The Gulfport Sports Hall of Fame introduced its Class of 2017 Saturday at Lyman Community Center.
John Adams, Beverly Coleman, Patrick Davis, Roman Grace, Jessie Harrison, Richard Harvey Sr., Eddie Ladner, John May, Ted Miller, Frank Pilate, Leon Regal, and Steve Smith all were presented with a coveted Blue Blazer. They join the select group of Gulfport-area athletes and coaches with 54 members.
The dozen new members were presented with a coveted Blue Blazer and joined the select group of Gulfport-area athletes and coaches. The Hall of Fame now has 54 members.
“Each class has been special,” Gulfport Sports Hall of Fame Vice-President Prince Jones said. “But this class has a lot of variety. They have football, baseball, basketball, track and field and coaching. All of them are tremendous athletes.”
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Beverly Coleman, the lone female inductee, played on 1977-78 basketball title teams at Harrison Central.
“This is a great honor,” said Coleman. “We had a great coach and we had some great athletes. The difference was we were winners. We played ball year around; we played basketball in the summer. “
Eddie Ladner coached the Harrison Central varsity boys basketball team to three state tournament appearances, eclipsed with a state championship in 1982.
“It’s a very great honor,” said Ladner. “I am very grateful to the committee to give me this opportunity. It’s humbling.”
Richard Harvey Sr. played football at Thirty-Third Avenue High School in Gulfport and walked on at Jackson State. He played in the NFL for the Los Angeles Rams, Philadelphia Eagles and New Orleans Saints. His son, Richard Jr., played at Pascagoula and also in the NFL.
“This gives us an opportunity to reach back into the community and give something back,” said Harvey. “I think it’s important that we recognize our accomplishments and recognize the Mississippi Gulf Coast. I am thankful for this, and I am glad to be here.”
Roman Grace returned to Gulfport from Oakland, Calif. Grace played on the 1977 Gulfport High School state championship football team, earning a scholarship to Mississippi State University where he started as a freshman.
“I can’t words to express what this means to me and my family,” said Grace. “I was wondering when this what’s going to happen for me. But it’s here. It couldn’t have come at a better time, and I’m extremely excited.”