The first class of the Gainesville High Athletic Hall of Fame will include six former Red Elephants athletes, one coach and a team, as voted on by its committee.
To be eligible, athletes had to be 10 years removed from playing at Gainesville High. Former players selected include Tommy Aaron, Tommy West, Cris Carpenter, Micah Owings, Tom Paris Sr. and Tasha Humphrey. The induction ceremony will take place at Scott’s on the Square on April 20 in Gainesville.
Owings, a 2002 Gainesville graduate, was a two-time state champion in baseball with the Red Elephants and earned back-to-back All-State and All-American honors. In college, he played for Georgia Tech before transferring to Tulane and playing in the 2005 College World Series. Owings was drafted in 2005 by the Arizona Diamondbacks in the third round. He played professionally with the Diamondbacks, Cincinnati Reds and San Diego Padres.
Humphrey, a 2004 Gainesville High graduate, was the catalyst behind three girls basketball state championships (2001, 2003, 2004), twice named Miss Georgia Basketball (2003 and 2004) and was a McDonald’s All-American in 2004. She played four years at the University of Georgia, three times being named first-team All-SEC and finished second in school history for points (2,272). She was the 11th overall pick by the Detroit Shock in the 2008 WNBA Draft.
Aaron won a 1955 state golf championship with the Red Elephants.
Paris, a member of the Gainesville High class of 1926, was a four-year standout in football, basketball, baseball and track and field. In football, he guided the Red Elephants as quarterback to a 29-0 mark his final three seasons, then proceeded to earn the starting quarterback position all four seasons at the University of Georgia.
Carpenter was a three-sport letterman for the Red Elephants (football, baseball and basketball). He started on back-to-back state championship basketball teams at Gainesville (1983 and 1984) and a state runner-up squad in football (1983). He was also named Georgia Athlete of the Year in 1984. Professionally, Carpenter was a first-round pick of the St. Louis Cardinals in 1987. In his professional career, he played for the Cardinals, Florida Marlins and Texas Rangers.
West was also a four-year standout for the Red Elephants in football, basketball and baseball, graduating in 1972. He went on to be a three-year letterman in football at the University of Tennessee, starting 32 consecutive games, and was drafted in the NFL by the Tampa Bay Buccaneers in 1975.
Former Red Elephants coach Bobby Gruhn guided the Red Elephants’ football program as head coach from 1963-1992. He retired with a 256-103-5 record, four North Georgia championships, 17 region titles and four state title game appearances.
The Hall of Fame will also include the Fair Street Tigers football program, which won back-to-back state championships (1956, 1957), which operated while schools were still segregated.