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African American athletes contribute to MoCo

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Published on: Thursday, February 27, 2014

By Brandy L. Simms

Montgomery County has produced scores of outstanding student-athletes over the years but here are some African-American individuals who made a significant imprint on the local sporting scene during their heyday.

Will Allen (RM)

The Rockville native helped lead the Richard Montgomery boys’ basketball team to a state championship before going on to play collegiately at the University of Miami. In 2012, Allen was inducted into the Lincoln Park Athletic Hall of Fame.

Richie Anderson (Sherwood)

Before he was scoring NFL touchdowns with the New York Jets and Dallas Cowboys, the Sandy Spring native made his mark on the Montgomery County gridiron at Sherwood. As a high school senior, Anderson rushed for more than 2,000 yards and amassed more than 3,500 yards and 40 touchdowns during his prep career.

Marc Bason (Gaithersburg)

Described by Gaithersburg head coach Kreg Kephart as one of the school’s all-time greats, the speedy quarterback led the Trojans to an appearance in the state title game during his senior campaign. He also played in the Big 33 Football Classic. “He was big time,” said Kephart. “He could throw the ball as well as anybody and he could run the option.”

Warren Crutchfield

(George Washington Carver)

A trailblazer in Montgomery County athletics, Crutchfield coached track and field and girls basketball at Sherwood for more than three decades.

Dominique Dawes


The Silver Spring native trained at Hill’s Gymnastics in Gaithersburg and went on to capture Olympic gold in 1996. She was inducted into the USA Gymnastics Hall of Fame in 1998.

Eric Drain (Seneca Valley)

The 1982 Parade All-American played collegiately at Missouri where he rushed for 115 yards and scored two touchdowns in the Tigers’ 21-17 Holiday Bowl loss to BYU during his sophomore campaign.

Tracey Earley (Magruder)

A three-sport athlete in high school, Earley played college basketball at George Washington University. She was inducted into the Foggy Bottom school’s Athletic Hall of Fame in 2001.

Wayne Ferrell (Rockville)

The Rockville product coached WNBA standout Monique Currie at Bullis and various other girls who went on to play Division I basketball. He has been inducted into both the Bullis Athletic Hall of Fame and the Lincoln Park Athletic Hall of Fame.

Calvin Fitz (Gaithersburg)

Considered to be among the greatest student-athletes in school history, Fitz played on John Harvill’s first undefeated football team in 1966.

Tyree Foreman (Sherwood)

A standout running back in high school, Foreman guided the Warriors to consecutive state titles in the mid 1990’s before playing college football at the University of Virginia.

Billy Gordon (RM)

The Lincoln Park native helped guide the RM boys’ basketball team to a state championship in 1966. Drafted in the fourth round by the Seattle Supersonics in 1974, Gordon was inducted into the University of Maryland Eastern Shore (UMES) Athletic Hall of Fame in 2012.

Tony Greene (Gaithersburg)

The former Maryland Terrapin defensive back spent nearly a decade with the Buffalo Bills where he earned the Ralph C. Wilson, Jr. Distinguished Service Award in 1995. He was named to the Pro Bowl in 1977.

Jackie Holland


The Emory Grove native was a standout high school running back who became one of the Trojans’ first great student-athletes after integration.

Brian Holloway (Churchill)

The former Stanford and NFL Pro Bowl offensive tackle was the 19th overall pick by the New England Patriots in the 1981 NFL Draft.

Brian Howard (Rockville)

Considered among the greatest multi-sport athletes Montgomery County has ever produced, Howard was a three-sport star who was a Major League Baseball prospect and also played Division I basketball at Georgia Tech and Maryland. He was inducted into the Lincoln Park Athletic Hall of Fame in 2006.

Tony Howard (Magruder)

A three-time state champion, Howard is considered to be among the greatest pound-for-pound wrestlers in county history. He lost once during his high school career and amassed a 67-0 record during his junior and senior campaigns.

Erik McMillan (Kennedy)

The former Missouri defensive back was selected by the New York Jets in the 1988 NFL Draft. He was named the NFL Defensive Rookie of the Year by the Associated Press after leading the AFC with eight interceptions that year.

Roland “Sonny” Jackson

(Montgomery Blair)

A three-sport athlete in high school, Jackson spent twelve seasons playing Major League Baseball with the Houston Astros and Atlanta Braves.

Tracy Jackson (Paint Branch)

The former Notre Dame standout was selected by the Boston Celtics in the second round of the 1981 NBA Draft. He also played with the Chicago Bulls and Indiana Pacers before retiring from professional basketball in 1985.

Dhani Jones (Churchill)

The former Michigan linebacker helped lead the Wolverines to an undefeated season and the AP national title during the 1997 campaign. A sixth round draft choice in 2000, Jones played for several NFL teams including the New York Giants and Philadelphia Eagles during his decade-long career in professional football.

Marcus Mason

(Georgetown Prep)

One of the greatest running backs the county has ever produced, the Scotland native finished his high school career as the state’s all-time leading rusher with 5,700 yards. After a stellar college career at Youngstown State, Mason played with several NFL teams including the Washington Redskins and Baltimore Ravens.

Tommy Neal (Magruder)

The former high school standout running back and linebacker played collegiately at the University of Maryland and was inducted into the Magruder Athletic Hall of Fame in 2004.

Kira Orr (Bullis)

The Poolesville native starred on the Bullis hardwood before going on to a stellar collegiate career at Duke where she became an ACC legend. She currently holds a spot in the Bullis Athletic Hall of Fame.

Paul Palmer (Churchill)

Nicknamed “Boo Boo,” the Scotland native played tailback for the legendary Fred Shepherd before starring at Temple where he was a runner-up for the 1986 Heisman Trophy. He was selected No. 19 overall by the Kansas City Chiefs in the first round of the 1987 NFL Draft.

Devin Payton (Magruder)

As a high school senior, Payton registered 15 goals and eight assists while earning Parade All-American and Gatorade Player of the Year honors in soccer. He was a four-year starter at Old Dominion and was named all-conference three years.

Guy Prather (Gaithersburg)

The former Grambling State standout once played for the legendary Eddie Robinson in college and spent five seasons at linebacker with the Green Bay Packers.

Shawn Prather (Magruder)

Playing quarterback for the legendary Roy Lester, Prather guided the Colonels to a state title in 1984. A football and basketball standout in high school, Prather was inducted into the Magruder Athletic Hall of Fame in 2007.

Curtis Pride (Kennedy)

The Silver Spring native was a three-sport star in high school who competed in soccer, basketball and baseball. A Parade-All American in soccer, Pride earned a basketball scholarship to William & Mary. He made history by becoming the first deaf Major League Baseball player in the modern era.

Bill “Elbows” Simpson


One of the state’s top all-time wrestlers, Simpson earned a state championship in 1970 and was the county’s first NCAA champion at Clarion University of Pennsylvania in 1973.

Shawn Springs (Springbrook)

The former Ohio State defensive back and kick returner was a two-way standout in high school where he starred at running back and cornerback. He was selected third overall by the Seattle Seahawks in the first round of the 1997 NFL Draft.

Rick Summerour (RM)

A Montgomery County gridiron legend, Summerour became the county’s first Parade All-American in 1971. Widely considered one of the best running backs the county has ever produced, Summerour was inducted into the Lincoln Park Athletic Hall of Fame in 2006.

Charlie Thomas

(Seneca Valley)

The Sandy Spring native played in the 1984 Capital Classic before going on to compete in the Atlantic Coast Conference at Wake Forest. He finished his collegiate career at New Mexico and played professionally overseas.

Milt Thompson (Magruder)

The former Howard University baseball standout played for several Major League Baseball teams including the Atlanta Braves and Los Angeles Dodgers during a twelve-year career in the big leagues.

Ellsworth Turner


Nicknamed “Tookey,” Turner was a two-sport star in high school who guided the North Carolina A&T football team to a share of the MEAC championship in 1975. He was enshrined into the MEAC Hall of Fame in 2007. Turner, who was inducted into the North Carolina A&T Hall of Fame in 2009, became the first quarterback in school history to throw for more than 2,000 yards in a season.

Craig Turner (Damascus)

Turner was a Swarmin’ Hornets standout in the 1980’s who played college football at Alabama for the legendary Paul “Bear” Bryant. In fact, Turner was the last player to score a touchdown for Bryant. His stellar play in college helped him earn the nickname “Touchdown.”

Cliff Warren (Paint Branch)

A standout basketball player in high school, the current Jacksonville University head coach once played for the legendary Jim Phelan at Mount St. Mary’s. In 2005, the Silver Spring native became the first African-American head coach in any sport at JU.

Jerome Williams (Magruder)

A 6-foot-3 standout in high school, Williams grew six inches after graduation and emerged into a major Division I talent after a stint at Montgomery College. The former Georgetown forward was selected by the Detroit Pistons with the 26th overall pick in the first round of the 1996 NBA Draft.

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