Thanks again to all of those who have supported the Academy of Richmond County Hall of Fame.
I also want to express my gratitude to those of you who have taken the time to send nominations. We have received many nominations over the past six years and out of those nominations we have inducted 52 individuals into the ARC Hall of Fame. Another outstanding group of 11 will be inducted on Oct. 19.
Since ARC was chartered in 1783, there have been many graduates who have made great contributions not just locally, but nationally and internationally in the areas of medicine, art, the military, law, athletics, education, media, architecture, politics and music. The process of selecting inductees is not an easy one, and is not taken lightly.
The purpose of the Hall of Fame is twofold. First and foremost, it is an effort to recognize and show our gratitude through inductions to those alumni who have greatly influenced our society in a positive manner. Second, we hope to help students understand that through hard work and perseverance they too can be successful.
Pat Dye, a 2012 inductee, is a perfect example of hard work and perseverance.
Dye was captain of ARC’s 1956 state championship football team, and at season’s end was named All-State, All-American, and Lineman of the Year in Georgia. He also was a key member of the 1957 state championship track and field team, placing second in the state in shotput and javelin.
After graduation from ARC he followed in the footsteps of his two order brothers, Wayne and Nat, and accepted a scholarship to play football at the University of Georgia. At UGA, Dye was a two-way starter as an offensive lineman and linebacker, leading UGA to the 1959 SEC Championship and an Orange Bowl triumph over Missouri.
In 1959 and 1960, Dye was named All-SEC, All-American and Academic All-American. In addition, he was awarded the William K. Jenkins Award for Most Valuable Lineman both years. In 1960, he was co-captain of the team and was presented the J.B. Whitworth Award for the Outstanding Georgia Lineman.
Following the 1960 season, he played in three All-Star games – the Senior Bowl, the Blue-Gray Classic and the Coaches All-American game.
After serving three years as an officer in the U.S. Army, Dye was a two-way starter at tight end and linebacker for two seasons with the Edmonton Eskimos of the Canadian Football League.
He began his college coaching career in 1965 as an assistant coach under the legendary Paul “Bear” Bryant. Dye became the head coach at East Carolina University in 1974 where he compiled a record of 48-18-1 and took the Pirates to their first bowl game in 13 seasons. While at East Carolina, he doubled the size of the stadium and improved facilities dramatically. He produced a number of All-Conference and All-American players, including ARC graduate Wayne Bolt.
He left East Carolina in 1980 to become the head coach at the University of Wyoming, where he led the Cowboys to their first winning season in eight years.
The following season, Dye was named head coach of Auburn University. His career record at Auburn of 99-39-4 made him the third-winningest coach in the school’s long and storied history. His Auburn teams won four SEC championships, including three consecutive championships from 1987 thru 1989. He was named SEC Coach of the Year in 1983, 1987 and 1988. In 1983, Dye was national Coach of the Year as his Auburn team posted 11-1 record and was selected as national champions by The New York Times.
His remarkable career at Auburn included four 10-win seasons and a four-game winning streak over Alabama. His teams won four of the five SEC championships in Auburn’s history. In addition to coaching a Heisman Trophy winner, an Outland Trophy winner and a Lombardi Award winner, he also coached 21 All-Americans and had two of his players selected in the first round of the NFL draft.
The field at historic Jordan-Hare Stadium was named in his honor in 2005, and today Coach Dye is actively involved in fundraising for various schools and departments at Auburn.
The 2015 inductees were Langston Bolton, former ARC math teacher and track coach; Lawton B. Evans, former Richmond County school superintendent and author; E. M. Jackson, well-known artist; Derwent Langley, retired U.S. Air Force colonel; C. Ashley Royal, federal judge; Dr. Pat Scannon, physician and researcher; Pleasant A. Stovall, former U.S. ambassador to Switzerland; Leroy Suddath, retired U.S. Army major general; and Jim Whitehead, former Georgia senator and local businessman.
The 2016 inductees were Dr. Herman Lam, University of Florida professor; Angela Grubbs, retired U.S. Air Force colonel; Charles S. Finch, retired U.S. Army colonel; James E. Pyle, retired U.S. Army lieutenant colonel; Mont Miller, former president and CEO of Club Car and practicing attorney; Marion Wash, former ARC English teacher; John Pendleton King, former U.S. senator; Isaac S. Hopkins, first president of Georgia Tech; Neely Plumb, highly respected composer, arranger and record producer; Dr. Doug Dilts, devoted humanitarian to the poor of Indonesia; and Dr. David Potter, Pulitzer Prize recipient.
The 2017 inductees are Ellis Johnson, former teacher and counselor at ARC and one of the most influential people in the Augusta-area arts community; James U. Jackson class of 1873, a businessman and founder of North Augusta; Linda Williams Beazley, class of 1957, served the citizens of Richmond County in numerous positons from Probate Court to county administrator; Jack Fisher, class of 1957, pitched for four different major-league baseball teams over 11 years; Robert Allen Rowe, class of 1953, was a U.S. Army Corps of Engineers senior construction management engineer responsible for the construction of major civil structures in 12 states and Saudi Arabia; Timothy Miller, class of 1998, a well-known tenor in the Atlanta area, and currently sings God Bless America during the seventh-inning stretch for the Atlanta Braves home weekend games; Dr. Charles Shaefer, class of 1967, an outstanding physician and was known nationally and internationally for his expertise in the area of diabetes; Dr. Brooks Keel, class of 1974, president of Augusta University and CEO of AU Health; John Sherman, class of 1975, president and CEO of Birmingham, Ala.’s privately owned Coca-Cola Bottling Company United; Ken Whisenhunt, class of 1980, former Georgia Tech and NFL football player and current NFL coach with the Los Angeles Chargers; Dr. Arthur Bleakley Chandler Sr., class of 1943, a longtime professor and chairman of pathology at the Medical College of Georgia, and a pioneer in the area of pathology, authoring Explorations in Pathology.
In addition to the Hall of Fame inductions, we also will be honoring/recognizing the members of the 1997 ARC lady state championship basketball team coached by Pat Rivers.
The 2017 Academy of Richmond County Hall of Fame banquet will be Thursday, Oct. 19, beginning at 6 p.m. in the Fellowship Hall at First Baptist Church. Admission cost is $35 per person, which includes a buffet dinner.
People interested in nominating an ARC graduate may go to the ARC website at www.rcboe.org/arc and click the “Club/Organizations” tab, click on “Alumni” and click on “Hall of Fame Nomination.” Nomination forms should be mailed to: Academy of Richmond County, Attention Tim Spivey, 910 Russell St., Augusta, GA 30904. Also, to get detailed biographical information on past inductees, click on “About Us” and “ARC Hall of Fame” at the ARC website.
The writer is chairman of the Academy of Richmond County Hall of Fame.