E.A. Sports Today

Family affair

Deerman, Weems join relatives as members of the Calhoun County Sports Hall of Fame; induction ceremonies Saturday

EDITOR’S NOTE: This is the second in a weeklong series highlighting the inductees of the Calhoun County Sports Hall of Fame Class of 2017

By Jay Pace
For East Alabama Sports Today

This year’s Calhoun County Sports Hall of Fame induction ceremony is a family affair of sorts.

Mike Deerman’s dad Van was part of the Hall’s inaugural Class in 2005. Ricky Weems joins his brother Jerry, a 2015 inductee, in the Hall and gives it three sets of brothers, joining the O’Steens (Gary 2007, Henry 2015) and the Luttrells (David 2012, Jimmy 2013).

The other inductees in Saturday’s ceremony at the Oxford Civic Center are Stanley Bell, Billy Ferguson, Chip Howell and Jerry Ray.

Deerman and Weems have a lot in common.

Both were born and raised in Calhoun County where they began to participate in organized sports shortly after they learned to walk and probably well before they learned to talk.


Both men enjoyed success athletically on the high school level and both graduated from Jacksonville State within a few years of each other. Following their JSU years, both decided to pursue coaching careers, and for the next three-plus decades that’s exactly what they did – football, baseball, basketball … well, you get the picture.

If it was a sport and a score was kept, there was a Deerman or Weems somewhere near by coaching ‘em up.

Deerman accepted a job as an assistant coach on the Weaver boys basketball team in 1970.

“I got out of the Army on a Friday and started at Weaver on a Monday,” he recalled. He was in infantry school at Fort Benning with orders to go to jump school and then Vietnam, but late in the process was given an option to stay and go to Vietnam or enroll in the reserves and pursue a coaching career.

Three years after arriving at Weaver as a young assistant coach with no tangible coaching experience, Deerman was named head coach of the Weaver boys basketball team. It was a position he would maintain for the next 25 years.

Over the next two-and-a-half decades, Deerman, much like his legendary father, would build the Bearcats into one of the area’s most consistent programs, capturing three Area titles. When he retired from coaching following 1997-98 season, the program was an established winner and consistently in the hunt for an area championship, light years away from its status when he arrived on campus as a struggling newcomer just looking for an identity.


To honor its longtime coach, Weaver named the gym where its boys basketball teams play its home games in his honor. His father had the same honor bestowed upon him by Jacksonville. Like father, like son — in a lot of ways.

“My father had a big impact on my life and career,” Deerman said.

And his own children are following in his footsteps as coaches. Oldest son David led the boys basketball program at Jacksonville for 10 years in the gym that bears his grandfather’s name; he also served as the varsity baseball coach for nearly 20 years before recently resigning to become an assistant coach at Piedmont for his younger brother Matt. Daughter MIranda is also a coach.

Like Deerman, Weems followed his singular passion to become a coach and accepted a position at Ohatchee before moving onto Jacksonville in 1974 where he spent the next nine years as the Golden Eagles defensive coordinator.

Weems, who played for the legendary Charley Pell during his JSU days after a storied multi-sport high school career at Wellborn, would spend the bulk of his coaching career instilling the same principles into his teams as Pell did his JSU squads.

“Fundamentals and repetition,” said Weems of Pell. “He was hard-nosed but fair. A good motivator.”

Twelve years ago this Father’s Day weekend, Van Deerman was posthumously inducted into the Calhoun County Sports Hall. An emotional Mike Deerman accepted the enshrinement on his late father’s behalf.

Two years ago, Ricky Weems sat in the audience and watched his older brother Jerry walk across the stage and into the Hall as a member of the 2015 class.

This weekend, it’s their turn.

“It’s a real big honor to do that,” Weems said of joining his older brother in the Hall. “It’s really special to be joining him and those other guys.”

Special indeed.

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