Second annual Hall of Fame luncheon held at RHS

Wednesday, September 9, 2009
RHS Sports Hall of Fame inductees included Bill Cossey, Allan Pruett (inducted posthumously with award accepted by his brother, Joe), Mac Manchester and the 1992 Cougar baseball team, represented here by coaches Kelly Scobey and Richard Huggins.

The second annual Rector High School Sports Hall of Fame luncheon brought together generations of former athletes, fans and friends, as the Rector school cafeteria was filled for the special event Saturday.

The event served to honor this year's inductees, as well as all those who have been involved with Rector, Greenway and Clay County Central athletics.

This year's inductees included the 1992 CCC state champion baseball team, long-time Rector supporter Lavern "Mac" Manchester and Rector basketball greats Bill Cossey and Allan Pruett.

The event began with a welcome by Hall of Fame president Lavaughn Robertson, a 1960 RHS graduate and standout high school and college athlete and coach. In his opening statements, Robertson noted the importance of remembering those who have had a significant impact on the school's athletic department.

"The Hall of Fame is our way of remembering all the great athletes, coaches and supporters who have been involved with the school over the years," Robertson said. "This is a way for everyone to show their appreciation for the hard work and accomplishments we've all been fortunate enough to witness."

The 1992 Cougar baseball team was inducted by Richard Huggins, who coached the squad.

In his remarks, Huggins noted the team's strong postseason play.

"This bunch rose to a different level in the district tournament," Huggins said. "We had a lot of question marks at the beginning of the season, but the guys really came together and made a great run, beating some of the best teams in the state.

"A coach couldn't ask for a better group of guys to coach."

Team members Todd Ford and Keat Cohn accepted the plaque on behalf of the team.

"I just want to say thank you for coming out here and showing support to the baseball team," Cohn said.

In addition to being the only varsity program to win a state title in school history, the 1992 Cougars also set records for the baseball program. Their 18 homeruns and team batting average of .363 are the highest totals in school history.

The team was made up of Scotty Burdin, David Scales, Keat Cohn, Jimmy Greenway, Jason Manchester, Todd Ford, Matt Moore, Kevin Manchester, Jeremy McDaniel, Jeremy Huggins, Stacey Benson, Jonathan Kemp, Neal Wimberley, Alberto Garcia, Aaron Arrant, Eric Bolster, Chris Haywood, Jason Waddell and Benton York. Richard Huggins was the head coach. Kelly Scobey was the assistant coach. Debbie Baker kept the scorebook.

Greenway, Scales, Burdin and Cohn were named to the All-State Team with Greenway receiving the MVP award. Greenway was also named to the All-Region Team. Jason Manchester, Cohn, Scales and Greenway were All-District Team selections with Scales and Greenway receiving Co-MVP honors.

Team members who were present included coach Huggins, coach Scobey, Moore, Ford, Arrant, Cohn, Haywood, Burdin, Benson, Scales, Greenway, Waddell, Kevin Manchester, Jason Manchester, Kemp and Wimberley.

Lavern Manchester was the next to be inducted. He was inducted by his son, Mark.

Mark noted the work done by his father to make sure all four Manchester children were able and available to take part in their numerous activities, as well as personally attending the vast majority of those events. He also pointed out his father's continued efforts to attend Rector sporting events to this day.

An emotional "Mac" accepted his plaque from his thankful son.

"I am truly honored to be inducted in the Hall of Fame. Thank you all for making this one of the most cherished days of my life."

He also noted his induction was made all the more special by joining his sons Kevin and Jason, who were members of the 1992 baseball team.

"Mac" has been present for more than 3,000 baseball, football and basketball games over the past 50 years. He has spent countless hours volunteering at not only those games, but throughout the entire community, as well. He remains a constant source of support for Rector athletics to this day.

Pruett was inducted posthumously by his coach and friend Jess Bucy.

Bucy shared with the crowd his first distinct memory of Pruett. When the would-be basketball legend was in elementary school, Pruett pointed out the list of statistical leaders to Bucy and said to him 'Coach, some day my name's going to be up there.'

Allan's brother Joe accepted the plaque on the family's behalf. He told the coach that if his brother had his choice of who would induct him into the Hall of Fame, it certainly would have been Bucy.

"My brother and I talked many times about how lucky we were to be from here," Joe said. "The community of Rector has always been special to us. Thank you all for this honor. It means a great deal to our family."

Allan Pruett scored 2,018 points in his three years of high school basketball, averaging 18.1 points per game. His other career numbers include a 78.6 free throw percentage, 113 assists and 49.2 field goal percentage. As a senior, he averaged 27.4 points per game to score 1,041 for the season. That year, he also made 401 field goals, 239 free throws and shot 82.5 percent from the line.

He was named to the All-State and All-District Teams in 1965 and 1966. Also in 1966, he was chosen as an All-American and Arkansas All-Star Team selection. He was also named state MVP for Rector's 1963 junior high state championship team.

Cossey was the final 2009 induction. Bucy took the podium again to comment on another great RHS athlete.

"If I were to characterize Bill Cossey, I think I would call him a blue collar worker with talent," Bucy said. "He made himself into a very, very good high school and college player. Then, he went on to be a great coach."

Cossey was moved by comments from his coach and his induction into the Hall of Fame.

"Thank you for this prestigious honor," Cossey said. "It's one of the biggest honors I've received in my life. I can't tell you how much it means to be a part of the Hall of Fame."

A 1965 RHS graduate, Cossey lettered in basketball as a sophomore, junior and senior. His outstanding play during his senior season earned him the distinction of being named Honorable Mention to the 1965 All-American Team. That same year, he was also named to the Arkansas High School All-Star Team, as well as chosen for All-State and All-District distinction. Cossey was also named All-State as a junior.

In high school, Cossey put up some impressive numbers, finishing with 1,244 points while averaging 15 points per game for his tenure, shooting 55.1 percent from the floor, 78 percent free throw shooting, 640 rebounds and 108 assists. As a senior, Cossey scored 644 points, had a field goal percentage of 57 percent, made 82.1 percent of his free throws and grabbed 336 rebounds.

The event also recognized recent graduates, as three members of the Class of 2009 were presented with scholarships. Blake McCarroll and Logan Buck were present to receive checks for $500 each as part of their previously announced RHS Sports Hall of Fame Scholarships. A third scholarship, the newly-created Allan K. Pruett Endowed Scholarship was awarded to Hillary Calhoun. Calhoun was presented with a check in the amount of $500 in honor of the late inductee.

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