For the first time in more than two years, the Iredell County Sports Hall of Fame was able to induct new members to its ever-growing list recognizing sports royalty in the county. To make up for lost years, the organization added 10 new names to the record books Monday night at the Statesville Civic Center, celebrating the classes of 2020 and 2021 together.
The Class of 2020 included a number of Statesville High School legends, Addie Holbrook Hightower, Jesse Jackson and Roger Bost, as well as John McNeely of South Iredell High School and a superstar from the early days of women’s basketball in Iredell County. , Lib Barkley Smith .
The class of 2021 also included many graduates from Statesville, with Bobby Graham, Justin Moose and Misty Horne Kerr representing the Greyhounds. Former North Iredell football coach Jim Conger, a star of Scotts High School’s 6-a-side football team between 1951 and 1955, and longtime athletic director of Statesville and Lake Norman, as well as three sports during his high school years at South Iredell, Steve Rankin rounded out the class.
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“It’s been very difficult to postpone this ceremony for the past two years,” said Ryan Pegarsch, executive director of the Iredell County Sports Hall of Fame. “But it’s great to have everyone back so we can honor everyone who gave us the pitch and the pitch. We have an incredible group of individuals tonight.
Leading the six inductees from Statesville on Monday night was Addie Holbrook Hightower. A member of the class of 1995, the former Greyhound was named to the all-conference basketball team three times and was named conference player of the year twice. She continued to play collegiately at Wingate after graduating.
“I wouldn’t be here today without my parents,” said Hightower. “My dad was never too tired to bounce back for me and my mom always budgeted to help me get where I needed to go in my career.”
Next up was Jesse Jackson, a longtime coach in Statesville. For more than 30 years, Jackson coached numerous Greyhound athletes to success in three sports (football, wrestling, and track), winning 12 Track Coach of the Year awards in his time. To this day, Jackson is still involved in Greyhound athletics.
Justin Moose, another Greyhound, has become the first footballer to be inducted into the Hall of Fame. A superstar on the field from 1997 to 2001, Moose still holds many of the individual records in Statesville football history. After graduating, he continued to play football at Wake Forest, earning full conference honors each of his four years with the Demon Deacons. In 2006, he was drafted seventh overall by DC United of MLS.
Bobby Graham, a grill star for Statesville in the mid-1990s, was also inducted as a member of the Class of 2021.
“I’m very honored and truly blessed to be inducted into the Hall of Fame,” Graham said. “I was just a Rabbittown kid who wanted to grow up and be awesome. Statesville, I hope I made you proud.
Graham was named the MVP of the football and basketball teams twice while in Statesville and was also named the Greyhounds’ Most Outstanding Runner on the track team. He was also named a varsity athlete and academic star in 1997. After high school, he continued to play football at the University of Tennessee.
Misty Horne Kerr, who was in Statesville at the same time as Graham, was also inducted into the Iredell Sports Hall of Fame on Monday as a hardwood star. During her time with the Greyhounds, she was named all-conference three times, twice Conference Player of the Year, and led her team to conference championships in 1993 and 1995. She still holds the three-point shooting records in a season (64) and in a career (207).
Rounding out the Statesville inductees was Roger Bost, who played and coached the Greyhounds for five decades. He won a state shot put championship in 1965 while earning a scholarship to play football in East Carolina. After his time in Greenville, he returned to Iredell County and helped coach the Greyhound football, golf, and tennis teams. He has been named coach of the year nine times in these three sports.
Another Statesville High graduate, JD Harris, also received the Harold Johnson Community Partner Hall of Fame induction. For many years Harris helped coach many of the Statesville area youth league teams in both baseball and football. He was also enlisted by the city’s parks and recreation office to help develop and coach their midget football league, where he went on to amass a coaching record of 102-24-4. He also offered to help as a coach in Statesville and North Iredell.
Steve Rankin was also inducted as a member of the Class of 2021. A three-sport athlete during his high school days at South Iredell, Rankin had his biggest impact on the Iredell sports community as Athletic Director for Statesville and Lake Norman. He served as a DA for 39 years before retiring, however, he continues to volunteer his time to help Lake Norman High School. He was named to the North Carolina Athletic Directors Hall of Fame in 2018 and the South Iredell Athletic Hall of Fame in 2020.
Jim Conger joined Rankin as a member of the Class of 2021. A graduate of Scotts High School, Conger was a multi-sport athlete who excelled on the gridiron as a member of the 6-a-side football team. He was captain of the football teams and basketball and received full conference honors in both sports in 1955. He continued to play football at Appalachian State on a scholarship after high school. After graduating from college, he returned to Iredell County and coached the North Iredell football team for 18 years.
John McNeely was also a multi-sport athlete, a member of every conference on South Iredell’s football, basketball, and golf teams between 1966 and 1970. His play on the basketball court earned him a scholarship to the State of North Carolina, but an injury forced him to turn his attention to golf. He transferred to the state of East Tennessee to finish his college career on the golf course.
Joining McNeely as a member of the Class of 2020, Lib Barkley Smith’s play on the court in the era of three-on-three women’s basketball earned her a place in the Hall of Fame. Barkley Smith was named to the all-state team in 1950 and 1951, both years helping Cool Spring High School to the state tournament. In both tournaments, she was selected as the top guard by the coaches.
The 11 members inducted into the Hall of Fame on Monday evening make the induction ceremony for the class of 2020/2021 the largest class since the first in 2016.
The Iredell County Male and Female High School Athlete of the Year nomination ceremony was also part of the ceremony. Each school in the county was able to nominate a male and female athlete for the award.
The committee named Sakarri Morrison, a dual-sport athlete (football and wrestling) from Lake Norman High School, as Male Athlete of the Year and named Ellie Goins, star shortstop for the Mooresville High School, as female athlete of the Year.