From the Sunday, August 14th 2011 edition of The Columbus Ledger Enquirer (by Kathy Gierer)
The Jordan Vocational High School community exhibited a special warmth that Dennie Trotter will always remember. “The people who go there are so down to earth,” Trotter said. “You could walk into Jordan off the street and have two or three friends at the end of the day.” Trotter, Ben Garnto, Richard Miles and the Jackets’ 1943 State Championship basketball team comprised the second class of the JVHS Athletic Hall of Fame.
The induction ceremony took place on Saturday night at the St. Luke United Methodist Church Ministry Center. Trotter, a member of the class of 1943, spent a dozen years at Jordan, beginning with four years as an end on the football team and ending with stints as a teacher and administrator. Four of the basketball champs were there, with a fifth unable to attend due to illness. Bill Abell, Joe Harrell, Jim Patrick and manager Spec Richardson attended, while James Shirley had to decline when he became ill.
Harrell, who graduated in 1945, was a multi-sport athlete. He was recently inducted into the Chattahoochee Valley Hall of Fame for excellence in football, basketball and baseball. “I played tailback at Jordan,” Harrell said. “I went to college at South Carolina, where I played basketball. Then I got a chance to play minor league baseball with the St. Louis Cardinals.” There was another connection between Jordan High and the Cardinals. Richardson, who went on to become a major league general manager for the Houston Astros and San Francisco Giants, launched his career as business manager for the Red Jackets'
JVHS Alumni Association
P.O. Box 1456
Columbus, GA 31902
Jordan Vocational High School, Columbus Georgia
basketball team. “I used to wash the uniforms, go buy equipment, collect ticket money and get cars to go on trips,” Richardson said. “The assistant principal at that time was Frank David. It was my last year in school and he sent for me in class one day. He said the Cardinals called and they wanted me to work for them, making out reports in tickets and concessions. It was the same things I’d done at Jordan that got me my job.” Richardson has a unique memory of the 1943 championship season. “When we went to Atlanta to play, we would always eat at Sprayberry’s in Newnan. The coach, B.F. Register, would tell me to give each of the players 15 cents each to get an egg sandwich.” Richardson and Abell later shared a personal connection. Abell’s future wife Frieda was the roommate of Richardson’s bride-to-be, the late Tommye Richardson. Abell credits Register for the success of the 1943 team. “He knew the fundamentals of basketball,” Abell said. “But he talked to you as individuals, too.” Abell remembers winning the title in Savannah. “They were great to us,” Abell said. “This was during the war and when we went there to play, we stayed in people’s houses.”
Joining the 2011 inductees are the JVHS hall’s inaugural class, consisting of William Screws, Jimmy Griggs, Tony Pierce, Chuck Hurston and the 1971 State championship baseball team.
The 2011 inductees into the Jordan Vocational High School Athletic Hall of Fame: Harold “Spec” Richardson, center front; Joe Harrell, left, William Abell, Dennie Trotter, Ben Garnto and Richard Miles; James Patrick center back.