RAYMOND – Key pieces of Hinds’ success on the gridiron and other fields of play have been inducted into the college’s Sports Hall of Fame for 2016.
This year’s Hinds Sports Hall of Fame inductees were:
- John Earl Hagan, track and field, 1962-1964
- Jaret Holmes, football, 1994-1995
- Christi Smith, softball, 1988-1990
- Oliver “Pete” Stone, basketball, 1970-1971
- Freddie Townsend, basketball, 1969-1971
Hagan, a Jackson native, was a key cog in the Eagles’ track and field machine in the early 1960s.
Hagan excelled in the 100-yard dash, 440-yard and 880-yard relays and low hurdles for the Hinds “thinclads” pair of state champion teams. The sprinter was the 100-yard dash state champion and anchored the two relay teams during each title run. He was also a manager on the Hinds football team.
After Hinds, he attended Mississippi State University on a track scholarship. He made the President’s List and graduated with a Bachelor of Science degree in Education.
In 1971, he became district executive director of the Elk River Boy Scouts, in Alabama, and was named among the “Outstanding Young Men of America” at the time. Later, he became assistant scoutmaster of a Boy Scout troop for developmentally challenged boys.
He lives in Homewood, Ala., outside Birmingham, and continues to work today, as owner and director of an assisted living facility. His three sons, Greg, Chris and Joshua also participated in football and track.
Holmes, a Clinton native, starred on two state champion football teams during his time at Hinds.
Holmes was the placekicker on teams that lost just two games and competed in a bowl game and the National Junior College Athletic Association playoffs. An All-American his second year, Holmes was also a star in the classroom, landing on the Deans’ and President’s lists both years with a 4.0 GPA and, in 1995, won the Eagle Award given to the college’s best male and female athletes.
He graduated from Auburn University in 1998 after a stellar career on and off the field. Off it, he carried a 3.5 GPA and earned a Bachelor’s of Science degree. On it, he was an All-Southeastern Conference selection in 1996 and 1997 and became the first kicker to win the university’s Pat Sullivan Award for Most Outstanding Player. His best moments came his senior year – the game-winning kick in the “Iron Bowl” game against Alabama, a 52-yard field goal in the SEC Championship Game and a field goal of the same distance in the Peach Bowl, both records at the time.
He spent time on the rosters of six different NFL teams from 1998 to 2002, appearing in 11 regular season games with the Chicago Bears, New York Giants and Jacksonville Jaguars. After the 1999 season, the Bears sent him to NFL Europe, where he was Special Teams Player of the Year with the Berlin Thunder. His stint with the Giants in 2000 came during the team’s run to Super Bowl XXXV.
In 2003, Holmes returned to Mississippi and opened Holmes Specialty Advertising Inc. Today, the company employs 15 people and serves hundreds of customers from its two offices in Clinton.
Holmes lives in Edwards with his wife, Sarah Webb Holmes. They have two daughters and one son.
Smith, a Pearl native, was a two-time All-American shortstop for the Hinds Lady Eagles.
She entered Hinds having won the Best Offensive Softball Award at two different high schools, Northwest Rankin and Pearl, plus an array of other merits for softball and track. At Hinds, she was a vital cog in a scoring machine that won the state and Region XXIII championships in 1989. Her .614 batting average was tops on the team.
In 1990, Smith was selected for an Eagle Award, given to the college’s best male and female athletes. In addition to her duplicating her place on the National Junior College Athletic Association’s All-America team, her batting average (.592) once again led the team. Off the field, she was two-time Academic All-American as well, with a 4.0 GPA.
After Hinds, she earned a nursing degree from Mississippi University for Women. For the past 20 years, she has been employed by Baptist Health Systems, winning numerous awards for her work. In 2015, she was among three nurses honored for outstanding Team Nursing for the year’s first quarter.
Stone, a Vicksburg native, was the big man in the middle for Hinds’ state champion basketball team in his only season at the school.
Stone had entered Hinds from a single season at Mississippi State University. Once at Hinds, Stone, the team’s starting center, and his Eagles teammates had their way on the hardwood in 1971. They finished 24-1 and swept the state playoffs and finals, where they defeated Northeast Mississippi Community College 82-72 for the title. The talented squad also featured two other future Hinds Sports Hall of Famers, forwards Wade Evans and Randy Shelton, and one of this year’s honorees, guard Freddie Townsend.
Stone made first team All-State and led the team in scoring. After finishing up at Southeastern Louisiana College, he pursued a career in business in his hometown, where he and wife, Amy, live. He is the president of Unitech, Inc.
Townsend, a Pelahatchie native, was another key piece of Hinds’ championship basketball team during his sophomore season.
Townsend, a guard on the near-perfect team Hinds fielded in 1971, excelled in the backcourt under head coach Robert Garrison’s first team after succeeding longtime coach Troy Arlis Ricks. During his freshman season, Townsend was fifth in scoring on the 11-member team.
He finished up his college basketball career at Belhaven University, where he was the school’s Most Valuable Player during his senior year and shot 92.5 percent from the free throw line, a mark that led the NAIA. In the classroom, he earned a bachelor’s degree in Business and Physical Education.
After college, he managed his family’s farm for 10 years, then went to work at Hudspeth Center as a recreation therapist. He retired from there after 30 years, a time during which he was heavily involved in Special Olympics as a basketball and equestrian coach. He was also a longtime deacon and volunteer with Concord Baptist Church.
Townsend died in August 2015. He was survived by his wife of 41 years, Jan Massengale Townsend, and their two daughters, Jennifer Townsend Harper and Jeanette Townsend.