Six Titans inducted into athletic hall of fame

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By Chris Teale (Photo/Chris Teale)

Ahead of the ceremony to induct the latest round of honorees at the T.C. Williams athletic hall of fame, former head football coach Herman Boone sent a letter to recognize one inductee.

Frankie Glascoe was a captain of the 1971 team led by Boone that won a state title and is immortalized in the 2001 Disney movie “Remember the Titans.” Glascoe rushed for 1,201 yards that season, and at one stage he was ranked third in the nation for the triple jump and fourth nationally in the long jump.

“The name of Frankie Glascoe should live on as one of our city’s heroes,” wrote Boone in the letter, read at the ceremony on February 10.

Alongside Glascoe, the school honored former players Jimmy Lewis, Tony Hunt, Dawn Ingram and Walter Oreal Griffin Sr., and former track coach and athletic director Aly Khan Johnson was also inducted.

After graduating from T.C., Glascoe helped the University of Tennessee win its first NCAA outdoor track title in 1974. He said that he relished being thrust into leadership roles and setting an example for his teammates.

“I think I was that type of person, if you ask them to do something he will go out and try, even if he didn’t succeed,” Glascoe said. “But I would try and put forth as much effort as I possibly could. Maybe that was the golden rod for me: once you ask me to do something, it wasn’t about me trying it. I would practice, push forward, put in the sweat and then see how it worked.”

Hunt was the second former football star to be inducted, having enjoyed a varied career on the gridiron before becoming a personal trainer. The running back went on to play for Penn State University, where he finished second all-time for career rushing yards.

The Philadelphia Eagles then selected Hunt in the third round of the 2007 NFL Draft, and he spent two seasons as a running back for the team. And after a stint in 2011 with the Raiffeisen Vikings Vienna football team in Austria, Hunt has thrown himself into being a personal trainer, a career move he said was sparked by the conditioning work he did in high school.

“I was always the guy that loved the weight room, so it sparked my interest,” he said. “You start to research what are the better workouts, understanding the body and you slowly look up, and life after football comes, and it’s like, ‘OK, what do I want to do?’ I’d definitely spent a lot of time in the weight room and had a good understanding of weights, training, the body and things like that. It was a natural transition for me.”

Ingram is another inductee to parlay their high school experience into a career, having enjoyed success on the basketball court. After starring for the T.C. girls basketball team and at Temple University, she now coaches an Under-14s boys team and is a physical therapist.

“My last year when I was here, I actually tore my ACL, so I couldn’t finish out my senior year here,” Ingram said. “With that, I did rehab and I really enjoyed the experience, [except] being tortured. At first I wanted to be a sports medicine doctor, and when I got involved with having therapy myself and saw the interactions and saw people getting better, I knew that was where I needed to go.”

After playing basketball at the all-black Parker-Gray High School, Lewis gained fame on the sidelines as an assistant and head coach at various college programs and the WNBA’s Washington Mystics. He also won four medals with USA youth national teams, including gold at the 1997 FIBA Women’s Junior World Championship in Brazil.

“Any time you have a chance to represent your country, it’s something special,” Lewis said. “It was the first gold medal that the U.S. had ever won in junior competition [in 1997] down in Brazil, so I think that stands out as the real highlight.”

A fellow Parker-Gray graduate, Griffin was part of a boys basketball team that won 38 straight games and three state titles. He went on to become one of the first black student-athletes at the University of Connecticut, before spending two years in the U.S. Army and 25 years at Western Electric.

But Griffin, a posthumous inductee, never talked about his accomplishments on the basketball court.

“If I had a career like that, I’d be screaming it from the mountaintops, but he did not,” said son Elijah Walter Griffin. “It never came up. It was just about being a dad and that was it.”

Johnson spent 33 years in Alexandria City Public Schools, first as track coach and then as athletic director from 1991 to 2005. He said he saw participation in track spike from 40 students to over 140 during his tenure, aided by the nine state championships won under Johnson’s tutelage and using fellow students to recruit.

He said the interactions with students were what kept him involved in education, even when he became T.C.’s athletic director.

“What I did miss going into that position was the interaction with kids day-in and day-out, but you interact with them in another way,” Johnson said. “I needed to make them understand the academics were the most important. Athletic ability will only get you so far, but what you learn in the classroom will take you further.”

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