Ex-Kempsville star among hall of fame inductees

J.R. Reid, an All-American basketball player in high school and college, and NFL return specialist Mel Gray are among the six Hampton Roads athletes who will be inducted into the 2013 class of the African American Sports Hall of Fame in November.

Joining the two are athletes Leroy Jones, James Doughtie, James Flowers, and Juanita Etheridge, along with two going into the Hall of Fame as community contributors: the Rev. Dr. Michael Daniels and the late Dr. Clarence Cuffee.

The banquet is Nov. 23 at the Sheraton Virginia Beach Oceanfront Hotel.

Reid was one of the country's most sought-after high school players coming out of Kempsville High as the 1986 Parade, Gatorade, and USA Today National Player of the Year. He starred at North Carolina under coach Dean Smith, then went on to win a bronze with the 1988 U.S. Olympic team before playing in the NBA until the 2001-02 season.

Gray, a two-sport athlete at Lafayette High, starred at Purdue and then spent 1984-1997 with a long list of teams in both the USFL and NFL, most prominently with the Detroit Lions. When Gray left pro football, he was atop several all-time NFL kick-return lists.

Jones is well-known as a member of the San Diego Chargers' "Bruise Brothers." In 1980, he teamed with All Pro's Fred Dean, Gary "Big Hands" Johnson, and Louie Kelcher on the defensive front line as the Chargers led the NFL in sacks (60). Jones' performance in 1980 also led to his selection as an alternate for the NFL Pro Bowl.

But locally, he was known for his play on the basketball court at Norfolk State from 1971-73, where he was the center on three CIAA tournament basketball teams.

Doughtie was an outstanding football player and track star at Portsmouth's Woodrow Wilson High School and Norfolk State. At Norfolk State, he was a four-year starter at linebacker and team co-captain from 1974-77. He was a member of three CIAA championship teams. In track, Doughtie was an All-American in 1975, 1976 and 1977.

While starting in the Norfolk State secondary, Flowers established a reputation as one of the best defensive players ever to play in the CIAA. The Lake Taylor High grad was an All-American in 1976.

Following Flowers' sensational senior season, he was selected in the NFL draft by the San Diego Chargers where he was a regular during the 1977 season.

Etheridge was one of the most multifaceted female athletes of her time. The First Colonial High grad excelled in basketball, field hockey and track. And at James Madison, she played lacrosse, in addition to basketball and field hockey for two years before transferring to Old Dominion, where she was a standout in basketball and tennis.

Etheridge was twice named ODU's Female Athlete of the Year and went on to become an accomplished runner and coach at Granby High, where she also teaches. Last year, she won the Norfolk Public Schools Inspiration Award for Most Outstanding in Health and Physical Education.


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