Sports Hall of Fame

Richard Young – 2016

Richard Young
Inducted 2016
Waycross High was blessed through the years of its existence with competent and talented coaches. Certainly Richard Young ranks high among that number.

Football, basketball and golf athletes wearing the Red and Black were among those mentored, tutored and taught by Young, who is credited by his former students with being a great role model and having a positive influence on their lives.

Young coached at Waycross High School during the 1960s. He was on the staff of head Bulldog football coach Earl O’Neal and was his assistant when Waycross High put together back-to-back state championships in 1960 and 1961. Coach Young’s girls varsity basketball teams were among the best in south Georgia, winning their share of regional honors and often advancing to state tournament play. He also coached the Bulldog golf teams to regional and state championships and developed many outstanding golfers during his tenure as coach.

His former athletes speak often about the character of the man and the qualities that helped mold them into responsible adults.
After leaving coaching, the coach spent the remainder of his professional career in public education leadership positions. He served as the superintendent of schools in Lanier County before returning home to serve in the 1980s as the Ware County public schools superintendent.

Young has many times presented former athletes for induction into the Waycross-Ware Sports Hall of Fame and has for years been considered for enshrinement in his own right. This year, the year he was elected for induction, is also his first as a member of the hall’s board of directors. In part because of his high character, he was recruited by his fellow directors to fill a vacancy on the board. Richard lives in Waycross with his wife Marie. They enjoy spending time with their son Ben, his wife Billie, and their three grandchildren, Ivy, Sage, and Reed.

Benjamin Silas – 2016

Benjamin Silas
Inducted 2016
The late Benjamin Silas will forever be remembered by those who played for and studied under him while he was a coach, teacher and administrator in Waycross.

Silas began his exemplary career at Center High in 1959 and coached the Center Tigerettes to a state basketball crown in 1965. As an assistant on Everett Saunders’ staff, he helped Center High achieve a state football championship in 1962. His Center girls also claimed a third place finish in the state tourney one season. His Golden Tigerettes never finished worse than second in the district.

Beloved by his scholars and athletes, the educator and coach also served as principal at Bailey Street Elementary, Center Junior High and Center Senior High during the 1959-1965 era. Many in the Waycross community, including his former athletes and scholars, have fond memories of Silas and speak often about how he taught them life lessons that went far beyond the playing field.

After his time in Waycross, he went on to a 24-year career with the U.S. Department of Education in Atlanta where he led initiatives impacting K-12 school districts and post-secondary institutions across the nation.

Married to the former Martha Williams of Waycross for 52 years, he was a role model for his two daughters and three grandchildren. He resided in the Atlanta area until his death on Oct. 8, 2010.

Donnie Miller – 2016

Donnie Miller
Inducted 2016
Possibly the best all-around athlete to ever play for the Waycross High Bulldogs, Donnie Miller was a multi-sport leader in the early 1960s. He made the Georgia football and golf All-State teams and was a catalyst for athletic glory on the gridiron and the links for the Bulldogs. Additionally he was a fine basketball player.

As a linebacker in the 10th grade (1961), he and his teammates earned a state championship. Starting on both sides of the ball for the rest of his high school days, Miller was the WHS Athlete of the Year Award twice, captain of the football team, All-State in golf two straight years, a medalist in the state golf tournament as a senior (his team was state runner-up), All-State and an All-Star at the annual Coaches North-South game in football and was named the Best Defensive Player of the Year in basketball under Coach J.T. Hart.

The late Earl O’Neal was his head football coach and the late Ernie Driscoll was offensive coordinator and assistant head coach. As Miller graduated, Driscoll took a post on the staff at North Carolina State University. He signed Donnie to a football scholarship where he was to play safety and flanker. But a basketball foot injury from his 12th grade season wound up cutting short his collegiate football and basketball careers.

That same year he signed a golf scholarship to East Tennessee State and in the season of 1965, he and his teammates beat the University of Tennessee twice.
The president and CEO of a consulting business in the commercial, institutional and industrial lighting markets, Miller lives in Montgomery Ala. with his wife Cathy. He has two sons, Travis and Brandon, and five grandchildren.

Edwin Lastinger – 2016

Edwin Lastinger
Inducted 2016
An All-State football player and team captain for the 1976 Bruce Bennett-coached Ware County Gators, Edwin Lastinger played in some of the biggest games in the history of the Green, White and Gold.

A senior in ’76, he led the rushing attack with 125 yards on 21 carries as Ware beat Waycross High for the rst time ever 17-14. Weeks later for the Region 1-AA championship against top-ranked Coffee, Lastinger and his mates avenged a regular season loss by coming back from a 20-7 halftime de cit to win 21-20. The Gators went on to the semifinals of the state playoffs where they lost to Woodard Academy.

The senior was named No. 5 among the Top 11 Athletes in South Georgia, All- Region and All-State after leading Ware in rushing with 968 yards on 151 carries. He scored 13 touchdowns. During his junior and senior years at Ware, Lastinger rushed for 1,611 yards on 278 carries.
He was selected to play in the Georgia Athletic Coaches Association North-South All-Star game starting at fullback for the South squad.

Lastinger also lettered in track and baseball while attending Ware County.

He continued his career on scholarship at Maryville College, Maryville, Tenn. He was an outstanding defensive back playing cornerback and strong safety, and was selected the Freshman Defensive Player of the Year in 1978 for the Maryville Scots.

A veteran of the United States Marine Corps, he has worked in the human resources eld for over 30 years. He is married to the former Tonya Gay and recently returned to the Waycross-Ware County area in 2014.

Arias Davis – 2016

Arias Davis
Inducted 2016
Arias Davis was a standout high school player for Coach E.B. Price at Waycross High and Ware County High School. For his senior year he was a part of the historic rst basketball team at the newly consolidated Ware County High School. In 1995 he led his team to the Region 1-AAAA tournament championship and a quarter nal berth in the state tournament. That same year he was named to the All-Area Team and earned Honorable Mention All-State honors. Arias played for the South team in the Georgia High School All-State game.

He led his 1994-95 Gator team in scoring and was deadly from three-point range. Among the memorable three point shots and the one that perhaps tops them all was against the state’s No. 1-ranked Tift County Blue Devils. With the clock ticking inside 10 seconds, Davis hit a long range, desperation three-point shot that hit nothing but net and gave Ware an upset victory and a Region Championship.

Davis began his college career at Otero Junior College in LaJunta, Colorado before transferring to the University of Illinois for his final two collegiate years. At Otero Junior College Arias Davis shot 45 percent behind the three point arc and 47 percent overall. Davis played in many big games for the Fighting Illini under the direction of Coach Lon Kruger. In a game with Clemson University, Davis let his presence be known for those attending the game and for those viewing via national television. Against this highly ranked Clemson team, the junior guard came off the bench to score 20 points leading his teammates to a monumental 71-61 upset.

Arias continues to live in Illinois residing in the Chicago area.

Craig Barnes – 2016

Craig Barnes
Inducted 2016
Craig Barnes is one of a handful of local distance runners achieving state, regional and national notoriety.
A Ware County High and Valdosta State athletic standout, he knew few peers on the track four decades ago. Barnes placed in the top three in the mile and two-mile at the GHSA State Track Meet, won multiple region titles and set several high school track records. He also helped the Ware Gators to a basketball region championship as the starting point guard.

Earning a track/cross country scholarship to Valdosta State University, he continued to dominate. He ranked among the top 75 in the nation in cross country and made all-state and All-Gulf South Conference (he was the individual cross country champ in the conference). As a college freshman, Barnes was the No. 4 runner in the nation.

During the running craze/footrace phenomenon that started in the 1970s (and continues even today), Barnes accrued a houseful of trophies. Locally he was the perennial Swamp Run champion when it was a half-marathon (and he ran in and won scores of other events).

Coaching at Camden County, Pierce County and Lowndes high schools, Barnes was a five-time coach of the year as his teams collected a state title, one state runner-up trophy and eight region track and cross country championships. He coached the Valdosta State cross country team to a top ten finish in the Division II Regionals.

Barnes continues to enjoy running and lives with his family in Valdosta.

Barbra Standley Pender – 2015

Barbra Standley Pender
Inducted 2015
Senior leadership combined with raw athletic talent to give Waycross High a girls state basketball championship in 1978. But it might not have happened had not the Waycross Bulldogettes coveted the letter jackets received by the football team, which had won a state title a couple of months earlier.

“We promised Coach Price we would win the championship (in 1978) if he would make sure we would receive letter jackets like the ones the football team received,” Senior Barbara Standley Pender said. He agreed and the Bulldogettes made sure to hold up their end of the bargain. Pender and her teammates rewarded Price, themselves, their school and the Waycross community with a state championship.

Pender overcame a midseason injury as she and the team started to peak in the postseason. Waycross trounced Savannah-Johnson 78-59 in the rst round of state. In the quarter final round, Pender bucketed 22 points and nabbed nine rebounds in a win over a strong Perry High club 61-42. In the semi nal game, Waycross rode the 29-point scoring of Pender to upset Ringgold 72-66. It was just the third loss of the year for Ringgold.

In the state championship game on March 9 at the Cobb Civic Center once-beaten Madison County was able to shut down Pender’s inside game holding her to four points. But her teammates took up the slack and Waycross held on to win 44-42.

It ended a three-year flirtation with the state trophy that went back to Standley’s sophomore season. The team lost in the nals in 1976 and in the semifinals in 1977. Barbara Standley Pender is a Waycross widow with two sons, two daughters and eight grandchildren.

Vicki Cason Bollinger – 2015

Vicki Cason Bollinger
Inducted 2015
Sharp-shooting Vicki Cason was “dead-eye” accurate from any given spot on the oor at Waycross High School. In 1969-70, her senior season, she helped carry the Bulldogettes to the brink of a state championship.

In the state semifinal round against Wheeler County, she scored 31 points as Waycross advanced to the title game. But Waycross had the poor fortune of going up against a team of destiny in the finals against the undefeated Berrien County Rebelettes. Waycross lost 37-32 as Berrien put the finishing touches on a 30-0 record that season of 1970.

Vicki and her Waycross teammates turned in their own sparkling 23-4 record. Vicki made the All-State Tournament team.

She also was a standout on the varsity tennis team at Waycross. She was a ne citizen at Waycross High, too, serving as student council vice president and secretary. She was on the homecoming court as a sophomore and senior. The Tri-Hi-Y Club president, she also won the DAR Citizenship Award in 1970.
During her college years, she was a nationally ranked volleyball official. She owns degrees (including two masters) from the universities of Georgia, Tennessee and South Florida.

Vicki Cason Bollinger today lives and works in Tampa, Fla. where she is a media tech specialist with the Hillsborough County Public Schools. For a large part of her career as an educator, she taught in the classroom and twice was voted Teacher of the Year.

Fred Gibson – 2015

Fred Gibson
Inducted 2015
Arguably the top lineman and running back in school history, Rusty Ganas and Tim McCray were both in inducted in 1991. Tonight, the man most would agree is the top wide receiver ever at Ware County High, Fred Gibson, enters the hall of fame.

Leading the Gators of Coach Dan Ragle to the state playoffs in 1999 and 2000, Gibson hauled in passes in Ragle’s prolific offense for a two-year total of 2,482 yards and 31 touchdowns.

A case might certainly be made that he also is one of the top few of Ware’s greatest basketball talents ever. He was a man among boys on the court in high school. All- state twice in high school in football and basketball, Fred also was regional Player of the Year in both.

Gibson was a star at the University of Georgia in Athens in both sports during his freshman year, then concentrated on the football Dawgs of Mark Richt only for the next three. He is one of the top two receivers in Georgia Bulldog history, second only to Terrence Edwards in career receiving yards. He caught passes at UGA to total 2,884 yards. Gibson chalked up 209 receiving yards in a 2001 win over Kentucky, a Bulldog record which stood for 13 years.

Like McCray and Ganas, Fred Gibson played professionally as well, although his career in the National Football League was brief. He was associated with five NFL teams in three years. He also flirted briefly with the National Basketball Association at the D-League level.

In January, Fred began a career with Coca-Cola in Atlanta.

Leodis McKelvin – 2015

Leodis McKelvin
Inducted 2015
An All-State cornerback for Dan Ragle’s Ware County Gators, Leodis McKelvin moved on to successful college and pro careers.
Coming into his own for his final two seasons at Ware, he earned a scholarship to Troy where he flourished. He was then drafted by the Buffalo Bills 11th overall in the 2008 NFL Draft and has steadily built an admiral pro resume.

With 115 tackles and 12 interceptions in 2002-03 combined at Ware, McKelvin was All-State and was chosen to the Times-Union Super 11 team.
At Troy as a true freshman, he established himself as a great kick returner and by his sophomore year he earned first team All-Sun Belt Conference honors as a return specialist. As a junior and senior, he was a dominating cover corner, making All-Sun Belt as a position player.

As a Bills rookie, he made an immediate splash. McKelvin returned a kickoff 95 yards for a touchdown in a preseason game against the Steelers. The following game, on Monday Night Football, he returned a kickoff 98 yards for a score. The next week on Sunday in Kansas City, he intercepted two passes, returning one for a 64-yard TD as the Bills won 54-31.

Now, seven years a pro, Leodis has impressive career stats: 285 tackles and 11 picks. His 2014 season had “All-Pro” written all over it… before it was cut short by injury. In just ve games he had four pass thefts and 48 tackles. He is looking forward to returning in 2015.
Leodis conducts an annual football camp for young boys at Ware County High School.