Two area residents who won prestigious national championships in 2013 will be honored on March 3 at the Greater Chattanooga Sports Hall of Fame induction banquet as male athlete of the year.
Chattanooga’s Wesley Cash completed a second consecutive U.S. Tennis Association “golden slam” in men’s 55-and-over doubles and also won his first national singles title, while Dayton’s Andy Morgan was the 2013 FLW angler of the year at the highest level of professional fishing.
University of Tennessee at Chattanooga senior basketball player Ashlen Dewart is the female athlete of the year after leading the Mocs to the 2013 Southern Conference regular-season and tournament championships. She averaged 15.3 points and 7.2 rebounds a game for the season, was first-team all-conference and was selected the most outstanding player of the tournament.
Other special honorees that Monday night at the Chattanooga Convention Center are Carolyn Jackson and Warren Barger for the Betty Probasco and Walt Lauter awards, respectively, for lifetime achievement and Joe Smith for the Jim Morgan/Allan Morris Award for distinction in overcoming adversity.
They will join the 18 inductees announced a week ago in the spotlight at the 6:30 p.m. dinner. Tickets cost $35 and are available through Hall of Fame president John Farr at 423-875-9282.
Jackson retired last year after 40 years of coaching girls’ basketball at Brainerd High School with a 982-313 record, 13 sub-state appearances and the 1984 state championship, and she also coached volleyball for 15 years and track, tennis and softball for shorter stints. She had a state-champion relay team and a state-runner-up relay group. Her basketball players included state Miss Basketball, college All-American and Olympian gold medalist Venus Lacy.
Jackson was a high school volleyball official for 24 years and a college official for 10, and she was the state volleyball official of the year in 2000, among the many honors for her career in athletics and education.
Barger, who served with the U.S. Army Amphibian Engineers in the South Pacific during World War II, was largely a behind-the-scenes sports contributor until becoming a Senior Olympics stalwart in his 70s and beyond. He has won 120 gold medals and holds 10 records at the state level and also is the national record-holder for the 85-89 age-group high jump. He has earned eight gold, three silver and four bronze in the biennial national competition.
He organized a seniors regional volleyball tournament that has grown to include teams from six states, and he was the tournament director for the first 15 years of the Carson-Newman Golf Classic. A scholarship fund established at the tournament’s 25th anniversary was named in his honor.
Smith is the founder and regional director of the Chattanooga YMCA’s YCAP program for at-risk youth, and he has served as chairman of the Tennessee Athletic Commission, president of the Southeastern Association of USA Boxing, a vice president of USA Boxing, president of the USA Boxing Foundation and team manager on several occasions for USA Boxing, including at the Beijing Olympics in 2008. He has been a TSSAA football and basketball official for two decades.
First, though, he had to overcome addictive substance abuse and even a planned suicide, for which he credits “divine intervention.” Smith is a licensed drug and alcohol abuse counselor.
The 42-year-old Morgan has been a professional angler for 18 years and has 55 top-10 finishes in the FLW Tournament Series, the most for anyone. He also has qualified for more FLW Championships than anyone else in the organization’s history, and he is one of four hosts on the Outdoor Channel reality show “Moultrie’s The Hit List” about white tail deer hunting.
Cash, a Southern and high school tennis champion as a teenager who helped lead Georgia to three Southeastern Conference team championships, was a doubles champion in a 1983 ATP tournament in Nigeria and has 16 national titles, including 12 as part of three same-year age-group sweeps of USTA indoor, grass, clay and hard courts titles. He had two wins each with separate partners in his 2013 slam, and he added the 55s clay court singles championship along with a third-place grass court singles finish.