Growing up, LeRoy Irvin wanted to play high school football for Laney coach David Dupree or Josey coach Henry Daggett.
Living in the Glenn Hills district, Irvin never got that chance.
“I admired both of them,” Irvin said. “These guys were great influences on a lot of great players, a lot of great people. It goes beyond the ‘x’s and ‘o’s. It’s a community thing.”
Despite not playing for either coach, Irvin did just fine. He became a standout with the Spartans before later establishing himself as an NFL All-Pro with the Los Angeles Rams.
Irvin returned Thursday night to help honor Daggett and Dupree at the Augusta City Classic annual formal banquet at the Augusta Marriott at the Convention Center.
Daggett and Dupree were featured as the first inductees into the Augusta City Classic Hall of Fame. Dupree led Laney to state titles in 1961 and ’66 while amassing a 209-60-13 record. Daggett, who had a 55-81-3 record, built the Josey program and, like Dupree, helped mold young men into community leaders.
In honor of both men, two 5-foot by 7-foot posters were unveiled, featuring their respective portrait in the middle with silhouettes of them during their coaching careers on each side.
The poster and a hall of fame jacket will each become displays at the Lucy Craft Laney Museum.
“They changed and affected many lives in the courses of their careers,” Augusta City Classic president Henry Ingram said. “Because we’re the largest minority activity in our community, we thought it was the appropriate stage to recognize them in a way befitting their careers. The best way to do that is create something that’s ongoing.”
Irvin, who lives in Los Angeles and is involved in real estate and is a Major League Baseball and National Football League licensee, said Daggett and Dupree were well-deserving of the honor. And the two men each appreciated the gesture.
“I was wondering when they were going to do something like this,” the 87-year-old Dupree said, laughing. “I think it’s a great thing.”
“It’s always great to be honored,” the 84-year-old Daggett said, “but they should’ve waited until I left this earth.”