Medina to host county Sports Hall of Fame for first time
Banquet set April 7 at elementary school
By Steve Short
Step inside the Hornet’s Nest Museum in downtown Medina and you see in a glance that residents of the town take pride in their history.
Photographs of city leaders and school graduation classes abound. Display cases show school pendants, trophies, sweaters and jackets adorned with black and white “M” letters and logos of the hornet mascot, formally adopted in 1949.
The city will enjoy another chapter in its history when Medina hosts the Gibson Co. Sports Hall of Fame banquet for the first time Friday, April 7 at 6:30 at Medina Elementary School.
The public is invited to attend. Tickets are $15, including the catered meal.
The sports banquet will be followed by a reunion of Medina High grads on Saturday, April 8 at the elementary school. A reception will start at 5 pm. followed by a banquet meal at 6 pm. The city museum at the old city hall will be open April 8 from 1 pm. until 4:30 pm.
The county Sports Hall of Fame banquet site is rotated amongst the county high schools. South Gibson High School is eligible to nominate an athlete for the first time. Nominees must be five years removed from high school.
“We’re thrilled to have the banquet at Medina now and looking forward to hosting the Hall of Fame banquet for the first time this year,” said Toni Kee, one of the banquet organizers. “We had not had any involvement and have never hosted the banquet before.”
The host city is allowed to induct an individual athlete or coach, plus an outstanding team and a contributor who supported community athletic programs. Graduates of Medina High, Gibson High and South Gibson High are eligible as South Gibson inductees.
Eight 2017 inductees from across the county will be chosen by committees and will include: Medina (Medina-Gibson-South Gibson) individual athlete or coach; Medina (Medina-Gibson-South Gibson) team, Medina (Medina-Gibson-South Gibson) contributor; Bradford High individual, Gibson Co. High School individual, Humboldt High School individual, Milan High individual, and Trenton Peabody individual.
Hornet’s Nest Museum
The Hornet’s Nest Museum at the old Medina city hall on Main Street has one of the county’s best collections of historic memorabilia. Resident Toni Kee has been a leader at the museum. Jerry Graves and Rodney Allen are helping plan the April events. The group met last week with members of the Hall of Fame banquet committee, Bobby Cotham and Cheri Childress.
“We started our museum for the preservation of the memory of Medina High School, because it is no more,” said Ms. Kee. “A lot of our collection is information and photographs that we are storing. We’re in the process of having people bringing us things about the city.” The old high school was demolished in 1987. Medina High served the community from 1911 until 1980, when rural schools consolidated, and Medina children started attending Gibson Co. High School. Five years ago, Medina children started attending South Gibson High School in Medina.
Medina schools had a strong sports tradition in Gibson County. Medina boys and girls were among the county’s powerhouse basketball teams. Medina boys won three of the first six county basketball tournaments, starting in 1925. Norma Jean Pirtle Emerson, a 1954 Medina star, scored over 3,000 career points and ranks among the state’s top ten scorers. The 1947 boys’ team won the Unit (similar to a state sectional) championship.
Medina’s original school colors were black and white, dating back to 1911. The colors were changed in the mid-1970s to Columbia blue and Univ. of Tennessee orange.
Prior to 1948, Medina did not have a school mascot. The hornet mascot was chosen in 1948-49, and 1949-50 was the first year the school actually had a mascot logo. According to historian Toni Kee, the hornet mascot was the idea of coach Harold Holms who previously coached and taught at Greenfield, which had the Yellow Jacket mascot. Holms also wrote the Medina alma mater.
The Hornet’s Nest Museum displays include personal scrapbooks, athletic team rosters, newspaper articles, tournament programs, trophies and photographs.
“People today still remember the sports teams and talk about the great sportsmanship and the spirit the school had,” said Toni Kee. “They remember the close knit community we had and how much school spirit there was. We’ve gleaned information from newspaper articles and gotten testimonials from people.”