The recently-formed Detroit Public Schools Sports Zone, Inc., has stepped up to the plate and done what the DPS administration itself should have done long ago — it formed a DPS Sports Hall of Fame. After inducting this writer as one of its earliest members for my 1950s sprint clockings (see insert of me with 1970s rocket Deon Hogan), it named me to its Advisory Board as its chosen track & field historian in order that I might recommend fellow former DPS track stars for induction into the Hall. Chosen this past year at my recommendation were state-high-school-record-setting miler and Olympian Lou Scott of old Eastern High School and Arizona State; world-indoor-record-breaking quarter-miler Deon Hogan of old Kettering High and Kansas; and Olympic 200-meter champion Henry Carr, the late, great “Gray Ghost” of Northwestern High and Arizona State.
For the 2018 Class, I have now recommended my fellow former world-ranked quarter-milers, Darnell Hall of Pershing; Stan Vinson of old Chadsey and Eastern Michigan University; and Eliot Tabron of old Murray-Wright, Wayne State, and Michigan State. For 2018, I’ve also nominated Olympic gold-medal sprinters Eddie Tolan of Cass Tech and U-M and Lorenzo Wright of old Miller and WSU; plus All-American 400-meter hurdler Randy Williams (old Cooley and Kentucky State); and All-American quarter-miler Wendy Truvillion (Pershing and LSU).
In coming years, God willing, I also hope to recommend All-American 400-meter hurdler Willie Atterberry (old Eastern and MSU), world indoor 65-yard low hurdles record-breaker “Bullet Billy” Smith (Northwestern & WSU); city and state-record-breaking quarter-milers Cliff Hatcher (Central & WSU), Claude Tiller (old Cooley and U-M), George Wesson (Southeastern), Lorenzo Montgomery (Southeastern and U-M), Mike Holt (Ford & MSU), James Grace (Mumford & U-M), and John Lewis (old Northeastern and Detroit City College [now WSU]); state champion and NCAA All-American mile relayist Reggie Bradford (Pershing, Mackenzie, and U-M); city and state half-mile champion Ron Phillips (Denby and the U. of Illinois); high jump, long-jump and triple-jump star “Jumping Johnny” Kline (old Northeastern & WSU–also a basketball All-American at Wayne); conference champion high-jumper & center on WSU’s NCAA Sweet Sixteen basketball team George Brown (old Northeastern); NCAA All-American high jumper Mark Smith, Ph.D. (Northwestern and WSU); world-record sprinter Elmer ‘Buddy” Coleman (old Miller and Wayne); world-record relayist Aaron Gordon (old Miller and U-M); All-American half-miler Delisa Walton-Floyd (old Mackenzie and the U. of Tennessee), marathon champion Ella Willis (Pershing), and many other old-time speedsters.
Per other recent columns also pertinent to DPS, I feel compelled to state that I still can’t seem to get our new young DPSCD Superintendent to understand that without the Detroit-based QWK2LRN program which I have touted to him and to our new elected DPSCD Board repeatedly as well as in print and on the air, Detroit’s public schools are doomed to fall prey to errant U.S. Education Secretary Betsy DeVos’ misguided support of the unregulated charter schools. Should this tragic calamity strike our schools, the DPS Sports Zone would no longer have any extant referential entity from which to induct its membership, since under that predatory circumstance Detroit’s public schools will CEASE TO EXIST. I’ll be examining this very real and nationwide threat to urban public education continually in print and over the air on WCHB AM1340 Saturday mornings at 9:30 and Monday evenings at 6:30. To join in these broadcasted discussions, the call-in number is 837-1340. My track & field nominees for the 2018 DPS Hall will also be subjects of pieces I’ll be doing in the Chronicle as the September date for the 2018 induction draws near.
Recent DPS Superintendent John Telford was an NCAA & NAAU All-America sprinter who went undefeated representing the U.S. team in Europe. Contact him at (313) 460-8272 or DrJohnTelfordEdD@aol.com. His website is www.AlifeontheRUN.com. Get his Detroit-oriented books at the Source Booksellers at 4240 Cass Ave., Barnes & Noble stores, or on www.amazon.com (type in Dr. John Telford). Friend him on Facebook.