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Alexander Sports Hall of Fame Inducts Five New Members


On Monday, November 23, the Alexander County Sports Hall of Fame inducted its fourth class of members during a ceremony held at Brushy Mountain Golf Club in Taylorsville. The fourth Hall of Fame Class included Mitzi Davis, Robin Harris, Shena Bowman Hollar, Chris Kite, and Edwin Gail “Squirrel” Thomas. More than 250 were in attendance for the special night to honor the inductees. Pictured from the left are: Chris Kite; Shena Bowman Hollar; Robin Harris; Mitzi Davis, and Edwin “Squirrel” Thomas.

(Updated Nov. 25, 10 am)

Alexander County Sports Hall of Fame inducts five new members on November 23 at BMGC


 The Alexander County Public Education Foundation held its Fourth Sports Hall of Fame induction ceremony on Monday night, November 23, at McLindon’s Restaurant at Brushy Mountain Golf Club in Taylorsville.

 A crowd of of nearly 250 family, friends, and sports lovers converged on BMGC to honor five inductees, who will now be considered Hall of Famers for life. Following dinner at McLindon’s, the festivities for the official induction of the fourth Hall of Fame class started.

 Johnny Bruce, who serves as the Chairman of the Hall of Fame Selection Committee, explained the selection process to the crowd and introduced members of the selection committee.

 Each Hall of Famer was presented with a medallion and a Hall of Fame plaque. In addition, the Hall of Fame inductees will be honored with a plaque featuring their individual busts. These plaques will be permanently displayed at the entrance to the Alexander Central High School gymnasium.

 Master of Ceremonies Richard C. Gilbert of WACB Radio introduced each inductee. Bruce and selection committee member Anna Ferguson conducted the official induction, presenting each person with a Hall of Fame Medal and a plaque. Following the official induction of each new member, speeches were delivered by all five Hall of Famers.

 The first inductee of the evening was Mitzi Davis, a former standout athlete and ACHS and East Carolina University.

 Davis recalled being a part of the first ever state championship softball team at Alexander Central, and thanked her family, friends, and all her coaches for the influences they have made in her career.

 Alexander County has always been blessed with great coaches and exceptional athletes. I was fortunate to be coached by a variety of talented individuals and to play alongside a team of outstanding competitors," Davis said.

 A 1979 graduate of Alexander Central High School, Mitzi Davis was a member of the first state championship softball team at the school in the spring of 1979. Davis was a standout athlete for the Cougars, starring in volleyball, basketball, and softball. She was voted the NWC Player of the Year in 1976-1979 in softball and was named the Most Valuable Player in Alexander’s state final win over Cape Fear. Following high school, Davis attended East Carolina University on a volleyball/softball scholarship. She currently resides in Texas, where she is a member of the USSSA Softball Hall of Fame.

 Robin Harris was candid during his induction speech, recapping his colorful and sometime turbulent racing career, and adding a little humor along the way.

 Harris, who drove in more than 800 career races during his 26-year racing journey, said, "Through all the triumphs, turmoil, and even some tragedy, we have made it. Tonight, I am honored to be inducted into the Alexander County Sports Hall of Fame and to God be the glory."

 For years, Robin Harris dominated short track racing in Alexander and surrounding counties. During a decorated short-track racing career, Harris appeared in 871 races, posting 355 wins and 171 career poles. He placed in the top-five in 739 of his 871 career starts.

 Harris earned 10 dirt track championships and three paved track titles in his racing career.

 He posted track titles in the three major divisions at Hickory Motor Speedway, winning the 1997 Limited Sportsman, 2000 Limited Late Model, and 2005 NASCAR Late Model Super Truck championships. A 1978 graduate of Alexander Central High School, he won four go-kart track championships at local tracks from 1981-1985.

 An emotional Shena Bowman Hollar was the third Hall of Famer to take the stage for induction during Monday night’s ceremony.

 The long-time softball coach at Lenoir-Rhyne University thanked her parents, family members, and husband for all they have done to help her achieve her goals as an athlete and coach.

 "Mom and Dad, thanks for all the time and effort you put in to making me the person I am today," Hollar said as she fought back tears.

 She added, "I love Alexander County. I feel it has molded me into who I am."

 Shena Bowman Hollar is a 1991 graduate of Alexander Central High School. While at ACHS, she was a standout athlete, excelling in volleyball, basketball, and slow-pitch softball. She earned All-Conference honors in all three sports, and despite being injured, was a member of the 1991 ACHS Softball State Championship Team. In 1990, she set a North Carolina softball record with 10 RBI in a single game.

 Following high school, she attended Wingate College and played volleyball and softball for the Lady Bulldogs, earning Second Team All-Conference honors in 1993. She graduated from Wingate in 1996 and entered the coaching profession in 1998 when she became the head softball coach at Newberry College. She spent two seasons at Newberry before accepting the head softball job at Lenoir-Rhyne University in 2000.

 Since 2000, Hollar has compiled a 616-206-2 mark as the Bear mentor and is easily the school’s all-time winningest coach. Under Hollar, Lenoir-Rhyne has captured nine South Atlantic Conference Regular Season Championships. She has been named the SAC Coach of the Year five times. In addition to her coaching duties, she also serves as the Associate Director of Intercollegiate Athletics and as Senior Woman Administrator at Lenoir-Rhyne University.

 During his playing career, Chris Kite was known across Alexander County and North Carolina as one of the top golfers in the sport. A 1982 graduate of Alexander Central High School, Kite starred for the Cougar Golf Team, earning NWC Player of the Year honors two times.

 Following a stellar high school career in Taylorsville, Kite traveled to Winston-Salem and became a member of one of the nation’s top college golf programs at Wake Forest University. Kite was a leader on the Deacon Golf Team during his four seasons in Winston. He earned NCAA All-American honors as a member of the WFU team.

 In 1986, Kite fired a 66 in the final round of the NCAA National Championship to lead the Deacons to the Division I Golf Championship. He competed as a member of the United States Walker Cup Team in 1987 and finished as the US Amateur runner-up in an event played in Shoal Creek, Alabama, in 1986. Kite also competed in the 1987 Masters in Augusta, Georgia.

 A native of Taylorsville and son of an area Lutheran minister, Chris Kite spoke about thousands of hours spent at Brushy Mountain Golf Club as a youngster. He thanked former BMGC professionals Jeff Icenhour and Joe Ferguson for the influence they made on his life as a young golfer. He also thanked his parents, family, and friends and credited his father with instilling in him a love for golf.

 "I am very thankful to have lived such a life. I want to thank you all for honoring me with this award tonight and I wish you all the best. Thank you all very much," Kite said.

 In the final induction of the evening, Edwin "Squirrel" Thomas delivered a speech that closed the night with a rousing, standing ovation.

 The former Major League Baseball player thanked God for blessings and stressed how important friends had been to him along the way.

 "I have really been blessed. Blessed with a wonderful family, wonderful grandkids, and some of the best friends in the world," Thomas said. "Friends are some of the most important things we can have in this life."

 He added, "God is so good. God has been so good to me and I have been so blessed."

 Following Thomas’ heartfelt acceptance speech, he joined the County Sports Hall of Fame with a standing ovation from the packed house in attendance at McLindon’s.

 A professional baseball player for more than a dozen seasons, Edwin Gail "Squirrel" Thomas was a standout prep player during his playing days at Hiddenite High School. He is a 1952 graduate of Hiddenite where he enjoyed a stellar career in baseball and basketball. He graduated from Gardner-Webb University in 1954 and was a captain of the Bulldogs’ Baseball Team. In 1953, Thomas started his professional baseball career when he inked a contract with the Cincinnati Reds for a signing bonus of $3,500. After two seasons in the Reds Organization, Thomas entered the United States Army and served his country from 1956-1958.

 Following his stint in the military, Thomas returned to professional baseball where he played for the Statesville Owls from 1959-1960. He played for the Los Angeles Angels Organization from 1960-1965 and spent time with the Major League Club during his tenure with the Angels.

 The Hall of Fame was established in 2012 to recognize, honor and memorialize those individuals who have made noteworthy contributions to sports in Alexander County and have lived a life of exemplary character.


Once a person is nominated, his or her nomination remains permanent and will receive selection consideration each year by the selection committee. Nomination forms can be found on the Alexander County Education Foundation link of the Alexander County Schools’ web page ( and are due by June 30 each year. Committee members include John Bruce (Chairman), Dennis Smart, Brigette Rhyne, Andy Anderson, Alvin Burke, Anna Ferguson, Mike Millsaps, Donny Pennell, Bobby White, and Larry Yoder.


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