers. After his professional baseball career was shortened by injury, he was the captain of Georgia Southern University’s first golf team. During his high school athletic career at Benedictine Military School, Lehwald was a four-year starter in football, basketball and baseball. He was an All City performer three times in football and selected as an All State and All American performer. He holds the distinct honor of being recognized as BC’s greatest defensive player ever, and he was the Savannah Quarterback Club’s Back of the Year in 1961. He was also an All City and All State performer as a catcher on the BC baseball team and led the Cadets to the school’s first baseball state championship in 1961. Lehwald’s phenomenal natural ability enabled him to be a standout performer in virtually any sport he played and made him one of the most universally respected athletes in Savannah’s sports history.

2014 CITATION RECIPIENTS

Citation honorees may be individuals or organizations that have made contributions to athletics through coaching, financial support, moral support and instruction. Citation honorees are not required to have spent their formative years in Savannah to be eligible.

 Ron Love – Coaching

Ron Love set a championship example at Savannah High School. As the boys’ basketball coach from 1980-1996, Love’s Blue Jackets teams won more than 250 games and captured four sub-region championships, three region championships and advanced the quarterfinals of the state tournament three times. Despite his coaching career being tragically interrupted by illness, Love sent 29 players to play college basketball in 15 years. Love emphasized academic accountability, and the young men who graduated from Love’s basketball program were widely regarded as outstanding players, students and citizens. He was named the region Coach of the Year three times and recognized as Coach of the Year by WTOC and the Savannah Morning News during his career. His teams won 80% of the games they played and averaged nearly 20 wins per season, and his players carried the life lessons he taught through basketball into their adult lives. Love’s impact on Savannah High was so strong that the gym was named for him when the school moved into a new building on Pennsylvania Avenue. His hallmark was thorough preparation, and the tradition of integrity, dignity, accountability and loyalty he established shaped Savannah High’s basketball program for generations.

Sister Pat Coward – Coaching/Administration

Sister Pat Coward became synonymous with St. Vincent’s Academy athletics during a coaching and administrative career that spanned more than 30 years. She coached basketball, track, volleyball and soccer at St. Vincent’s, delivering a 1981 state championship in track as well as numerous region championships and state playoff appearances. More importantly, in her role as Athletic Director she continuously expanded the athletics program at the school. She facilitated St. Vincent’s moving into the Georgia High School Athletic Association and she doubled the number of sports offered at the school. As an advocate and an ambassador for the athletes and students of St. Vincent’s, she exhibited inspirational leadership and integrity while building an environment for young women to learn the valuable life lessons taught through athletic competition. Her contributions to St. Vincent’s and women’s sports will resonate in Savannah for generations.

2015 Lawton M. Calhoun Award

This award is presented annually to the outstanding athlete from Chatham County as selected by the Greater Savannah Athletic Hall of Fame. The award was established to honor Lawton M. Calhoun for his long time support of Coastal Empire athletics, both amateur and professional, from the civic, corporate, and personal level; and for his staunch help in this organization’s development.

Taylor Deloach (St. Vincent’s Academy)

Taylor Deloach didn’t waste any time letting people know she would be a dominant force in track & field at St. Vincent’s Academy. As a freshman, she won region championships in three events and was state runner-up in the long jump. She established new state records in the Long Jump and the 200 meters and captured six state championships during her sophomore and junior years in high school en route to becoming a nationally ranked track & field athlete. Her athletic abilities carried her to a top 10 ranking at the 2015 New Balance National Outdoor meet and a top 3 finish in the 2015 AAU Junior Olympic Games, and her accomplishments earned a track & field scholarship to Ohio State University. Deloach is a once-in-a-generation athlete whose work ethic, dedication and pure talent forged a championship legacy at St. Vincent’s.

MA Spellman Special Award

The MA Spellman Special Award is given to an individual or organization that has made a lasting impact on Savannah through sports in an unconventional but undeniable manner.

 

Tom Hansen

Tom Hansen was a believer in winning as a team, and the youth football and baseball teams his coached in the Southside Raider and American Legion Post 135 organizations represented his team first philosophy. The Southside Raiders became the class of Savannah’s youth football league, and Hansen’s Raider football teams were perennial winners. His teams compiled a record of 105-18 when he was the head coach and sent several players on to successful athletic careers. While coaching the American Legion Post 135 baseball team, Hansen’s teams won two state championships and finished runner-up two times. He coached two players who eventually would play Major League Baseball, but he inspired competitive drive and respect for the game in hundreds of other young men during his coaching career. The commitment he made to youth sports in Savannah helped shape the city’s athletics landscape for years to come.

 

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