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County Hall inducts nine

July 20, 2008|By DAN KAUFFMAN

FUNKSTOWN - It's been eight months since former St. James athletic director and football coach Charles "Chick" Meehan coached the 207th and final game of a successful career that spanned 34 years.

"I think the thing I'm going to miss the most is the relationships with the kids," Meehan said. "I loved the game because of the competition with the other teams and coaches, but I'm going to miss the relationships. I've been lucky to coach some fantastic players, and we were fortunate enough to be successful."

Meehan was one of nine honorees inducted into the Washington County Sports Hall of Fame on Saturday at New Dimensions Restaurant. Meehan was joined by Donna Aycoth, Terry Bailey, Gary "P.K." Kershner, Joe Snyder, Jim Gossard and three "Pioneer" members: Charles Boyer, J. Vincent Jamison and John "Ike" Powers.

Meehan coached the Saints from 1974 to 1990, 1992 to 1999 and 2004 to 2007. He compiled a record of 121-82-4, including a 26-game winning streak that is a county record.

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"We always tried to stress the fundamentals," Meehan said. "We wanted them to play the right way, as a team and stress sportsmanship."

Meehan said his goal as a coach was to get his players to work hard and have fun at the same time.

"That's one of the keys, was making them think they're having fun when you know they're not," Meehan said.

Meehan also served as a basketball official.

* Bailey, a quarterback, was part of South Hagerstown High School's first football team before continuing his career at Middle Tennessee State, where he played in two Tangerine Bowls in 1959 and 1961 and earned All-Ohio Valley Conference and NCAA Division I Honorable Mention All-American honors in 1961.

"My senior year at South was the first year South had a football team. Only three of us had equipment," Bailey recalled. "We got killed regularly, but we tied North and beat Martinsburg. Every other game we lost.

"I've seen people I haven't seen in 50 years, some old, good friends. Some of them started first grade with me."

Bailey went on to coach football for 16 years and golf for 14 years at Columbia Central High School in Tennessee.

"Middle Tennessee was famous for turning out coaches. They wouldn't just teach us how to play, they'd teach us why," Bailey said.

* Kershner, a shortstop, played baseball at South Hagerstown and earned a scholarship to Murray State University, where he made the All-Ohio Valley Conference First Team twice. After graduating in 1963, he went on to star in fastpitch softball around the Washington area, reaching the International Softball Conference World Tournament, and was indicted into the Greater Washington Fast-Pitch Hall of Fame in 1986.

"I probably was always a defensive ballplayer," Kershner said. "I loved the game, and the transition (from baseball to fastpitch softball) was pretty easy.

"I tried some semipro baseball, that didn't pan out, but softball, what a game, a super, super game. I played against a lot of world champions."

* Aycoth, a North Hagerstown graduate, was the first female in United States history to finish an ultramarathon, winning the women's division of the JFK 50 Mile race each year from its debut in 1968 until 1973. She holds the record for most victories in the women's division with six.

* Gossard was a basketball official in Washington County and also worked the Central American Games in Guatemala City in 1963. He also officiated baseball, softball, football and lacrosse. He earned seven letters while attending Hagerstown High School - two in basketball and baseball, and one each in cross country, track and field and football. He was a member of the state championship cross country team in 1949-50 and the state championship basketball team in 1950-51.

* Snyder was a gifted sports writer in Hagerstown. He started writing for the Morning Herald in 1947 and retired as its editor in 1967. He was one of the founders of the Little League baseball program in Hagerstown in 1948. He graduated from Hagerstown High School in 1947, where he played baseball and basketball.

* Boyer came to Hagerstown in 1891 and was instrumental in the formation of one of the earliest baseball leagues in the area - the Cumberland Valley League in 1894. He went on to organize and manage professional teams in a number of cities and played a key role in the establishment of the South Atlantic League (1903) and the Blue Ridge League (1915). Boyer died in 1950.

* Jamison was a talented baseball player, captaining the St. John's College team and starring for the Hagerstown entry in the old Cumberland Valley League. He helped start the Blue Ridge League in 1915 and was instrumental in bringing professional baseball back to Hagerstown in 1941 after an 11-year absence. In 1936, The Sporting News named Jamison one of 13 men responsible for the success of minor league baseball in the United States.

* Powers played three sports - baseball, basketball and soccer - at Hancock High School. He caught the attention of legendary Philadelphia A's manager Connie Mack and was signed as a pitcher for a brief period. Powers' minor league career included stints with a number of teams, including the Martinsburg, W.Va., entry in the Blue Ridge League.

- Staff writer Larry Yanos contributed to this story.

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