GAINESVILLE, Ga. — A Heisman runner-up out of Georgia Tech and a former All-American soccer player at the University of Georgia are a few of the highlighted accolades of the second induction class into the Gainesville Athletics Hall of Fame, as voted on by the Hall of Fame committee.
Billy Lothridge; Tommy Valentine; Patrick Hamilton; Stephanie (Yarem) Ransom; Dr. Tim Fulenwider; and the back-to-back-to-back state championship baseball teams from 1996, 1997, and 1998 will be honored as the newest members of the Hall of Fame during a banquet on April 18 at The Chair Factory.
Lothridge, a multi-sport athlete who graduated from Gainesville High in 1964, gained All-American status as a quarterback at Georgia Tech, finishing second to Roger Staubach in the 1963 Heisman Trophy vote. Lothridge, who had an eight-year NFL career, was a sixth-round selection by the Dallas Cowboys in the 1964 NFL Draft.
Valentine, a 1967 graduate of Gainesville High School, won an individual state golf championship for the Red Elephants before becoming a four-year letterman in golf at the University of Georgia. Valentine won the Southeastern Conference individual title representing the Bulldogs in 1970, and helped his team to SEC titles in 1969, 1970, and 1971, earning First-Team All-American status in 1970.
Hamilton was a four-year letter winner in basketball at Gainesville, helping the boys’ program to a 59-1 record and its only state titles in 1983 and 1984. After graduating from Gainesville, Hamilton was a four-year letterman at Georgia, where he still holds the career (216) and single season (89) steals record.
Ransom is a 1995 graduate of Gainesville, where she played both basketball and soccer. Ransom helped lead the Lady Red Elephants to back-to-back state title game appearances in 1993 and 1994, with the girls winning the program’s first title in 1994 as part of a 30-0 season. After two years playing for the boys JV soccer team at GHS, Ransom played for the first girls team her junior year, and earned a scholarship to play for another start-up program: Georgia. At UGA, Ransom earned first-team All-America and first team All-Southeastern Conference honors her junior year as she totaled 18 goals, still a program record.
Dr. Fulenwider will enter the Gainesville Athletics Hall of Fame as a life-long supporter of Big Red athletics. From his time to his medical expertise, Dr. Fulenwider made an indelible mark as a mentor of Gainesvlle’s student-athletes. The weight room used by Gainesville High School athletes is named for Dr. Fulenwider.
Finally, the team(s) that will be entering the Gainesville Athletics Hall of Fame this year are the only ones to win three-straight state titles in the athletic history of Gainesville: The 1996-1998 baseball teams coached by Wayne Vickery.
To be eligible for induction, athletes must have graduated from a Gainesville City School no fewer than 10 years ago. This year’s class will join Tom Paris Sr., Tommy Aaron, Tommy West, Bobby Gruhn, Micah Owings, Tasha Humphrey, and the back-to-back state champion football teams of the 50’s from Fair Street High School who were inducted as part of the inaugural Gainesville Athletics Hall of Fame class in 2019.
Tickets to the April 18 banquet at The Chair Factory are $125 per person, tables are $800. Tickets can be purchased on the Gainesville Athletic Club website, gainesvilleathleticclub.com.