A Night Of Grand Memories

A Night Of Grand Memories

ABOVE, New PMHS Athletic Hall of Fame inductee Neal Mohler (left) receives a congratulatory handshake from Hall of Fame Committee member Mac Felts.

A Night Of Grand Memories
A Night Of Grand Memories
A Night Of Grand Memories
A Night Of Grand Memories
A Night Of Grand Memories

THE NEW PMHS Athletic Hall of Fame inductees and family members address the audience on Saturday night in the school’s gymnasium. Speaking on behalf of their father, inductee Horace M. “Plug” Henson, were his sons Bo (far left) and Bobby D. (second from left). Inductees speaking included (starting in center, from left) Milton “Ted” “Footsey” Vest, Thomas A. “Tommy” Cash and Wilton Leon “Cute” Coleman. (Stephanie Mikels Blevins photos)

A Night Of Grand Memories

AT RIGHT, Bonnie Cash, the wife of Hall of Fame inductee Thomas Cash, places a bid on a black and white photo of PMHS cheerleaders. (Stephanie Mikels Blevins photos)

Hall Of Fame Inductees, ‘79 State Football Champs Honored

The many guests in the Parry McCluer High School gymnasium on Saturday night were treated to lots of special stories and memories, as the PMHS Athletic Hall of Fame Committee inducted five new members.

Inductees in the seventh Hall of Fame Class were the late Horace M. “Plug” Henson, Class of 1937; Milton “Ted” “Footsey” Vest Jr. (1953), Wilton Leon “Cute” Coleman (1954), Thomas A. “Tommy” Cash (1964) and Neal Scott Mohler (1981).

Also honored were PMHS’s 1979 state championship football team and their cheerleaders.

After dinner, a photo video of current PM athletes, and remarks from Hall of Fame Committee chairman Nelson Fox, Buena Vista School Superintendent John Keeler and Hall of Fame Committee member Mac Felts, the inductees were introduced and given a chance to speak.

Accepting the induction for Henson, who died in 2000, were his sons, Bo and Bobby D. They both said they were very proud of their father.

Horace Henson was a star baseball pitcher and and a football player. He signed a professional contract with the Cleveland Indians in 1939, but was involved in a motorcycle accident that ended his chances at a professional career. For the next 15 years, “Plug” was the star pitcher for the Buena Vista Volunteers of the Skyline League and the Virginia Mountain League, and he had a 15-0 record in 1941. He later was an umpire and then managed the Bern-son Silk Mills World Champion Slow Pitch softball team in 1963.

The next inductee was Vest, who was a pitcher for the PMHS baseball team, compiling a record of 15-0 from 1950-53. Vest signed a professional contract with the Pittsburgh Pirates the day after he graduated from PMHS. He spent four years with the Pirates organization before an arm injury ended his career at the AAA level.

After thanking his teammates, coaches and the Hall of Fame Committtee, Vest got a lot of laughs when he told a story about his wife pouring a Pepsi over a fan’s head because, as she told him, “He was saying awful things about you.” Vest said he told his wife, “He can say whatever he wants.”

Vest said that baseball remains “a part of my life, and I love it. There’s no greater game in the world.”

Coleman was a baseball player who was on Nubby Schreiner’s three undefeated baseball teams (1950-52) at PMHS, but he is best remembered as an unstoppable fullback and hard-nosed linebacker. He scored the lone touchdown against Lexington High School in 1952, lifting the Fighting Blues to a 6-0 victory and ending the LHS’s 17-year dominance of the county rivalry. In the final moments of the game, Coleman recovered a fumble to preserve the Blues’ victory. After graduating from Virginia Tech in 1961, Coleman served as a teacher, coach and administrator for over 30 years, including coaching at PMHS and Natural Bridge High School.

After the victory over LHS in 1952, Coleman recalled, he took his helmet off and put it on the ground. Unexpectedly, people started putting bills in the helmet, and he soon had $40-50.

Cash was an outstanding football and baseball player. He was known for his running early in his football career, but suffered a broken ankle late in his freshman season and became an offensive and defensive lineman, twice earning all-district honors. He was the catcher for the PMHS baseball team for four years. After serving in the Army for three years, Cash played guard for the Ferrum Junior College football team and was a catcher for the baseball team that went to the national finals. In the late 1990s, he developed and coached the baseball team at Southwest Virginia Community College.

Cash spoke briefly before letting his children and wife talk. His son, T.W., thanked PMHS for stepping in and acting as a father for Tommy because he was raised without a father.

Mohler was a defensive player for the 1977 and 1979 state championship football teams coached by Bobby Williams. He also played basketball, but football was his main sport, and he was an inside linebacker for James Madison University, where he received a full scholarship. As the last speaker at around 9 p.m., Mohler chose to keep his comments brief. “It’s a great honor to be here, and I want to thank everybody,” he said.

Also recognized were PMHS state champions from the past year. The girls basketball team, under the direction of head coach Adam Gilbert, won its third consecutive state title. The Blues graduated nine seniors in the spring. Those players were off at college, but Gilbert was invited onstage.

Other state champions honored were from the track and field team: senior Dylan May (1600-meter and 3200-meter runs) and his younger sister, sophomore Kensey May (1600-meter and 3200-meter runs). The Mays continue to run for Chris Poluikis, who coaches cross country and indoor and outdoor track. All three came to the stage to be recognized.

The News-Gazette

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