A record audience of more than 700 was on hand May 6 at the Raleigh Convention Center as the North Carolina Sports Hall of Fame welcomed its nine newest members. Those inducted during the Hall’s 53rd annual banquet were, listed alphabetically, Rod Brind’Amour, Eric “Sleepy” Floyd, David Fox, James “Rabbit” Fulghum, Antawn Jamison, Haywood Jeffires, Freddy Johnson, Ray Price, and Susan Yow.
“The achievements of this year’s class of inductees enrich North Carolina’s remarkable sports heritage, and they certainly earned the honor of joining the 319 men and women who were previously enshrined,” said Fredrick Reese, president of the Hall. “This was a special evening not only for the inductees but for their families, friends and the hundreds of others who enjoyed the festivities.”
The N.C. Sports Hall of Fame was established in 1963. The permanent exhibit, North Carolina Sports Hall of Fame, is located on the third floor of the N.C. Museum of History in Raleigh and features significant artifacts and memorabilia donated by inductees. The museum is open Monday through Saturday from 9 a.m. to 5 p.m. and Sunday from noon to 5 p.m. Admission is free.
A brief biography of each 2016 inductee follows:
Rod Brind’Amour came to the Carolina Hurricanes from the Philadelphia Flyers in 2000 and has been one of the most important figures in the team’s history. He was named team captain prior to the 2005-06 season and was the key figure in the team’s 2006 Stanley Cup victory. He retired after a 21-year playing career and has remained a member of the Hurricanes’ organization.
Eric “Sleepy” Floyd was a high school star at Gastonia’s Hunter Huss High School and then went on to win All-America honors at Georgetown University. His NBA career featured one of the greatest playoff performances in league history.
David Fox is a native of Raleigh who became a swimming star at N.C. State. He was more than just a standout for the Wolfpack. He developed into one of the premier swimmers in the world — breaking records, winning national titles and capturing an Olympic gold medal.
James “Rabbit” Fulghum is best known for winning state baseball championships in four decades at Greene Central High School. The Rock Ridge native was a four-year starter at Atlantic Christian College (now Barton College) and then became one of the most successful high school coaches in the state.
Antawn Jamison was the unanimous college Player of the Year as a junior at UNC-Chapel Hill. Jamison, who starred at Providence High School in Charlotte, was only the third player in ACC history to be named ACC Player of the Year, ACC Tournament MVP, an NCAA regional MVP and National Player of the Year in the same season.
Haywood Jeffires was a two-sport star at Page High School in Greensboro. In fact, he had opportunities to play either football or basketball on the collegiate level. He accepted a football scholarship at N.C. State and went on to a 10-year pro football career. He was first-round draft choice of the Houston Oilers in 1987. Chosen to play in the Pro Bowl three consecutive years (1991-1993).
Freddy Johnson has turned Greensboro Day School into a state and national high school basketball powerhouse. He also started an AAU basketball program for kids in Greensboro. The program gives youngsters an organized setting so they can improve their skills and have travel opportunities during the summer.
Ray Price (deceased) was a prominent figure in motorcycle drag racing for more than 50 years. The Johnston County native was successful as a racer, business owner, and designer. In addition, his promotion of the sport has been credited with its continued growth.
Susan Yow is one of three sisters, all of whom made their careers in college athletics. She was an All-America at N.C. State and also played at Elon College (now Elon University). The Gibsonville native was a standout basketball player and has been just as successful as a coach. She currently is head women’s basketball coach at Queens University of Charlotte.
North Carolina, home to more than 120 colleges and universities, 30 professional sports teams and countless championship-winning high schools, can now boast a hearty tribute to its rich sports history. More than just a collection of names and statistics, Nothing Finer is filled with extended profiles and delightful stories of the people who make the history of sports in North Carolina so fascinating.
An account as far-reaching and well researched as this is hard to come by — and is the product of the 300+ years of sports writing experience its contributors collectively bring to the table.
Lovers of North Carolina — or of sports in general will find Nothing Finer an enjoyable and exceptional read, written by those who know the state’s sports history personally and passionately.
In the words of Nat Walker, two-time NC Sports Hall of Fame board president, “Nothing Finer, North Carolina’s Sports History and the People Who Made It is a tour de force that brings alive the sports and the amateur and professional stars who thrilled and captivated us through the decades.”
North Carolina Sports Hall of Fame members and affiliates will receive a 20 percent discount when purchasing the book online at our website, www.cap-press.com, using discount code “NCSHOF”. A portion of the proceeds from the sale of this book goes to support the Hall.