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Hall of Fame to induct four Sept. 29

Featuring a group of inductees whose playing days cover five decades with graduation dates spanning 1958- 2006, the Screven County Athletic Hall of Fame will induct four new members tomorrow evening at its annual banquet concluding at halftime of the SCHS-Harlem football game. 

The inductees are Bobby Cannon (Class of 1958), Don Tyre (Class of 1965), Matthew Sheley (Class of 2003), and Kate Freeman Haslam (Class of 2006).

This year will mark only the sixth time in the better than 30-year history of the Hall of Fame that as many as four former athletes were voted in during a single nomination cycle.

The quartet will bring to 66 the number of living members. There are 17 deceased members.

Bobby Cannon becomes the first SCHS athlete to enter the Hall of Fame from the decade of the 1950s since Herschel Evans in 2007. A football and track star Cannon played in the GACA North-South All-Star game following the 1957 football season. At 6-foot-1, 180 pounds, Cannon was the largest back for the South. Interestingly, Gamecock teammate and fellow Screven County Athletic Hall of Famer Huelen Hill, at 5-8, 160 was the smallest man for the South. In that 1957 All Star game, the quarterback he rushed from his defensive end position was future NFL Hall of Famer Fran Tarkenton.

In track, Cannon was state runner-up in the high jump in 1957 and third in 1958. As a punter, he is second to none in SCHS history. His per kick average in 1957 of 41.7 is still the best ever and his quick kick that ending up rolling far enough to become an 87 yard punt also continues to be a record. He punted barefoot. He also played defensive end and fullback. He eventually played semi-pro football for the Savannah Indians.

A graduate of Diesel Mechanic School, Cannon transported jet fuel for Halliburton in both Kuwait and Iraq. He and his wife, the former Mary Parker of Rocky Ford, of 58 years have four children, 12 grandchildren, and one great grandchild.

Kate Freeman Haslam was an honor graduate from SCHS in 2006 with four letters in tennis as well as two in softball and one in cross country. She truly left her mark on the tennis courts. She continues to hold records for career singles wins with 72 and single season singles wins with 24. Her career total of 81 wins (singles and doubles) is third all-time. During her four years, the Lady Gamecocks advanced to the state Final Four each year, finishing as state runner-up in 2004. Over her final two seasons, Haslam recorded a record of 47-4 at No. 1 singles as the Lady Gamecocks were 52-2 as a team. During her four-year tenure, SCHS claimed the championship of the Jekyll Jam each year as well.

For her prowess she was named the CSRA Tennis Player of the Year for 2004 and was All Coastal Empire 2003-05. Outside of high school tennis, she was Georgia State Junior Challenger Singles Champion in Atlanta for 2003; Georgia State Junior Challenger Doubles Champion in Atlanta 2002 and 2003; and a Southern Closed Championships Invitee in Macon in 2003.

While in high school, she also was Miss Panorama for 2006; a First Team Sports Quest All American; received four academic letters; was State YMCA Youth Assembly Speaker Pro Tem; and was a 2005 Screven County Delegate to Washington Youth Tour.

Haslam received her BBA in accounting from UGA in 2010 and her Masters of Accountancy from GSU in 2011. Collegiately, she was a Student Academic Honesty Council member; participated in club tennis for two years; was match mate treasurer for UGA men’s varsity tennis; and a member Delta Delta Delta Fraternity. She is a Certified Public Accountant and Manager with Hancock Askew and Company in Savannah.

The third member of the 2002 state championship football team to enter the Hall of Fame is Matthew Sheley. 

A 2003 graduate of SCHS, Sheley was a starting cornerback on the team as well as a key receiver and kick/punt returner. Along with three letters in football and baseball, he also lettered for four years in wrestling. He left his mark on all three sports.

In wrestling, Sheley’s 107 career wins rank third all time. After lettering at 130 pounds in 2000, he was third in area at 135 in 2001; second in area at 140 in 2002; and area champion at 140 in 2003. Over his final two seasons, he posted a cumulative record of 63-16.

Leading the baseball team in hits, runs, and stolen bases in both 2002 and 2003, Sheley was the starting shortstop. For the 2001 Region 2AAA champions, he was the top courtesy runner. For 2002, he hit .378 (31-82). 

Despite his success in wrestling and baseball, Sheley will long be remembered by fans of the 2002 state championship football team for his role in the two touchdown plays in the 15-14 win over LaGrange in the state quarterfinals. 

It was Sheley who caught the pass that turned into the first touchdown after he ran with the pass and “fumbled it” into the end zone to be recovered for a TD. It also was Sheley who batted the rolling “Phantom Fair Catch” into the end zone to be recovered for the other score. Beyond those two plays, he was the starting cornerback on three consecutive Region 2AAA championship teams. Over the three seasons, he had 11 interceptions and made more than 100 tackles.

He attended Valdosta State University before graduating from Georgia Southern University in the spring of 2012 with a General Studies degree concentrating in education and coaching. While teaching at Screven County Elementary School, he is currently the defensive secondary coach for SCHS as well as the head wrestling coach.

Don Tyre is a 1965 graduate of SCHS and has coached in some capacity in the state of Georgia for nearly 50 years. He started as the junior varsity football coach at SCHS in 1969 and today is an assistant football coach at a feeder school for Starr’s Mill High School in Fayette County. Along the way, he has been a head football coach for 17 years at five different high schools. He has been head coach at Metter, Berrien County, Jefferson, Southeast Bulloch, and Sandy Creek.

While a coach, Tyre has been chairman of the Georgia Athletic Coaches Association football committee; twice GACA Coach of the Year (at Berrien and Sandy Creek); and an assistant coach for the GACA South All Stars (1983). He still has the best winning percentage of any head coach at Berrien County and he was the head wrestling coach at Jonesboro between 1973 and 1976.

After graduating from SCHS, Tyre received a football scholarship and played at Gordon Junior College before transferring to Newberry the following year. After football, he received his BS Ed from GSU in 1970, his MEd in 1973 from UGA, and his EdS from GSU in 1986.

Along the way, Tyre also has been an assistant coach at Clark Central, Jonesboro, Cass, Fayette County, Griffin, Lovejoy, Stars Mill, Appling County, Commerce, Our Lady of Mercy, Pike County, and Whitewater.     

The Screven County Athletic Hall of Fame was established in 1986 to recognize those individuals who have excelled athletically at the high school level in the public schools of Screven County. A special category of membership was also established whereby an individual who has been of special or essential assistance in furthering the athletic program in Screven County might also be inducted. An Executive Committee, made up of local members of the Hall, solicits nominations from the community, and then selects 10 finalists each year. The committee takes into account each finalist’s high school athletic accomplishments. In addition, both athletic and professional accomplishments after high school are considered. The 10 candidates are then voted on by each member of the Hall. All inductees must receive a certain percentage of the votes to be inducted, with no more than five new members inducted each year.