The Sampson County Sports Club inducted its Class of 2018 Tuesday night at Clinton High School. Inductions are made every three years and this was the sixth class inducted.
Inducted were Archie Brigman, former coach at Hobbton High School; the Rev. W. H. Calcutt, longtime sports advocate from the Midway area; William “Bill” Faircloth, former Clinton High standout and longtime football coach at Wake Forest University; Hillery Honeycutt, football standout at Lakewood High School and N.C. State; and Ronnie Jordan, a pro rodeo standout.
The event held a “meet and greet” before a meal and then the induction ceremony.
Archie Brigman was hired by former Hobbton Principal H.H. Simpson to build the athletic program at Hobbton. When he started work, the school wasn’t even open. He served in the U. S. Navy during World War II. After leaving the Navy, he attended Campbell College where he earned three letters in football, All Conference football honors in 1948 and two letters in baseball.
After finishing at Campbell, Brigman went to Elon where he played football from 1949-1951 earning two letters there. He also played baseball at Elon earning two letters and All Conference.
Brigman began his teaching and coaching career in 1951 coaching at Stoneville, Raeford and Ahoskie coming to Hobbton in 1957. During his time at Hobbton he coached football, men’s and women’s basketball and baseball. In three short seasons, he brought home a State Championship in basketball in 1960. In addition to his coaching duties, he taught driver’s education, served as athletic director and assistant principal.
He left Hobbton in 1972 to take the principalship of Sunnyside Elementary School in Cumberland County where he finished his career.
He was awarded the Campbell University Distinguished Alumni Award and inducted into the Campbell University Athletic Hall of Fame in 1989. He passed away in 2002 at 77 years old. Jane Britt Burke and Michael Warren, both former students of and players for Brigman, represented the Brigman family.
The Rev. W.H. Calcutt came to Sampson County with his family in 1963. He is a Baptist minister by trade but in his heart, he loved young people who worked hard to become productive adults through sports. For his years of work in youth sports in the Midway area, he is known as “The Commissioner” for his efforts planning, organizing, starting and leading youth sports for decades.
He formed the Midway Youth Basketball League in 1971, giving boys in grades 5-8 the opportunity to play basketball. Later, a girl’s program was added for the same age group. He made the schedules, set the practice times and places, secured game official and recruited volunteer coaches, made sure the concession stands were stocked, staffed and volunteers were there to work the gate.
He would visit the elementary schools in the Midway area in an effort to encourage kids to participate. He took great pride in dividing the teams to make them as equitable as possible.
Calcutt started a football leagues in 1972. After years of success, the football league expanded in 1981 to include two divisions allowing kids in the third and fourth grades and fifth and sixth grades to play. He oversaw the football league until 2000 and it has expanded to include a flag football league. After nearly 50 years, the league is still going strong.
In addition, Calcutt organized baseball for ages six and up. He led the league and coached teams that played in the Clinton Recreational League for over 15 years. His teams also played in the South River League and on other fields that were available.
“When one spends nearly four decades working with a university football program, you get to be parts of many wins and losses, and many ups and downs.” Bill Faircloth was known affectionately as “Big Daddy” by the football players of Wake Forest University, that was one of the ups.
In 2004, Wake Forest University dedicated the “Faircloth Foyer” in the newly renovated Pruitt Football Center to show it’s appreciation.
Faircloth hit a milestone in 2012 when he attended his 400th consecutive Wake Forest football game. As of the past season, he has now attended 452 straight games.
He played football at Wake Forest from 1961-1963. He earned three letters, was team captain in 1963 and was a member of the 1963 All ACC Academic team. After completing his Masters Degree at the University of Alabama, he served seven years as assistant football coach at Catawba College. He was named head coach in 1973 and served in that capacity for three years.
Faircloth left Catawba and worked as an assistant football coach at Duke for two seasons after which he left to return to Wake Forest where he remained until his retirement in 2017.
During his Wake Forest career, he was part of the 1979 Tangerine Bowel, 1992 Independence Bowel, 1999 Aloha Bowel, 2002 Seattle Bowel, 2007 Fed Ex Orange Bowel, 2011 Music City Bowel, the 2016 Military Bowel and 2006 ACC Championship in Jacksonville, FL against Georgia Tech.
In the mid 1970’s, Lakewood High School played in the tough East Central 3-A Conference competing against Clinton, East Duplin, James Kenan, Pender and others. In spite of rugged competition each week, the Lakewood Leopards would garner three conference championships in football from 1974-1976. One of the team leaders of those championship teams was Hillery Honeycutt.
Lakewood compiled records of 10-3, 10-0-1 and 9-2 for a record of 29-5-1 during those three years. Honeycutt earned All-Conference honors each season. News of Honeycutt’s football accomplishments spread far and wide, even without Google, Twitter and other social media outlets that play vital recruiting roles today.
Honeycutt was offered a football scholarship to Auburn by Coach Doug Barfield. He play one season at Auburn before transferring back home to N. C. State. He was a member of Wolfpack football from 1978-81.
In 1979, he helped N. C. State win the ACC football championship, a feat that has not been duplicated since. He lettered all three years at State and was a key component of the Wolfpack defense. He led the ACC in interceptions in 1980 with six. He earned ACC Defensive Player of Week after two interceptions and five tackles against William and Mary. He also was the Chevrolet MVP for the 1981 Duke game.
Hillery proudly won the Bob Warren Memorial Award from North Carolina State in 1981. This award is for integrity and sportsmanship. While at N C State, he was coached by current Seattle Seahawks coach Pete Carroll.
From an early age Ronnie Jordan knew he wanted to be a cowboy. Riding his tobacco stick horse with hay strings with his cousins around Papa’s barn, Ronnie had the fastest stick horse the Kitty Fork community had ever seen. He and Trigger were a winning team.
At age 13, Jordan joined his daddy and entered his first rodeo in the roping competition. He enjoyed roping and swung a rope like Roy Rogers; however, his real desire was to jump on a steer and wrestle it to the ground. Once he had to opportunity to “bulldog” a steer, he was hooked for life and the journey began.
The art of wrestling a steer to the ground requires skill and horsemanship. A cowboy will lean from a running horse onto the back of a steer with horns, stop the steer and wrestle him to the ground with all four feet pointing the same direction. The cowboy is assisted by another horse and rider known as a hazer. The hazer rides beside the steer to keep it running straight. This is a timed event where strength, speed and timing wins. Teamwork comes into play when the steer wrestler and the hazer reverse roles in an event called “The Big Man’s Event.” Jordan’s best time in his career was 3.5 seconds.
Ronnie and brother Glenn held rodeo schools on their farm as a way to teach aspiring young cowboys the sport of steer wrestling. The three-day events were attended by cowboys from New York to Florida. Ronnie loved to share his knowledge and teaching students the correct way to wrestle a steer without injury to the cowboy, the steer or the horse.
Ronnie was a lifetime Gold Card member of the Southern Rodeo Association. He qualified for the finals 33 consecutive years. In order to qualify, you had to finish a specified number of events placing in the top finishers. He was the 1976 Southeastern Rodeo Champion Steer Wrestler in 1976 winning the Silver and Ruby Buckle, a trophy saddle and the name “King of the Rodeo.”
He passed away in 2008 at 56 years old. He was introduced by his daughter Dana Jorden Jones with comments by son-in-law, Jeff Jones.