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Mark North

Board Member &

Sports Fan Mark North

It’s Official…Referees Deserve Kudos

The North Sports Report recently ran into TSSAA referee and Baxter ALC Principal Billy Fellman and was reminded that referees, umpires, and officials of all monikers deserve our gratitude for handling the difficult, pressure-packed, and often thankless job to officiate games. How important are the officials? Remember the old saying: “Without the referees, it would just be recess.” Wear the stripes proudly!

Award Season – A View from the Red Carpet

The Middle Tennessee Chapter of the National Football Foundation and College Hall of Fame held its annual banquet at the Airport Marriott. With the honorees all donning black tie tuxedos, it is the most regal, celebrity-laden event of all sports related award galas. From media celebrities like George Plaster to college coaching legends Johnny Majors and Watson Brown to MNPS coaching royalty Wes Elrod and Jerry Pigue, to MNPS Sports Hall of Fame members Walter Overton (Pearl) and Bonnie Sloan (Litton), to over sixty mid-state football player honorees and their families, this is a can’t miss event. Even the NFL Hall of Famer Raymond Berry, fresh off his appearance at the Super Bowl delivering the Lombardi trophy to the stage, was in attendance. I am not kidding…the North Sports Report shook the hand that caught passes from Unitas.

The real stars, of course, were the student-athletes honored that night with the Charles W. Hawkins III Scholar Athlete Award. Those awards went to DeMarco Moore (Antioch); Jamaris Pye (Cane Ridge); Calvin Canada (East Lit); Justin Farr (Glencliff); Ben Ross (Hillsboro); Andrew Chomic (Hillwood); Victor Fletcher (Hunters Lane); Dustin Binkley (Maplewood); Caleb Azubike (McGavock); Ike Amadi (Overton); Demario Donnell (Pearl-Cohn); George Gutierrez (Stratford); and Ashuntae Bass (Whites Creek).

DeMarco Moore of Antioch also won the Jim Barrom Spirit Award for exemplifying the “highest qualities of sportsmanship.”

Oh, I almost forgot…the Hunters Lane Junior ROTC Color Guard presented the colors and led the audience in the Pledge of Allegiance. As always, the MNPS ROTC students were outstanding.

Madison High School legend Houston Ragan was honored with the Bonnie Sloan Courage Award presented annually to a person who “overcame obstacles and fought back to succeed.” The award is named for Litton great Bonnie Sloan, the first deaf player in the NFL. If you don’t know the story of Houston Ragan, go visit him at Maplewood High School where he serves as one of the best school counselors in the state.

The North Sports Report had the unparalleled privilege to present the Bonnie Sloan Courage Award, and shared the stage with Bonnie Sloan, Houston Ragan and NFL great Raymond Berry. “One of these things is not like the other, one of these things just doesn’t belong”…It was me.

Stop and Make the Call

Houston Ragan coached me at Madison High many (I dare say many, many) years ago. I cannot express how gratifying it is to have the opportunity to thank him for the influence he had on me. If you have a coach, teacher, family member or anyone else who inspired you by their example, call them and say thank you. Great people like Houston Ragan don’t always appreciate the positive impact they have on people’s lives, so call and tell them … and I mean today!

Alumni Alert

Among the stars of the hardwood at the SEC Women’s Basketball Tournament at the Bridgestone Arena were McGavock star Ndidi Madu of the Florida Gators and Hillsboro star Isabelle Harrison of the SEC Tournament Champion Tennessee Lady Vols.

MNPS: The First Choice for Exemplifying the Highest Qualities of Sportsmanship

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