The Gainesville Athletics Hall of Fame announced its second ever induction class today, a group that features a Heisman runner-up as well as a former All-American soccer player.
Billy Lothridge, Stephanie Ransom, Tommy Valentine, Patrick Hamilton, Dr. Tim Fulenwider and the Red Elephants’ state championship baseball teams of 1996, 1997 and 1998 have all been welcomed in following a vote from the Hall of Fame committee. The group will be inducted officially at a banquet on April 18 at The Chair Factory.
Lothridge — a multi-sport athlete at Gainesville — graduated in 1960 and went on to play quarterback at Georgia Tech. He finished second to Roger Staubach in the 1963 Heisman Trophy vote, and spent eight years in the NFL after being drafted by the Dallas Cowboys in the sixth round of the 1964 draft.
Ransom played both basketball and soccer for the Red Elephants before graduating in 1995. Following her high school career, she became the first female soccer player in school history to receive an athletic scholarship when she signed with Georgia. She was named a first team All-American in her junior year, when she said a Bulldog record that still stands today with 18 goals in a single season.
Valentine graduated in 1967 after winning an individual state golf championship for the Red Elephants. He would go on to win an SEC individual title for the University of Georgia in 1970, and helped the team to SEC team championships in 1969, 1970 and 1971.
Hamilton helped lead the Gainesville basketball team to its best two-year stretch in program history — a 59-1 streak in 1983 and 1984 when the Red Elephants won their only two boys basketball state titles. He moved on to play at Georgia, where he still holds the records for most steals in a career (216) and in a single season (89).
Dr. Fulenwider will be recognized because of the time and medical expertise he invested in Red Elephants athletics. The Gainesville High weight room is named after him.
Lastly, Gainesville’s baseball teams from 1996-1998 remain the only groups to win three consecutive state titles for the Red Elephants in any sport.
Tickets to April 18’s banquet can be purchased at gainesvilleathleticclub.com for $125 per person or $800 for a table.
Compiled by Nathan Berg