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Mark North

Board Member &

Sports Fan Mark North

All Mid-State Teams Announced – Basketball and Wrestling

McGavock senior Wrestler Carlos Garcia was named First Team All-Midstate by The Tennessean after posting an astonishing 48-4 record. Garang Madut, a Glencliff junior, pinned down second team honors.

Hunters Lane basketball star DeAndrea Sawyers scored 18.5 points per game on her way to being named to the All-Midstate Girls Basketball second team, and Maplewood junior Jason Stone garnered second team All-Midstate Basketball honors for his efforts this season.

Congratulations to all the MNPS Winter sports student-athletes!

Sports Celebrity Shout-out – Tribute to MNPS

Early this week, sportscaster Grant Boone appeared on talk radio describing his experience in the broadcast of this year’s Final Four (he teamed with Shaq to call a legend’s game) and The Masters golf tournament (a tradition like no other). He pointed out that the stage was set for success by his MNPS days at “Neely’s Bend Junior High [now middle school], Madison High School and as a member of the first class of Hunters Lane.” Heard the shout-out…Woop Woop!

MNPS Sports Hall of Fame Luncheon

Congratulations again to Maplewood’s Avion Black and Donna Vaughn Howell, Madison’s Chuck Boyd, Pearl’s James Douglas and Fred Sumrall, Cohn’s Tom Wells and Coach Charlie Anderson, and McGavock’s Reggie Whittemore who were all inducted into the Metro Nashville Public Schools Sports Hall of Fame during a lovely luncheon April 10 at LP Field. Several media outlets ran excellent articles on the event and inductees, including The Tennessean (headlining Avion Black), The Nashville City Paper (featuring James Douglas) and www.sportsnashville.net (featuring outstanding photographs of the event). Honoring sports legends makes me smile…I can’t help it.

Scholar-Athletes – The FANS Award

Also in attendance at the Hall of Fame luncheon were the inaugural recipients of The Foundation for Athletics in Nashville Schools (FANS) Award given to a female senior scholar-athlete who best exemplifies scholarship, sportsmanship, leadership, individual performance and value to the team. The recipients were:

  • Eboni Curtis – Antioch;

  • Jasmine Rucker – Cane Ridge;

  • Vivian Aluoch – East Lit.;

  • Carol Tran – Glencliff;

  • LaSabre Reynolds – Hillsboro;

  • Jackie James – Hillwood;

  • Kolby Forbes – Hume Fogg;

  • Rontavia Hayes – Hunters Lane;

  • Roneisha Crawford – Maplewood;

  • Jasmine Owens – MLK;

  • Eva Burelos – McGavock;

  • Rashida Ademosu – Overton;

  • June Jackson – Pearl-Cohn;

  • Antonia Harris – Stratford; and

  • DeShawn Woodruff – Whites Creek.

If you are looking for greatness, just read that list again. Greatness!

Oops…I Seemed to Have Dropped Some Names

It has been a great week for celebrity sightings for the North Sports Report. In the past few days, I had lunch or dinner – or just ran into – the following sports celebrities: former Titan Neil O’Donnell; the original owner of the Nashville Sounds, Larry Schmittou; one of the greatest all-time women’s basketball players Pam Chambers; Lipscomb University Athletic Director Phillip Hutcheson; Howard School football alumni (and Metro Trustee) Charlie Cardwell; Pearl High great (and Criminal Court Clerk) Howard Gentry; the very first Hunters Lane basketball star (class of 1987) Ivy Dobson; the ESPN brain trust –Vin Cannamela and Jeremy Shaap; Glencliff great (presently directing MNPS Athletics Department) Roosevelt Sanders; Hume Fogg basketball great from the class of 2006 Kirtiss Brown; Maplewood/Alabama Crimson Tide/NFL legend E.J. Junior; Litton/Austin Peay/NFL great Bonnie Sloan; and others.

Although the North Sports Report calls that “hanging out with sports legends,” others might call it stalking. It was a good week!

-- Mark North

MNPS: The First Choice for Setting the Stage for Success


Mark North

Board Member &

Sports Fan Mark North

Cane Ridge Bowler on a Roll

The Tennessean named Aaron Ruiz to the All-Midstate Bowling team for the second year in a row. The Cane Ridge sophomore followed his 2011 Bowler of the Year award with his awe inspiring 2012 season. Aaron averaged a state best 227 this season. Be sure you understand… Cane Ridge Ravens sophomore Aaron Ruiz is the best bowler in the state of Tennessee. Any questions?... That’s what I thought.

Metro Nashville Public Schools Sports Hall of Fame

Some of the greatest athletes in Nashville’s history will be on hand April 10 when eight legends are inducted into the Metro Nashville Public Schools Sports Hall of Fame. The 2012 induction class includes legendary basketball coach Charlie Anderson; Maplewood football hero Avion Black who ranks as one of the best punt-returners in the history of the Ohio Valley Conference while at TSU before a stellar NFL career; Madison High School all-around athlete Chuck Boyd who some say was the fastest football player in the SEC while at Vanderbilt; James Douglas, a key member of the great Pearl High School basketball teams of the sixties before an outstanding career at Memphis State; Pearl High football legend Fred Sumrall who starred at TSU before his talents and hard work took him to the NFL’s Washington Redskins; Donna Vaughn Howell a member of the All-Decade team for her basketball prowess at Maplewood; Cohn High School football star Tommy Wells who went on to play at Georgia Tech and even with the Dallas Texans of the old AFL; and McGavock baseball great Reggie Whittemore who led Lipscomb University’s baseball team to two NAIA National Championships and now shares his passion for the game as Executive Director of RBI-Nashville.

Honoring the past, supporting the present and building for the future…MNPS athletic greatness!

Another Referee Story

The North Sports Report is continually having run-ins with referees. Uh…I mean meeting referees in a sportsmanlike manner at places other than at the games. Recently, I met TSSAA basketball referee Anthony Hall as he made a presentation at a Youth Summit. Mr. Hall is a Family Involvement Specialist for Metro Nashville Public Schools, and seemed to be a fan favorite among some students who vividly remembered games he officiated.

-- Mark North

MNPS: The First Choice for Awe Inspiring Seasons


Mark North

Board Member &

Sports Fan Mark North

Study History…Learn about MNPS Sports Stars of the Past

Mike Organ, Tennessean sportswriter and DuPont High School alumnus, is the mastermind behind www.highschoolglorydays.com, a website dedicated to historic photos and newspaper clippings of high school sports in Middle Tennessee. If you are nostalgic or want to study the history of sports at your school, this website is a pretty good place to start. You can locate your school (remember…some of the middle schools were once high schools and have rich and storied sports traditions), and study about some of the great sports heroes, coaches, school leaders, civic giants (including at least two Mayors of Nashville), and maybe even a North Sports Reporter. By the way, the glory days for MNPS athletics include today and tomorrow!

MNPS Alumni Trivia

The North Sports Report visited with state champion football coach and ACT prep tutor Maurice Fitzgerald recently. Of course, Coach Fitzgerald’s Pearl-Cohn team won a state championship, but do you know at which MNPS high school Coach Fitzgerald starred as a student before a stellar football career at Tennessee State? This week’s trivia question is: Where did Coach Maurice Fitzgerald attend high school? The answer is at the bottom of this post.

Spring Sports – Meteorological Mayhem aka Rain Delays

Springtime in Nashville necessarily involves afternoon showers that inevitably douse tennis matches, soccer matches, baseball and softball games, and track meets. Rain will mess up your schedule? Last week, the North Sports Report witnessed the world’s longest soccer game (or at least it seemed like the longest since lightening flashed with 26:51 left in the first half, delaying the game for what seemed like decades). Somehow, the storm ended in time to resume the game before curfew, and enough fans remained on site to provide ample excitement. The evening reminded me that:

  1. time flies when an exciting game is being played;

  2. time crawls when you are sitting in a car in the rain wishing for an exciting game; and

  3. it is worth sitting through a rain delay to watch great high school sports.

Softball Season

The North Sports Report talked strategy with famed Cane Ridge Ravens Softball Coach Lance Lott during a summit at Pearl-Cohn High School. It should be a great season for all the MNPS Softball diamond girls.

While at the same summit, Pearl-Cohn’s Principal Dr. Milton Threadcraft showed me the Firebird’s softball schedule and promotional poster featuring Deidra Truitt, Brittany Grayson, Adrienne Lavender, Savannah Miller, and June Jackson. Awesome!

Pearl-Cohn Softball Team

Alumni Trivia Answer

Where did Coach Maurice Fitzgerald attend high school? Answer: Hume Fogg!

-- Mark North

MNPS: The First Choice for Storied Sports Traditions


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


Mark North

Board Member &

Sports Fan Mark North

Fast Times at Stratford – Nationally Ranked Sprinter

Stratford Spartan sprinter Justin Scruggs is currently ranked second in the nation in the 60 meters.  That’s right, I said in the nation…the USA.  Justin ran the 60 meters in 6.82 seconds, earning an invitation to the 2012 New Balance Indoor Track Invitational in New York City next month.  More powerful than a locomotive, rumor has it he is also able to leap tall buildings in a single bound.  SuperSpartan!

High School Wrestling – State Championships

McGavock grappler Carlos Garcia earned his way to the finals in the state championships in Franklin last week, taking home the silver medal, the best finish of any McGavock wrestler in over 15 years.  Other top finishers in the grueling state wrestling championships were Trevion James (Antioch) and Trenton Bell (Hunters Lane).

Middle School Wrestling

Bailey STEM Magnet Middle School Bulldogs are Wrestling City Champions.  Congratulations to Itae Barretero, Anthony Bassham, Montez Booker, Troy Clay, Eric Foster, James Hughes, Latraus Perry, Darius Roberts, Gregory Smith, Dandre Whitley, Jondae Williams and Coach Gardner – the grapplin’ Bulldogs!

Watching Hoops with Dignitaries

Football coaches are a veritable fountain of knowledge and wisdom as I learned watching high school and middle school basketball games this week with Hillwood High School football coach Bubba Spears and Goodlettsville Middle School football coach David Brooks.   I even spent time in the stands visiting with some of Tennessee’s top Principals including Antioch’s Brian Mast, Hunters Lane’s Susan Kessler, Glencliff’s Clint Wilson, Hillwood’s Steve Chauncy, Overton’s Shuler Pelham, and Stratford’s Michael Steele.  Needless to say, the North Sports Report tried to be on its best behavior.

Brush with Fame

The North Sports Report ran into Whites Creek and Vanderbilt football and basketball great Jamie Graham at a basketball tournament game this week at Antioch.  After graduating from Vanderbilt, Jamie is working toward an advanced degree and playing defensive back at UCLA.   

Principal with his Grill On

When the North Sports Report saw Stratford Principal Michael Steele cooking the concessions stand cheeseburgers as Stratford hosted tournament games this week, I immediately ordered The Principal Combo…cheeseburger, chips, and a Diet Coke.  Just so you know – that is the North Sports Report’s idea of fine dining.

District Champs…Hoops

Congratulations to District Champions Hunters Lane Warriors, Overton Lady Bobcats and Hillsboro Lady Burros!

Advancing to represent MNPS in the regional tournaments in Girls’ Basketball are: MLK Lady Royals; Hume Fogg Lady Blue Knights; Overton Lady Bobcats; Hillsboro Lady Burros; Hunters Lane Lady Warriors; Antioch Lady Bears; and Cane Ridge Lady Ravens.

In Boys Basketball, those teams advancing are: Hunters Lane Warriors; East Literature Eagles; Antioch Bears; Hillsboro Burros; Maplewood Panthers; McGavock Raiders; and Cane Ridge Ravens. 

Field of Dreams

Stratford’s football field was featured on a recent episode of “The Bachelor” as one of the reality show’s contestants impressed everyone with her relation (granddaughter) to the field’s namesake – MNPS Sports Hall of Fame member and local sports legend Harold “Buster” Boguskie.  Even during tournament time, the North Sports Report is never too busy to catch an episode of “The Bachelor.”   What?...

MNPS: The First Choice for Local Sports Legends

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