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Five to be inducted at Dec. 10 banquet
CraigStafford edit
Craig Stafford

Tickets at LCRD

The annual Hall of Fame banquet is scheduled for 7 p.m., Dec. 10, at the Liberty County Community Complex, 9397 E. Oglethorpe Highway, Midway. Tickets are $20 and available at the Liberty County Recreation Department. Tickets must be purchased in advance. For more information on tickets, call 912-876-5359.

Five former Liberty County athletes will receive the honor of being inducted into the 2015 class of the Liberty County Athletic Hall Of Fame.
This year’s inductees are Nick Dowd, Craig Stafford, Derek Stewart, Jordan McRae and Rion Brown.

Nick Dowd
Dowd, a 1975 graduate of Bradwell Institute, was an all-around athlete, earning 12 letters during his high school career.
He was a three-year starting quarterback for the football team. He also played for the Bradwell baseball team as a three-year starting pitcher and catcher. During his junior and senior years, he was a starting guard on the basketball team. Dowd was a four-year letterman in track and during his career set school records in the 880 run (2:04) and the mile run (4:18). He also set a record in the 2-mile run coming in at 10:15.
Dowd won the prestigious Hokey Jackson Award. In track, he won three individual events at the Statesboro Relays (880, mile and 2 mile), and helped lead the basketball, baseball and track teams to region championships and the state playoffs his senior year.
Dowd was named Offensive Player of the Year in football and MVP in basketball his senior season. He went to Georgia Southern, where he played basketball for the Eagles as a walk-on, graduated with a Bachelor’s of Science in accounting and is a CPA. Dowd currently lives in Dallas, Texas, where he is president of Metal Sales Manufacturing, with 21 locations and 1,700 employees throughout the United States.

Craig Stafford
Stafford, a 1986 Bradwell graduate, lettered in five sports there. He was a two-year captain and three-year starter at quarterback, helping lead the Tigers to the 1985 Region 3-AAAA Championship and the South Georgia Championship game.
Stafford was also named the
1986 Georgia Male Scholar Athlete of the Year by the Georgia Athletic Coaches Association, maintaining the highest GPA for any BI athlete from 1982-86. Stafford earned the BI Academic Athletic Award each year. Stafford also won the Hokey Jackson Award and was his graduating class’s salutatorian.
Stafford played every sport growing up in Hinesville through the Liberty County Recreation Department. In 1978, he was a member of the first 4x100 relay team from Liberty County to win first place at the annual Georgia Parks and Recreation Track Meet. Stafford received an appointment to the U.S. Military Academy at West Point and was a member of the 1986 Army football team, which won the Commander in Chief’s Trophy for victories over Air Force and Navy.
Stafford currently is a lawyer with the firm of Arnold & Stafford in Hinesville.

Derek Stewart
Stewart, a 1989 BI graduate, was a star basketball player for Coach Willie Graham and was named to the 1989 Region 3-AAAA Team. Stewart received a basketball scholarship to Augusta State University, where he was a four-year starter. He averaged 14, 15, 16 and 20 points per game each season, respectively.
His senior season, he led the Peach Belt Conference in blocked shots, was named to the First Team All-Tournament Team and was named the Peach Belt Conference Player of the Year. He is Augusta State’s all-time leading shot blocker and second all-time leading scorer.
Stewart played nine years professionally in Germany, Israel, France and China. He currently lives in the Los Angeles area and works in the motion picture, television and film industry.

Jordan McRae
McRae, a 2010 graduate of Liberty County, was a star basketball player for Coach Willie Graham and the Panthers, amassing numerous honors and awards, including First Team All-AAA State by The Atlanta Journal Constitution his senior season.
As a senior, McRae averaged
24 points, eight rebounds, seven assists and four blocks per game, leading the Panthers, along with teammate Rion Brown, to the state playoffs.
McRae was a First Team All-State pick by the Georgia Sportswriters Association. In high school, he had a game-high 25-point game and was the South MVP for the GACA All-Star game.
McRae received a scholarship to play for the University of Tennessee, where he played all four years and in more than 100 games.
In his senior season, he started in all 37 games, averaging 18.7 pts., 3.5 rebounds, 2.5 assists and earning First Team All-SEC honors. That same year, he led the Vols in scoring in four games. In the NCAA tournament, he averaged 19.8 points per game.
McRae was the 58th overall pick in the 2014 NBA Draft by the San Antonio Spurs, who traded him to the Philadelphia 76ers. He played in the 76ers’ summer league and averaged 21 points per game in four games.
In his first professional season, McRae played in Australia for Melbourne United and finished third in the National Basketball League in scoring.
Upon his return to the States, McRae played for the Delaware 87ers of the NBA-Development League, returned briefly to the 76ers but was waived and reacquired by the 87ers for this season.

Rion Brown
Brown, also an LCHS 2010 graduate, was a star for the Panthers under Graham. He garnered numerous accolades, including Class AAA South Player of the Year by the Georgia Athletics Coaches Association. He was chosen to play in the senior All-Star game. During his senior season, Brown set school records with
42 points in a game and 660 points for the season. He also averaged 22.8 points per game and helped lead his team to the state playoffs. Brown was named to the AJC’s All-State Class AAA Second Team. He an athletic scholarship to the University of Miami where played for the Hurricanes for four years in the ACC.
Brown finished his ’Canes career fourth all-time in minutes played, was named Third Team All-Atlantic Coast Conference his senior season and led Miami in scoring that year at
15.5 points per game.
Brown is currently playing professionally with Brussels, Belgium, of the Euro-Basketball League.

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