High School Sports

Gulfport Sports Hall Class of 2019 loaded with talented athletes and legendary coaches

Thirteen former athletes and coaches have been selected to be inducted into the Gulfport Sports Hall of Fame in June.

The sixth class of the GSHOF includes nine athletes and four coaches, representing five sports — basketball, baseball, football, track and field and golf.

The twelve men and one woman will receive the coveted GSHOF signature jacket during the annual banquet at the Lyman Community Center on June 8, 2019.

“This is just a tremendous class,” said GSHOF Vice President Prince Jones. “I would rate this class with the rest of them. This is a real strong class.

“Every year it’s just so hard to know who is the best, because you’ve got so many quality athletes in every class. And I always like to tell everybody this: It’s probably harder to make the GSHOF than it is to make a college hall of fame.”

One of two former Gulfport High School quarterbacks who will be inducted in June is Buddy Palazzo. The three-sport athlete at Gulfport High (football, track and baseball), Palazzo was named MVP in the Mississippi High School All Star football game. He was a two-year starter at Southern Miss and was inducted into the USM HOF in 1988.

“This is a tremendous honor,” said Palazzo on being selected for the GSHOF. “I grew up a block away from Milner Stadium. I was basically a stadium rat; anything that went on in the stadium, I was there. My older brother was an all-state running back who went on to USM.

“Gulfport sports has always been near and dear. My son, Brad, played quarterback at Gulfport and played at Tulane. Buddy Jr. played quarterback and golf at St. John. Now I have a grandson playing football. Athletics mean everything to me.”

Palazzo extended his football career after college, playing professionally for two seasons in the World Football League with the Florida Blazers and the Birmingham Americans.

The other Gulfport High quarterback to be inducted, Joseph Adams, said that he looked up to and admired Palazzo. Adams said that Palazzo represented the standard of what Gulfport football was all about.

“It brings to mind the people who preceded me and those who took this journey with me, the people, the relationships,” Adams said. “At my age, you don’t get to reflect and to look in the review mirror.

“I was also fortunate to play for Coach J.E. Loiacano. He brought a brand new outlook. If there is one thing, it was this man. He brought in accountability, and gradually you could see that we were bigger, stronger and faster. His fingerprints were all over Gulfport football.”

Adams was drafted by the San Francisco 49ers and played three seasons in the Canadian Football League with the Saskatchewan Roughriders, Toronto Argonauts and Ottawa Rough Riders.

Loiacano will be inducted into the GSHOF in June along with his star quarterback. Along with two Shrimp Bowl titles, Loiacano led the Gulfport High football team to a state championship in 1977.

The rest of the former athletes to be inducted in June are:

Gerald Warfield is another Gulfport High football standout. The two-sport athlete lettered in three seasons in football and track. He played in the Mississippi High School All Star football game and was selected All Big Eight. He had a stellar career at Ole Miss, leading the SEC with nine interceptions. Warfield was drafted by the Oakland Raiders in 1967.

Greg Reed was a three-sport athlete at Gulfport High, winning three state championships in track and field. He went on the USM on a football scholarship and was named a preseason All-American. He played in the Independence Bowl and the All-American Bowl. He went on to sign a free agent contract with the Dallas Cowboys.

Tommy Armstrong was a two-sport athlete at Gulfport High, starting two years in football and baseball. He was a 1000-yard rusher for the Admirals and earned several recognitions, including Burger King All-Star, Optimist Player of the Week and Jay Jay’s Player of the Year. Armstrong received a scholarship to Mississippi State.

Dwayne Davis was a three-sport athlete at Gulfport High - football, basketball and track and field - earning five state championships. He played football at the University of Colorado where he played in two bowl games.

Charlotte Banks was a three-year starter on the Lady Rebels basketball team, going 40-0 and winning a state championship. She attended Ole Miss on a basketball scholarship, earning MVP honors and being part of the 1991-92 team to win an SEC Championship, going 11-0 in the conference. Banks played professionally in Venezuela and in Finland.

Kennard (Kenny) Jimerson was a member of the 1982 Harrison Central State Championship basketball team. His honors included Parade All American, Converse All-American, All-State and Mississippi Player of the Year. He played college ball at McNeese State.

Dr. Elliott McGlory was a member of two Gulfport High state track and field titles (1989 and 1990). The two-sport athlete earned a track scholarship to Northeast Louisiana University.

Tommy Snell coached St. John High School to five state Golf Championships. He was named MHSAA Coach of the Year three times, and he is a seven-time MACJC Coach of the Year. He was inducted into the NJCAA Men’s Golf Coaches Association Hall of Fame in 2015.

Gerald Austin won three state championships as assistant basketball coach at Gulfport High. He competed as a player at Forest Hill High School in Jackson and at Mississippi College. He has served as president of the Mississippi Association of Coaches and was named Coach of the Year three times. He was inducted into the Mississippi Association of Coaches Hall of Fame in 2000.

Tom Freeman is a graduate of Gulfport High and he served his alma mater from 1978-89 as head football coach. He led the Admirals to a South Big 8 Championship in 1981. He was named Florida Coach of the Year in 1974 and won a state championship in 1973.