PASCAGOULA — The Pascagoula Athletic Hall of Fame (PAHOF) will induct its Class of 2023 on August 12, 6:00 p.m., at the Hilton Garden Inn in Pascagoula.
The class of former Pascagoula High School and Carver High School greats will be the fifth such iteration of the PAHOF, which inducted its first group of honorees in 2015. The 12 new luminaries will expand the Hall of Fame’s membership to 72 from over the years.
“This is another class of superb athletes and coaches representing Pascagoula,” said Jerry Jackson, president of the Pascagoula Athletic Foundation, which sponsors the Hall. “Every time we bring in a new group, I’m amazed at the depth of athletic talent we’ve had around our city throughout history.”
The dandy dozen, so to speak, for the 2023 Pascagoula Athletic Hall of Fame Class are as follows:
Ernest Larsen (Pascagoula High School, 1935)- Captain and starting halfback/defensive back on the 1933-34 PHS football squads, leading the team to a 10-1 record in ’33 and a perfect 9-0 season in ’34, including a 14-0 victory over New Orleans powerhouse Warren Easton in the Toy Bowl. All-State both years, and received a scholarship to LSU. Worked at Ingalls Shipbuilding for 39 years. Passed way in 2003.
Earl Blair (PHS, 1952)- Three year letterman in baseball, football, and track at PHS from 1949-52. Scored 13 touchdowns and 89 points in 1951 to lead the football Panthers to a 7-3-1 record, and made All- Big Eight. Played four years at Ole Miss, helping lead the Rebels to a 34-6-3 record, two Southeastern Conference titles, two Sugar Bowls, and a Cotton Bowl. Averaged over 20 yards a catch on 33 receptions, and also rushed for 710 yards. Played for Toronto in the Canadian Football League. Served in the United States Army, and worked for the Nabisco Company for 32 years. Passed away in 2004.
Willie Mae Ballard (Carver High School, 1956) – Three year letter winner at Carver in women’s basketball as a starting forward from 1954-56, and was the Hornets’ leading scorer and rebounder all three years. Went on to play in college at Prentiss Institute, where she was a top point guard, rebounder, and scorer. She passed away in 2018.
John Kitchens (PHS, 1963) – Baseball and football star at Pascagoula High from 1960-1963. Compiled a 23-6 pitching record with 179 strikeouts in 172 innings, and served as clean-up hitter as well. Played offensive and defensive tackle for the Panthers in football, and was selected All- Big Eight in 1962. Played football at Perkinston Junior College, then had a long career at Ingalls Shipbuilding. Passed away in 2015.
Brady Walker (CHS, 1964) – Three year letterman in football at CHS from 1961-63 as a star wide receiver and running back, and broke school records for rushing yards and touchdowns scored. Went on to play at Arizona State, where he set several records for receiving and rushing. Drafted by the Baltimore Colts of the NFL, but was unable to pursue career due to injuries received in automobile accident. He passed away several years ago.
Gerald Johnson (CHS, 1968) – Three year letterman in baseball and basketball at Carver, playing shortstop in baseball. In basketball, was a leader scorer and rebounder, and once scored 49 points on a game against Nichols High of Biloxi. Graduated with honors from CHS, then attended Jackson State. Retired from Chevron after 39 years of service, and still lives in Pascagoula.
Jim Milstead (PHS) – Became Pascagoula’s first full-time basketball coach in 1961. In 1962-63, led the Panthers to the South Big Eight Championship game for the first time in school history, plus the district title. Coached through the 1965-66 season, adding another district title, and coached six PHS grads who are now In the Hall of Fame. Had previously been a star basketball player himself at USM. Eventually went into administration with the Pascagoula School District, including a stint as principal of PHS. Also served 12 years as a Councilman for the City of Pascagoula. Retired now and living in Pascagoula.
Greg Martin (PHS, 1976) – Three year track and field star for PHS from 1974-1976. Won the state championship in the discus in 1976with a then record throw of 189’11”, then later set the national high school record for the discus with a throw of 202’9” at a nationwide meet. Went on to excel in track/field at the University of Alabama. Presently in private business, living in Kentucky.
Eddie Ray Walker (PHS, 1979) – Two-year track/field and football letterman for the Panthers from 1976-1979. Was a defensive back in football, making All-District and All-Big Eight. Outstanding sprinter and long jumper in track/field. Lettered four years as a defensive back at USM, helping lead the Golden Eagles to two bowls. Also played in the USFL and CFL. Lives in Pascagoula and works at Ingalls.
Terry Graves (PHS, 1986) – Three year letterman in baseball and football at PHS from 1983-1986. Played running back/defensive back in football, making All-District in 1985. Played outfield/pitcher in baseball with a career batting average of .328, was MVP in 1986, and led the Panthers to the district title. Played baseball and football at MGCCC and at William Carey. Lives in Pascagoula and works at Ingalls.
Dwayne Curry (PHS, 1992) – Three year letterman in football at Pascagoula High. As a linebacker, made All-District in 1990-91, plus All-State in 1991 when he helped lead the Panthers to the district title. Went on to Mississippi State, where he lettered four years, and made All-SEC in 1995-96. Has since been in coaching, both in high school and college, and is currently serving on the staff at Robert Morris University in Pennsylvania.
Shanna Walters Stockman (PHS, 2001) – Five year letter winner in softball at PHS from 1998-2001. Pitched and played first base, and was selected All-District 1999-2001 and All-State in 1999 and 2001. Led the Panthers to the state championship in 2001, with a pitching record of 25-3, and pitched all 26 innings in the marathon state championship game. Went on to play for Gulf Coast Community College(Panama City, MGCCC, and William Carey. Is now a Registered Nurse for Vital Caring Group and lives in Hurley.
Tickets to the Pascagoula Athletic Hall of Fame induction ceremony are available from the Pascagoula Athletic Foundation for $40, and may be sent to the PAF at P.O. Box 272, Pascagoula, MS 39586 or purchased online at Eventbrite (please state inductee you are requesting to sit near if appropriate). For further information, call event chairman Joe Davis at 228-990-7233.