Six to enter Catawba Hall
From Catawba sports services
The Catawba Sports Hall of Fame will welcome six new members on April 26.
The inductees are coach Ginger Hamric of Salisbury; Charles Little (Class of 1964) of Salisbury; Joseph S. Popp (’52) of Mooresville; Tracey Scruggs (’90) of Alexandria, Va.; Ralph Wager of Charlotte; and the late Herman D. Helms (’48).
Ceremonies will take place at 12:30 p.m. in Kirkland Lobby of Abernethy Physical Education Center. On April 25, the Hall of Fame Golf Tournament will be held at Country Club of Salisbury at 1 p.m.
The Sports Hall of Fame was founded in 1977. This year’s inductees will bring the number of members to 147.
Hamric, Catawba’s volleyball coach since 1990, joins Sam Moir (men’s basketball, 1960-94) and Nan Whitley (softball, 1983-present) as coaches who were inducted while still active at the college.
Hamric has compiled a 389-211 record and 16 winning seasons in 18 years. She has led Catawba to SAC regular-season championships in 2000 and 2002 and tournament titles in 1990, 1991 and 2001.
Hamric’s team won a school-record 39 games in 2002. She was a team captain at Appalachian State and coached two state champions at Mt. Airy before coming to Catawba.
n Helms enjoyed a long career at a sportswriter at two major newspapers and was considered the most highly read sports columnist in the Carolinas for four decades.
Helms was the Charlotte Observer from 1948-63 and at The State in Columbia, S.C., until his retirement in 1989.
Helms was named Sportswriter of The Year in both Carolinas, earning the North Carolina honor twice and the South Carolina award five times.
Helms was inducted into the N.C. Boxing Hall of Fame in 1988. He was president of the Atlantic Coast Writers Association and was a founder and director of the South Carolina Athletic Hall of Fame.
While a student, Helms was Catawba’s first sports information director.
He died last December
n Little was a four-year starter in football and went on to become an outstanding teacher and coach in high school and college.
A member of the Western Pennsylvania All-Star football team in 1960, Little played in that state’s East-West All-Star game. He played on both lines for the Indians and was a key member of the 1963 Carolinas Conference championship team.
Little enjoyed great success as an assistant coach for Pete Stout at Salisbury (1965-76) and Burlington Williams (1976-83) high schools.
At Salisbury, Little was on the staff of three Western N.C. championship teams and coached seven Shrine Bowl linemen. He was also named Teacher of the Year at Salisbury High School in 1972 and enjoyed success as a track and field coach.
Little was defensive coordinator for Burlington Williams teams that won 44 consecutive games and state championships in 1981 and 1983.
Little also coached three state-championship golf teams at Williams.
Little was Stout’s defensive coordinator at Catawba for four seasons and founded the Gridiron Club in 1996.
n Popp enjoyed a four-year career in football at Catawba, playing halfback and safety. He also played basketball and baseball.
Popp enjoyed an outstanding coaching career at Jonesville (1953-55), West Forsyth (1956-57) and Mooresville. Popp’s 1961 Mooresville team won the WNCHSAA championship.
Popp coached collegiately at North Carolina, George Washington, Wake Forest (defensive coordinator from 1965-68) and Georgia Tech.
Popp coached in the World Football League and was an assistant coach in the NFL with the Cleveland Browns (1989-91).
Originally from Cambria County, Pa., Popp was selected as one of the Top 50 all-time athletes in his home area.
n Scruggs was a point guard for Catawba basketball teams from 1985-90 and holds school records for games played (124) and assists (614) and is fourth in steals (152).
An All-Carolinas Conference performer in 1988 when he dished out 170 assists, Scruggs averaged 14.1 points that season and 11.9 for his career.
Scruggs scored 1,471 career points to rank 14th all-time at Catawba.
Scruggs had many big games, but a highlight was taking a rebound the length of the court, laying in a game-winning basket against eventual conference champion High Point at the buzzer.
Since graduation, Scruggs has coached in the Alexandria, Va. area.
n Wager built Catawba into a nationally respected soccer program in the 1980s.
After arriving at Catawba in 1983, Wager took over a program that was 8-42-1 in 1980-82 and went 10-5-3 in 1983. In 1984, Catawba won the Carolinas Conference and NAIA District 26 championships.
Wager coached Catawba through the 1989 season, compiling 91-42-8 record and five conference championships (1984, 1985, 1986, 1988 and 1989). Wager coached Catawba teams to stunning victories over North Carolina, Wake Forest and in 1986, over eventual national champion Duke.
Catawba had a 31-game District 26 winning streak under Wager.
Wager coached nine All-Americans at Catawba and seven players moved on to the professional ranks.
Wager was South Region Coach of the Year in 1986.
He is now a clinician, teaching soccer all over the country.