The 2018 ABAC Athletics Hall of Fame inductees were, from left, Andy Vaughn, Chuck DeVane, Luis Paredes, Jorge Novoa, Teresa Cromer Walker, Jenni Collins Smith and the 1982 Stallions basketball team.
Six individuals and one team relived their “Glory Days” when they were inducted into the Class of 2018 of the Athletics Hall of Fame on April 6, 2018 at Abraham Baldwin Agricultural College.
ABAC Athletics Director Alan Kramer said the 2018 class includes the 1982 state championship men’s basketball team, Luis Paredes of Panama from the 1974-76 men’s tennis teams, Teresa Cromer Walker of Tifton from the 1993-95 softball teams, Andy Vaughn of Douglas from the 1981-83 golf teams, Jorge Novoa of Tifton, a friend of the tennis program since 1972; Jenni Collins Smith of Cotton from the 1980-82 women’s basketball teams, and Chuck DeVane of Valdosta from the 1980-82 baseball teams.
As an extra added attraction this year, Polly Huff, assistant director and curator at the Museum, features an entire exhibit based on ABAC athletics titled “The Glory Days” in the Museum Gallery. Hall of Fame members visited the exhibit at the reception prior to dinner. The exhibit was open to all ABAC alumni and the public on April 7 as a part of the Homecoming Weekend.
“We’ve got memorabilia ranging from Kyle Farnsworth’s glove when he played in the major leagues to pictures and stories from previous Hall of Fame recipients,” Kramer said. “The original Golden Stallion statue will be the centerpiece of the room. Anyone who loves sports is going to love this exhibit.”
1982 Men's Basketball Team
Coach Donnie Veal’s Golden Stallions defeated Gainesville 67-66 in ABAC’s Gressette Gym in the 1982 state title game. Marshall Taylor, a 5-foot-9 sophomore from Enigma, was named Most Valuable Player of the tournament. Other team members included Eugene London, Willie Roberts, Ben Pierce, Alphonso Holsey, Ronnie Sims, Byron Cox, Bruce Capers, Allen Ague, Curt Colberg, Brandon Jett, and Fred Lyle. The Stallions’ quest for the national championship ended in the first round of the national tournament when they lost a 56-54 nail biter to the nation’s top ranked team, Miami-Dade.
Paredes was a standout player for Coach Norman Hill’s tennis team who later played for Florida International. When he moved to Tifton as a teenager, Paredes lived for a time in the home of ABAC President Clyde Driggers. Paredes achieved tremendous success in the business world, representing his country as Director of Tourism for the government of Panama and serving as vice president and general manager of Aero Costa Rica Airlines for North America. Today, Paredes is the President and CEO of AEH Group S.A./Aeroexpress leader companies in representation of famous worldwide air cargo airlines in Central America, Panama, and Colombia. Also, Paredes now serves on the board of Hermes Aviation-Mexico and is an investor in various industries including Globelink-Aeroceano, Oceanica and real estate in many parts of the world.
Teresa Cromer Walker
Walker was a key player for Coach Ellen Vickers’ 1994 ABAC softball team which won the state championship and finished fourth in the national tournament. The team rolled to a season mark of 58-4, which set the record for most wins in a season. At one point during the season, the Fillies had a 42-game winning streak. Walker continued her heroics in 1995 when she was the starting shortstop for Coach Greg Tanner’s Golden Fillies who won another state title and then captured the national championship with an overall record of 52-9. Walker was selected for All-America honors in 1994 and 1995.
Vaughn was a two-time All-America selection at ABAC when he played for Coach Wayne Cooper’s golf team. He was tied for the individual lead in the national tournament in 1982 with nine holes to play and wound up finishing in the top 10 in the country. He then played for Troy State where he again was an All-America selection for his junior and senior seasons. The Trojans finished sixth in the nation in 1985, and third in the nation during Vaughn’s senior year in 1986.
Novoa was an ABAC student from 1970-72 when he became friends with other students from Latin America who played on the men’s tennis team. Since his friends were playing tennis, he started attending the tennis matches and helping the team in any way possible. Even after transferring to Georgia Southern to complete his bachelor’s degree, Novoa continued to come back to ABAC on a regular basis to attend tennis matches. In a 35-year career with the Department of Family and Children Services, Novoa continued to assist the ABAC tennis teams. In fact, that devotion to ABAC tennis continues since he can be found on the tennis courts every day assisting Coach Dale White’s squads.
Jenni Collins Smith
Smith was the Most Valuable Player for the Golden Fillies on the basketball floor in 1981 and 1982 when she averaged over 19 points a game. She had a career high of 44 points against Brewton Parker. In 1982, she was selected third out of the Top 10 Junior College Players in the state. Smith transferred to Georgia Southwestern where she was an All-Conference selection during her junior and senior seasons. Coaching became her profession after college, and she was named the GISA Coach of the Year for girls’ basketball in 2013 and 2014 when her Westwood teams won state championships.
DeVane hit .428 as a member of Coach Tom Moody’s Golden Stallions in 1981 and followed that up with a .409 average in 1982. Moody said DeVane was the only ABAC player who hit over .400 for two consecutive years during his 24 years as the diamond boss at ABAC. DeVane was named to the All-Region XVII team both seasons. After transferring to Valdosta State, DeVane continued his torrid pace at the plate when he compiled a .433 average with the Blazers, gaining him NCAA Division II All-America honors. He hit .338 as a senior centerfielder for Valdosta State in 1984.