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Lincoln Park celebrates Black History Month by honoring its athletes

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Published on: Thursday, February 14, 2013

By Brandy L. Simms

Seventeen new members were inducted into the Lincoln Park Athletic Hall of Fame last fall including former Richard Montgomery standouts Kevon Calhoun, Tavares Cooper and Anthony “Gumby” Williams along with Steve Weedon and his father, also named Steve.

The Lincoln Park neighborhood, a historically Black neighborhood in Rockville, is celebrating Black History Month by honoring its many athletes.

The elder Weedon was a two-sport star at Richard Montgomery who played on the Rockets’ state championship football team in 1981.

The brainchild of Lincoln Park native Donald “Duck” Davis, the Hall of Fame provides an opportunity for the community to come together and celebrate athleticism and sportsmanship in this historic Rockville neighborhood.

“I wouldn’t change where I came from for the world,” said Cooper, a former high school football and basketball star. “It means a lot [to be inducted].”

Former basketball star Will Allen was also enshrined along with James Blassingame, Mark Crutchfield, Nathan Dimes, Jeff Harris, Spencer “Spinny” Johnson, Tori Moten, Vincent Sewell, Billy Thompson, Jackie Young and Jay Summerour.

“I don’t care what nobody says,” Davis proclaims, “this [neighborhood] produced the best talent in Montgomery County. Case closed.”

Davis, a former standout basketball player at Rockville High, received a surprise induction and deservedly so.

“Everyone knows he definitely should have been in there,” said Williams, who starred in football and basketball at Richard Montgomery in the late 1990’s before playing basketball at Pfeifer University in North Carolina.

Williams, who played professional basketball overseas in Germany, also recently co-founded the Rockville Victors semi-pro league team.

The first Lincoln Park Athletic Hall of Fame induction ceremony was held in 2006 and three years later, 22 new members were enshrined including Rick Dorsey, Ernest Neal, Wayne Ferrell and Diane Thomas Hill.

Hill, a former Richard Montgomery student who earned a golf scholarship to college, is among a handful of female members currently in the Lincoln Park Athletic Hall of Fame.

In 2006, Jackie Israel Thomas, a former basketball standout at Holy Cross who played collegiately at the University of Richmond, was the first female member inducted into the Lincoln Park Athletic Hall of Fame.

Other notable Hall of Fame members who are well known in Montgomery County include Warren Crutchfield, Billy Gordon, Brian Howard, “Butch” and “Pint” Israel, Ken Jenkins, William Joppy, Watson Prather and Ricky Summerour.

Gordon , a longtime Montgomery County Public Schools administrator, was once drafted by the Seattle Supersonics. Jenkins enjoyed a stint in the National Football League with the Washington Redskins and Summerour was the first high school football player in Montgomery County to earn Parade All-American honors.

Howard was a three-sport star at Rockville High who went on to play college basketball in the Atlantic Coast Conference.

Crutchfield, a former track and field athlete, has made a name for himself in county coaching circles by once guiding the girls basketball programs at Sherwood and Holy Cross among others.

Prather, a former football star at Richard Montgomery, has also enjoyed a successful coaching career at the Rockville school. He’s the winningest girls basketball and softball coach in school history.

“Pint” Israel played professional baseball in the Negro Leagues and Joppy became a World Boxing Association middleweight champion.

Cooper, an RM graduate who played basketball at MC-Rockville and Pfeifer University, was inducted last year with several familiar faces.

“It’s an honor,” said Cooper. “We all grew up together playing sandlot ball, competing with each other. We get into the Hall of Fame class the same year, it’s like a great thing. All that hard work we put in didn’t go to waste so it’s an honor.”

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