Hall of Fame: Nine will be inducted into Salisbury-Rowan Hall in August

Published 12:00 am Saturday, July 16, 2016

Staff report

SALISBURY — The 16th Salisbury-Rowan Hall of Fame class includes West Rowan High basketball legend Quintarus “Scooter” Sherrill.
Sherrill, a 2000 West graduate, is the county’s all-time basketball scoring leader for males. Sherrill, who has played in pickup games with President Barack Obama, will become the youngest local Hall of Famer when induction ceremonies are held at the Salisbury Civic Center at 2 p.m. on Aug. 14.
Nine will be inducted, bringing the membership of the Hall to 103. The new members include five from regular balloting by a 15-person Hall committee headed by Wilson Cherry, as well as two from the senior division, a division for athletes and coaches who shined 50 or more years ago.
The other inductees are winners of the Fred M.Evans Award for lifetime contributions to sports in Rowan County and the Horace Billings Award that recognizes contributions to Rowan County sports by a media member.
Joining Sherrill will be Reid Bradshaw, Bill Kesler, Ellis Alexander, Ernest McCray, the late Darrell Misenheimer and the late James Bridges. Floyd Kerr III is the Fred Evans Award inductee, while Mike London is the Horace Billings Award inductee.
During Sherrill’s career at West, the Falcons were 103-16 overall and 57-5 in league games. West was the 2A state champion in 1997 and the 3A state runner-up in 1999. Sherrill scored 29 points and was MVP in the 1997 state-title game as a freshman.
Sherrill scored 2,469 career points, including a 40-point effort against North Rowan in 1998 and a 43-point outing against Piedmont as a senior. He was a McDonald’s All-American, competed for Team USA in Russia and played professionally for many years overseas.
Sherrill played in 117 games for N.C. State, scored 892 points for the Wolfpack and averaged double figures as a junior and senior.
Kesler was a fine athlete in three sports at West Rowan, but he’s known mostly for his outstanding record as North Rowan’s head baseball coach. Kesler piloted the Cavaliers from 1985-2005 and had a record of 295-207. His win total ranks second in Rowan County history for high school baseball coaches.
Kesler’s great run at North included five league championships and a 2A state runner-up team in 2000. In 1999-2000, North went 24-0 in the Central Carolina Conference.
Besides his head-coaching career, Kesler has been a respected assistant coach in football, basketball and baseball at North for many years.
Bradshaw was a fine player at South Rowan High and a standout lineman at Catawba. He was Honorable Mention for All-America honors in 1965.
Bradshaw became the head football coach at South prior to the 1971 season, and after three years of struggle, he guided the Raiders to the most successful era in school history. From 1974-82, South was 72-24-3 and won six conference championships. Bradshaw was county coach of the year four times and conference coach of the year three times.
Bradshaw also had a great run as the Raiders’ baseball coach from 1977-81. His teams were 69-25 and won two league championships.
Misenheimer, who died in 2014 at 57, was one of Rowan County’s finest athletes of the 1970s. He was a Shrine Bowl football lineman, a WNCHSAA runner-up as a heavyweight wrestler and a shot put champion. His extraordinary heave of 61 feet, 5 1/2 inches in 1975 remains the county record.
Misenheimer went on to play football at Clemson and afterwards, became a legendary home run hitter in softball. He hit several thousand homers and is a member of the United States Slow-Pitch Softball Association Hall of Fame.
The gentle giant also served with distinction as an assistant football coach at East Rowan, South Rowan and West Rowan.
Misenheimer was the male co-athlete of the year for Rowan County high schools in 1975, and that award is now given annually in his memory.
Alexander was an outstanding linebacker on great football teams at Boyden High in 1969 and 1970. The student body president, he went on to the University of North Carolina as a Morehead scholar.
At UNC, he kicked three field goals in a freshman game against N.C. State and became one of the last non-soccer style kickers for the Tar Heels varsity from 1972-74.
In 1972 he set an ACC record with 35 PATs and kicked a field goal in the Sun Bowl.
As a junior, Alexander kicked a school-record 53-yard field goal against N.C. State. That record lasted until 1985.
As a senior, despite deteriorating vision and a violent collision on a kickoff that cost him half of a tooth, he kicked the winning PAT at Kenan Stadium to beat Duke.
A J.C.Price High and Livingstone College Hall of Famer, Bridges died in 2011 at age 76.
Bridges was a starting end on the 1952 Price Red Devils, who won a state championship. He blocked for powerhouse teams that rode the legs of McCray and George Alexander.
Bridges weighed 135 pounds when he started his career at Price, but he was a powerful man by the time he reached Livingstone. He played both ways for the Blue Bears at center and linebacker. His toughness was legendary. Knocked unconscious making a snap, he was back on the field the next week.
Bridges served in an army artillery unit in Germany, and his thirst for knowledge grew as a director in the army’s education center. He was offered teaching jobs coming out of the service.
A teaching and coaching job at Kannapolis’ Carver High brought him back close to home, and he’s credited with starting Carver’s track program.
His next stop was teaching and coaching at Price, and he moved over to Salisbury’ High as a teacher and football coach after integration. He was an important part of Boyden and Price athletes coming together to form powerful Salisbury High teams.
Bridges earned a masters in education from North Carolina A&T and became assistant dean of adult education at Guilford Tech, a groundbreaking post for a black educator in the 1970s.
It’s fitting that McCray will enter the Salisbury-Rowan Hall along with Bridges, who threw blocks for him.
McCray earned the nickname “Mr. Touchdown” for the Price Red Devils from 1950-52. Price lost only one game during McCray’s era, and that was a state-championship struggle against Raleigh Washington in 1950.
McCray became “Mr. Touchdown” in 1951 after scoring six touchdowns in a two-week span early that season against Kings Mountain Lincoln and Statesville Morningside.
McCray played both ways for the Red Devils and made a game-saving interception in the 1951 battle against West Charlotte that ended in a scoreless tie.
In 1952, only two teams scored against Price, and McCray led the Red Devils to a stunning 48-0 romp against Hickory Ridgeview, a program that had tied Price for the Western championship in 1951.
McCray served in the U.S. Navy 10 years and rescued a drowning sailor in 1961. Then he worked for 31 years with the local fire department before retiring in 1999.
A 1968 graduate of J.C. Price High, Kerr began working for the city of Salisbury in 1971 and served for many years as an athletic supervisor and athletic coordinator with the Salisbury Parks and Recreation Department and was a role model, advisor and “big brother” for basketball standouts such as Bobby Jackson, Fred Campbell, Bryan Withers and Donald Jenkins.
A 1973 graduate of A.L. Brown High, London has worked for the Salisbury Post since the 1994-1995 school year. He was the NCHSAA Media Person of the Year in 2011 and the North Carolina Baseball Coaches Media Person of the Year in 2005. He’s won numerous N.C. Press Association awards and has covered Rowan County and A.L. Brown state champs in 13 different sports.
A list of all the Hall of Famers inducted since the first class in 2001 is in Scoreboard.