Gulfport Sports Hall of Fame inducts fifteen athletes and coaches

GULFPORT, MS (WLOX) - Fifteen of the most-talented athletes and coaches in the history of the city of Gulfport were a part of the Gulfport Sports Hall of Fame Induction Ceremony Sat., June 14.

The event took place at the Lyman Community Center off Highway 49.

Steve Williams and Kent Jones came up with the idea that there should be a hall of fame showcasing the best athletes and coaches to ever shine bright in Gulfport.

One of them is Brittney Reese, won a gold medal at the 2012 London Olympics in the Long Jump event.

"I am the youngest one here and I feel like I'm too young to be up here right now with these great people that have come out of Gulfport," Reese said. "But I'm really blessed and honored to be standing up here, sitting up here as part of such a big class and coming out of Gulfport."

William "Prince" Jones, who coached Reese when she was at Gulfport High School from 2000-04, was also a part of the class. Jones coached nine state track and field championship teams, was named Mississippi Coach of the Year four times and was also nominated once for being the best coach in the entire United States of America.

Also among the 15 inductees were: Jerome Barkum, Melvin Barkum, Lem Barney, Lindy Callahan, Van Chancellor, Eugenia Conner, Bert Jenkins, Bobby Joe Jones, Renee Ladner, Matt Lawton, Joe Sam Owen, Mahmoud Abdul-Rauf and Ray White.

Even though Williams expected a lot of people to be there, he didn't expect such large numbers.

"I didn't think there was going to be this many people here but we are ecstatic about it," Williams said. "I've been onstage with Ray White, who is a childhood friend of mine, coach (Lindy) Callahan, Van Chancellor, my mentor Prince Jones and Bobby Jones and gold medalist winner Brittney Reese. It's phenomenal."