Five new members will be inducted to the Liberty County Athletic Hall of Fame during its annual banquet at 7 p.m. Dec. 12 at the Dorchester Village Civic Center. Tickets are $20 per person and can be purchased at the Liberty County Recreation Department. Tickets must be purchased in advance and will not be sold the night of the event.
Three of the five new inductees are introduced in this edition of the Courier. The final two inductees will be profiled in Sunday’s edition.
Joe Nathan Stevens
BI class of 1974
Stevens was the captain of the 1974 Tiger football team and was voted best defensive player that same year. The Atlanta Journal-Constitution named him to the 1974 all-state football team as selected by the newspaper and the Georgia High School Athletic Association.
Stevens also ran track and was a member of the undefeated 440-meter relay team that won the sub-region and region and finished second in the1974 state track championships. He also earned several awards in the 100 and 200 dashes, discus and shot put.
In his senior year at Bradwell, he was voted “Mr. Bradwell 1974” due to his athletic and academic achievements. He was a member of the Tigers boys’ varsity basketball team for the 1973-74 season and was inducted into the nationwide “Who’s Who Among American High School Students.”
Stevens received an athletic scholarship to Savannah State University, where he graduated in 1979 with a bachelor’s degree in criminal justice.
He served in the United States Army for 24 years and was a military police office and investigator. He was awarded the Meritorious Service Medal and Army Commendation Medals. Stevens was an adjunct law enforcement instructor at Central Texas College and University of Maryland, European Campus.
At Central Texas College he was recognized as the school’s instructor of the year-European campus (law enforcement/criminal justice 1991) and regional instructor of the year (1990). Stevens is employed with the Department of the Army, Fort Gordon, as an anti-terrorism officer/physical security specialist.
Category: At Large,
BI Class of 1976
Gilliard, an employee of the Liberty Count Recreation Department for the past 29 years, plays a dual role at the LCRD, serving as the sports director and assistant director. Gilliard’s LCRD career has produced 18 Georgia Recreation and Parks Association state-championship teams and 196 GRPA state championships won by individuals in track and field. He coached state-championship women’s softball teams in 1992 and 2000 and LCRD championship youth-basketball teams in 1977 and 1978. In 2005, Gilliard received the GRPA District 2 Sonny Miller Award for Sports Programming, and in 2007 served as the GRPA District 2 treasurer. In high school, Gilliard played for the state-championship winning junior boys’ basketball team in 1973 and lettered in basketball for three years at Bradwell.
BI Class of 1981
Washington lettered in track and football all four years at Bradwell, where he was a defensive back for the 1979 undefeated football team and 1980 Region 3-AAA championship-winning squad. Washington received numerous Coastal Empire Player of the Week awards.
In track and field, Washington was second in the region high jump during his freshman season. As a sophomore, he finished second in the region long jump and was part of region-title-winning 4x100 and 4x400 relay teams his junior year. He conquered the same two relay races to win the championship in his senior year and also was region champ in the 200 dash.
At Savannah State, he played football under scholarship all four years, lettering each year and starting 44 games at defensive back. He was a team captain in his junior and senior seasons, averaged 10 tackles per game and was the Southern Intercollegiate Athletic Conference player of the week multiple times during his freshman, sophomore and junior years.
Washington also lettered four years for the SSU track team. In his freshman year, he finished among the top three in the conference in the 100 run and among the top two in the 200 run. He was among the top three in the long jump, 100 and 200 runs his sophomore year and placed among the top two in the Division II qualifier in the 200 run his junior and senior years.
Washington graduated SSU with a bachelor’s degree in sociology and psychology. He became an assistant track and field coach at Benedictine from 1989-91 and assistant track and field coach at St. Vincent’s from 1990-91. He served as a church youth minister and was selected to coach international athletes training in the United States for the 1996 and 2000 Olympics.
Washington was employed as a Savannah police officer, had a federal assignment with the Drug Enforcement Agency and was a criminal-justice instructor at Armstrong Atlantic State University. He also worked at Pitney Bowes and currently is employed as a major accounts manager with IKON in Atlanta.