Hall of Fame announces Class of 2022

DeKalb County Sports Hall of Fame Class of 2022.

Eight new DeKalb County sports figures will join the DeKalb County Sports Hall of Fame in 2022.

The DeKalb County Sports Hall of Fame announced the inductees for its Class of 2022 this week, the organization’s 17th class to be inducted.

Inductees are selected by the DeKalb County Sports Hall of Fame’s 21-member board of directors. Inductees must receive 50% of board votes to be selected. The induction banquet is scheduled for June 25 at the DeKalb County Schools Coliseum in Rainsville.

The Class of 2022:

Jeff Allen

Perhaps best known as the host of the state’s longest-running high school football scoreboard show on the radio station WQSB in Albertville, Allen graduated from Crossville High School in 1975 and the University of Alabama in 1979 with a degree in broadcast and film communications. 

Allen began his career doing play-by-play for Alabama women’s basketball and selected Alabama baseball games. He has served as the color commentator for Albertville High School football and other area teams and was on the broadcast in 1986 for Crossville’s state championship football game and the girls state basketball win in 2008.  

The WQSB High School Football Scoreboard has been airing for 31 seasons with Allen at the helm.

Cristie Brothers

Geraldine High School volleyball coaching great Brothers graduated from the school in 1989, where she was an all-county and all-area volleyball player. 

She graduated from Athens State University in 1993, was hired as volleyball coach at Geraldine High School in 1997, and turned the Bulldogs into a volleyball powerhouse.  

Over the next 21 years her teams won 14 county championships and 16 area titles.

In 2001, Brothers led her team to the 2A state championship. She had two more state runner-up teams and 12 Elite Eight appearances. Brothers finished her coaching career with 872 wins and 346 losses.

Billy Colburn

Colburn, who became a do-it-all coach at Fort Payne High School, graduated from Chalmette High School in Louisiana in 1964. After high school graduation, he walked on as a football player and graduated from the University of West Alabama. 

In 1977, he was hired as a teacher and coach at Fort Payne High School.  During his tenure at Fort Payne, he coached about every sport Fort Payne had to offer, including serving as an assistant football coach, B-team basketball coach, head track coach and head wrestling coach. 

Additionally, Colburn served as athletic trainer and sponsor of the Fellowship of Christian Athletes chapter at the high school.  

In 1994, Colburn was awarded the Golden Apple Award for Teachers by the governor of Alabama. The award was given to a teacher who was instrumental in the lives of so many students at Fort Payne High School.

Tracy Hulgan

A longtime high school coach, Hulgan graduated from Crossville High School in 1981 and Jacksonville State University in 1984, before beginning his coaching career at White Plains High School as an assistant basketball coach, while also coaching baseball and junior high football.   

From 1985-91, Hulgan served as junior high head basketball and football coach at Center Middle School. 

In 1991, Hulgan returned to Crossville as the head basketball coach until 2014. His teams there won six area titles, made five Elite Eight appearances and won eight DeKalb County Tournament championships.  

Hulgan served as the head basketball coach at Arab High School from 2014-16. After two seasons he returned to DeKalb County to serve as an assistant to the boys and girls basketball programs at Collinsville High School. While continuing to serve in that capacity he has helped coach the girls to two area titles, one region title and the 2020 Class 2A state championship.  

Matthew Lambert

Excelling as a high school and college baseball player, Lambert graduated from Fyffe High School in 1997. He attended Central Alabama Community College and graduated from Birmingham Southern in 2001.   

As a high school player, he had a four-year batting average of .475 with 20 home runs and 156 RBIs and was selected as a Louisville Slugger first-team All-American.   

As a college player, Lambert finished his four years with a .333 batting average, 32 home runs and 194 RBIs. He played in the 2000 NAIA College World Series and returned with Birmingham Southern again in 2001 to claim the 2001 NAIA National Championship. He holds the all-time record at Birmingham Southern with a fielding percentage of .993, committing only two errors in two seasons. 

Dale Pruitt

A Plainview High School graduate from the Class of 1975, Pruitt excelled in football and basketball.  

He played one year of basketball at Northeast Alabama Community College and later transferred to Jacksonville State University, where he graduated in 1979, later receiving his master’s degree from the university.

Pruitt began his coaching career at Boaz High School as an assistant football coach. He next began his 40-year run as a head football coach at Pisgah High School with additional head coaching stops at Plainview High School, Fort Payne High School, Albertville High School, Dade County High School (Ga.) and two stops at Marion County.   

Pruitt’s teams have appeared in the postseason 29 times and accumulated 307 wins. He and his wife Melissa have three children and 10 grandchildren. 

C.M. Sanford

Before establishing himself as a veteran coach at Fort Payne High School, Sanford graduated from Kossuth High School in Mississippi in 1974 and received his master’s degree from Mississippi State University in 1980.

Sanford served as defensive coordinator for Jerry Elmore at Fort Payne High school for 15 seasons (1984-99). During that time, Fort Payne had its first 10-win season and made its first playoff appearance. The football program became five-time area champions while he was with the team.

Also while at Fort Payne, Sanford served as a head coach or assistant coach for the boys and girls track and field and cross country teams for 15 years.  Those teams produced three state championships and eight state runner-up teams. Sanford has coached 33 individual or relay state champions.  

He and wife Pam have one daughter and two grandchildren.

Bill Smith

Smith was an all-county, all-area and all-state player at Ider High School, before playing all four years at Auburn University. 

Before graduating from Ider in 1970, Smith was selected to play in the 1970 Alabama 2A All-Star high school basketball game.   

As a freshman at Auburn he played in every game, averaging 13 points and 9.5 rebounds per game. He shot 50% from the field and 73% from the free-throw line. 

After graduating from Auburn in 1974, he coached for two years at Fort Dale Academy in Greenville, Ala. 

He worked for Blue Cross Blue Shield for 24 years as an account executive and lives in Auburn. He and his wife Patsy have two children.  

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