E.A. Sports Today

County Sports Hall announces 11th class

Six new inductees bring roster of Hall of Fame to 70

By East Alabama Sports Today

Two athletes from Wellborn, one each from Cobb Avenue and Anniston, a legendary Jacksonville State coach and an influential local sports editor have been included in this year’s Calhoun County Sports Hall of Fame induction class.

The inductees are Wayne Carden, Paul Cox, Howard Miller, Henry O’Steen, Don Salls and Jerry Weems.

The 11th class, which will formally inducted in ceremonies at the Oxford Civic Center June 20, brings the Hall roster to 70.

Here are the inductees:


Carden was outstanding in three sports at Wellborn before graduating in 1969. In football, he earned all-state honors in 1968 as a senior. A guard in basketball, he was all-county as a junior and as a senior. Carden ran dashes and relays in track. His field events were the pole vault and long jump. Carden was a four-year letterman in football at Jacksonville State as a defensive back and kick returner. When his playing career ended, Carden remained actively involved in sports as a football official for 35 years.


Cox was sports editor of the Anniston Star for 10 years, ending in 1958, during a 53-year career in newspapers. During his time in Anniston, his column, “After the Whistle”, was a must-read part of The Star on an almost daily basis and Cox won four state Associated Press writing awards. He was also instrumental in the creation of the annual Calhoun County basketball tournament. At Opelika in 1975, he received the Herby Kirby Memorial Award, given for the best sports story of the year. Cox died in 2012 at age 83.


Miller was a three-year letterman in football at Cobb Avenue before graduating as valedictorian of the Class of 1962. As a senior, he quarterbacked Cobb Avenue to an 8-1-1 record including a 26-12 win over the southern Alabama champion from Mobile in the final game of the season and was first team all-conference. Miller accepted a football scholarship to Tuskegee University where he was a four-year letter winner at quarterback and team captain. In 2007, Miller was inducted into the Tuskegee Athletic Hall of Fame.


O’Steen started at end as a junior on the 1955 Anniston team that finished 8-1-1 and was selected second team all-county. As a senior, he was a unanimous choice as first team all-county at end and was named county lineman of the year. O’Steen was first team all-state at end in the large-school classification and lineman of the year. He was chosen All-Southern by the Orlando Sentinel. O’Steen was named first-team prep All-American by the Wigwam Wisemen of America and received a football scholarship from Alabama. In 1957, a knee injury prevented him from playing in Alabama’s freshmen games. In 1958, he played for the varsity in Paul Bryant’s first three games at Alabama. In the third game, he suffered a knee injury that ended his football career.


Following graduation from high school in White Plains, New York, in 1937, Salls received a football scholarship to Alabama. He lettered at fullback/linebacker for three years and started in 1941 and 1942 as a junior and a senior. After military service in World War II, Salls returned to Alabama and earned a masters degree in 1946. He became head football coach at Jacksonville State in 1946 and remained through the 1964 season. His second Jacksonville State team was 9-0-0. In 18 seasons, his Gamecock teams were 95-57-11; the 95 wins remain a JSU coaching record. Salls continued to teach long after he retired from coaching. He led the development of a system of static, or isometric, exercises. He was inducted into the Alabama Sports Hall of Fame in 1992.


Weems played multiple sports at Wellborn before graduating in 1966. In 1970, he finished at Jacksonville State then spent a year coaching junior high sports at Jacksonville. In the 1971-72 he was head basketball coach at Cleburne County, his first head varsity position. After two years at Heflin, Weems spent three years as head basketball coach at Dadeville. In 1976-77, he moved to Clay County High School and remained until the school closed following the 2011-12 school year. His overall basketball record was 599-452, including Class 2A state basketball championships in 1991 and 1992. Weems was also an assistant in football. He was defensive coordinator on each of the six Clay County state championship football teams and for the school’s four teams that put together its state record 55-game winning from 1994 through 1997.

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