Four new members of the Alexander County Sports Hall of Fame were enshrined Monday evening in a ceremony at the Alexander Central Auditorium in Taylorsville.
The Hall of Fame was established in 2012 to recognize, honor, and memorialize those individuals who have made noteworthy contributions to sports in Alexander County and who have lived a life of an exemplary character.
Inducted Monday evening
CONNIE ELDER BRYANT
Connie Elder Bryant was a star guard for the Taylorsville High School Lady Bears in the late 1950s and early 1960s. Bryant is a 1961 graduate of Taylorsville High and played for Hall of Fame Coach Pat Gainey during her prep career as a Lady Bear.
Bryant, 76, is a life long resident of Alexander County and was a four-year varsity player for Coach Gainey at THS. She played seventh and eighth-grade basketball at Taylorsville Middle school before playing four seasons for the power Lady Bears Team.
She earned All-Conference honors in her junior and senior seasons at THS. In her senior campaign, Bryant was a team captain on a Bears’ team which closed the season with a perfect 25-0 record and WNCHSAA Championship. During her senior campaign in 1960-61, she was named All-State and All-Northwest. Also, she was selected to play in the East/West All-Star Game and served as a team captain for the West Team.
In addition to basketball, Bryant was a member of the first-ever softball team at Taylorsville High School.
She becomes the fourth player from the Pat Gainey era at Taylorsville High to join the Alexander County Sports Hall of Fame. In addition to Gainey, who was inducted in 2012, Lady Bear players Kay Wilson Hammer, Angelle Pennell Foust, and Reba Hefner Bolick are members of the prestigious Alexander County Hall.
Bryant is the sister of 2012 inductee David Elder.
Johnny Chapman is a 1986 graduate of Alexander Central High School and made a name for himself on race tracks across the south for nearly 15 years.
A life-long Stony Point native, Chapman was born November 14, 1967. He is self-employed at Chapman’s Garage in Stony Point.
Chapman made a name for himself on short tracks, winning 40 late model wins during his racing career. His biggest feat on the race track came when he posted a pair of NASCAR Dash Series Championships in 1991 and 2004. In all, Chapman grabbed 12 wins en route to his championship runs.
Following his first Dash Series Championship in 1991, Chapman made multiple appearances in NASCAR’s top three series. He made one start in the NASCAR Cup Series with a 1993 start at the North Carolina Motor Speedway in Rockingham.
He also competed in races in the NASCAR Xfinity and Gander Truck Series. He ran 117 Xfinity races from 1994 to 2011 and appeared in 60 NASCAR Truck events from 1996 through 2013.
ERNEST M. GOODSON, JR.
During his playing days on the basketball hardwood and field across Alexander County, Ernest M. Goodson, Jr., was known by his nickname “Dump”. Goodson was a standout basketball, baseball, and softball player at Happy Plains High School.
According to Goodson’s Hall of Fame nomination, he was regarded as one of the best basketball players in the area. He was known for the ability to shoot the basketball from any spot on the court and was considered the best at making shots from half-court.
During his playing days at Happy Plains, Goodson broke all the scoring records at the school. He graduated from Happy Plains School in 1962.
Goodson, Jr. received numerous scholarship offers for basketball before accepting one to attend Elizabeth City State Teachers College.
Goodson was born in Catawba County but spent most of his life in Alexander County. He passed away on October 24, 1992.
JIMMIE LEWIS ROBINETTE
During the early 1950s, Jimmie Robinette was a standout athlete at Taylorsville High School. Robinette lettered for the Bears in football and baseball. While he shined in both sports, Robinette’s baseball abilities made him one of the top young players in western North Carolina.
He batted over .400 in each of his final two seasons at Taylorsville and played on the 1953 Hickory American Legion Team that reached the semi-finals in the summer playoffs.
Following graduation from THS in 1953, Robinette was offered a full baseball scholarship to Wake Forest University. However, he opted to sign a professional baseball contract with the Cincinnati Reds Organization and started his pro career with one of the club’s farm teams in Fitzgerald, Ga.
Robinette spent six seasons in the Reds’ system and compiled a career-best .361 batting average for the Pampa Texas Oilers in 1956. In 1957, Robinette reached Class AA ball while playing for Mexico’s Monterrey Sultanas. He played his final season of professional baseball in 1958 with the Durham Bulls.
Following his retirement from baseball, Robinette became an avid golfer. In addition, he served as an American Legion Baseball Coach and held baseball camps for the Alexander County Recreation Department.
In 1985, he was voted on as a member of the Alexander County Living Legends Team which participated in an exhibition softball game against the legendary “King & His Court” in May of that year.
He passed away on February 6, 1994, at the age of 59.
ABOUT THE NOMINATION PROCESS
Once a person is nominated, his or her nomination remains permanent and will receive selection consideration each year by the selection committee.
Nomination forms are found on the Education Foundation link on the Alexander County Schools’ webpage (www.alexander.k12.nc.us) and are due by June 1 each year.