By Allen Worrell Editor
January 22, 2014
Eight former athletes and coaches will be inducted into the inaugural class of the Carroll County High School Sports Hall of Fame on January 31st at CCHS.
The ceremony will take place in between Carroll County’s varsity girls’ and boys’ basketball games with Salem. The ceremony is expected to take place at approximately 6:40 p.m., depending on the length of the varsity girls’ game.
The first CCHS Sports Hall of Fame class includes six graduates from 1970-1984, in addition to two coaches. Three members will be inducted posthumously. They are 1982 CCHS graduate Pam Horton and legendary coaches Bill Worrell and Tommy Thompson. Also inducted into the hall that night will be Gary Hull, Pat Sharp, Kim Gillespie, Steve Dowdy and Terry Dalton.
Worrell coached baseball for 25 seasons at CCHS, leaving such a legacy that the baseball field at the school is named in his honor. Worrell won 356 games in his 31-year coaching career, with 312 of the victories coming at CCHS. The Cavaliers had winning seasons in 22 of his 25 years as head coach and made 14 Region IV playoff appearances in that time. Worrell’s teams won eight New River District championships, seven NRD Tournament titles and one Region IV championship (1994). He was named district coach of the year 10 times and VHSCA state coach of the year once in 1993. Worrell was the fourth-winningest active coach in Virginia at the time of his retirement, but perhaps his most impressive achievement was the fact that 24 of his former CCHS players were high school coaches at the time of his retirement.
Like Worrell, the football field at CCHS is named in Thompson’s honor. Thompson began his innovative coaching career at Hillsville High School in 1956 and remained the head football coach until HHS consolidated with the other high schools in the county to form Carroll County High School. He became the head coach at CCHS in 1969 and stayed in that position until his retirement in 1974. Thompson coached three All-Americans during his career – Leon Weddle and Frank Beamer at Hillsville High School and Alan Turner at CCHS, the only All-American in football at Carroll. Thompson was inducted into the Twin County Sports Hall of Fame in 1987 and the football field at CCHS was named Tommy Thompson Field in 1990.
Horton set several records at CCHS and continued to set records at Clinch Valley College until her death following her freshman season. She participated in basketball, track and field, and volleyball at CCHS. While in high school, Pam received several school, district, and regional honors. She was the MVP in girls’ field events in track. She broke the single-game scoring record of 34 points at CCHS and was selected to the first-team All-New River District as a senior and second-team All-Region IV.
Horton was the first girl from CCHS chosen to play in the East-West All-Star game her senior year, and she is still just one of five CCHS girls to ever play in the game. As of January 26, 1983, she had scored nearly 500 points in her freshman year of college. On this same date, she scored 44 points and broke Clinch Valley College’s single-game scoring record of 43 points. Her jersey was retired posthumously. While home on summer break, she was killed in an automobile accident at the age of 19. Pam is the daughter of Eugene and Vera Horton.
A 1980 graduate of CCHS, Pat Sharp is widely considered to be the greatest basketball player ever to suit up for CCHS. A first-team all-region and all-state selection, Sharp helped lead the Cavaliers to back-to-back regional championships in 1979 and 1980 as Carroll County made it to the state’s final four both seasons. At the time of his graduation, Sharp was the leading scorer in CCHS history with 1,186 points thanks to his ability to hurt teams in the post and on the perimeter. A 6-8 center, Sharp went on to become the only CCHS basketball player to play Division I college basketball (Western Carolina University). Sharp’s CCHS jersey is retired and he has also been inducted into the Twin County Sports Hall of Fame.
Steve Dowdy and Terry Dalton were also legendary figures in CCHS basketball history. Dowdy was the first freshman to play at CCHS, having to receive special permission from the coach, principal, and superintendent at that time. He was also the starting quarterback for the JV football team, which was the first to go undefeated in CCHS history.
As a freshman, Dowdy played basketball for the first varsity team at CCHS to make it to regional play. He made two free throws with 10 seconds left to left the team to victory at Cassell Coliseum. In the 1978-79 season, he started every game as a sophomore on the varsity football team. The season record of 6-4 matched the highest win total in school history at the time.
Dowdy was also a starter for the varsity basketball season and received honorable mention honors in the New River District. In 1979-80, Dowdy was second-team All-New River District as a quarterback. He was also the point guard of the first CCHS basketball team to advance to the state tournament. His senior year, Dowdy was named first-team all-district and first-team all-region, and honorable mention all-state. At the time of his graduation, he held the career assist record, most games played in a career (98), most consecutive free throws (29), and was the second all-time leading scorer (1,112 points) before the implementation of the 3-point line. Dowdy’s jersey was retired after graduation.
A 1981 graduate of CCHS, Dalton was a first-team All-Group AA basketball selection as a senior and the unanimous pick for Region IV and New River District Player of the Year, averaging 16.2 points per game. He helped lead the team to three straight Region IV championship game appearances from 1979-1981, including regional titles in 1979 and 1980. Dalton was also a first-team All-New River District selection as a pitcher and shortstop on the baseball team in 1981.
A 1980 graduate of CCHS, Gillespie was a terror on the football field for the Cavaliers. As a junior, Gillespie was a first-team All-New River District running back. He scored 16 touchdowns and rushed for 1,434 yards on 195 carries, the fourth-highest rushing total in the state that season.
As a senior, Gilliespie set a CCHS record for rushing yards in a season with 1,514 yards and 15 touchdowns on 204 carries. He led the NRD in rushing and scoring and set the single-game rushing record with 270 yards and two touchdowns on 27 carries. He broke his own record the next week with 272 yards and four touchdowns on 22 carries. He graduated as the all-time leading rusher in school history with 2,948 yards and 31 touchdowns on 399 carries, an average of 7.4 yards per rush. He finished his career with six 200-yard rushing games.
As a junior, Gillespie was first-team All-New River District as a pitcher and second-team all-district as an outfielder. He earned first-team all-district honors as an outfielder his senior year and played in the VHSL All-Star baseball game. When he graduated, he held or shared single-season records for triples (3), innings pitched (76), strikeouts (65), wins (8), home runs (6) and runs scored (29).
Gillespie went on to play two years of football at Ferrum Junior College before transferring to the University of Richmond, where he was named Offensive Player of the Game against Virginia Tech and South Carolina as a junior.
A 1971 graduate of CCHS, Hull was a four-year starter at quarterback for coach Tommy Thompson. He is the only player to start at quarterback for both Hillsville High School and CCHS. Known for his toughness, Hull also started at linebacker. He was a two-time All-New River District quarterback at CCHS, where he also excelled in baseball and basketball. Hull would go on to play two years at quarterback at Ferrum College before transferring to Samford University, where he played one year at quarterback and one year at tight end. Hull recently retired after approximately 30 years of service as a Virginia State Trooper.