PASCAGOULA-- Pascagoula paid homage to its athletic glory, inducting 15 new members to the Pascagoula Athletic Hall of Fame.
In honor of Super Bowl 50, the NFL presented footballs to the schools of every player who participated in a Super Bowl. Carver's Jim Marsalis played in Super Bowl IV for the Kansas City Chiefs, Pascagoula's Lynn Thomas played in Super Bowl XVI for San Francisco, Terrell Buckley of the Patriots for Super Bowl XXXVI, and Richard Harvey played in two Super Bowls for the Bills, XXVII and XXVIII.
"That is a testimony to school sports and the history of success as Pascagoula and Carver," Pascagoula Athletic Society secretary Joe Davis said.
For Edward King, who lettered in football, baseball, and track for the Hornets, the recognition made up for a lost trophy in high school.
"It's a great feeling," King said. "I was the top player in my school at the time, but I was surprised. It's been quite a while."
Barry Barganier was surprised at getting inducted. Barganier came to Pascagoula after his mother and father divorced and his mother moved from California to the Coast. After graduating, he played basketball at Southern Arkansas University before moving back to California.
"To be accepted into the Hall of Fame is great," Barganier said. "If I was going to be inducted, I never thought I would be inducted this early in the process."
Barnganier averaged 24 points a game as a junior. He followed with 20 points a game as a senior.
Johnny Woitt played all four major sports - football, basketball, baseball, and track - at Pascagoula from 1961 to 1964. For him, the hardest part of being a four-sport star came in the spring when he often had to leave the baseball diamond to run a track meet the same day.
"I didn't get bored," Woitt said.
After starring in football and track at Mississippi State, Woitt played two seasons for the 49ers. He once picked off NFL great Johnny Unitas.
"It's an honor and humbling," Woitt said. "There have been so many great athletes from Pascagoula. That people recognize what I did at Pascagoula means I must have done something worthwhile."
Sarah Bailey-Thomas was one of two women inducted, the other being former Carver basketball star Earniece Prince-Sylvester. After starring in basketball and softball for the Panthers, Bailey-Thomas took her game to the University of Mobile. Soon after graduating she started officiating high school games and is the first woman to officiate for the NFL.
"I didn't think I would become a referee," Bailey-Thomas said. "When I was a player, I didn't like the officials and they didn't like me."
Bailey-Thomas said getting nominated for the Hall of Fame meant a lot to her.
"Anytime in my life I am honored, I'm very grateful," she said.
Johnny Olsen was a football and baseball star for the Panthers, helping Pascagoula go 12-0 in 1976 and the Big 8 State Championship. As a baseball coach, Olsen piloted Pascagoula to 556 wins, 17 district titles, and two state titles. "It's just our culture in Pascagoula to have a lot of great athletes," Olsen said. "It's really special. I was born and raised in Pascagoula and never went anywhere else."
Other former Pascagoula and Carver players inducted were Clyde Bosarge, Steve Bowman, Mike Noblitt, Maralis, Donnie Davis, Norris Thomas, Harvey, and Kez McCorvey.