Tate Part of West Memphis Hall of Fame Inaugural Class

Tate Part of West Memphis Hall of Fame Inaugural Class
By Billy Woods

West Memphis is ready to honor the greatest athletes in its community's history by unveiling its inaugural Hall of Fame induction ceremony on Sept. 24.

A class of nine greats from the sports which span football and basketball will be honored in a Sept. 24 banquet at Southland Park at 6 p.m.

The class includes basketball greats Keith Lee, Michael Cage, coach Bill Terwilliger, Marcus Brown and Sonja Tate as well as football greats Lewis Carpenter, Mike McCoy, Ike Harris and Reginald Jones.

Tickets for the event are $25 and can be purchased immediately at the West Memphis School District Administration Building on South Avalon.

"I don't think there's any doubt that's a lot of star power not only for West Memphis, but for any high school in the state," said West Memphis athletic director Lanny Dauksch, who was inducted into the Arkansas High School Coaches Association Hall of Fame this summer.

"Through the years West Memphis has had just so many talented athletes who achieved greatness. And when you think of the number of great athletes we've had that's very unusual for a community the size of West Memphis. We wanted to put together a Hall of Fame for them for a few years. Now we're going to see it happen."

The inductees will also be honored on Sept. 25 with a halftime ceremony during the annual West Memphis-Marion football game at Hamilton-Shultz Field.

Dauksch also said a Hall of Fame display will be added to Lehr Arena in time for the coming basketball season.

The Hall of Fame, which includes a selection committee of 10 local citizens, voted on the inaugural class of nine, but henceforth will elect no more than four more per year.

The banquet will be corporately sponsored with Razorback Concrete as the presenting sponsor.

"Our community has responded to this project and we thank Razorback Concrete and all the other sponsors for the event," Dauksch stated. "We've always gotten a lot of support from the community in our athletic programs over the years."

Gold sponsors include Fidelity National Bank, Acme Pest Control, Pizza Pro, the West Memphis School District and City Tourism. Silver sponsor is Comfort Inn and Suits. Bronze sponsors are Brown's Graduation Supplies and Arkansas Distributing.

The class of inductees is perhaps headed by Lee, who along with Cage and Terwilliger, led the Blue Devil basketball team to a 60-0 run that included the school's first two state championships. Lee went on to be a four-time All-American at the University of Memphis, leading the Tigers to the 1985 Final Four.

He was an NBA Draft lottery pick and he enjoyed a three-year NBA career.

Cage went on to All-America status at San Diego State University, and he was an NBA Draft lottery pick by the San Diego Clippers in 1984. He enjoyed a noted 15-year career in the NBA, which included a rebounding title.

Terwilliger coached the Blue Devils from 1970-84.

Brown led the Blue Devils to the 1991 state championship before going to Murray State University as an All-American in 1996. He was the 46 overall pick of the NBA Draft that year by Portland. He played three years in the NBA and an illustrious 12-year pro career in Europe.

Tate is considered the greatest girls basketball player in school history. She led the Lady Devils to the semifinals of the 1989 state tournament before going on to Arkansas State University where she is still the school's all-time leading scorer. She played pro ball in the WBL and the WNBA.

Carpenter, who died in 2010, played six-man football for the Blue Devils in 1948 before going on to a famed career at the University of Arkansas and the NFL. He coached for 8 NFL teams in a 20-year span.

McCoy played for old Wonder High School before integration. He went on to play for the legendary Vince Lombardi and the Green Bay Packers.

Harris is a 1971 graduate of West Memphis High School before playing at Iowa State University and the St. Louis Cardinals in the NFL.

Jones played for Grafton Moore's Blue Devils from 1984-86. He was all-state in football and he was a noted track athlete who won the state 100-meter dash. He went on to play for the Razorbacks and the University of Memphis before being drafted by the New Orleans Saints in the 1991 NFL Draft. He also played for the Cleveland Browns.

WM School District