Statesboro High inducted six new members into their athletic Hall of Fame at a ceremony held Thursday including Joey Hamilton, Eddie Hodges, Courtney Olliff, Josh Thompson, Alan Woodrum and honorary inductee Buzz Busby.
A member of the class of 1988 Hamilton set school records in virtually all pitching categories including most wins, lowest ERA and career strikeouts. Hamilton went on to help Georgia Southern to the College World Series and then enjoyed a successful professional career in Major League Baseball playing for nine seasons. Hamilton was the eighth player chosen in the 1991 draft by the San Diego Padres and went on to play for the Toronto Blue Jays and Cincinnati Reds.
“I don’t get back in town very often, so it was an honor to get the call and to be inducted into the Statesboro Hall of Fame,” said Hamilton. “I remember winning first and foremost, and we won a lot. With coach Kenny Tucker coming in my junior and senior year we had a lot of talent and went pretty far.”
Hodges was a 1977 graduate of Statesboro High. He was a member of the Statesboro track team his junior and senior seasons and set a school record in the 880 run his junior year with a time of 1:51.6. His record still stands today. He was also a member of the mile relay team which set a school record of 2:25.4. Hodges went on for a successful collegiate career at Seminole Community College and went on to run track at the University of Georgia where he won the SEC in 1981 in the 880.
“After 44 years getting the call that I was to be inducted into the hall of fame was so exciting,” said Hodges. “When I first started running track my junior year, I never knew it would affect my life like this. What I remember the most was breaking the record in the 880 that was quite a thrill.”
Olliff was a member of the Statesboro High class of 2000. Olliff was a standout in soccer, softball and basketball in her career at Statesboro High. Olliff helped lead all three sports to the state playoffs during her time playing at Statesboro High. Olliff was a finalist for the Wendy’s high school Heisman her senior year and was also a finalist for the Donna de Varona Spirit of Sports award which is given each year to an outstanding female athlete who demonstrates the most ethical art in the true spirit of sports.
“When Kathy Tucker called me with the news, I was just kind of surprised and shocked,” said Olliff. I never went on to play in college, but I did really enjoy my time playing all different sports here at Statesboro High. The friendships I made from playing with all the different girls on the teams is something I am so happy that playing athletics helped me with.”
Thompson was a member of the Statesboro High class of 2003. He helped lead the Blue Devils to a 15-0 record and a state title in football in 2005. Thompson also excelled in the weight room and was a three-time state champion lifting 325 pounds in the power clean, 440 pounds in the bench press and squatting 650 pounds. Thompson went on to star at Auburn University where he helped the team win the SEC and National Championship in 2004. Thompson was signed as an undrafted free agent in 2008 by the Los Angeles Rams and played one season in the CFL.
“It was totally unexpected but a real honor that people thought enough of what I was able to do my high school career to select me for the Hall of Fame,” said Thompson. “I have a lot of fond memories of my playing days including our trips to the Georgia Dome and winning the state as well as my mom cooking spaghetti pre-game and just all the sights and sounds of Friday nights.”
Alan Woodrum was a member of the Statesboro High class of 1997. Woodrum helped the Blue Devil soccer team to a 44-8-1 record in his four years as a starter including three sub-region championships and two region championships. He was named the region player of the year his senior year and received a scholarship to Georgia Southern University becoming the first Blue Devil soccer player to ever sign with a Division-1 school. As a defender Woodrum scored three goals and had three assists at Georgia Southern and was named the male Scholar Athlete of the Year.
“Being selected to the Hall of Fame isn’t something I ever suspected would happen, but it really hit me emotionally when I got the call,” said Woodrum. “I will always remember making it all the way to the state semifinals and it meant so much because it was with a group of guys who we all grew up playing soccer together.”
Busby was an honorary member of this year’s class of 2021. Busby served as head coach at Statesboro High from 1999-2003. Busby led the Blue Devils to the 2001 state championship with a record of 15-0. The Blue Devils also finished as state runners up in 2000 and 2003. Busby was named the state coach of the year following the 2001 season.
“It great to see a lot of the people who helped support me here as well as some of our former players who meant so much to me,” said Busby. “The state championship will always be a great memory, but I was also so proud of our team in 2003 for making it back to the state championship and playing a tough game at Marist. They jumped out to a big lead on us, but our team never quit fighting and we came back to make it a ballgame.”