Chowan University to Induct Six into Hall of Fame Saturday
MURFREESBORO- The Chowan University Athletic Department is proud to announce the Hall of Fame Class for 2016. The year's class features six deserving honorees: Ken Blanchard, Mike Hendley, Gattis Hodges, Sean McClafferty, Kayla Meacom, and James Thompson will all be honored at halftime of the Chowan football game against Lincoln University (PA). Kick-off is slated for 1pm on November 5th in Garrison Stadium.
Ken Blanchard came to Chowan in the Fall of 1960 from Highland Springs, Virginia. He was recruited by former legendary Chowan coach, Jim Garrison, who was in his third year at the helm of the then-Braves football program. Ken played two seasons under Garrison where he was a standout offensive back.
Over two seasons Ken ran his way to a two-year total of 1,645 yards and 19 touchdowns. Ken tallied the "pay dirt hat trick" (three touchdowns in a game) three times. In his sophomore season Ken helped to propel the football team to an 8-1 overall record and a NJCAA Rose Bowl appearance in Pasadena, California. The 1961 Chowan Braves football team was honored earlier this year as a Chowan University Athletics "Team of Distinction" for having posted one of the most successful seasons in the program's history.
Ken left Chowan in 1962 to attend Virginia Commonwealth University in Richmond. He graduated from VCU in 1964 and was hired to teach and coach in Richmond. While coaching near his hometown, Ken decided to pursue a career in flying. Soon Ken pooled all of his efforts into his flight career. He served as a flight instructor and as a private jet charter pilot before being hired by Phillip Morris, Inc. as a Captain in 1977.
Ken flew all over the world for Phillip Morris, Inc. and after 25 years, retired in 2002. Following his retirement from Phillip Morris, Inc., Ken and his wife, Sandra Burnette Blanchard, purchased a horse ranch near Richmond where he also trained horses as a certified horse trainer. Ken helped to campaign for the Pond Football Center, which now houses Chowan's football staff, team meeting rooms, and weight and fitness training center.
Ken became a Master Mason in 2012 and a year later, a Scottish Rite Mason. Ken and Sandra celebrated 47 years of marriage in August. Together they have two sons, Jon and Ryan.
Mike Hendley came to Chowan in the Fall of 1964, from Durham, North Carolina. The Northern High School golf star was highly touted as one of the top golfers in the state. In his senior season he helped lead his Northern High School team to a 3A Class Eastern Regional Championship. Mike's golf talents got him to Chowan where he played on a very successful golf team with the then-Braves.
Mike played on the Chowan Golf team in 1966. During that time, Chowan played five matches, two against Louisburg College, two against Ferrum, and one against East Carolina University. Mike placed in the top 4 in each match with a stroke average less than 75.
After graduation from Chowan, Mike went on to serve as an apprentice member of PGA in 1966. He worked as an Assistant Pro at Willowhaven Country Club in Durham, North Carolina and Quail Ridge Golf Club in Sanford, North Carolina. With experience working in golf shops and teaching lessons, Mike became a golf club Class A Professional.
After marrying his wife Peggy in 1969, Mike decided to continue his education at North Carolina State University. During his time at NC State, Mike taught golf classes through the Physical Education Department. Upon graduation in 1971, he began his 42-year insurance career with New York Life Insurance Company. Mike experienced much success in the business world and is a lifetime member of the Million Dollar Round Table.
Mike continues to support his alma mater in a variety of ways. He has served stints on the Chowan University Board of Visitors and supports the athletic department in many endeavors throughout the year. He has also served on the Board of Associates at Meredith College.
Mike is a member of the First Presbyterian Church of Sanford. He has served as a deacon and an elder and is still active in the church's Sunday School.
Mike is proud to be married to his wife of 47 years, Peggy. Together they have two children. Their daughter, Michelle, and her husband Andy and their children Ben and Holland, live in Belmont, North Carolina, and their son John, resides in Mt. Pleasant, South Carolina.
"The Voice of the Hawks"
Gattis Hodges was voted in the 2016 Chowan University "Jim Garrison" Hall of Fame class as a patron after serving the University and the Department of Athletics for more than 30 years. The Potecasi, North Carolina native has a rich and deeply rooted history in media and radio all over the state and into Southeastern Virginia.
Gattis began his career behind the scenes at Chowan in 1982 as a statistician for the Chowan football program. He gained ground in the department with his passion for sports and public address announcing and was asked to serve as the PA announcer for the men's basketball program from 1983-1985. His knowledge of sports and his "on air" charisma landed him a job at local radio station, WBCG 98.3, as a game analyst for the men's basketball program.
Gattis whet his sports appetite at Chowan which eventually turned into a successful on-air career with a variety of media outlets.
Over his career Gattis has called 21 North Carolina High School Athletic Association and Virginia High School League state championships, three Babe Ruth World Series Tournaments, two Colonial Athletic Association baseball tournaments, several NJCAA and NCAA regular season and post-season games, two Oyster Bowls, and the 1988 East Bowl.
Gattis has had the opportunity to interview such athletic greats as Bob Burke, Nate McMillan, Chuck Amato, Lefty Drissell, Jim Garrison, Terry Holland, Herb Sendek, Gary Hahn, Fred Vinson, Bobby Cremins, and Dave Odom to mention a few.
Gattis is in his 12th year hosting a local favorite, "Talkin' Sports with Gattis Hodges", hosted on First Media Radio outlets all over Northeast North Carolina and Southeastern Virginia. Gattis can also be heard as the play-by-play webcast analyst for Chowan football and Chowan men's and women's basketball.
Along with his storied career in broadcasting, Gattis also works locally for Georgia-Pacific (28 years) as a Chemical Process Safety Manager. He serves on the Chowan University "Jim Garrison" Hall of Fame committee and was the guest reader at a Chowan Christmas in 2014. He is a longtime member of Potecasi Baptist Church, where he is currently serving on the Deacon Board.
He is married to Patricia Bryant Hodges and recently celebrated 41 years in marriage. Together they have two daughters, twins Brandy Hodges Galloway and Sandy Hodges Storey, and five grandchildren, Morgan Taylor, Peyton Galloway, Alex Galloway, Lauren Storey, and Hannah Storey, two son-in-laws, Leon Galloway and Mike Storey.
Sean McClafferty came to Chowan in the fall of 1993 to play men's soccer in its inaugural season at the University. The Orlando, Florida native was recruited by then-coach Eric Terrill, who had the task of starting the first-year program at Chowan from the ground up. Sean went on to experience four very successful soccer seasons for the then-Braves and set the tone for the program's history at Chowan.
Sean served as a captain all four years he played on the team. He is still the only player in program history to hold a captain's position in all four seasons of play. Sean earned three team Most Valuable Player awards during his play as well as Most Outstanding Defender. In his senior year he was awarded the team's prestigious Senior Award for leadership exhibited on and off the field of play.
Sean helped the program to four successful seasons. Most notable was the 1996 season when the team finished 12-5-1, which still remains a program best. While finishing his degree requirements in education, Sean served as a student assistant coach in the fall of 1997.
After graduation from Chowan, Sean was hired in 1998 to teach in nearby Northampton County Schools. He taught at Seaboard-Coates Elementary and Conway Middle School and served stints coaching with the middle school's football team, basketball team, and the track and field team. Currently Sean works for Roanoke Rapids City Schools and Chaloner Middle School as a 6th grade math teacher.
During his 17 years of coaching, he has won a total of 14 middle school conference titles, five basketball conference championships, and eight track and field conference championships. Sean has been voted Teacher of the Year for Northampton County Schools and Top AIG Teacher of the Year for Roanoke Rapids City Schools.
Sean enjoys mentoring his current and former players that he has coaches over the years and supporting their athletic and life endeavors beyond the field of play.
Sean continues to support his alma mater and the CU men's soccer program. He and his wife, Jenifer Hill McClafferty (c/o 1995), serve on the Chowan Alumni Council and assist with various CU Development Office projects. Sean and Jenifer reside in Roanoke Rapids, NC.
Kayla Meacom came to Chowan in the Fall of 2001 where she played four successful seasons of softball under then-coach Meredith Long. The right handed hurler is the second all-time leading pitcher in program history in wins, earned run average, and strikeouts. During her four-year tenure, she helped the softball program to four winning seasons, a USA South Conference title, a NCCAA South Region Championship, and a NCCAA National Tournament appearance.
The Norfolk, Virginia native was a versatile player, who pitched, played the infield, and also carried a heavy bat. As the team's most dominant pitcher over her four seasons, Kayla amassed 51 career wins in the Chowan Blue and White. She finished up her playing career with a .305 career batting average. In 2003 she helped pitch the way to a USA South Conference Regular Season Title. She tallied three double-digit winning seasons on the mound. Most notable was a 15-11 season she posted in 2005. Kayla's presence on the mound helped the team to a 2005 NCCAA South Region Championship. The then-Braves dropped their first round game to Piedmont College 7-5 but battled back from the loser's bracket to take the title, winning three games in a row on the same day. Kayla pitched near perfection in the title game for a 2-1 win over Palm Beach Atlantic University.
After helping the then-Braves to a NCCAA South Region Title in 2005, Kayla led the team to an appearance at the NCCAA National Tournament in Marion, Indiana. The team finished 1-2 in the tournament overall and 6th out of 12 teams nationally.
"Kayla was one of the toughest players I ever coached. If the game was on the line, not only did she want to be the one on the mound, her teammates and the coaches wanted the ball in her hand too," stated Long. "She commanded the mound whenever she was on it."
Kayla was named NCCAA All-South Region twice in her career as well as USA South All-Conference.
Kayla returned to work as an assistant softball coach in 2009. She staffed and developed the Hawks pitchers throughout the season. That year the program won the 2009 NCCAA South Region Tournament and earned a berth to the NCCAA National Tournament in Palm Beach, Florida.
Kayla graduated in 2006 with a B.S. in Sport Science. Currently Kayla serves as a Corporal in the City of Norfolk Sheriff's Office. She resides in Norfolk, Virginia.
James Thompson came to Chowan in the fall of 1989 to play for legendary Chowan coach, Bob Burke. The Culpeper, Virginia native was a standout athlete at Culpeper High School and was scouted out of high school by the Kansas City Royals for his baseball prowess. Burke saw his potential in basketball, where he helped the then-Braves to two very successful seasons.
James had a "lights out" freshman year in 1989-1990. He tallied five games that season where he made five or more three-point field goals. He set a record in his freshman year with seven three-point field goals in a win over Brevard College. The sharp-shooter shot 80% from the foul line that same season, 45% from beyond the three-point arc, and nearly 50% from the floor. The team tallied 20 wins that season but fell in the Region X finals.
James followed up his knock out freshman season with an accolade filled sophomore season performance. He averaged a team-high 22 points per game in the 1990-1991 season. He broke his old freshman year record of seven three-point field goals in a game when he hit for eight three point-field goals in a win over Alleghany-Pitt Community College. He hit for eight-three pointers in three other games in that same season and seven three pointers in three different games.
James left Chowan in 1991 as the program's career leader in three-point field goals made (125), three-point field goals in a game (8, multiple games), and three-point field goal percentage (45%). He was signed to play at George Mason University where he continued his offensive proficiency in his junior year. He tallied nine double figure scoring games and five games with four or more three-point field goals. He suffered an eye injury in his senior season that left him sidelined for most of the year.
"James was the purest shooter that I ever coached," stated Burke. "He is a credit to his family, his community, and to Culpeper High School, where he has coached nine very successful seasons."
James earned his B.S. in Physical Education from George Mason and returned to his hometown where he still teaches and coaches. He is embarking on his 10th year as Head Coach of the boys' basketball team at Culpeper High School. Last season the team claimed their fourth straight regular season conference and conference tournament titles. He has tallied a 154-63 coaching record over those nine seasons. He also serves as the strength and conditioning coach for Culpeper High School.