The Biloxi Sports Hall of Fame inducted 19 new members on Sunday at the Biloxi Civic Center.
The new members included four sets of brothers.
Billy Ray Allen and John Allen were inducted along with Gene Allen, who was honored posthumously. Their older brother, Joe Allen, was inducted in 2014.
“It’s a great honor and accomplishment,” said Billy Ray Allen. “Growing up on the east end of Biloxi, it was a way of life. It makes me feel proud that I had the opportunity to participate in sports, because not all kids get a chance to do this, go on and make it to the college level. It’s very special. Not too many families where all four siblings participated in sports. It’s more like a family tradition.”
Added John Allen: “It means that the family had four brothers that were unique and part of their life growing up. It probably started with our older brother Joe. He set the example to play sports, to do good, to move on and to further your life.”
Former Golden Gloves champions— Ricky Derouen and and Rodney Derouen —attributed their successes to family support.
“What a great honor to share this moment with my brother,” said Clinton Tapper, who went on to talk about how his brother John would not allow him to quit. Both brothers would go on to play football at the University of Southern Mississippi. Clinton would go on to play offensive guard in the National Football League.
Joe Sabbatini was inducted with his brother, Frank Sabbatini, posthumously.
“It’s a great feeling to see young people achieve,” said Joe Sabbatini. “I’ve enjoyed helping young people develop, so it is great being recognized for that. Great athletes make great coaches. And if they do what they need to do to get better, then you can win or come close to winning.
“I had the pleasure of coaching one of the best track athletes at Biloxi High School, Robert Hill. He’s also being inducted tonight. He was a special track guy who went on to college for track.”
Hill was thrilled to get inducted alongside his former coach.
“I am honored to be here and with the people, and with the group we have, I am just tickled pink,” said Hill. “It’s nice to come back and know that people do know you and remember you.”
Other inductees were Doug Anglado, Tommy Bond, James Daggett, Keith Demourelle, Herb Glavan, John Hankins, Larry Kostmayer, Carroll Raley and Loyce Searight.