The 2021 Nashville Fairgrounds Speedway Hall of Fame inductees announced Friday are from two eras at the historic track — 1958-79 and 1980-present — and several had strong ties to NASCAR.
The inductees for the 2021 class and their eras are James Buttrey (1980-present) and his brother Wade Allen Buttrey (1980-present), Bobby Celsor (1958-79), Fulton Stutts (1958-79), Bennie Goodman (1958-79) and Mark Parrish (1958-79).
James Buttrey made the best of his relatively short racing career as a crew chief.
The Fairview native was part of nine championships at the Fairgrounds, including four with his brother Wade Allen, who was a driver in 1991 and 1993 on the quarter-mile infield track in the Pro Modified division and later in the NASCAR Late Model Stock Car championships on the high banks in 2004-05.
Buttrey also served as Scott Borchetta’s crew chief when Borchetta won the NASCAR Super Truck Series in 2003-05 and his son Bobby’s crew chief when Bobby won the 2006 Legends Semi Pro title and 2009 Super Truck Series.
The four titles helped Wade Allen Buttrey, also from Fairview, earn induction into the hall of fame.
Celsor had eight wins in the premier division on the half-mile track. The Hartsville native won the track championship in 1960. After that he added the 1963 championship at Huntsville (Alabama) Speedway.
Celsor competed against some of the strongest challengers ever at the Fairgrounds, including Coo Coo Marlin and his brother Jack, Bobby Allison and his brother Donnie, Bob Reuther, Red Farmer and P.B. Crowell.
As late as 2007, Celsor was still competing in professional tractor pulls in Middle Tennessee at the age of 80.
Stutts, a Nashville resident, had a lengthy career at the Fairgrounds that lasted from 1961-88. He was racecar owner and mechanic responsible for 46 feature wins at the Fairgrounds and 591 at all area tracks.
Stutts’ drivers included James “The King” Climer, George Bennett, Donnie Kaylor, Paul “Fat Boy” Ryman and others.
Goodman and Parrish teamed up with Bill Donoho in 1953 to form Nashville Speedway Inc., which eventually led to building what is now Nashville Fairgrounds Speedway.
It was Goodman and Parrish who signed the first deal with Bill France Sr. to bring NASCAR-sanctioned races to Nashville.
Former MTSU baseball coach Jim McGuire hired at Vol State
Jim McGuire, who coached at Middle Tennessee State for 25 years, was hired Wednesday as the baseball coach at Volunteer State Community College.
McGuire replaced Ryan Hunt, who left at the end of this past season to replace his father, Woody, as the coach at Cumberland.
McGuire was at MTSU from 1993-2018. He was the head coach from 2012-18 and the associate head coach or an assistant before that.
Most recently McGuire was director of baseball operations at Hit after Hit Baseball Academy in Nashville.
In 2020, McGuire was inducted into the Tennessee Baseball Coaches Association Hall of Fame.
”Jim has ties with high school coaches, four-year coaches, and players in the Middle Tennessee area and the southeast,” Vol State athletics director Bobby Hudson said. “We had more than 100 applicants for the position and the committee had tough decisions to make because of the quality of applicants. We felt that with Jim’s experience and knowledge he would be a great fit for the job.”
Games added to Nashville Sounds schedule
In conjunction with an announcement from Minor League Baseball and Major League Baseball, the Nashville Sounds have added 10 games to the 2021 schedule.
The rescheduled games are from the postponed games at the start of the 2021 season and will be played in a new postseason tournament format called the Triple-A Final Stretch.
Following the previously announced final series of the season at Gwinnett (Sept. 14-19), the Sounds will now return to First Horizon Park to host a five-game series against the Columbus Clippers on Sept. 22–26.
The Wednesday-through-Saturday games of the series against Columbus will begin at 7:05 p.m. The final game on Sunday, Sept. 26 will begin at 6:15 p.m.
The Sounds will finish the regular season with a five-game series at Indianapolis on Sept. 29-Oct. 3. The first four games will begin at 6:05 p.m. and the last at 12:35 p.m.
Single-game tickets for the five added home games are on sale by calling 615-515-4487 or at milb.com/nashville/tickets.
Austin Peay football in preseason Top 25
Three FCS teams from the state, including Austin Peay, are in the Hero Sports preseason Top 25.
Austin Peay is No. 18, Chattanooga is No. 20 and East Tennessee State is tied at No. 23 with Missouri State.
Austin Peay finished third in the Ohio Valley Conference in the 2020 spring season and won the 2019 title. Murray State, also in the OVC, is No. 22.
Sam Houston is No. 1.
Ex-Vandy broadcaster Joe Fisher hired at Tennessee Tech
Former Vanderbilt play-by-play broadcaster Joe Fisher, who recently underwent alcohol rehabilitation, has been hired as the Tennessee Tech news and communications director.
Fisher, 61, spent 23 years at Vanderbilt. He resigned in December after his speech was slurred and he repeated the same question to interim football coach Todd Fitch during a broadcast on ESPN-FM 102.5 The Game.
Fisher replaced Buddy Pearson, who left Tech for a position in ministry.
“I am thrilled to be a part of the Tennessee Tech community,” Fisher said in a release. “President (Phil) Oldham has a marvelous plan for growth and success for this university, and I look forward to helping make that happen.”
Before his time at Vanderbilt, Fisher was a sports anchor for WKRN-2 and WSMV-4.
Ian Clark going into Belmont Hall of Fame
Belmont basketball great Ian Clark is in the Bruins’ 2021 Athletic Hall of Fame class.
Clark, who played at Belmont from 2009-13 before enjoying a career in the NBA, is joined by former teammate Kerron Johnson (2013), Jay Ayres (soccer, 2008), Christy Csorna (track and field, 2004), Cat Mundy (volleyball, 2009) and Derek Wiley (baseball, 2009) in the class.
All were unanimously selected by the school’s hall of fame committee.
Clark, a Memphis native, was the Ohio Valley Conference player of the year in 2013. He led Belmont to three consecutive NCAA Tournament appearances (2011-13) and graduated as the Bruins’ NCAA Division I career leader in points (1,920) and 3-point field goals (340).
He was a candidate for the 2013 Naismith and Lou Henson national player of the year awards.
After earning 2013 Vegas NBA Summer League championship game most valuable player honors, Clark went on to play six seasons in the NBA with four teams. He was a member of the 2017 NBA champion Golden State Warriors.
Clark played this past season in China.
Johnson helped Clark lead the Bruins to the three NCAA Tournament berths. From Huntsville, Alabama, Johnson earned the Atlantic Sun Conference Tournament most valuable player award in 2012 and the OVC Tournament MVP in 2013.
He finished his career with 1,388 points, 515 assists and 206 steals.
The induction ceremony will be Sept. 16 at 6 p.m. CT in the Maddox Grand Atrium of the Curb Event Center.
Whites Creek’s Ruot Monyyong invited to NBA tryouts
Former Whites Creek basketball standout Ruot Monyyong has had tryouts over the last two weeks with the Atlanta Hawks and Sacramento Kings heading into the July 29 NBA draft.
Monyyong, a 6-foot-10 forward, played at Arkansas-Little Rock. He made the All-Sun Belt third team as a senior and was twice named the defensive player of the year.
Monyyong, who played his first two years at Shelton State Community College, averaged 11.5 points and 10.4 rebounds in his two years at Arkansas-Little Rock.
Three with local ties going into new hall of fame
Three individuals with local ties — Ashley McElhiney-Ayers, Lin Dunn and Bettye Giles — are in the inaugural class of the new Weakley County Sports Hall of Fame.
McElhiney-Ayers, who is from Gleason, was an All-SEC guard on the Vanderbilt women’s basketball team.
She was the Commodores’ most outstanding defensive player in 2001, 2002 and 2003 and led the Commodores to an SEC championship and runner-up finish.
In 2004, McElhiney-Ayers became the first female coach of a male professional team when she was hired by the American Basketball Association’s Nashville Rhythm. In May, McElhiney-Ayers was hired as an assistant coach for the USJ girls team.
Also in the class is former Austin Peay women’s basketball coach Lin Dunn, who is from Dresden.
Dunn began her coaching career at Austin Peay (1970-76) and in 2014 was named one of Tennessee’s “Legendary Ladies” by The Tennessean at the Women’s Basketball Final Four.
Giles was born in Clarksville. She spent 70 years in athletics in the Martin community.
She started the women’s athletic program at UT-Martin and served as the school’s athletics director from 1952-73.
Others in the class: Chad Clifton, Popeye Jones, Derrick Jones, Mark Hardy, Tara Tansil-Gentry, Paul Tinkle and Graham Vowell.
Channel 2 sports reporter Emily Proud joins station’s news desk
WKRN-2’s Emily Proud announced on her Facebook page this week that she will become the station’s weekend news anchor in August.
Proud, a former Belmont soccer player who has been at Channel 2 since 2018, will continue to cover sports during the week.
She will also continue to be a part of the ABC affiliate’s “Sports Extra,” “Sports Extra Daily” and “TN Nation” shows along with Cory Curtis and Kayla Anderson.
Longtime outdoors columnist Mike Lorance dies
Retired outdoors columnist and reporter Mike Lorance died on July 8. He was 89.
Lorance spent 35 years at the Daily News Journal before retiring in 2015.
Lorance, who also served as host of the syndicated television show “Outdoors with Mike,” became the first blind fisherman in 1978 to compete on the Bassmaster tournament circuit during his career.
“Mike is one of the most unique persons I have ever met,” former Tennessee Wildlife Resources Agency information officer Doug Markham said when Lorance retired. “He has been a tremendous help and asset to sportsmen not only throughout this state, but the entire country as well.”
Lorance’s autobiography “Out of the Darkness into Light: A Blind Fisherman’s Story,” published in 2012, was enshrined for inclusion at the Smithsonian Libraries.
Robert Green named FCA director
Robert Green is the new state director for the Fellowship of Christian Athletes.
Green, who served with the Army Green Berets, spent the previous 11 years as area director for the Ocoee region.
TSU standout guard Kesi Hess dies
Former Tennessee State women’s basketball standout guard Kesi Hess died July 8. She was 30.
Hess, who was from Dublin, Ohio, scored 1,152 career points.
She made the All-OVC second team as a senior in 2013 after leading the Tigers in scoring (12.9 points) and steals (51).
The Zone Golf Tournament is Aug. 27
Tickets are now available for the 104.5 The Zone 2021 Summer Golf Classic.
The tournament is Aug. 27 at Champions Run Golf Course in Rockvale.
There will be shotgun starts at 8 a.m. and 1 p.m.
The cost cost is $125 per golfer or $400 for foursomes. Tickets are available at https://bit.ly/3hy3RmZ.
If you have an item for Midstate Chatter contact Mike Organ at 615-259-8021 or on Twitter @MikeOrganWriter.