Friday marks induction ceremony for four former Wildcats
Bobby "Butch" Burney | News-Telegram Sports Editor

Oct. 18, 2004 - Sulphur Springs Wildcat fans will want to get to Friday's game early to show their appreciation for a quartet of former Wildcat greats who will be inducted into the SSHS Athletic Hall of Fame.

The induction ceremony is scheduled to get underway at 7 p.m. at Gerald Prim Stadium.

Being welcomed into the Hall are football legend Jerry Dabbs, Class of '76; state champion shot putter Keith Gray, Class of '76; record-setting quarterback Cody Vanderford, class of '83; and versatile multi-sport athlete Gary Franklin, Class of '78.

They are the first athletes to be inducted into the Hall in six years. In the past, the ceremony was performed at the annual All-Sports Banquet, but it has been moved to the first district football game so that more people can attend.

The inductees will selected by a committee of seven, chaired by Stacy Cody, who evaluated the players on their accomplishments at SSHS.

"The committee is real pleased with the four selections this year," Cody said. "I can't think of four better athletes to induct. For me personally, watching these athletes perform was something special."

Their accomplishments will be announced and each inductee will receive a blue shirt with the Hall insignia and a plaque.

The four inductees will also be honored at a pre-game reception at 6 p.m. in the SSHS cafeteria. The public is invited.

Three of the four inductees will be present. Dabbs lives in Sulphur Springs, Gray in Sherman and Franklin in Grand Prairie. Vanderford lives in Flower Mound, but will not be in attendance because he is head football coach at Flower Mound High School. Accepting his award will be his parents, David and Sylvia Vanderford.

Twenty-three living members of the Hall have indicated they will be present for the ceremony. Forrest Gregg, who lives in Colorado, will not be able to attend, but indicated he would reserve next year's date.

"We're pleased with the response of former inductees who will be coming back," Cody said. "They will all be on the field at the same time, and it should be something special for them.

"It's been a pleasure for me to communicate with these men and women and to hear their stories about when they played. I think Wildcat fans will enjoy seeing these former athletes all gathered in one place."

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