Ray Adamson is an encyclopedia of knowledge when it comes to East Hall basketball. Remembering useful trivia and statistics comes natural to this Vikings basketball fan, just like his other interests including history, politics and University of Georgia sports.
“These things just get stuck in my head,” Adamson said. “I just find a way to remember these things.”
But keeping up to date with the history of East Hall’s long basketball tradition is special to Adamson.
Ever since he was 9 and started going to games with his mom, who worked at East Hall and took up tickets at games, he was hooked on the mystique surrounding Vikings basketball.
“I think what makes East Hall basketball special is the sense of community and continuity,” Adamson said. “The level this program has maintained since 1968 is great ... and the fact that we’ve won with our own players.”
Adamson, a 1977 East Hall grad, didn’t play basketball in high school, much of which was due to the fact that he was two years ahead of most kids his age and received his diploma just after he turned 16.
His way of staying actively involved in basketball is by playing pick-up games and being right beside the action for the great history of the East Hall program.
Remembering the highlights is easy for Adamson; like East Hall’s 32-0 record in state qualifying games, an .824 winning percentage since 1968, East Hall’s 16 state semifinal appearances and the fact that East Hall has only lost seven region tournament games in school history.
He can rattle stats off the tip of his tongue like he had time in advance to prepare for the questions. He knows Seth Vining’s career win total (334) and Glenn Cassell’s (272), as well. He also does the math to figure out that Joe Dix has a 114-13 record, with a state title in 2005, in just his first four seasons coaching the Vikings.
He knows his childhood idol Jimmy Hyder was the first Viking to hit 1,000 points in 1971, and that Steve Cronic managed to break that record with 1,611 in 1976.
Some other stats he knows that East Hall fans would find interesting are: Chezley Watson holds the single-game scoring record (51 vs. West Hall) in 1996, the Vikings won nine consecutive region titles between 1982-1990 and have 20 total region titles since ‘82.
East Hall basketball has always been a high priority in his life. Even while attending the University of Georgia, and pursuing his pharmacy degree, he managed to sustain a streak of attending 283 consecutive games that lasted until he missed a game against Lumpkin County in 1988 that had been rescheduled, which he didn’t know. During the course of his long lasting streak, he even managed to get a pharmacology exam pushed back so he could catch a Vikings game being played in the mountains.
“That game was at Fannin County and I found a way to get there,” Adamson said.
Most of the times that Adamson can’t make it to an East Hall game, it’s for good reason. He missed games in 2000 and 2002 that were pushed up because of inclement weather concerns, and arrived right as the team was leaving both times. He also missed a game last year because he had pneumonia.
Now Adamson tries to pass along some of the information he knows.
Since helping organize East Hall’s official record books in 1979, Adamson has published one book, and has another book in the works.
His first book, published in 1996, chronicling the rivalry between the Vikings and Gainesville, is titled,
“Thirty-eight years of Lanierland’s greatest rivalry.” Adamson is quick to point out that East Hall has owned this rivalry in recent seasons with 16 consecutive wins dating back to the 2003-04 season.
His second book covers the history of East Hall basketball with a title and publishing date still not determined.
If fans are curious as to Adamson’s opinion which East Hall basketball team was the best in school history, he says that it’s the 2005 Vikings. That year, the Vikings produced three 1,000 point scorers (Brody Langston, Keldrick Coleman and Frank Davis) for the first time in school history.
“That team had really, really good balance,” Adamson said.