July 12, 2013
Cullowhee, N.C. -
Five former student-athletes representing three different sports and the first Patron Award recipient since 2005 comprise the six-person, 2013 Western Carolina University Athletic Hall of Fame class announced this week. The 24th induction class in school history will be placed into the Athletics Hall of Fame on the weekend of October 18-19 with a special on-field recognition during the Catamounts' home football game against Southern Conference foe, Wofford, on Oct. 19.
Christy Attebery Kennelly (Volleyball, 1998-2001), Al "Mutt" DeGraffenreid (Football, 1974-76; Coach, 1977-96), Frankie King (Men's Basketball, 1993-95), David L. Jones (Men's Basketball, 1957-60), George "Ronnie" Scott (Football, 1964-66) and the 11th Patron Award recipient, Mr. Alden McCracken make up the 2013 induction class, the largest group since also inducting six in 2010.
Christy Attebery Kennelly becomes just the sixth former Catamount volleyball player to be enshrined in the WCU Athletics Hall of Fame. One of just two WCU players to ever earn All-Southern Conference accolades in three different seasons, Attebery holds the distinction as both WCU's and the Southern Conference's all-time leader in kills, setting the school record in her junior season. The Las Vegas, Nev., native ranks as the only Catamount to ever eclipse the 2,000-career kill barrier, amassing 2,109 kills to continue hold both records. She averaged an astonishing 4.50 kills per set and continues to hold three of WCU's top 10 records for kills in a single-season.
Finishing her four-year career atop the school's all-time digs leader board, Attebery concluded her career in first - and currently ranks second - all-time in program history for career digs with 1,682. Also, her 159 career service aces rank her second in the program's ledgers.
Attebery, who served as the president of WCU's Student-Athlete Advisory Council (SAAC) during her career, is one of just two Catamounts to earn American Volleyball Coaches Association (AVCA) All-Region accolades, doing so in 2001 to join fellow Hall of Fame member, Regina Brown. She was a four-time SoCon Player of the Week during her career and thrice earned all-tournament team honors for the Catamounts. All told, WCU boasted an 84-51 record with her in the lineup.
During her WCU playing career in 1999, Attebery was one of 22 players chosen to represent the United States on the under-20 All-Star team competing in the Sibillini Italian Tournament in Rome, claiming the gold medal in the tournament.
No one individual has had the same impact on or been a bigger part of the Western Carolina football program over the past 40 years than Al "Mutt" DeGraffenreid. A three-year letter winner from 1974-76 and a two-year starter in the defensive secondary, the undersized DeGraffenreid, who converted from wide receiver to defensive back, epitomized the fighting spirit WCU legendary coach Bob Waters embodied. DeGraffenreid was a member of the 1974 WCU defensive unit that finished the season ranked fourth nationally, and helped the Catamounts finish the 1976 season ranked second in pass defense. He was also on the '74 squad that made WCU's first-ever appearance in the NCAA Division II playoffs.
Credited with the first-ever tackle made on the artificial playing surface at Whitmire Stadium in 1974, DeGraffenreid, who played at Reynolds High in Asheville, went on to earn the football team's Intrepid Award as a senior in '76.
Following his playing career, DeGraffenreid latched onto the WCU coaching staff in 1977 as a graduate assistant and embarked on an incredible coaching career that spanned the better part of 20 years. In 1980, "Coach Mutt" became a full-time assistant and spent the next 16 seasons under three different head coaches including the late Waters, Dale Strahm (1989) and Steve Hodgin (1990-96). DeGraffenreid spent time as the wide receivers and defensive backs coach, as well as the offensive coordinator.
DeGraffenreid additionally holds the distinction of being WCU's first-ever women's track & field head coach.
Many former WCU student-athletes - football and others alike - can trace their path and reasons for bringing their talents to Cullowhee back to Coach Mutt. He mentored 10, first team All-Southern Conference student-athletes during his time on the football staff including former NFL wide receiver - and three-time Super Bowl Champion, David Patten, as well as all-time great receivers Kerry Hayes, Craig Aiken, Eric Rasheed and Otis Washington.
Following his career at WCU, DeGraffenreid served as a coach and administrator locally at both Smoky Mountain and Cherokee High Schools, retiring in 2006. He was one of the first-ever African-American head high school football coaches in Western North Carolina upon his hire at Cherokee High in 1999. His wife, Pam, has been a staff member at WCU for over 20 years. The couple have two children, Cetera, who played collegiate women's basketball at the University of North Carolina, and Al who is enrolled at WCU and works with the Catamount men's basketball team.
Frankie King played just two seasons for Western Carolina under head coach Benny Dees in the mid 1990s. Yet his name factors prevalently among the all-time greats to have ever worn the Purple & Gold. A transfer from Brunswick Community College where he twice earned Georgia Junior College Player of the Year plaudits and was the scoring champion, King was a unanimous two-time, first team All-Southern Conference performer who twice claimed the SoCon's scoring title. He also landed on the SoCon All-Tournament team two times including MVP honors in 1995. King is also the only Catamount men's basketball player to ever claim SoCon Player of the Year honors more than once, garnering the media's top honor in 1994 and the coaches' top player honor in 1995.
King scored 752 points as a junior in 1993-94 to rank fourth on WCU's single-season ledgers for points in a season, and followed it up with 743 as a senior in 1994-95, the sixth-best year in school history. His 1,495 career points in just two seasons continues to rank 12th in school history. King recorded 30-or-more points in 22 games over his two seasons in Cullowhee. He ranked inside the top three nationally in individual scoring average both seasons including third in scoring in 1993-94 (26.9 ppg) and ranked second his final season at 26.5 points per game.
All told, King's name remains on four of Western Carolina's single-season charts and is on three of the career ledgers. He was also featured as one of 12 players listed on WCU's All-20th Century team.
In 1995, King was drafted by the Los Angeles Lakers with the eighth pick of the second round, 37th overall. He opened a 12-year professional career by playing in the NBA with both the Lakers and the Philadelphia 76ers from 1995 through 1997. King additionally played professionally in several European countries including Spain, Greece, Germany, France and Turkey, as well as in Israel and Venezuela. He returned stateside for a season with the CBA's Gary (Ind.) Steelheads in 2003-04 before retiring in 2007.
A 1991 graduate of Appling County High School, King returned in the winter of 2011 to see his jersey No. 24 retired by the school.
David L. Jones enjoyed a very solid playing career at the then-named Western Carolina College, averaging double-digit scoring and rebounding for three seasons while starting 90 games for teams that posted a 77-38 (.670) overall record. A four-year letter winner, He was thrice named to the post-season, all-tournament team during his career, and helped lead the 1958-59 Catamounts to a then school-record 24 victories as a part of a 24-4 overall record, claiming the North State Conference championship. One year later, Jones earned All-North State Conference plaudits in 1960.
Jones paced the Catamounts in scoring for back-to-back seasons in 1958-59 with a 13.5 point per game average, following it up with by scoring at a 17.0 point per game clip as a senior in 1959-60. He additionally led the team - and the North State Conference - in rebounding in the two aforementioned seasons, averaging 10.5 and 14.6 boards per game with the latter continuing to rank second in WCU's single-season record books. His 395 rebounds in his final season continue to rank tied for fifth in WCU's single season ledgers.
All told, Jones scored 1,324 career points during his career in Cullowhee, a mark which was third at the time of his graduation and remains 21st in the current ledger. Jones played alongside and with current WCU Athletics Hall of Fame members Harris Pryor (1956-69), Gaston Seal (1959-63), Bruce Peterson (1960-64) and Mel Gibson (1960-63). He was also selected to the Who's Who Among Students in American Universities and Colleges, an honor selected by WCU faculty.
Following his graduation in 1960, Jones spent 40 years teaching, coaching and administration. He taught and coached in Windfall, Ind., Sylva, and at Hunter Huss High in Gastonia, N.C. He additionally was a physical education instructor at Mars Hill College. He moved into secondary school administration in Chesterfield County Virginia where he spent 30 years as both a middle and high school principal.
Jones retired from education in 2000 and now lives with his wife of 51 years, Audrey, in Pinehurst, N.C.
George "Ronnie" Scott was a three-year letter winner and three-time team most valuable player for Catamount football teams that posted winning records in three-consecutive seasons between 1964 and 1966. He recorded over 100 tackles in each of his three seasons as a linebacker, earning All-Carolinas Conference plaudits in 1965 and '66 while also tallying All-NAIA District 26 linebacker honors three times and was listed as a honorable mention All-America selection.
Beginning his career as a walk-on, Scott played both offense and defense while the captain of the 1966 squad that recorded three-consecutive shutout victories over Elon (34-0), Mars Hill (62-0) and Newberry (40-0), and led the Carolinas Conference in total defense. In 1965, Scott and the Catamounts finished 7-2 - with both losses coming by a combined six points; 18-13 loss to Catawba and a one-point, 14-13, loss to Lenoir-Rhyne. That same defensive unit held two opponents - Elon and Appalachian State - to minus yardage, while also only allowing eight touchdowns in nine games and paced the nation in rushing defense at 50.4 yards allowed per game.
Scott went on to have a highly successful and distinguished 35-year career at DuPont, an American chemical company based out of Wilmington, Delaware, as a leader in management and logistics. He also developed several design and inventions that were patented while with the company. He later served as a commissioner for the Port of Richmond in Richmond, Va.
Alden McCracken becomes the 11th person in WCU history to receive the Patron Award, which the WCU Athletics Hall of Fame Committee periodically awards to an individual that has made outstanding contributions which have enriched the athletics program.
A native of Waynesville, N.C., McCracken served four years in the United States Air Force before returning to the mountain region. A two-year letter winner on the Catamount football team, he graduated with a bachelor's degree in business administration from Western Carolina in 1958.
McCracken's distinguished professional career includes working for the Chrysler Corporation in their space and missile division; at Clemson University as an associate vice president for business affairs and secretary/treasurer for the research foundation. McCracken was also employed by the South Carolina Universities Research Education Foundations as the chief financial officer, and as the director of the Office of Contracts and Grants Administration for Hong Kong University of Science and Technology.
Throughout his career, his passion for Western Carolina University and Catamount Athletics has remained steadfast. McCracken has been a member of the Catamount Club Board of Directors, as well as the President of WCU Alumni Association in 1985. He has remained a loyal and generous supporter of the Catamount Club for nearly 35 years and has been a long-time season ticket holder for baseball, basketball and football. In 2013, McCracken became a Trophy Club member in the Catamount Club, which represents a full out-of-state scholarship.
Most recently, he established an endowed scholarship - the Linda and Alden McCracken Endowed Scholarship Fund - to benefit Catamount student-athletes.