Hall of Fame Induction at Union Pines Tonight
Union Pines High School will induct its seventh class into its athletic hall of fame today.
The 2012 UPHS Athletic Hall of Fame nominees include Ken Crow, Mike Gatti, Keith Marion, Bobby Purvis, Mel Vest and Ashley Wahl.
Open to the public, the proceedings begin with a reception in the school’s cafeteria at 4:30 p.m. This will be followed directly by a banquet at 4:50 p.m. in James Stead Auditorium, where this year’s nominees will be officially inducted.
Then, between the boys’ and girls’ varsity basketball games versus Gray’s Creek, at approximately 7:30 p.m., the UPHS Hall of Fame Committee will conduct an on-court ceremony to honor its newly inducted members.
As has become customary, a highlight of this observance will be the unveiling of this year’s class banner, hanging high in the rafters of Bob Ward Gymnasium, bearing the names of the six 2012 inductees.
According to Union Pines principal Robin Lea, the induction process is always a special time of the year for the entire Viking community.
“At Union Pines, we embrace our heritage and take pride in the fact that many see us as the cornerstone of this community,” said Lea. “By honoring alumni through the athletic hall of fame ceremony, we are taking the time to reflect and celebrate a vital piece of our heritage.
“Each year, I am astounded by the reverence — the pure emotion generated through the fellowship and sharing of memories as new inductees, family and community members, former coaches, student-athletes and staff come together in this great tribute.
“Union Pines is a reflection of all the students who have graced these halls, and we are honored to have the opportunity to recognize the six new inductees for 2012.”
The newest class includes a diverse array of five former standout athletes and one beloved coach.
Crow, a 1980 graduate, is currently the general manager at National Golf Club. He was the varsity golf MVP for the Vikings in each of his four years and went on to play the sport at the collegiate level at Campbell University. He also lettered in football at Union Pines as a tight end, punter and place-kicker.
Gatti earned his athletic glory on the gridiron as an all-conference signal caller. The 1987 graduate is currently the Union Pines Athletic Booster Club president. As the starting quarterback during his senior season, Gatti tossed for 1,567 passing yards and 15 TDs.
The first of two tennis players to be inducted is Keith Marion. A 1972 graduate, he amassed a career record of 71 wins and 14 losses at Union Pines as a part of three conference champion teams. He won the league singles title as a senior, along with earning the conference doubles crown with Vest.
Vest is the other tennis player selected to this year’s class. Also a 1972 graduate, he and Marion finished as state quarterfinalists during their senior season. Vest completed his career with a 49-5 mark.
Wahl, the only female inductee this year, graduated in 2005 as the school record-holder in soccer for most goals scored with 133. She also doled out 58 assists, and scored a staggering 47 goals in a single season for another school record. The 2002-04 varsity girls’ soccer MVP, Wahl was selected as the 2005 Union Pines Female Athlete of the Year, before going on to continue her soccer career at Francis Marion University.
Last, but certainly not least, is Bobby Purvis. The only non-Union Pines alum or athlete among this year’s inductees, Purvis made his mark at the school as a head coach of track and basketball.
He is a 16-time conference coach of the year selection, and has amassed 34 total championships in 32 years of coaching, including a total of 698 wins. Now in his second year as Union Pines athletic director, it was during his time as the girls’ and boys’ basketball coach that Purvis collected 420 career victories, along with three regional playoff appearances, three sectional championships, six regular-season conference championships and eight league tournament titles.
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