In a story first broke by the Berea Citizen, the first ever class of the Madison County Sports Hall of Fame has been announced. Ten individuals and four special teams have been selected for enshrinement into the Madison County Sports Hall of Fame during the inaugural induction ceremony and dinner that is scheduled in April.
Bart Bellairs, president of the MCSHoF Executive Board, announced the names of the inductees and teams following the board of directors’ January board meeting. He also announced the first induction ceremony will be held on April 23 at 5 p.m. in the Perkins Building on the campus of Eastern Kentucky University.
The first class includes Freddie Ballou (football player), Earle Combs (baseball player), Billy Evans (basketball and tennis player), Ralph Hacker (broadcaster), Charles “Turkey” Hughes (baseball coach), Roy Kidd (football coach), Don Mills (basketball player), Don Richardson (baseball coach and player), Irvine Shanks (basketball player), Katty Wylie (golfer).
The first four teams to be inducted will be the 1921 Madison High School football team and the 1940, 1942, and 1943 Richmond High School boys’ basketball teams.
For more information about the Madison County Sports Hall of Fame visit MadisonCountySportsHoF.com.
Freddie Ballou was a standout running back at Madison-Model High School under head coach Roy Kidd from 1959 to 1961. He earned High School All-American, Kentucky All-State, and All-Central Kentucky Conference honors, and led the Royal Purples to a 34-4 overall record and 27 consecutive victories while gaining 5,000 yards rushing and scoring 50 touchdowns in three seasons.
Earle Combs was a centerfielder for the New York Yankees and batted leadoff for the famed Murder’s Row lineup of the 1920s. He was inducted into the Baseball Hall of Fame in Cooperstown in 1970. During his 12 years in New York, he helped lead the Yankees to four American League pennants and three World Series while compiling a .325 batting average.
Billy Evans was a native of Berea who was a standout as a high school tennis and basketball player at Berea Foundation High School. He went on to play both sports at the University of Kentucky from 1953-55. He captured two Kentucky State High School Tennis Championships. He played basketball for Coach Adolph Rupp at UK. Following graduation, Billy served a year in the military, before returning to play for the gold medalwinning United States Olympic basketball team. He was inducted into the Kentucky Athletic Hall of Fame in 1988 and the University of Kentucky Hall of Fame in 2005. His number 42 jersey hangs in the rafters of Rupp Arena.
Ralph Hacker was a household name throughout the state as he spent 34 years on the University of Kentucky Radio Network. Ralph began his broadcasting career as a teenager in Richmond calling high school games and what was then known as the Eastern State College Football and Basketball games during the early 1960s. Following the retirement of legendary broadcaster Cawood Ledford, he spent eight years as the play by play voice for University of Kentucky Basketball, and five years as the play by play voice for UK Football. Ralph was inducted into the University of Kentucky Athletics Hall of Fame in 2017, and the Kentucky Sports Hall of Fame in 2019.
Charles “Turkey” Hughes
Turkey Hughes coached five sports at Eastern Kentucky University over his 30 year career, which also included 23 years as the Athletic Director at EKU, and 27 years as the chairman of the Health and Physical Education department. Coach Hughes won 350 games as the EKU Baseball coach, and claimed eight OVC Baseball Championships. The EKU baseball field is named in his honor. Coach Hughes was inducted in the Kentucky Sports Hall of Fame in 1975.
Roy Kidd, who built a legendary football coaching resume at Eastern Kentucky University, began his coaching career at Madison-Model High School in 1956 after earning Little All-American and AII-OVC honors while playing quarterback for Eastern. He also played four years of baseball for the Maroons. In six years at Madison-Model, Coach Kidd compiled a 54-11-1 record and was voted 1961 Kentucky High School Coach of the Year. In 39 years as EKU’s coach, his teams compiled a record of 314-124-8, captured two NCAA Div. 1-AA National Championships (1979 and 1982), and earned 16 OVC championships. He was voted OVC Coach of the Year 10 times and National Coach of the Year twice. He is a member of the College Football Hall of Fame, the Kentucky Sports Hall of Fame, the OVC Hall of Fame, and the EKU Athletics Hall of Fame.
After an All-American senior season, and back-to-back All State selections in 1955 and 1956 at Berea High School, Don Mills signed to play basketball at the University of Kentucky for Coach Adolph Rupp where he was a key member on the famed 1958 Kentucky Team nicknamed the “Fiddlin Five”. He earned a starting position as a 6-8 center and helped the Wildcats capture the NCAA National Championship. Don averaged 12.8 points and 12.9 rebounds per game and earned Associated Press second team All SEC honors, and 1st Team selection by the SEC coaches. Following his UK career, he was selected by the Cincinnati Royals in the 1960 NBA Draft. After his basketball playing days ended, Don enjoyed a long and successful insurance career in Madison County.
Don Richardson is the winningest high school baseball coach in the history of the Kentucky High School Athletic Association with an 85.8 winning percentage. During 35 years as coach at Madison Central High School he compiled a record of 952-157 and guided the 1982 Indians team to a 40-0 record in route to the KHSAA Championship and the USA Today National Championship. Don also coached Madison Central’s basketball team for 15 years, compiling 350 wins and leading the Indians to their first KHSAA Sweet 16 appearance in 1987. He was inducted into the National Baseball Coaches Hall of Fame in 1998, the KHSAA Hall of Fame in 2002, the Kentucky High School Baseball Coaches Association in 1998, and in 2019 he was inducted into the Eastern Kentucky University Athletics Hall of Fame for compiling a 22-7 pitching record in the mid-1950s.
Irvine Shanks, who grew up in Richmond and graduated from Richmond High School, broke the color barrier in Kentucky during the 1953-54 basketball season while playing for Berea College. History was made on Feb 4, 1954 when Berea faced Wilmington College on the road in Ohio. Irvine became the first African American to play for an all-white team from Kentucky. Another historical date occurred two days later on Feb. 6 when Berea hosted Bellarmine College, and Irvine became the first African American to play for a predominantly white school inside the state of Kentucky. He was a member of the 1955 team that upset Georgetown College for the KIAC Championship.
Katty Wylie developed into one of the top amateur women’s golfers in Kentucky history. She began playing golf in 1946 at the Madison Country Club, and in 1948 she captured the first of her 16 Madison County Club Championships. In 1951, she finished as runner up at the Central Kentucky Golf Association Championship, this led to three titles in 1952, 1955 and 1956. Katty captured the 1956 Kentucky Women’s Golf State Championship, after finishing as runner up in 1955. She continued to play golf throughout her life and won the 1981 Senior Women’s State Championship Title; 13 years later, in 1994, she captured it again at age 68. Katty held the Madison Country Club women’s record for low nine-hole score at 35, and low 18-hole score of 75. She served as the director of the Women’s State Golf Association and Central Kentucky Golf Association.