The Gordon Wood Hall of Champions will induct its 2014 class at a dinner at 6 p.m. Saturday, May 17, at the Christian Life Center of First United Methodist Church of Brownwood.
The event — open to the public — will feature remarks from Glen West, head football coach and athletic director at Brenham High School. Most recently, West was honored as “A Coach of Distinction” at the Texas Coaches Leadership Summit in Katy last February. A former Brownwood Lion, he is the son of former Brownwood assistant football coach and high school principal Kenneth West and the late Shirley West.
Chosen for induction this year are former Brownwood athletes Kirk Chastain, Tony Jones and Jared Morris, along with the 1957 Brownwood mile relay team. The late Rodger Sweeney, who was the public address announcer for Lions football for four decades, will also be inducted.
This is the 15th year for the Hall of Champions to recognize high school athletes at Brownwood High School along with others who played for Coach Wood before he came to Brownwood in 1960. The museum maintained by the Hall of Championships, and featuring the inductees, is located on the second floor of the Harvey House in the Depot complex. While still a work in progress, rooms that have been completed are open by appointment.
Tickets at $30 each are available at the Brownwood Area Chamber of Commerce, KOXE-KBWD, Wendlee Broadcasting and from members of the Gordon Wood Hall of Champions board.
Rodger Sweeney was born in 1921 in Pittsburgh, Pa., but military service during World War II brought him to Camp Bowie in Brownwood. He later settled here and became a key supporter of Brownwood High athletes and local youth sports.
A businessman, he was also employed as a teacher and assistant superintendent in Brownwood schools, and then as director of the City of Brownwood Parks and Recreation Department.
But he was best known as the stadium voice to the Brownwood Lions and Howard Payne University Yellow Jackets for more than 40 years.
Sweeney was instrumental in starting Little League Baseball here, helped organize and run the Bluebonnet Relays as well as state softball tournaments and the 1982 TAAF track meet that attracted 3,000 athletes, organized city softball tournaments, and was the master of ceremonies for football banquets, TV cable events for the Brownwood High band, and the annual KBWD-KOXE Cherry Pie Auction supporting several local youth sports organizations.
He was a regular on the radio station’s pre-game show, and wrote a sports column for the Brownwood Bulletin for many years. He returned to Brownwood after serving in the Army, attended Daniel Baker College and graduated from Howard Payne University, and married Jean Porter. They had two daughters, Sherry and Becky. He died in 2001.
Editor’s Note: The Bulletin will profile each of the Gordon Wood Hall of Champions Class of 2014 inductees this week leading up to Saturday’s ceremony.