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Albany State inducts second class into Sports Hall of Fame

October 22, 2000

Albany State University inducted six persons into its Sports Hall of Fame at ceremonies on Friday, Oct. 20, at 6 p.m. at the Merry Acres Restaurant in Albany, Ga. The second class of inductees into ASU's Sports Hall of Fame includes two athletes, two supporters and two coaches.

The six inductees are former basketball player Samuel Battle, former assistant football coach Charles K. Dunson, former basketball player Charlene McWhorter-Jackson, former basketball coach Robert Rainey (posthumous) and supporters Ronald D. Wood and W. Gerald Wright.

Battle, a 1958 graduate of Albany State, was one of the most prolific basketball players in Rams basketball history. A four-year starter who played for the legendary Obie O'Neal from 1954 to 1957, Battle holds the distinct honor of being the first athlete to receive a basketball scholarship at Albany State. He was named to All-SEAC (Southeastern Athletic Conference) teams during each of his playing years, earning second team status during his freshman year and first team status in his sophomore, junior and senior years as a Golden Rams hoopster. Battle led the Rams in scoring for four consecutive years, led the conference in scoring for three years and earned conference MVP honors for three consecutive years.

After his stellar career with the Rams, Battle became an advocate for displaced citizens and worked with the U.S. Housing and Urban Development for 35 years. He was one of the first government-employed African Americans in Southeast Georgia. Battle currently serves as an urban replacement specialist/consultant with the Atlanta Developmental Authority.

Dr. Dunson, a Lexington, Ky. native, served as an assistant coach and defensive coordinator with the Golden Rams football team from 1954 to 1969. In addition to his coaching duties, he was a mathematics instructor. Albany State won its first conference championship during his second year as an assistant coach, signaling the beginning of a series of accomplishments for the Golden Rams. The team won six conference championships in eight years between 1955 and 1962, and went undefeated and unscored upon during the 1960 championship season.

An avid promoter of professionalism, Dr. Dunson launched a fund-raising effort to establish an official dress code for the football team. As a result, the team was able to purchase blazers for 19 returning lettermen and three coaches. The professional attire drew much attention and adulation from Albany State fans and opponents.

Dunson's accomplishments went well beyond the playing fields. During his tenure, he served as chair of the Department of Mathematics, dean of the School of Education, coordinator of the Three Years Master's Honor Program and coordinator of the Division of Graduate Studies. He also served as president of the Albany Football and Basketball Officials Association. A native Albanian, WcWhorter-Jackson, is one of the most decorated athletes in school history - male or female. The 1980 Albany State graduate was a standout basketball player for the Lady Rams from 1975 to 1979. She currently serves as head basketball coach of the Dougherty Comprehensive High School Lady Trojans. As a player for the Lady Rams, she was consistently recognized as one of the best players in the conference and nation. In 1977 and 1978, she was named an All-American. In 1979, she was Albany State's Athlete of the Year and earned all-SIAC (Southern Intercollegiate Athletic Conference) honors in 1976, 1977 and 1987. She was selected as the Black College Player of the Week on numerous occasions during her collegiate career and received several team awards as well.

McWhorter-Jackson's athletic career did not end with collegiate sports. She played professional basketball both nationally and internationally from 1979 to 1983. She was drafted by Washington, one of the eight teams that formed the Women's Professional Basketball League (WBL), the first women's professional basketball league and predecessor to today's WNBA (Women's National Basketball Association). She was the league's East/West All-Star Game's Most Valuable Player in 1980, and also made the 1980 All-Star Rookie Team. During her professional career, she averaged 17 points and eight rebounds, while playing an average of 21 minutes per game. After the WBL folded, she ended her professional career in 1983.

She has also enjoyed a successful coaching career at the high school and collegiate levels. She was named Coach of the Year in 1990, 1991 and 1993, and won four Region Championships during her coaching career. In 1994, she served as an assistant coach in the Midwestern Collegiate Athletic Conference, where her team was conference champions in 1994 and made an NCAA Tournament appearance in 1995.

Wood, a 1970 graduate of Albany state, has been a top supporter of his alma mater for more than 20 years. A former collegiate football player, he has given the majority of his financial support to the football program. He provided the entire team with practice jerseys in 1988 and has provided scholarships for several student athletes over the past 28 years.

Wood's support earned him the prestigious Friend of the College Award in 1989, an award that is given to the institution's greatest supporter of the year. He was instrumental in organizing the Albany State University Athletic Association and served as its organizing president. He recently received the 2000 Rammy Award and the 2000 Rammy Lifetime Achievement Award for his outstanding support of the Youth Motivation Task Force. He has served as a member of the ASU Foundation Board of Director and the ASU Alumni Association. He is a member of the Atlanta Chapter of 100 Black Men of America and Kappa Alpha Psi Fraternity, Inc. He currently serves as president of R.D. Wood Insurance Associates, Inc. in Atlanta, Ga.

Wright, is recognized as one of the leading supporters of Albany State athletics and academics. A 1972 graduate of Albany State, Wright is president/owner of Star Athletics, Inc., a successful specialty advertising company in Atlanta, Ga. The Dixie, Ga., native has been a member of the ASU Foundation Board of Directors since 1994, serving as its president form 1997 to 1999. Under his leadership, the Foundation launched its first-ever capital campaign in 1994, and raised $1.5 million in pledges.

Wright was also instrumental in the initiation and implementation of the ASU Athletic Association. In honor of his deceased parents, he established the Weadon and Pearlie Wright Scholarship in 1995, which provides two $5,000 scholarships to two student athletes. He is a member of the ASU President's Circle and the ASU Alumni Association. He is the recipient of the ASU National Alumni Association Leadership Award, ASU National Alumni Association President's Award, Rammy Lifetime Achievement Award and the Friend of the College Award. He was inducted into the ASU Alumni Dekalb Chapter's Hall of Fame and the ASU Alumni Hall of Fame.

The late basketball coaching legend Robert Rainey was named Coach of the Year during the 1964-1965 season for his outstanding accomplishments and his Rams won the SEAC championship. He is noted for recruiting the talented Jones Brothers (Oliver, Melvin, Caldwell, Major and Charles) from McGee Arkansas. He also recruited other Albany State basketball standouts Jimmy Reams, John I. Davis, Robert Pritchett, James "Peanut" Anderson, Leanes Anderson and Mack Daughtry.

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